Vancouver, BC—Ernst & Young announced their EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Pacific winners last week, and WhiteWater is delighted that its President & CEO, Geoff Chutter has been recognized with this outstanding honour. Chutter started WhiteWater in 1980 in the town of Penticton, BC, which became one of North America’s first water slide parks. He quickly realized that, with all that he had learned from building and running his park, he could use that knowledge to instead start a company that designed and built water slides, sharing the immense knowledge that he had gleaned from those early days with those who were interested in building their own parks. And thus, WhiteWater was born.
Throughout the decades, WhiteWater has grown into all corners of the globe—with offices in Shanghai, Barcelona, and Dubai—creating slides, rides, play structures, stationary wave machines, and more, bringing joy to guests young and old. At the awards ceremony, Chutter expressed gratitude to the people who enabled him to get to where he is today, saying, “thank you to my grandfather for exposing me to entrepreneurship my parents for introducing me to globalization, and my colleagues for finding the right people. What we do is make families happy, and that makes us happy.”
Lui Petrollini, EY Entrepreneur of the Year Pacific Program Director revealed that the judges were very impressed with the way that Chutter positively approaches challenges head-on with perseverance and a true entrepreneurial spirit.
“When an economic downturn comes knocking, consumer discretionary spending is typically the first to go. But Geoff didn’t let this stop him in the early 2000s. Instead, he turned it into an opportunity and has made WhiteWater a force to be reckoned with ever since,” Petrollini said.
Despite setbacks in the global economy in recent years, WhiteWater has managed to grow by 185% in the past 14 years, thanks to the company’s focus on the global market and foresight to enter emerging markets ahead of its competitors.
“I realized that being an expert in life was knowing just a little bit more than the fellow besides you. It all comes down to the people. To my colleagues at WhiteWater and the clients who have believed in us and supported us throughout the years, I say a tremendous thank you,” Chutter remarked.
In addition to focusing on Chutter’s success, the judges also looked to his fostering a culture of giving back at WhiteWater—the company participates in the Footprints from the Heart run hosted by Give Kids the World every year in Florida, and every Thanksgiving, employees volunteer for the Thanks for Giving campaign, donating food and clothing to charity. Chutter also serves as Treasurer and Chair of the Development Committee of Covenant House in Vancouver, a charity which provides services to Vancouver’s homeless and at-risk street youth.