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(May 24, 2001, Gazette)

Mark Dobbin graduated in 1981
Business honours its own

(L-R) Bill Blake, sandra Dobbin, Mark Dobbin and Dr. Axel MeisenPhoto by Chris Hammond

Dean of Business Bill Blake (L) and Memorial President Axel Meisen (R) join Mark and Sandra Dobbin on the occasion of Mr. Dobbin’s designation as Alumnus of the Year for the business faculty.

By Susen Johnson

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 just this week, Mark Dobbin became part of an even more exclusive group by becoming the ninth Alumnus of the Year for Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration.

The chair and CEO of Vector Aerospace Corporation, a globally-recognized aviation repair and overhaul service, Mr. Dobbin is a 1981 graduate of MUN’s bachelor of commerce (co-op) program, and also holds an MBA from Dalhousie. He founded Vector in 1998 after a 17-year apprenticeship at Canadian Helicopter Corporation, the world’s largest helicopter company – serving as senior vice president and on the board of directors. In addition to its commercial and military repair and overhaul services, Vector provides specialized avionics and information technology services, and recently announced first quarter revenues of $87.5 million, up 22 per cent from this time last year.

But it’s more than business acumen that makes Mr. Dobbin a natural choice for the Faculty of Business award, which recognizes both career success and involvement in his alma mater. A generous supporter of the faculty, he serves on its advisory board and assists with the Associates Program, a partnership project which enhances research and scholarship and supports a variety of student activities, including participation in CASE competitions.

“Mark is a very successful businessman and a great person and, as such, he offers a particularly good example of the style of leadership that we value in our students and graduates,” Dean Bill Blake said at a special luncheon held in the Business Building to honour the award recipient. “We’re very proud of our affiliation with him, we’re delighted at the success he has achieved, and we appreciate his support for the faculty.”

President Axel Meisen, who presented Mr. Dobbin with a Memorial University licence plate at the ceremony, agreed, adding that, “Memorial University is all about the future: we express this through research and development, but also through producing graduates with the skills to contribute to society in a meaningful way; and Mark is an excellent example of this.”

For his part, Mr. Dobbin attributes his success to the support of his wife, Sandra, and his solid upbringing: “Growing up in my house, there were only two rules,” he said. “We weren’t allowed to have a motorcycle, and we had to get a university education. They were right on both counts.”

Mr. Dobbin went on to remark that he found the trend toward rising costs and decreasing access in postsecondary education very disturbing. “A good education makes a vital difference in business and in life,” he said.

Mr. Dobbin also credited the lessons in teamwork that he learned at MUN to be the groundwork for his present success. Mr. Dobbin said, “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,” he added. “And that’s one of the reasons why every senior manager at Vector Aerospace is a graduate of Memorial’s Business program.”

In addition to his activities with the Faculty of Business, Mr. Dobbin is a director of Stratos Global Corporation, and a board member of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and the board of directors of Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. He volunteers on the board of governors for Junior Achievement, and his company actively supports a local food bank and school lunch program.

“There is no doubt,” Dean Blake predicted, “that Mark will be a senior and influential leader in this community for years to come.”

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