Craig Dobbin – in the words of Ambassador Pat Binns

January 23, 2010

On the 22nd of January, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Patrick Binns, spoke to the Buncrana Business Community. The Ambassador was in Donegal to commemorate the loss of the Laurentic, an ocean liner which sank off the Donegal coast in 1917, enroute to Canada. In his speech, he referred to ICUF founder, Craig Dobbin;
The story of Craig Dobbin, an Irish Newfoundlander, is truly amazing.  I am reminded of Craig because he started his career in business by salvaging from ships in the bottom of St. John’s Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador. Of course, we are here because of the Laurentic, and  they are still salvaging from that gold ship, 93 years after its demise. But, after Craig lost his oxygen and almost his life he decided to give up the salvage business and instead, as many Irish have done, he went into the housing business.

From one house he continued to expand and became a significant property developer.  He bought a fishing camp in Labrador and loved to take his friends there.  As transport was difficult he bought a helicopter.  He soon realized that helicopters were expensive to own and looked for other users.  He soon owned another, and another, and hired pilots, maintenance staff, accountants and managers. Like any business, there were problems of growth.  Never deterred by calls from the Banks, Craig would solve problems with acquisitions of other helicopter service companies.  Eventually, his company, CHC, was working on every continent. Craig Dobbin built the largest helicopter service company in the world from just one helicopter, during his lifetime.

It could be Canada’s greatest business success story and his legacy lives on here in Ireland through scholarships.  His Irish citizenship helped him gain business with the Irish Coast Guard and other business across Europe. You should read his Biography, entitled One Hell of a Ride.

The lesson for every business person is that Craig was an ordinary man with Irish roots who never backed down from adversity.  He too put his pants on, one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.  In this recession, the Dobbin story is an inspiration“.

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