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

Barrister bands

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
IMG 4691BY LINDA BAKER

An intellectual property attorney by day, 48-year-old Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong is a singer and guitarist by night.


Read more...

Tech makes the world go round

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, March 20, 2014
03.20.14 thumb internetBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

I don’t think anyone can (or should) remember what it was like to get things done without the internet. This milestone in technology has certainly benefited brick-and-mortar companies and subsequently launched a new era of businesses.


Read more...

The 2014 List: The Top 33 Large Companies to Work, For in Oregon

March 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

100best14logoWebOur 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

 


Read more...

Leader's bookshelf

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 14, 2014
02.06.14 BooksBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Five books that will make you a better leader.


Read more...

The 2014 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon

News
Friday, February 28, 2014

100best14logo ThumbnailThe 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon list was announced Thursday night at an awards dinner at the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Eking out a living

News
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
04.08.14 thumb ourtable-coopfarmsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.


Read more...

Banishing oil burners reaps benefits for schools

News
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
04.02.14 thumb co2schoolsBY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.


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