Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
Bayview Limousine Service, Inc.
Adversity met its match in Robert Hansen, who refused to let a life-changing injury hold him down. At age 19, he was a champion motocross racer when he was thrown from his motorcycle in a mishap that left him almost completely paralyzed from the neck down.
After moving in with his best friend, who was doing well as a chauffeur for a local limousine company, Hansen became intrigued with the idea of starting his own business. In 1990, he sold all his motorcycles, used his meager savings and borrowed $5,000 from his mom to buy a “well used” 1984 white Cadillac stretch limo and launch Bayview Limousine.
A huge roadblock arose when Hansen’s friend, who was to be the driver, pulled out after several months. So for the next six months, Hansen retrofitted his limo with hand controls and strapped his hands to the wheel so that he could drive, using the movement he had retained in his upper arms. A female assistant opened doors for clients, but at times, Hansen had to handle the shifts alone.Business grew very slowly for the first three years, until Hansen was able to make inroads into the corporate market. Today, following the acquisition of a competitor, the award-winning company is the largest limousine service in the state of Washington, with a fleet of 65 vehicles and 86 drivers and staff.