Jim Kehoe was born and raised in Rocky Bay, a small Irish community on Isle Madame. After leaving high school, Jim went on to attend trade school in North Sydney where he trained to be an apprentice Carpenter. Jim worked with several local contracting companies while expanding his portfolio working on a variety of projects in multiple facets of the industry. Jim solidified a partnership with two of his colleagues, establishing their own construction company, Joneljim Construction, which remained their primary focus for several years.
With the ongoing development of the company, Jim and various partners branched out in other relevant ventures acquiring Stephen’s Home Building Centre, Don Ray Lumber, Leblanc Building Supplies, Donovan’s Building Supplies, and eventually Sydney Millwork, City Print Plus, and rope manufacturing company, East Coast Rope. Jim and associates developed local companies Joneljim Realty, a second rope manufacturer, Poly Steel Atlantic, North Window & Door, and Island Well Drillers. Jim along with a group of business partners acquired Sydport Industrial Park and on this site build a steel fabrication plant, East Coast Metal Fabricators.
Jim owns and operates several companies including xerox franchises in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, a 68 unit assisted living facility in Kentville, NS, as well as Pickett Fence Homes, a Halifax based residential construction company.
Beyond his personal business ventures, Jim participated in many organizations over the span of his ongoing career. He was a founding member of New Dawn Enterprises and not-for-profit organizations BCA Investment Cooperative, served many years on the board of Talbot House, an addictions recovery centre, was a board member of Nova Scotia Business Incorporated, a member of the Board of Directors for the IWK Children’s Hospital, as well as a member of the Board of Governors at Cape Breton University. He was among the first people to be inducted to The Order of Nova Scotia for his continued work in the economic stabilization of Cape Breton through his participation in Cooperative Enterprises aimed at regional development, sustainability, and growth and investing in local businesses, providing the capital and guidance for these companies to nourish and thrive, among other driving initiatives within the province and on the island.
Jim lives in Coxheath, Nova Scotia, alongside his wife, Roma. Together, they have two children, Paulette and Claudette, and four grandchildren, Katrina, Michael, Robert, and Shay.
Today, Cape Breton University confers the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, to a man who has been a leader and mentor and has dedicated his career to the growth and health of the business environment in Cape Breton.