In a guest editorial for Helijet's In-Flight Review, Bob Wright, CEO of Oak Bay Marine Group, looks back on 50 years of business, developing world-class fishing and adventure resorts, marinas, tourist attractions and restaurants in three countries.
Fifty Years of Fishing
Oak Bay Marine Group celebrates 50 years in business
Lately I find myself asking this question: How is it that a gumboot fisherman originally from the Prairies is celebrating 50 years in business this year?
My schooling was not something I would write home about. Tasked with guiding me in the right direction, my teachers tried their best. In grade three my music teacher loaned me a violin. After three weeks she took it back and suggested I should perhaps concentrate on art classes. After about a month, my art teacher told me that I might actually be a natural in sports. I spent the remainder of the year warming the bench. And so it went. Many years later I decided to try my hand in business… And I’ve been here ever since.
It’s hard to believe that it was 50 years ago that the Oak Bay Marine Group began with one small Marina and some very big dreams. If someone had told me then that by 2012 we’d have 21 divisions in three countries I would have laughed them out of the room.
It never ceases to amaze me how things sneak up on you. Some might say the success of the Oak Bay Marine Group is due to perseverance over time. Some might use the term “dogged determination.” I say, it’s a combination of timing, luck, and sure, maybe the odd good idea and the tenacity to see it through, against all doubt and odds.
Primarily though, it comes down to people. Without a dedicated, passionate team this company would not exist as it does today. The energy, enthusiasm and pride of our staff members who are spread far and wide is difficult to comprehend – but is, without any doubt, the key to long term success.
As we operate in far-flung destinations like the majestic Haida Gwaii, the white sandy beaches of Long Island in the Bahamas, Newport Oregon’s historic Cannery Row, and of course, the many coastal resorts, restaurants and marinas on Vancouver Island, it’s obvious that our overall success comes down to our people who run these businesses like they are their own. They don’t just do “what’s required,” – they do everything they possibly can.
I am often asked by customers and friends how on earth I find such great people to hire. From the first point of contact in our Victoria Reservations office to our front desks, restaurants, spa, and fishing guides, we receive so many compliments about our staff and service. I truly believe that each and every one of our Crew, in Canada, the United States, and the Bahamas are the reason we will continue to succeed long into the future. Ours is a complex business with many moving parts, and without such a dedicated team surrounding me I would still be selling fishhooks for a nickel a piece.
View it in Helijet's In-flight Review Magazine here.