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In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition for the people, businesses, and organizations that help make our city great. The team at KelownaNow.com is passionate about this community and the people that make it amazing. We want to show our friends, neighbours, family and colleagues that we notice them and the fabulous things that they do.
What is your name?
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Kelowna?
I’m from Ireland originally and I immigrated to Edmonton in 1974. I was in the revenue property and commercial construction business, I retired to Kelowna in 2009.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Well, it’s more than one. Both my children, their spouses and my five grandchildren because we always have the best of times together. Their unconditional love and hugs brings joy to my soul and gladness to my heart. Of course, I also love spending time with my close friends.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
I would go to Maui, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have been there a few times, I can never get enough of it and would go back right this moment. I also just came back from a trip to Europe and didn’t get to spend enough time in Austria. I loved it there too and would go back right this moment, choices, choices, choices, what’s a guy to do?
What is your favourite local store in Kelowna and why?
I have more than one favourite, Choices Market is one for their local fresh produce, organic meats and great service. Another is Urban Fare, because they have a great variety of products and I love their salad bar and hot food entrées. Last, but not least, Codfather's Seafood Market, their smoked oysters, rollmops and awesome array of fresh seafood are to die for.
What is your favourite activity?
Boating and golf, even though I suck at golf, but it’s not about the game, it’s the camaraderie and time spent with great friends among some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The beauty of the Okanagan never ceases to amaze me, and after a stop at the 19th hole it even amazes me more.
If you had to choose: pizza, tacos, or burgers?
Burgers and pizza, but always accompanied with some Murphy’s (Irish for potatoes), got to have my Murphy’s as well you know, yes please.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
I was just three days in Canada and decided I would take the driving test. The examiner told me to turn left at the next intersection, I did, but I turned left into oncoming traffic (hard to forget old habits so quickly) it was chaos for a few minutes, he freaked out, along with the oncoming traffic, and was very upset, took control of the car and drove me back to the test centre, 'embarrassing' is putting it mildly.
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
There’s so many it’s hard to narrow it down to one. I’m inspired every day by life itself, the newness of a new day and the beautiful nature I’m surrounded by. I am so excited about life and what I do, sometimes I think sleeping is a necessary evil because I don’t want to miss a moment of it, I’m inspired by the generous and friendly community we live in and by my close friends and colleagues who never cease to encourage and inspire me. Amen.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
When I was growing up in Ireland, my dad would always take me to the local fair (market) to sell cattle, pigs, sheep and so forth. We always walked them there and it would take about two hours. He was very wise, always talked to me like an adult and we always had great chats along the way, which also included some limited discussion about the bird and the bees. When he concluded his sales, he would go to the local pub for a pint of Guinness. He would find the highest stool for me, buy me a Cola and made sure they put it in a pint glass so I would look like one of the boys, then later he would tap me on the head wink, and say 'Ahh, you alright there Lad', the look in his eyes, the gentleness in his face and that smile said all I needed to know. This is the best of my favourite childhood memories.
Where do you volunteer or give back to in the community?
I don’t physically volunteer as such, like I said, there’s just not enough hours in the day. That being said, I’m a big supporter of the local food bank, Salvation Army, Cops for Kids, BC Cancer Research and the Children’s Wish Foundation.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Wow, that’s a tough one, where do you start. To put it simply, create more harmony in the world by accepting each other’s differences and bring an end to all the atrocities that are happening in the world in the name of man made religion.
What is your favourite activity in Kelowna?
Boating, golfing, hiking, eating out in all the wonderful local eateries and hiking all the beautiful trails, especially Knox mountain.
Where would you sneak away to in Kelowna to spend some time alone?
To my boat and cruise around the lake on an early summer morning, the water is like glass. Sometimes I go to the middle of the lake, cut the motor and float amidst the splendor of my surroundings while sipping my coffee. For me, there’s nothing more beautiful, peaceful and solitary than that.
Where would you like to see positive change in Kelowna and why?
