BY ELIAS NANAU
From K400 and a tool box, Central Province Governor Robert Agarobe went on to be a multi-millionaire entrepreneur owning helicopters and fixed wing aircraft before he entered politics.
Last Friday was however extra special for him when the state recognized his contributions to aviation industry and business conferring him a Logohu Award of CSM at the government house at Konedobu, Port Moresby.
He said on his social media page that he dedicated the award to everyone who was part of his life from the day he was born.
Mr Agarobe mentioned his parents, family, the extended family, his several communities that he grew up in, his friends, workmates, business clients, the aviation Family, PNG and God.
His dad is from Gabagaba village, Central Province and his mother is from Kerowagi, Simbu Province.
He late dad was a teacher in the highlands when he met his mother was being trained as a nurse by Seventh Day Adventist missionaries and they got married bearing Agarobe and his siblings.
Mr Agarobe has also acknowledged the people of Central for recognising his achievements in life, believing in him and honouring him with the highest political office in the province to lead as Governor.
“My business life started when I was about six years old when I used to hire out my hand me down bicycle from my sister late Nanai Perry for 20 cents for a ride around the coconut tree in my line of sight,” he said.
That then grew to a Suzuki 90cc motorcycle a beach bike with big wheels his boss gave this to him at the Boroko car wreckers were he did part time work during his school holidays.
He said Boroko car wreckers used to be where SP brewery is.
“ I then borrowed a book from the town library were Deloitte Tower (Kina Haus) is now, the book was on normal aspirated engines and using this got the motorcycle going. I used the bike for a good part of my high school days and on the weekends and holidays charged my elderly uncles and aunts K1.00 to pick up and drop them off at their gardens,” Agarobe described his life.
After high school he said he attended aircraft engineering studies at Port Moresby Technical College and through an apprenticeship program graduated as a Aircraft maintenance Engineer in 1987
He went to work for helicopter companies in the country and then moved overseas for further studies and work, returning home in 1996.
Agarobe started Helifix, short for Fix Helicopters in 1997, grew it from its humble beginnings at Konedobu in Port Moresby and later in mid 2000s he bought his first helicopter.
“I have now retired from Helifix and will continue serving my people as Governor for Central Province as long as they want me to,” he said.