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Designing futures

Genoa Design founder recipient of inaugural MI alumni award

Campus and Community

By Moira Baird

Leonard Pecore has come a long way from the days of using an old door as a desk and the porch of his home as his company’s headquarters.

From left, Leonard Pecore receives the MI Alumni Award from Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (MI).
Photo: Greg Hicks

The founder and chair of Genoa Design International Ltd., which specializes in detail design and 3D modelling services for shipbuilding and offshore industries worldwide, started the company in 1995 when he graduated with a diploma of technology in naval architecture from the Marine Institute (MI).

Today, the company employs a team of more than 140 designers, engineers, naval architects, administrators and technical support staff at its offices in Mount Pearl, Vancouver and New Orleans.

Genoa has supported more than 150 shipbuilding projects, including icebreakers, ferries and offshore science vessels, for government and commercial contracts.

It is currently designing and supporting vessel construction of non-combat vessels for Canada’s 20-year, multi-billion dollar national shipbuilding strategy for the navy and coast guard.

First alumni award

Mr. Pecore is the first recipient of the Marine Institute Alumni Award, which was presented during the institute’s June 14 graduation ceremony. The new award recognizes the professional accomplishments of alumni, their service to society and their commitment to the MI and Memorial communities.

“Our alumni are the greatest successes of the Marine Institute,” said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute). “The Marine Institute Alumni Award celebrates the contributions that our graduates make to ocean industries here at home and around the world.

“Through Leonard Pecore’s foresight and vision, Genoa Design International has attracted new business to the province and built a young, innovative workforce that provides vessel design expertise to the global shipbuilding industry and opportunities for graduates of the Marine Institute and Memorial University.”

Leonard Pecore
Photo: Angie Bishop

Mr. Pecore is a member of MI’s Industry Advisory Committee, the Genesis Centre Selection Committee, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

He currently sits on the board of directors for the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries and LearnSphere, and has served on MI’s program advisory council for both the naval architecture and marine engineering systems design programs.

‘Amazing award’

“I’m grateful to the school and staff for setting the foundation of a career – from the first day when an instructor took their time during a summer break to explain the naval architecture program to me until the last day when I presented a design project in Hampton Hall and the instructors honoured me and all the students with a focused attention,” said Mr. Pecore during the ceremony.

“I’ve been thinking about what an amazing annual award this will be in future years. There are so many Marine Institute alumni who lead exceptional careers and give back to the Marine Institute and the community.”

He noted that many of Genoa’s employees are MI graduates.

“I can’t wait to see who’ll be standing on this stage in coming years and accepting this award. In this way, this award is also a reflection of the outstanding role the Marine Institute plays in our community and the marine industry.”

Sharing life lessons

During the ceremony, Mr. Pecore offered some advice for MI graduates. Here are some condensed excerpts:

On failure: “The first thing that comes to mind in my career is that I’ve failed hard many times. On average, I make about three mistakes a week and I fail miserably about three times a year. Don’t be afraid of failure. Stretch so far that you fail a hell of a lot – that way you know you’ve set the bar at the correct height.”

On education: “My education hasn’t stopped with the Marine Institute. I’ve learned how I learn and I’ve realized that if I wasn’t making mistakes I wasn’t learning. Never stop learning. Never stop being a student, let your mistakes teach you.”

On business: “I’ve learned that everything in business revolves around people – absolutely everything. There is nothing more rewarding and there is nothing more telling of your character and your leadership than when you support your teammates to help them achieve success. Take care of people. And remember this, all things being equal, people like to do business with their friends. All things being unequal, people still like to do business with their friends.”

On stepping aside: “I’ve learned to step aside – step aside and let somebody else do it better than I could ever have done it myself. I’ve done this in personal relationships and in business. I’ve done it technically and in leadership and the best part is, when that person whom I step aside for achieves extraordinary results, then I have one less failure per year. This directly allows me to focus on my own strengths. Step aside, shed your weaknesses – do more of what you’re good at.”


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