Being in the business I’m in, I would like to see the city upgrade the existing public boat launches and build a few more to relieve the congestion during our high season. After all, we advertise ourselves as a destination city where it’s all about being in, around or on the lake. Easy access to the water by way of more launches and docks is very important for tourism and locals alike. From a boating point of view, let us make the water easier to access. I also want to point out that contrary to the negativity I continuously read about the lack of affordable housing for low-income families, young families, cost of rent and the homeless and crime issues, I think the present administration is making positive change in all respects. More and more Kelowna is in high demand as a desirable place to live, and do business in, and it will continue to have growing pains. This is the cost of success, but I believe our present administration is doing the best they can to address these issues.
What do you think makes Kelowna great?
Everything about Kelowna makes it great, other than the few needed improvements I mentioned previously. We have it all here in Kelowna, and then some. We are the envy of the world, enjoy it, respect it and be thankful, your attitude determines your altitude.
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
1) Continue to live a healthy, active lifestyle and grow my business by providing the best experience I can for my customers
2) Hike the Grand Canyon
3) Visit Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia and P.E.I.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
I love cooking and trying out new recipes, however, I have had my challenges there too. I had never cooked a duck before so I decided to give it a try. Wow, I never knew a duck contained so much fat that it swelled over the top of the roasting pan, other than a small oven fire and a lot of hullabaloo, it worked out pretty good in the end and even burned, the duck was very tasty.
How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)
What is the name of your business/organization?
Kelowna Water Taxi & Cruises.
Why did you get into/start this business?
Although Kelowna Water Taxi & Cruises is my business, I started it because I’m truly passionate about boating and I truly enjoy being able to give others a taste of the same joy I feel every time I’m out in my boat. I have met so many great locals, people from other provinces, people from many different countries and seeing the joy and happiness in their faces always inspires me to continue what I do. The personal side is what makes it all worthwhile.
What is the goal of your business?
To continue to provide a memorable boating experience at an affordable rate for our locals and all our visitors to the beautiful Okanagan. What ever business you are in, it’s all business' duty to represent this lovely valley and our vibrant community by providing the best service we can.
What has been your biggest struggle either in work or life?
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
I’ve had lots of challenges, both personal and business-wise, but that’s what life is all about, overcoming challenges and hurdles is what makes you grow. Looking back I wouldn’t have done anything different because it brought me to the happy place I’m in today. Even though you may not know it at the time, there is a reason for everything.
What do you always find yourself saying?
'It can’t be that time already, there’s just not enough hours in the day.'
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
For me, Steve Jobs was one of the greatest motivational people I ever read and I would have loved to spend a day with him. I have always believed in his creed 'For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" and whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.' That is the soundest advice you will ever get, but since the question is 'who’s currently alive', Tony Robbins would be it.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
It’s very important to support local business because local business owners are our neighbours and friends. Supporting them also means they will stay in business, which creates jobs and helps your money stay in the community and, in turn, supports the local community at large. It’s a win-win all around.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Seeing my children being born and grow into the fine young, responsible adults they are today. They make me very proud and now that they have children of their own, I’m a very proud grandad of five beauties, can I ask for more?
Give someone you think that deserves it a shout out and explain why!
There are few people who deserve a great big shout out. Jamie Schaab from Jamie Schaab Consulting, Doris Kotscha from Affortable Web Design, Tom Macauley, Austin Friesen and Matt Brown from Aqua Marine Valet as well as many more friends and associates too numerous to mention, but not forgotten, who in their own special way have contributed, and continue to contribute to the success of my business. Everyone’s positive attitude, passion for their work and passion to see me succeed is always inspiring. On top of that, they're all really nice genuine people. Thank-you all.
My choice for the KelownaNow In Focus spotlight is:
Jason Scopelleti, owner of ScopeTech - Everything IT.
Some general comments I would like to share are:
Thank you to Jamie-Schaab for nominating me, and a big thank-you to KelownaNow for giving me this opportunity to be featured on In Focus. Thank-you for all you do in the community and the community information you provide through your online presence. I love reading the KelownaNow articles on what’s going on in my community, local businesses, local families and tourists alike that have, and continue to, support my business. Thank-you, I appreciate you all.
We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kelowna.