Athlone based Senator, Gabrielle McFadden has expressed her sadness on hearing of the death of Don Panoz, the founder of Élan Corporation.
“Don was many things – he was a serial entrepreneur in the fields of pharmaceuticals, motorsports and viticulture, he was a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great grandfather, he was an inventor and a pioneer and he was also a loyal friend to Athlone and to Westmeath.
“After establishing a new R&D centre in Athlone in 1978, he made Athlone his real home and raised his family here. Élan not only became one of the most significant enterprises in the midlands, but it spawned and supported many other local businesses.
“Speaking to local businesspeople about Don, the word that comes up most often is ‘loyalty’. As well as being loyal, he was optimistic in his outlook and generous in his philanthropy and at the same time remained a very grounded man.”
Noting the impact of the Elan Corporation founder within the local community and its environs, Senator McFadden commented that he received due recognition for his impact.
“In 2011, I attended the ceremony where he was made a Distinguished Fellow of Athlone Institute of Technology, the highest honour that the college can bestow. Don is one of only fourteen people to have received this award, along with others such as former President, Mary McAleese, our own former Minister and MEP, Paddy Cooney and indeed my own sister Nicky. This award is a testament not only to his own notable achievements but to the very significant contribution that Don made to Athlone and to the midlands region.
“He was a loyal friend to Athlone and his passing away yesterday, at the age of 83, is a source of sadness for us all. Our thoughts are with his family and friends,” Senator McFadden concluded.