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Danny Hogan Danny Hogan

TIME WITH: Danny Hogan, CEO and co-founder of iFLY Indoor Skydiving Australia

By Michael Walls

CEO of iFLY Indoor Skydiving Australia, Danny Hogan has jumped out of planes hundreds of times.

These days, the former soldier directs his risk management skills to building a successful business.

In 2013, Danny and business partner Wayne Jones co-founded Indoor Skydive Australia Group and raised $12 million and listed on the ASX.

In April 2014, they opened the doors of the iFLY Downunder indoor skydiving centre at Penrith.

Danny expects the facility to play a leading role in growing Australia's skydiving industry. In August, it will host the Australian Indoor Skydiving Championships.

Danny Hogan sat down with WSBA editor Michael Walls for our June TIME WITH segment.

WSBA: Thanks Danny for joining us today. Can you briefly describe your military background and your transition into the business world?

Danny: My military back ground started at the earliest of ages – 13 in fact, when I joined a Cadet Unit in Erina on the Central Coast of NSW. I joined the Australian Army at the earliest opportunity, age 17, and served a further 21 years in the ADF. This was essentially broken up into two areas serving with the 1st Battalion (1RAR) and the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) where I finished my service career. I was fortunate to partake in a two-year military exchange program with the United States Special Operations Command, which was a fabulous experience and opportunity. The transition into the business world was a fast paced transition and a steep learning curve, a curve of which all those that start a business are subject to and a curve that we all undoubtedly, continue to climb. Understanding the opportunities of what was ahead of this type of business was something I did not want to have slip past. Having an understanding of the demand and the end user, it was a clear case of we need to do this now or potentially miss out. At this point with my business partner (Wayne Jones) we got to work fast.       

WSBA: Please give us an overview of your business today. Why does it exist?

Danny: The Indoor Skydiving concept can be looked at as an adventure tourism style business model, with an adrenaline theme. However this business is not just about adrenaline fuelled thrill seekers as it caters for all ages, 3 to 103 and it accommodates for all sectors of the public. Whether you’re a corporate group looking for a team building activity and challenge or a parent wanting a birthday function area for 15 kids with a gift of a lifetime – human flight, we can offer the ultimate experience. We have flown people with varying degrees of disabilities, from the vision impaired to those wheel chair bound.  The reason this business exists is due to the high demand across multiple users. With first time flyers right through to the professional sectors being primarily the skydiving industry and the military. We can essentially cater to the entire population, which has its own challenges when you look at marketing the product. Though with a focus on our core customers and how we bring the customers back we will continue to exist for some time.

WSBA: What lessons did the military teach you in terms of business success?

Danny: First and foremost, patience and perseverance. Though there are those key management skills that you obtain through managing and leading some of the strongest minded soldiers in the ADF. The other key teachings from the military is the ability to plan, analyse risks associated with any given plan and execute the plan accordingly. For whatever reason (whether inside or outside of your control) if the plan doesn’t work, you should always have an alternative/contingency plan. This contingency plan needs to have gone through the same level of detailed planning and analysis. It’s about understanding the processes and decision points of when to execute any contingency plan that is important along with understanding any second effects that may come from it.

WSBA: Describe your attitude when it comes to leadership.

Danny: I have quite a relaxed attitude when it comes to leadership, understanding your team’s strengths and weaknesses will allow you to shape your team but the ability to communicate to all levels of the team, is one of the greatest tools a leader can have.

WSBA: Why is your business successful?

Danny: Firstly, we have a dedicated team that was built over time starting with the founders who left no stone unturned during the planning phases. The team is well lead and managed at all levels. A combination of our team and meeting certain business metrics is why we are successful.

WSBA: One of your facilities is based at Penrith, why did you choose this location?

Danny: The population centre of Sydney is ever creeping towards the Western Suburbs and the Western route to the base of the Blue Mountains. It is one of the fastest growing corridors in NSW. We have a dense population in the seven LGA’s surrounding Penrith and the population meets our business model metrics. Additionally we have had a fabulous relationship with the Panthers Group right from the very beginning and our two organisation viewed each other as complimentary to each other. This has been realised by our organisations and we look forward to our relationship moving forward overtime. We also have a great relationship with Penrith City Council and are currently working with them to develop a Tourism Advisory Group to help drive more tourists to Western Sydney.

WSBA: What sort of people are you attracted to in business?

Danny: Those personalities that have been through a similar experience and understand what it takes and the dedication that is required to start and run a successful business. I can also relate to those that have an entrepreneurial outlook and attitude to business.
WSBA: Describe your growth plans.

Danny: With two Indoor Skydiving Facilities now in operation in Sydney and the Gold Coast and a third set to open in Perth in the fourth Quarter this calendar year, we are now transferring from a start-up to what can only be described as having a rapid growth appetite moving forward.

WSBA: Your favourite book?

Danny: Alert B Facey - A Fortunate Life.

WSBA: If you could have dinner with anyone at all, living or dead, who would that person be?

Danny: Former Prime Minister - John Howard and Kim Beazley at the same time – sorry that’s two.

WSBA: Finally, your standout lesson learned so far from life?

Danny: Never judge a person from someone else’s opinion, always judge them from your own interaction and face values.

WSBA: Danny Hogan, thanks so much for being our TIME WITH guest.

TIME WITH is proudly sponsored by Taylor Nicholas Commercial Property Specialists. Phone 8004 1222.



Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Access News is a print and digital media publisher established over 15 years and based in Western Sydney, Australia. Our newspaper titles include the flagship publication, Western Sydney Express, which is a trusted source of information and for hundreds of thousands of decision makers, businesspeople and residents looking for insights into the people, projects, opportunities and networks that shape Australia's fastest growing region - Greater Western Sydney.