10 years in business

It has been a year since my last post. One whole year! I actually started typing 'how did that happen?', then deleted that because I know exactly how that happened... I have been busy tidying up all my work and various projects under one roof - not just one roof in the form of this website, but one legal roof too - Noa Pacific Enterprises Inc. 

You see, my business is turning 10 years old this July and I still wonder what on earth made me start a business at the young age of 24. Luckily, I had more life experience than most 24 year olds, having already served in the military in one country, studied for my undergraduate degree and faced significant health challenges in a second country and immigrated to a third country (Not to mention racing all over Europe in my late teens, too). So, because this website just got a major facelift and I am celebrating a few major business milestones this year, I think it is time to share the story of how my business started and evolved - something I have not done in this format before. It will be a long read and I personally have a very short attention span, so I will break it up into a few parts: 

  • Part I - Christchurch, New Zealand to Victoria BC, Canada
  • Part II - Victoria to Vancouver 
  • Part III - Vancouver - Here and Now 

Part I - From Christchurch, New Zealand to Victoria BC, Canada

I wanted to stay in NZ. I absolutely loved it and really saw myself starting my career over there. But a career in what?! I graduated with a Bachelors degree in sports coaching, which involved what I still consider the perfect blend of coaching (hands on and theory) and sport science studies. In my final year, I wrote a thesis on the effects of changing saddle fore-aft positions has on athletes' V02max, threshold & power output. In other words, I specialized in performance physiology and cycling biomechanics. 

With a couple of months left before graduation, I was the first out of our class to get a job interview. I got flown to Auckland for an interview with a national sport federation that shall remain nameless. They had a significant budget (several million dollars) to work towards a specific event and they recognized the importance of coaching and coach education, so they created a new role they were looking to fill - coach development manager. The job was to overhaul the entire coach education system and oversee the development of coaches in that particular sport, nation wide - Coach the coaches type of deal. 

I guess I nailed that interview, cause I got the job. It was a big deal - A significant management role with a lot of responsibility, especially for someone right out of university... They were happy to wait the two months for me to graduate and another month for me to move to Auckland and get settled in a new city. But immigration NZ had other plans and my paperwork got placed on hold. We were told that my application could not be processed until after I officially graduated and that the process would take another 2 months afterwards. In the end, 4-5 months was too long to wait and the job was given to the backup candidate. I did get a call from the CEO of that sporting organization insisting on being a reference for me because he wanted to see me stay in NZ and contribute to their sports system. Sadly, without a work visa, employers told me they will not look ta my application. On the other hand, I could not get a work visa without a job offer. Whoa, talk about a catch 22, right?! 

So after a few months of immigration/visa related frustration and getting dangerously close to the expiration date of my student visa, I used the money my grandparents gave as a graduation gift to purchase a one way ticket to Victoria, BC and arrange to get most of my stuff shipped across the sea. 

Why Canada? Because I got a Canadian passport when I was born, courtesy of my mom being a Canadian citizen. Much to my parents dismay, I had no intension of going back to Israel, and Canada became the obvious choice when my NZ plans fell apart. No visa issues = awesome.

I quickly devised a new plan - Get my PhD by the time I turn 30 years old. That ship has obviously sailed... I was planning on using my undergrad thesis as a pilot study for my MSc and progress from there and I actually saw myself working in a lab! I am pretty sure anyone who knows me and my work now will be both shocked and extremely entertained by that idea!

Why Victoria? Simple. No 'real' winter. I could have easily gone to Toronto... I have family there and could have taken advantage of my grandparents empty apartment for a few months while they were away. But, I landed in Canada at the end of February 2006 and there was no way I was going to land right into an Ontario winter. In additional to the milder weather, I associated Victoria with triathlon and thought it would be a good place to be. Within a week of arriving in Victoria, I applied for an MSc at Uvic and found a job at a local bike shop. Funny enough, what happened with my (non existent MSc) and that job were significant turning points and in hindsight, had I chosen Vancouver instead of Victoria (and applied to UBC or SFU instead of Uvic), things would have probably turned out very different. 

Part II - Coming soon!

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