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November 07 , 2010

From Miles to Millions

Aviate / Syndicate / Accumulate


When he became a pilot at age nineteen, Bill Grenier never imagined that one day he’d be a wealthy man. But he would ultimately control an empire worth nearly a billion dollars—all on his days off from flying! With liberal doses of wit and humour, From Miles to Millions shows what a little luck, lots of perseverance, and an appetite for adventure can do. From boarding house to boardroom, from cradle to cockpit, the reader will be along for the ride in this tale peppered with anecdotes that bring his story to life. Bill’s beginnings were certainly modest. Born in a tiny village in Newfoundland, he spent his childhood being shuttled around Canada by his mother and stepfather. While still a teenager, he defiantly put an end to this unsettled, unsatisfying existence. He decided he would live life on his own terms. While he gazed up at an airplane one day at age nineteen, his passion for flying was born. On his twentieth birthday he was flying dangerous cargo missions in the Arctic. At twenty-one he landed his dream job with Trans-Canada Air Lines. However, Bill’s early career took a challenging turn when a temporary layoff forced him to find creative ways to earn a living. He learned valuable lessons while negotiating the tough world of airplane repossessions and later while flying corporate executives for General Electric. When he returned to the airline, he ascended the ranks to become a captain at Air Canada, where he flew everything from DC-3s to 747s. The layoff from the airline had made him realize he needed the security of additional sources of income. On his days off, he began his corporate career with what looked like a simple job—the development of a rural sub­division. That experience provided the foundation for the syndication of urban high-rises, hotels, and shopping centres. Initially with little knowledge of the building industry, Bill learned the value of surrounding himself with experts, and he acquired the fine points of construction, negotiations, management, law, and leadership. Bill dove into the uncertain worlds of blue-water ships and financial trusts, eventually garnering one of his companies, Pagebrook Securities, a seat on the Toronto Stock Exchange. To his surprise, by age forty-nine Bill controlled nearly a billion dollars in two public and fifty-three private corporations. He acted as a government advisor in two areas of real estate, and at fifty he retired from flying a wealthy man. Captain Bill Grenier’s riveting descriptions of everything from the joy of slipping “the surly bonds of Earth” to the thrill of negotiating lucrative business deals will captivate readers. Bill has three sons and six grandchildren. He lives with his wife Sharon in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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