Adventurers: Mike Libecki, John Castle and Others

Mike Libecki

Adventurers are people who partake in exciting or unusual experiences with uncertain outcomes. Generally bold and potentially dangerous, adventurous activities include skydiving, mountain climbing and extreme sports.

National Geographic recently released its annual Adventurers of the Year photo gallery. Top explorer Mike Libecki reflected on his adventures in Greenland, Afghanistan, Antarctica and many other locations in an interview with the magazine. He explained that he climbed icebergs in east Greenland- an incredibly dangerous feat.

“The excitement of this kind of climbing- I have done it a lot- is incredible. Icebergs are challenging because of the ice condition/quality,” Libecki said. “These moments never leave me; they are such an incredible, joyous feeling.”

He added, “The main components of my trips are remote, untouched, unexplored mystery. An adventure for me can’t be an adventure unless there is mystery, unless there is an unknown, something that hasn’t been done before.”

You don’t have to travel far to find adventure. In fact, many Americans have accomplished amazing things right here in the U.S. John Castle, Castle Harlan chairman and CEO, recreated the entire Lewis and Clark expedition on his own, traveling from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean in a 15-foot dinghy. The journey covered 3,100 miles. Mr. Castle later completed the river trip across the entire United States in a small inflatable boat.

“I went from New York Harbor the Pacific Ocean by starting out repeating what Lewis and Clark did- coming down the Missoura River to St. Louis and then I did the Columbia part of it, going through Washington and Oregon,” John Castle explained. “And then having done that, I said, ‘I might as well do the rest of the United States,’ so  left the New York Harbor, went up the Hudson River, across the Erie Canal, across the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, and up the Mississippi, completing the trip across the United States.”

United Malt Makes Pretty Profit for Castle Harlan

Castle Harlan Logo
Castle Harlan Logo

With their sale of United Malt Holdings for $655 million, Castle Harlan was able to realize a respectable profit, approximately 4 and a half times the money invested.

Castle Harlan and Champ Private Equity, an Australian affiliate company with Castle Harlan, sold the portfolio company, the world’s fourth largest producer of malt, to GrainCorp of Australia.

In 2006 the partners invested in total $90.54 million in equity in United Malt, which was purchased at the time from Conagra Foods and Tiger Brands. Castle Harlan supplied 55 percent of the investment, while Champ supplied the remaining percentage.

The internal rate of return was about 80 percent, but it would be incorrect to believe that the deal was risk free. Earlier tries to see United Malt ended unsuccessfully, according to BusinessWeek.