Like father, like son:
Business Alumnus of the Year 2000, Mark Dobbin, and Honorary Doctor of Laws 2000, Craig Dobbin
By Megret Yabsley, Luminus (Vol.26, No.1, Winter 2000)
|Mark Dobbin and Craig Dobbin
As children, we often look up to our parents. We seek their advice, their guidance, their knowledge,
and their input in many facets of our lives. Sometimes we heed that advice, other times we make our own
path. However, whether or not we know it, we take the lessons we've learned and apply them to our own
lives in subtle ways. Mark Dobbin, B. Comm. '81, chairman and CEO of Vector Aerospace Corporation and
member of the Faculty of Business Administration Advisory Board, is no exception. The foundations of
his business knowledge were acquired from his father, entrepreneur Craig Laurence Dobbin.
During the spring 2000 convocation Memorial awarded Craig Dobbin an honorary doctor of laws for his
accomplishments and contributions to the Newfoundland economy. Craig has been involved in numerous
entrepreneurial activities throughout his 40-year business career, ranging from an underwater salvage
operation to real estate to the world's largest fleet of helicopters. He is currently the chairman and
CEO of Canadian Helicopter Corporation and Omega Investments. Along the way he has made a commitment to
give back to his native province and its people by creating thousands of jobs and investing millions of
dollars in local businesses.
Despite his business success, Craig says that his greatest accomplishment is raising a family of five
children and having 13 grandchildren. While family is clearly the priority for this entrepreneur, he
believed strongly in exposing his children to the world of business at an early age.
"My father conducted a great deal of business in the house and other social settings," said Mark. "We
were always welcome to sit in on his meetings as long as we sat quietly. But the rule was that as soon
as we opened our mouths, we were out."
This early exposure gave Mark a taste for business and for as long as he can remember he has always
wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. After completing the B.Comm. (Co-op) program, he worked
in the family business, learning the ropes from his father. Mark has said that his father has been a
strong mentor for him personally and professionally.
Craig agrees that he was in some ways a mentor for all his children. "I think you mentor by example.
It is important that they see your work ethic, your morals, your sense of decency and compassion."
Mark has obviously learned his lessons well because he was recently named one of the Top 40 under-40
business people who are "moving Canada forward in the global marketplace" as announced in Report on
Over the years Craig has given his children advice on numerous topics, one of which is the key to
business success. "It is very important to have good associates who can execute your vision and it
is equally important to recognize that these people can do it better than I can. I have often
subscribed to the notion that any chore in the world can be accomplished with the right team."
Mark, too, subscribes to this notion because upon receiving the Top 40 under-40 recognition, he
explained that he accepted the award on behalf of his whole business team.
While Craig is very proud of Mark's accomplishment, he explains that he is very proud of all his
children. His other sons, David and Craig, work in the family businesses, while his daughters,
Joanne and Caroline, have what he describes as "the hardest job of all - mothering."
Equally proud of him, Craig's family was on hand for his convocation ceremony. As he spoke to the
graduating commerce class of 2000, he offered some words of advice acquired through his triumphs
"Dare to dream and don't be afraid to take a chance," said Craig. "It is very important that once
you have accomplished something, you don't sit on your laurels. As you keeping moving forward,
remember that the journey is better than the goal."
Clearly not one to sit on his laurels, the 64-year-old businessman has no inclination of slowing
down or retiring. It is obvious that he is very excited about the growing Newfoundland economy and
is determined to be involved in shaping it.
"I tell my friends in Calgary about the forthcoming opportunities here in the province," said Craig.
"I say to them, the sun may set in the west but it rises in the east, and they are in trouble."
In his office in downtown St. John's, Mark's desk faces eastward and looks out through the narrows
of the sheltered harbour. There he and his associates plan to seize future opportunities for Vector
Aerospace. Whether or not he is conscious of it, his father's words are in the back of his mind -
the sun always rises in the east. And he is ready to seize the opportunities that await.
Mark Dobbin named Business Alumnus of the Year
Adapted from Luminus (Vol. 27, No.1, Winter 2001)
At 39 he was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40; at 40 he was named one of the Top 50 CEOs in
Atlantic Canada; and in the year 2000 Mark Dobbin became part of another exclusive group by becoming
the ninth Alumnus of the Year for Memorial's Faculty of Business Administration.
The Faculty of Business Administration has been recognizing distinguished alumni since 1992. This
award recognizes both the accomplishments of the graduate and their support and contribution to the
Faculty and the University. Mark was presented with his award in May 2001.
The chair and CEO of Vector Aerospace Corporation, a globally-recognized aviation repair and overhaul
service, Mark is a 1981 graduate of MUN's bachelor of commerce (co-op) program, and also holds an MBA
from Dalhousie. He serves on Business Administration's advisory board and assists with its Associates
Mark credited the lessons in teamwork that he learned at MUN to be the groundwork for his present
success. "During my years at Memorial, I learned the value of teamwork - hard work towards a common
goal - and it's an approach I still endorse.
"At Vector, we work as a team. And that's one of the reasons why every senior manager at Vector
Aerospace is a graduate of Memorial's business program."
© Copyright 2002 Memorial University of Newfoundland