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Bill French, General Manager of the Fort William Puma Football Boots Evopower

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Country Club, was practically born to be a successful businessman. His life's journey has taken twists and turns, but thanks to hard work, attention Puma Evopower Futsal Shoes

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personality, the trip has been a good one. His father John, one of the region's most prolific entrepreneurs, was Bill's boyhood mentor and inspiration.John French owned and operated many enterprises in the Lakehead from the 1940s until his death in 1983. His most visionary move was the purchase of seven acres of land at the corner of Arthur Street and the future Thunder Bay Expressway. In 1964, along with three strategic partners, he opened the Airlane Motor Hotel on that piece of property. Fifteen year old Bill French was one of its first employees."I did every job, from dishwashing to scrubbing floors to night manager, as well as construction work" he recalls. That experience laid the groundwork for the hands on management style that has served him well throughout his career.In 1967, with some business experience already under his belt, Bill entered the Hotel Management program at Confederation College. A hired him straight from graduation and put him to work setting up restaurants from Regina to Montreal"I was 19 years old and I opened seven restaurants that first year," he laughs."I guess they thought I knew what I was doing!" Before long, however, the lure of Thunder Bay brought Bill French home. He tried his hand at a few different ventures, but ended up back where he'd begunat the Airlane.He fondly recalls the hotel's glory days, when its dining room was the finest in the city. They employed between 225 310 people, 25 30 in the kitchen per shift. In the early 70s the hotel entered the Airline Catering business, producing more that 1200 in flight meals daily for Air Canada plus a variety of other airlines. They mastered some enormous catering challenges over the years, including the World Nordic Games and Boy Scout Jamboree.Bill and Bruno Niederer worked with Richard Lenz, who was considered a leading virtuoso in the local culinary industry, and he was their leader from 1971 1984 says Bill. "Richard was precise with things, a real mentor in terms of quality of product and efficiency". Richard, Bruno and Bill made a really great team. "We worked hard 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But that was really the fun of it. It was all about seeing how much better we could get." In 1989 Bill and his partner Bruno Niederer purchased the hotel from his mother and the remaining partners and operated it for another 9 years.After selling the Airlane in 1998, Bill French found himself at a crossroads in his life."I sold the hotel and set myself up for an early retirement. I built a nice house on the lake and thought, 'This will be great! I'm 49 years old and I can retire!' He quickly realized retirement was not for him. Bill spent 3 years as the volunteer President of Northern Ontario Tourism Marketing Corporation which was created by the Gov't to do all the marketing for Northern Ontario from the Manitoba border to Huntsville. Since all his friends were still working he wanted to get back to doing something. He saw an ad for a General Manager at the Fort William Country Club and it seemed like the ideal thing."The FWCC position gives Bill the hands on work he loves. It's all about getting the job done, and if he can do it himself, so much the better! He will be a waiter in the restaurant, busses tables, does carpentry work in the winter, puts out the garbage, and enjoys every minute of it! The best part of all is seeing smiles on the customers' faces when they come off the course.Life isn't all business for Bill French. Over the years he's contributed to Lakehead University as well as charities such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cystic Fibrosis Telethon and many more. Today family is his greatest source of joy. He spends as much time as he can Puma Evospeed Futsal Shoes with his wife Diana, their three children Michael, Patrick and his wife Marni, Sarah and her husband Jason Gerry and grandchildren Julia, Lyndsay and Liam Gerry and Emerson French. Once a competitive ski racer (he won the inaugural Herb Roehrig Giant Slalom in 1968, along with most races held in Thunder Bay and N Ont) he now skis just for fun with his grandchildren. He loves to spend time boatingAsked what he enjoys in life, Bill replies without hesitation, "Spending time with my family and friends and seeing people enjoy themselves gives me great satisfaction. If you can make someone happy, that's one more friend you've made.

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´╗┐Profile on Bill French

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