One Hell of a Ride: How Craig Dobbin Built the World's Largest Helicopter Company

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9781553654919: One Hell of a Ride: How Craig Dobbin Built the World's Largest Helicopter Company
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He was an irrepressible Newfoundlander who counted presidents and prime ministers among his friends, often teetered on the edge of bankruptcy and remains a legend among all who knew him. Craig Laurence Dobbin almost drowned while salvaging metal from shipwrecks in the St. John's harbour, his first business venture. Back on solid ground, he built a small empire with real estate ventures. Dobbin invested in a helicopter to carry him to remote salmon pools, and within a decade the single craft had grown into CHC Helicopters, a public corporation earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

With ambition, unlimited charm and an outrageous capacity for risk-taking, Dobbin shaped CHC into the largest operation of its kind in the world. Along the way he survived a near-fatal helicopter crash, a lung transplant and constant predictions that he and his company were doomed to failure. He defied them all, creating a global economic powerhouse headquartered in St. John's and having, in the words of one colleague, "more fun in a week than most people enjoy in a year."

When he died in October 2006, Craig Dobbin left a legacy of business and personal achievements unmatched by any Canadian of his time.

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About the Author:

John Lawrence Reynolds is the author of almost two dozen non-fiction books, including Bubbles, Bankers and Bailouts, the national bestseller The Naked Investor, and Free Rider: How a Bay Street Whiz Kid Stole and Spent $20 Million, winner of the National Business Book Award. He has also won two Arthur Ellis Awards for best mystery novel, a National Magazine Award, and an Author's Award from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters. He lives in Burlington, Ontario.

Review:

"This book could just as easily have been called 'One Hell of a Read.'" (National Post)

"One Hell of a Ride is not another dry biography about another successful business person. On the contrary, it is a page turner due, in equal parts, to the writing and to the subject. Larger-than-life Newfoundlanders often seem to fall into two categories: fictional characters or politicians. Craig Dobbin had qualities of both. His 71 years...became the stuff of legend...and like the best politicians, Dobbin could inspire people to join him in making his dreams realities." (Chronicle Herald)

"Newfoundland's Craig Dobbin decided to invest in a helicopter to ferry himself to remote spots where he could fish for salmon. It was uneconomical, so he decided to look at leasing out the helicopter. One thing led to another (as it usually did for the daring entrepreneur) until he owned the largest helicopter in the world. In One Hell of a Ride, writer John Lawrence Reynolds tells Mr. Dobbin's inspirational story, from buying companies with no apparent assets to be able to pay for them, to his life-saving lung transplant, to his love match with his younger wife." (Globe & Mail)

"[One Hell of a Ride] is a great balance between the human side of its subject and the hard-edged details of his business ventures...It confirms that all the cliche attached to Craig Dobbin over the years 'one of a kind, larger than life' really were true." (Vertical Magazine)

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