Local 28 Year Old Entrepreneur Finds Success: Kasper Transportation
by Scott A. Sumner
Kasper Wabinski was born in Winnipeg after his parents immigrated from Poland. He lived in Europe for 7 years after that and then went to high school in Guelph.
“ After high school my parents said you go on in school or your moving out on your own. I wanted to be in business making web sites, which I did through high school, but thought about being a pilot and went to Confederation College to take the Aviation course. I bought a house back then in 2009 when the prices were good so Thunder Bay became a base for me,” said Kasper Wabinski,age 28.
After flight school Kasper drifted around trying to fit in somewhere and it was hard, as he really was an entrepreneur at heart who was either all in or all out.
“ I worked at a regional charter airline for awhile, made a web site for them and then got into sales. My friends got upset over not getting good flying jobs so we decided to start our own company. The four of us
got operational in February 2015 with one aircraft that took 10 months to get, scaping together all our money to buy the plane,” smiled Kasper. “ For about 2 1/2 years we flew the plane for about 5000
hours. Our first flight began with engine failure but we kept going! The air business went well the first year but the second year it was more difficult. We bought our first bus 6 months into the air business
and then bought the North Country Travel route. The airline industry was so regulated it made it difficult. We used to take people from Sioux Lookout to Thunder Bay by bus when the weather was bad, so had
an early taste of the bus industry.”
After closing the airline Kasper focused on the bus business in June 2015. Today they provide scheduled service to Sioux Lookout, Geraldton, Winnipeg, Fort Frances and hopefully White River soon.
“At the beginning everyone thought I was crazy and I never thought I would get in this business. We expanded the business buying Porkys Shuttle Service and after 1 year it started to work. Today we have 40 vehicles in our fleet including 4 Ford Transits, 7 mini vans, 5 Mercedes vans, as well as 5 other transits and some trucks. There are also some bigger buses, Freightliners we use.”
The Kasper company will also deliver freight with same day delivery. It is usually more urgent or specialized freight.
Kasper received some NOHFC funds when starting out in business which was very helpful.
“Our next goal is to build a shop, behind where we currently operate at on Memorial Ave. We would like to expand into refurbishing buses because new is so expensive today. It would be manufacturing with
putting in new systems such as engines, tranny, new entertainment, new windows and new technology. Converting buses to electric is an idea I’m thinking about as well.” said Kasper.
Kasper have a staff of 40 people now.
“ We are offering a good service to many small communities in NW Ontario with good equipment. Our clients are people with out cars, people who need to travel for medical reasons with travel grants and
others. We would like to grow with charters, say to Duluth, but there are many regulations in the US now for bus travel.”