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Geoff Wooley

Geoff Woolley

BBA, Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumnus

After an 11-year career in the private security industry, Geoff Woolley decided he needed a change.

He had gone as far as he could, rising through the ranks to a director position, but wanted more.

"My ultimate goal was running my own business. So, I took a deep breath, put in my notice, hired my replacement and enrolled at Kwantlen."

Family ties had already exposed him to programs at Kwantlen, which was still a college back in the '90s. His father, David Woolley, was Kwantlen's Registrar at the time. David encouraged his son to look into the business program, but Geoff was focused on football at the time and ignored his dad's advice.

"He kept telling me about this great business program, but I didn't listen," admits Geoff. "I didn't pay much attention to school at the time."

More than a decade later, Geoff decided to get serious about furthering his education.

And Kwantlen had just what he was looking for.

Geoff parlayed credits he'd earned earlier at various other post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland, along with a few bridging courses, to enter Kwantlen's Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in the third year of the Entrepreneurial Leadership program.

He thought given his work experience he would breeze through his studies.

"Boy, was I mistaken," admits Geoff. "The two years I spent completing my degree at Kwantlen were some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. They fundamentally changed me as a person and as a businessman."

One of Geoff's favourite courses was business communications with instructor Bob Basil. "Bob's focus on the message recipient and a simple, clear message changed how I communicate every day." The workload in every course was heavy, and there was lots of hands-on experiential learning.

"I very quickly found even at the third-year level, instructors put students in a realistic, high-pressure learning environment. Many students complained that this was unfair or expectations were unrealistic, all I could think was, 'Wow, this is so much like real life.' "

The program pushed Geoff out of his comfort zone, and the results were transformative. He is now President of EcoSafe Zero Waste, a compostable bag manufacturer and organics diversion company. Geoff credits his success directly back to his education at KPU.

"In the capstone project in the program, my team gave a consult to EcoSafe. One aspect of the report was succession planning. We slipped our resumes into the report, pretty subtle," laughs Geoff.

Subtle or not, EcoSafe's management team and Board Chair were so impressed, they came out for the students' presentation. After Geoff's graduation, he asked for a reference from the Chairperson, who suggested instead they go for lunch. Geoff was hired on as the company's Director of Sales and quickly promoted to General Manager and then President, all within the span of four years.

Today, Geoff is overseeing his company's transition from a manufacturer of organics bags to a turnkey program provider, helping clients shooting for zero waste. His company was instrumental in helping the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a sports stadium, go from zero recycling to zero-waste in just two years.

Geoff is still active in the KPU community as a member of the Melville School of Business Program Advisory Committee, and as an employer of fellow alumni.

"We hired two team members from Kwantlen and it quickly became clear to me that we made the right decision," says Geoff. "These team members continue to amaze me with their ability to find and deal with issues as they arise. When they bring things to me it is to say, 'Hey, I noticed this issue and did this to fix it.' Kwantlen produces problem solvers.

"I had a blast at Kwantlen: great student body, great program. I'm happy to give back in any way that I can."

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