My personal story and PilotWorkshops.com

by Mark Robidoux on July 13, 2010

For those who have been receiving our weekly pilot tips, you may recognize my name from the bottom of the emails. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and thank you for being part of our online community.

I founded PilotWorkshops.com in May of 2005. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but it has been an incredible journey so far and really has just begun in many ways. More on that in a moment.

I live north of Boston on a small lake in New Hampshire with my wife, Jackie and two sons. Jackie is a registered nurse and an avid naturalist and nature photographer. I could not have built this company without her support. She saw the spark in my eye when I conceived of this company years ago and encouraged me to pursue my dream.

In addition to running PilotWorkshops, I am an active commercial pilot and work and fly out of the Nashua Airport (KASH) in Nashua, NH. My office is located right on the field…how convenient when the urge to go flying hits!

I got hooked on flying in 1995. My friend Adam had a brand new private pilot license and asked me to join him on a flight from Hampton, NH to Bar Harbor, Maine where we would get lunch and return later that day. The flight to Bar Harbor was amazing – we flew low along the Maine coastline in brilliant morning sunshine and the 90 minute flight seemed way too short. The return flight was even more spectacular as the sun set just prior to touching down back in Hampton. I took my introductory flight lesson the next morning! Soon after I got my private pilot license, bought an airplane with Adam and a few years later earned my instrument rating.

A strange thing happened when I got my instrument rating. Although I had a good instructor, met all the requirements and passed my checkride…I didn’t feel like I was fully prepared to fly in the system! Did any of you have a similar experience? It was during this time that I started searching for online training programs that focused on IFR proficiency. Unfortunately, I found very little. There were plenty of good video training courses that could help you pass the test, but I was looking for practical tips and techniques I could use in the cockpit to make me a better IFR pilot. It was then that I conceived of the website that would later become PilotWorkshops.com.

Building PilotWorkshops.com has been a thrill for me. As many of you know, starting a new business in this market (or any market for that matter) is quite a challenge. I left the security of a 20 year career in high tech to pursue my passion. Many people thought I was crazy. Maybe I was, but I was determined to build a world class website dedicated to pilot proficiency and general aviation safety.

The first few years were rough. We had developed some excellent training products that were getting good reviews, but we didn’t have the capital to market them on a large scale. Although our growth was slow, we always focused on delivering the highest quality training programs we could and kept working at it, hoping our message would take hold. It seemed that any time I thought about packing it in, I’d get an email from a pilot telling me how much our programs helped them…this fueled my desire to keep going.

We continued to solicit feedback on how we could improve our products and pursued innovative marketing programs and partnerships to stimulate our growth. Over time, we started to turn the corner and the business began to show the potential we hoped it could. We now have over 100,000 subscribers to our weekly pilot tips and over 12,000 customers around the world who have purchased our programs. We are delivering game changing online programs and apps for pilots and will continue to look for new ways to help pilots develop proficiency and improve safety.

Throughout this journey, I have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people that have helped me build the company. Our group of contributing experts are the real stars of PilotWorkshops.com. I encourage you to read their bios which are available on every pilot tip we send out. They are amazing pilots who have reached the top of their profession and are passionate and committed to helping us all become better pilots.

My partners, Jeff Mulligan and Marilyn Jones are the absolute best! Jeff runs our marketing and website technology and started several successful internet marketing companies prior to joining us. Although he is not a pilot, he has been around so much pilot talk over the years that you would swear he is a seasoned aviator.  Marilyn oversees our workshop production and has had a long and successful career as an instructional designer. She ran her own multimedia development company for many years and is a highly accomplished pilot and owns a beautiful Cessna P210.

The best part about starting this company is being part of the general aviation community. Let’s face it; pilots are a great group of people! I enjoy the responsibility that comes with reaching so many pilots with our weekly tips and remain committed to providing content that you will find value in. I appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to build this online community with you for years to come.

Respectfully,

Mark Robidoux
Founder, PilotWorkshops.com

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