Meet Alan Lock. Alan, a native of Somerset, U.K., was training for a career as an engineer and officer in the British Royal Navy when he was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2003. In the span of six weeks, his vision deteriorated to the point where he felt he was looking at the world through a frosted glass. Today, his central vision is gone.
After working for awhile as an investment banker for HSBC, he decided to challenge himself by becoming the first visually impaired person to row, non-stop, across the Atlantic Ocean. He rowed 3,000 miles, set a Guinness World record and raised $80,000 in donations for sight-related organizations.
He then went on to get his MBA at Berkeley. There, he began a collaboration with fellow Berkeley MBA Andrew Jensen, Richard Smith (a Dartmouth MBA), and Garrick Hileman (who completed his MBA at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland) to mount his next challenge: to be the first visually impaired person to trek to the South Pole.
Garrick Hileman, Richard Smith, Alan Lock, Andrew Jensen
They applied everything they learned in business school – leadership, team building training, marketing, fundraising and more – to realize their adventure. They have been training in Canada’s cold climes. Traversing icy trails on modified cross-country skis, they each pulled 130-pound sleds (pulks) packed with tents, stoves, gear and bags of dry dog food for extra weight. The experience led them to understand the true nature of teamwork and interdependence.
They depart for Chile on Nov. 22 and then fly to Antarctica. They estimate the 600-mile journey will take about two months. When the team reaches the Pole, Lock will earn another Guinness record. And they will have the satisfaction of knowing they’ve paved the way for other people with vision loss through their efforts.
Read a seven-page article about the expedition in Businessweek and their coverage by the NY Times.
Watch their training video.
And follow them on their web page and on Facebook!
This expedition will be a great interactive classroom learning experience for kids!