By Isaac Blessings
Children of politician in Kenya tend to follow their parent’s footsteps by either joining the world of politics or pursue a career in law and other related fields. However, there are some children who have not conformed to the existing patterns by taking completely different paths than those trodden by their parents. In this article, WoK brings you the story of Captain Tom Rege – the son to former Karachuonyo constituency Member of Parliament James Rege, who owns a multi-million aircraft business in America.
Tom Rege’s Journey
Captain Tom Rege is the son of Engineer James Rege who is the former Member of Parliament representing Karachuonyo constituency. He was born and grew up in Kenya partly before moving to the United States of America in the late 1970s with his father. The senior Rege was going to pursue further education in telecommunications engineering at West Virginia University, USA. This was the first time he came close to an airplane and he immediately fell in love and wanted to learn and understand more about these planes.
By the time his father had completed his studies and was relocating back to Kenya, Tom had already made up his mind that he would rather remain behind to join a flight school and pursue his dreams. He then joined Virginia Polytechnic Institute and later State University where he pursued Computer and Aeronautical engineering respectively.
After completing his studies, Tom moved to the County of Leesburg in Virginia State, America where currently resides and works as a flight instructor. He started his company named OpenAir Flight Training which teaches minorities and women how to fly and operate an airplane. The company became the first to own the agile Cirrus SR20 used for training sessions. It was the first production general aviation plane that was equipped with a parachute to safely lower the plane to the ground after losing control, a structural failure or mid-air collision. This specific 4-seater plane is estimated to be worth around Ksh 65 million. He also owns the SR- series plane which is apparently the remaining airplane in its class to include side stick flight controls that combine features of a traditional yoke handle.
He is also the founder of The Aviation Foundation of America. The foundation advocates and champions the growth of the pilot community especially for black Africans and women. Each year, he participates in the Board of Aviation Expo Leesburg edition through his foundation. The program helps to raise an average of Ksh25 million that is channeled towards grants and funding scholarships for his students.
During an interview with Alex Chamwada on Chams Media that aired on YouTube, Captain Tom stated that he believes the key to attaining success and achieving your goals is aggression.
“Be aggressive, be focused and look out for opportunities out there,” he categorically told Alex.