Dreamers never stop dreaming. But what distinguishes successful dreamers from ordinary dreamers is that, successful dreamers move beyond just dreaming , and allow their dreams to push them to take a stand and make a mark. His dream even at a tender was to own and operate a very successful airline.
The dream of Dr. Brock Friesen, Chief Executive Officer of Starbow Airlines Ghana, is one that has begun to spark a domestic air transport revolution in the country, giving the domestic airlines industry a competition that will bode well for domestic air travelers in the country.
But as the adage goes that successful dreamers never had their dreams realised on a silver platter, so has the dream of Dr. Friesen never saw the light of day until it went through the fiery furnace of determination.
The success story of Dr. Friesen is encapsulated in the very family background that never placed him on his comfort zone, but pushed and kept him on his toes until his dream was achieved. But like all other successful people, their stories can never be told any better than themselves.
“I grew up in Vancouver Canada, the son of German immigrant parents of modest means, that were determined that I would get the best education,” Dr. Friesen began his story, with a candid admission that depicts the earnestness of his humble beginnings.
Unlike others, Dr. Friesen allowed his aerospace career dream to push him to beyond the limit of his youthful life, where at the age of 18, Friesen invented the first singled engine hovercraft and sold the patents to Boeing aircraft.
But Dr. Friesen’s life was positively impacted by several people that eventually opened him up as a man of several parts, whose intellectual acumen has transcended the bounds just an inventor to a multifaceted entrepreneur.
His professors in university inspired him to change course from engineering to economics, which he did. Having started his working life as a policy advisor to the British Columbia Minister of Energy, Friesen quickly discovered he would rather work for the international companies that he was negotiating with on behalf of the government.
The old adage that behind every successful man, is a woman, has really proven to be true after all, and has found evidence in the turning point of Dr. Friesen’s life as a more successful entrepreneur manager in a manner that laid the foundation for his success.
“My wife suggested that I take a year off and do an MBA at IMD in Switzerland which I did,” he said, which later helped him to land a lucrative job in Canadian Pacific Airlines, a privately owned airline serving six continents from Vancouver.
Dr. Friesen has scored high points in his contribution to the airlines industry, transforming a chronically unprofitable international route network into a high profitable one for Canadian Airlines; contributed in opening the first commercial air route from North America over Siberia to China; and many other highly successful joint ventures including between Canadian Airlines and Japan Airlines, Qantas, American, Lufthansa, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific.
His vision and mission behind Starbow Airlnes Ghana are amazing and clear—the ability to understand and tap into the incisive business analysis of Lufthansa Consulting which saw West Africa as a fast-growing economy, but a much underserved West African aviation market.
Dr. Friesen believes Ghana has the natural resources and human capital to lead growth in West Africa, hence the birth of Starbow Airlines Ghana. Starbow Airlines has come to stay, thanks to the vision of a man whose philosophy is rooted in the work ethic of northern Germany, which recognizes hard work as the theme of daily living, where respect in society is gained through hard work and economic success, and where laziness, dishonesty, and conspicuous consumption are forbidden.
Dr. Friesen’s life can be said to be a principle for success in itself, as he believes success comes from vision and hard work, and conscious of the fact that most business decisions are made based on rigorous analysis and evaluation, and not only gut feeling.
But he has also made a statement more profound—that those who can combine strategy and sharp quantitative skills, are most likely to succeed. No wonder, Dr. Freisen has singled out Warren Buffet as his role model, which explains where his entrepreneurial umbilical cord is connected.
To say Dr. Friesen is a workaholic is not an understatement, but it does not deny him the chance to balance life between work and leisure. And indeed, he is neither a dull boy, nor a lazy one, which is why notwithstanding his busy schedules; he still has time for quality leisure.
He does not only love the sea and wishes he could live on the waterfront with his family. He is also a licensed sea Captain, who believes Ghana has fantastic sea and wind, but needs sailboats. “My wife would say that airline passion is also my hobby. We both try to keep fit in the gym.”
Dr. Friesen believes that Ghana has some of the most beautiful beach fronts in the world, but also thinks the tourism potential has hardly been touched. That is the candid view of an entrepreneur who also sees Ghana’s tourism potential as a neglected goldmine.
By Evans KORANTENG
Starbow Airlines BAe 146-300, 9G-SBC. Branding and design by Lila Design Associates BV.