Kevin was a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group when he decided to take part in the world’s toughest endurance event – the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race. This requires rowing a 7m plywood dinghy, 5000 km between the Canary Islands and Barbados. An unusual choice for anyone but particularly someone who had never rowed before and was prone to sea sickness.
Kevin used his business skills to great effect, analysing and innovating on the most critical elements of the preparations. However, plans went awry just six weeks before the start when his rowing partner pulled out and 22 year old Jamie Fitzgerald signed on as a last minute replacement. They encountered storms, curious whales, sleep deprivation, breakages, hallucinations, stinging jellyfish and were dramatically thrown out of their boat in a night time capsize just 130 miles from Barbados, leading to a desperate and thrilling sprint to the finish. In the end, the rookie crew not only won the race they also set a new world record. Throughout the preparations and the journey Kevin learned valuable lessons about goal setting, determination, teamwork under pressure, persevering through adversity and maximising performance.
The incredible story of Kevin’s transformation from couch potato to world record holder is told in “˜The Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower’ published by Random House and awarded the Sunday Star Times “˜Sports Book of the Year 2008′
Kevin then took on an even more audacious challenge – the first ever unsupported trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. Starting with very limited experience (Jamie had never seen snow falling) they spent months researching, consulting with their patron Sir Edmund Hillary, training in the Arctic and rehearsing the skills they would need to survive in the highest, driest, windiest and coldest place on Earth.
The skills learned in the Atlantic were tested again and this time taken to another level. Pulling loads that started at 160kg and temperatures as cold as -40°C, they battled frostbite, injury, whiteouts, crevasses , gear failure and slow starvation. In the 52 days it took to get to the Pole Kevin lost 50 pounds.
Kevin’s professional career has included working in problem solving, consulting and strategy roles at The NZ Treasury and large multinationals like The Boston Consulting Group, as well as small businesses and more recently as the CEO of a software startup. Kevin now works as a corporate speaker when he’s not planning his next adventure.