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Thursday, 25 August 2011

One with the Sea: an Interview with Richard Daniel O'Leary - Page 2

Written by Nate Marcus
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I eventually became quite a good navigator and later took my leave from the Navy in Izmir, Turkey. From there, I went home to Maine. I really wanted to go to the Mediterranean. Instead, I got on a job on a freighter heading out to the North Atlantic. The weather was furious at sea during the winter. I got back to New York and went on the Far East run, from the Philippines to Korea to Japan. I was the youngest guy on the boat at 25. I went on the SS United States, the fastest ship in the world, from New York to France in about 4 days. I was on there for 5 years and crossed the Atlantic 252 times.

I was chosen to go to United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. I was just turning 30, and I became pretty successful. It changed me and made me feel singular. I left for Washington, but was longing for the sea.

In Virginia, I got very interested in cruise ships. I made a plan to start a company, and found investors. We succeeded and went on to have 2500 employees and 55 offices. We specialized in offering cruises from places they don't usually sail from.

We entered the air business. We started chartering airplanes. It was very successful. I retired 6 years ago and turned the company over to the employees.

Any advice for future rag to riches-ists? Do you have a prescription for success?

I heard someone say, "Success in life is easy. Always try to do a little more than what people expect of you. People usually try to get away with a little less."

As an entrepreneur, I never forget the people who gave me money and believed in me, when I didn't have anything. Never forget those people.

And my wife, of course, was one of them.

Oleary 6The book is called One With The Sea. What did the sea teach you?

It has to do with that first time I saw the ocean. I was at sea for about 12 years and all the business I was in had to do with the sea. Our home is near the water.

One thing I've learned from the sea: “Be careful. Constant vigilance is the price of safety.”

I was on the greatest ship the world's seen, but the weather is still fearsome. It taught me that life can be difficult, and it takes discipline to go to sea for a long time.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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