Thursday, March 29, 2012

20 Questions: Andrew Bennett

Andrew Bennett
If at all possible, all friendships should start in an Irish pub. As luck would have it, that's where I first met Andrew Bennett, even if this particular Irish pub is in Denver, and serves something called pub chips (if you ask, the bartender will simply tell you they're Irish nachos).

Oh, they're good. But they go right to my thighs.

I met Andrew, along with a slew of other fly fishing industry folks and bloggers that my buddy Tom Sadler and I threw together during the International Sportsmen's Expo in January. Up until then, Andrew had been "on my list" of folks I wanted to meet. Now he's on the list of folks I want to fish with.

I mean, the dude owns and operates fishing lodges in Alaska, British Columbia and, ahem, the Bahamas. Can you go wrong when (and if) Andrew ever calls up and asks, "Hey man, you wanna go fishing?"

I've kept an eye on Andrew over the last few months, and I've learned a bit about him and his business, Deneki Outdoors. Like a lot of us in this business, Andrew has found a way to make a living doing what he loves. His first career in the software business was obviously a successful one, but you have to a admire a guy who'll drop everything and buy a fishing lodge. Or three.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Andrew as much as I did. On with the questions:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Lots of time outside, lots of time with family, lots of travel, lots of time with friends, lots of learning, lots of cool gear, and no stress. That’s it!

What is your greatest fear? 
Looking back and realizing I didn’t make the most out of every day. Seriously, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I should spend my time – I’ve been called a ‘time management geek’ by people who know me well.

Don't get him started...
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
If I start eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, it is very, very difficult for me to stop.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
I can’t stand it when people complain about all the things that ‘happen to them’ or ‘don’t happen to them.' Get out there and make it happen!

What is your favorite journey? 
About three years before I got into this industry I floated the Goodnews River in Western Alaska with a group of friends. I remember very specifically standing on the bank of the river one evening and thinking to myself, “I need to find myself in places like this more often.” It took a couple of years, but that trip definitely pushed me to make a pretty radical career change and get into this industry.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
I did a quick poll and the survey said “Well…” and “Right, right, right” – so I guess it’s mostly filler words!

What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
My wife and kids, hands down.

Which talent would you most like to have? 
I’ve always been envious of people who are naturally charismatic public speakers. Any shred of ability that I have speaking to groups has come only through lots of hard work and practice. (Here you go, Andrew ... "learn to speak with a standard British accent." You're welcome. -ed)

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
I take a lot of pride in building a company where people can have good jobs doing what they love.

What is your most treasured possession? 
A little (little!) envelope of gold flakes that my dad, my brother and I mined in a creek bed near our cabin outside Fairbanks.

Where would you like to live? 
Right where I do live, in incredible Seattle Washington – and that’s coming to you on yet another chilly, grey windy winter day.

Who are your favorite writers? 
I really do like Hemingway a lot more than anybody else.

Who are your heroes? 
Everyone who serves, and has served, in our country’s armed forces. I’m incredibly patriotic and getting more so every day. I read a lot about our country’s history in wartime – I truly believe that I can live the life I live today because of the incredible sacrifices of those who have served our country.

What’s on your iPod? 
Lots! Alt-country and Americana, 60s Blue Note Jazz, classic 90s alternative, and straight up bluegrass (my wife is from Kentucky) make up the bulk of it. 

If you were a pet dog, what would your name be? 
Deneki! That was the name of my first dog, and I would love to be Deneki Jr.

What’s your favorite film? 
Lawrence of Arabia – I’m a sucker for grandiose cinematography

Where would you want your loved ones to spread your ashes? 
In the woods behind the house I grew up in in Fairbanks, Alaska – where my parents still live! 

What’s your favorite car of all the cars you’ve owned? 
I had an A6 with a V8 for a few years during ‘the software years.' That was a pretty nice ride.

What word do you have to look up in order to know you spelled it correctly? Accommodations. I had to spell-check it just now. I have a mental block on that word for some reason, even though I use it all the time when talking about our lodges.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character? Eric Cartman on South Park – offensive and totally neurotic but actually pretty complex and insightful!


  1. Another great interview with another guy with whom I hope to one day meet in person and fish with at one of his splendid fishing acccomidations!

    1. Agreed... Andrew seems really genuine, and interested not just in the fly fishing business, but in what it means to be a full-on angler. He's a giver ... Andrew, I need to hook you up with the TU Veterans' Service Program--you're a natural! Thanks for the time, my friend... may our next meeting be over beers... on the water!