Young golfer tees up CEO position
Entrepreneurial 23-year-old scores top job at Canadian apparel company
Article from the Winnipeg Free Press on Thursday August 30
Joshua Zaporzan has spent most of his life in the world of golf. He took up the game at six, and by the time he was 13 he was spending his summers working at Clear Lake Golf Course, including five years as an assistant in the pro shop.
But even with all that experience, Zaporzan, who turns 24 later this year, didn’t expect to become a CEO just yet.
He officially took on that role earlier in August, as well as that of co-owner, for Longball Athletics, a Canadian golf lifestyle brand with roots in Alberta.
Three years prior, Zaporzan, now a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business, was approached by the company to become its provincial sales rep. Before Zaporzan joined, Longball had little to no sales presence in Manitoba. Now, he says the company’s golf-focused apparel is in 10 pro shops across the province, as well as online.
"Ever since becoming involved in the company a few years ago, I knew I wanted to be more involved with it at some level," he said, calling the recent promotion to CEO "exciting."
"I never really thought I’d be approached with an opportunity like that this early on. It’s very humbling the other owners wanted me in that position."
A graduate of St. Paul’s High School, Zaporzan has an extensive background in entrepreneurship and started his own digital marketing consultancy in 2012, specializing in social media management, online advertising, web design and strategic marketing planning. He was also vice-president of marketing for the Manitoba Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization.
All of that experience, in addition to the years spent around the links learning the ins and outs of a top-notch course, is what Zaporzan hopes will help him build Longball’s presence in Canada and internationally. He also wants to create social initiatives for community involvement to grow the game for children.
Both of Zaporzan’s parents are entrepreneurs; his dad owns an aviation company and his mom runs a consulting business. "I grew up with the vision of wanting to do the same thing," he said.
What drew him to golf as he got older was the challenge of the game, so when the opportunity presented itself to become a 23-year-old CEO, he wasn’t intimidated.
"If anything, I’m looking forward to and excited for the opportunity," he says.