WAASPS Aviation Development, Accra, Ghana
Jonathan Porter was born in the UK in 1964 where he was raised from a ‘framing stock’ and ‘travelling salesman’ background. His family instilled in him the concept of ‘guts Determination and Enthusiasm’ as the key to success and to ensure that God has His rightful place in all that you do.
During his educational years, at the age of 11, he suffered a trauma injury which left him paralysed and in a wheel chair for short while. As a result, his determination to overcome obstacles, physical, mental and other was firmly instilled into his developmental years. Shortly after this event he won a Scholarship to an international Private School where he learnt to work alongside and with young people from many other nations and quickly realised that the world was much bigger than the limited bounds of his natal island as well as to become ‘colour blind’ when it comes to skin colour!
Jonathan set his sights upon a career working in the Developing Nations from his early teenage years, expecting to work in Agricultural developments. These plans were scuppered when a second trauma injury at 17 resulted in sever damage to his lower back and several months and operations later he was discharged having been unable to complete his High School education and with the warning that his working life would be limited.
Undeterred, he started working as a laboratory assistant at Sussex University – working on an innovative targeted insecticide solution the vector for Chagga’s disease, Rhodnius Prolixus. However, upon meeting Elizabeth, now his wife, he found the need to seek more lucrative employment and quickly moved to the Engineering industry in the early 1980’s. Working initially in the defence sector and consequently in motor, aviation, computer and civil engineering Jonathan grew a career as a CNC/Robotic engineer and programmer. Specialising in turnkey Hardware/ Software developments and solutions, Jonathan has skills in electrical, electronic, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic arenas as well as extensive Computer Hardware and Software developments in office and administrative sectors.
Developing CAD/CAM and DNC solutions for a wide range of industries Jonathan was one of the early groundbreakers in the PC developmental areas. In his own words ‘My biggest asset was that I did not know what could not be done – so we set about doing what we wanted to do – breaking barriers and setting new standards’.
After working extensively in Europe, in 1994 Jonathan felt led to move to Ghana with his wife and two children, where he found that his skills in problem solving and seeing beyond constraints enabled him to solve more and more day to day problems. Working on projects that included computerisation of the Airport Cargo Terminal, Customs Data Systems, and providing training programs to many organisations and Government Departments, the porter Family quickly felt at home in Ghana.
Both Jonathan and Elizabeth have worked as lecturers in colleges and universities and have always enjoyed their African students as being ‘that extra bit special’, encouraging all of them with the words ‘Africa needs you’, as they believe that Africa has more potential than Europe and the USA – and that the young Africans permanently leaving the motherland are doing themselves, their countries and their continent a disservice at a time when growth is needed and ready to happen.
By 2003 the Porters had made Ghana their permanent and only home, cutting all ties to Europe, and set about introducing the light aviation industry at all levels to West Africa. ‘If we want success in an industry in Africa we need to have experience at all levels in that industry’ he states. By introducing aircraft building, maintenance and training facilities as well as establishing the largest private airfield in West Africa, the company that Jonathan conceived along with seven other shareholders from Europe and Africa, has set new standards of what can be achieved.
To summarise Jonathan says “Looking beyond the constraints is what I learnt at an early age. Be it in a wheel-chair or in the African Bush, the constraint becomes an advantage because it stimulates the need to overcome and provides determination beyond that of those without the constraint. By overcoming we not only provide development but we leave our mark in history. Building on the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah and others, we are helping to ensure that people will always remember that the cradle of the West African Aviation sector is Ghana and the young Ghanaians and other West Africans we have taught to fly, build and maintain aircraft will move around this continent and others with higher than average skills helping to spread the news, by action over word, the fact that Africa is able, ready and needing development – you just need to have the right attitude, be people-centric, determined and remember that you have only failed when you give up trying!”