2000 Distinguished Alumnus
Roger Jarvis (HDR), Founder and President of Jarvis Travel
"I attended SAIT in the '50s to take some sales and marketing courses. I was later transferred to the Canadian Pacific head office in Vancouver and put in an office with two MBAs to create a marketing plan around the Japan Olympics (in 1964). It got me thinking that there was a better way of doing things than how the existing travel industry was operating. Most of them sat in an office waiting for people to show up, and then they serviced them. I thought, 'I really like to sell. I should go out and knock on some doors and get business that way.' So I started Jarvis Travel and it went extremely well.
I ran it for 20 years, specializing in corporate travel, and we received numerous awards, including being named one of the best run private companies in Canada twice. One day, a guy came in and said he wanted to buy my company. I told him it wasn't for sale. Well, when he finished talking, it was for sale. I took a big cheque to the bank, got a good stockbroker and life has been good since.
I'm still involved with SAIT as an advisor for the Art Smith Aero Centre. There's a 737 and a 748 and several smaller airplanes out there, and helicopters, too. The kids can take them apart and put them back together. The hands-on learning is critical. You can see it in a book, but if you can do it yourself, that makes all the difference."
While working for Canadian Pacific in the 1950s, Roger Jarvis enrolled in sales and marketing courses at SAIT. His career with CP took him to Vancouver and Hawaii, among other locations. He founded Jarvis Travel in 1971, specializing in corporate travel. The company was twice named one of the 50 best managed companies in Canada. Roger sold Jarvis Travel in 1988. He is past president of the Calgary Stampede and served on the board of the Calgary Airport Authority. He serves as an advisor on the President's Aero Centre Advisory Committee at SAIT.