Des Rogers, an Irish entrepreneur who helped pioneer the self-storage industry in Ireland with his brother Fergal, has embarked on a new business odyssey involving city tours and amphibious vehicles. The brothers acquired Viking Splash Tours in 2006 and have spent the last decade forging a regulatory path and developing a new generation of water vehicles they believe will revolutionize the tourism industry. Rogers credits his start in the self-storage business with leading to the formation of Rogers Group Investments Ltd. and his newest venture, City Splash Tours, according to the source.
After studying the self-storage market in Canada, Rogers was among the first to bring the concept to the British Isles in 1982. The Rogers brothers quickly parlayed the venture into a document-storage side business, which led to a document-disposal operation because the storage business created a lot of waste packaging.
“It complemented the file-storage business because when people wanted to get rid of their records after the statutory period, they were quite happy to entrust disposal to the people who were looking after them in a storage capacity,” Rogers told the source. “Our incinerator then turned into a commercial operation because we would get rid of our own waste in around two hours a week, and then we had 38 hours left to do other people’s stuff. People heard about us, and people that were unconnected to the storage business heard about us, and next thing, we were in the document-disposal business.”
That venture eventually led to a hospital waste-disposal operation. The Rogers sold the businesses along the way and became enamored with the concept of amphibious touring. They have been instrumental in forming safety standards and establishing the International Amphibious Passenger Vehicle Association.
The brothers have a patent-pending design on an amphibious vehicle they believe will not only revolutionize the touring industry but could have other applications as well. “There are, obviously, military applications that we wouldn’t know anything about. They keep things close to their chest,” Roger said. “And, then, there are emergency-response applications—obviously, flooding and things like that. And then there are commuter applications because cities are built on rivers, and people inevitably need to get from one side to the other; and to ease the congestion of bridges and tunnels, all we’d need would be a slipway to get in and a slipway to get out.
“There’s a probability rather than a possibility of expansion into one or more of those directions, but we don’t tend to focus on it at the minute,” Rogers said. “Our primary focus is to get the equipment built and in service. If we had a bigger purse and could employ more folks, we could have a division that could explore those sectors. We want to be the premier company offering this style of vehicle and this style of tour globally, without being pretentious.”