Home Archives February 2008 Cruising from high tech to the high seas

Cruising from high tech to the high seas

| Print |  Email
Friday, February 01, 2008

SteveLevich.jpg

Many people dream of escaping the corporate world, though few are brave — or crazy — enough to actually break away. Steve Levich spent more than 20 years in the computer marketing business, working his way to the upper management at Intel. When Intel downsized in 2000, it offered severance packages to employees who volunteered to leave. Levich saw a way out.

“I was getting burnt out with the corporate environment and working 10- to 12-hour days,” he says. “You’re not really in control of your destiny.” News of the departure didn’t go over well with Levich’s wife, Beth, a veteran insurance claims adjuster; major life changes weren’t in her plans. But Steve was  already scoping out franchise options, ready to start up his own business.

It didn’t happen right away. Levich remained jobless for a year and considered everything from making pizzas to a muffler shop as his next business venture. Finally he found Cruise Holidays, a Portland-based cruise vacation planning company with 140 franchises in the U.S. and Canada. Levich knew Cruise Holidays, recently purchased by Carlson Companies, had deep pockets and was a stable investment. He also saw that the job would need technology and marketing skills, which he had. In addition, Beth was a pro at sales.

Admittedly, Levich knew nothing about the travel business. But a benefit of working in the industry, he explains, is that clients and cruise lines want you to have first-hand experience with the products before you sell. “When people walk in, they want someone who has experienced it all,” he says. And the Levichs have that. Steve estimates they spend three months on cruise trips every year.

“Once you become a major player in the industry, you’re invited to every inaugural,” Levich says. During a “cruise to nowhere,” professionals learn about new ships over the course of a three-day party. Cruise Holidays is now a $4 million business after just six years and has won several awards from the parent company. The Levichs employ nine people, including their oldest daughter, at their northwest Portland office near Beaverton.

Of course, the franchise began as a gamble. Levich points out they don’t get paid until the travel happens, so in a business that revolves around pre-booking, there were no profits for the first year or so. While he felt more in control than when he worked for a corporation, Levich knew he was working against the market. “But it gets you up early in the morning to go out there and get clients,” he says. They focused especially on group sales, which have become the core of their client base.

Does Levich ever tire of cruises? Hardly. “I have a list of destinations I’ve never been to, and the list is long,” he says. Having escaped the corporate world, he doesn’t dream about retirement anymore.


AMBER NOBE


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

Launch

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

September's Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Steve Balzac

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

082014BalzacBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS