On a roll

The Kat came back (again)
New Brunswick entrepreneur on the prowl once more

If, as is rumoured, a cat has nine lives, then the one behind the defunct Miramichi-based TV and online production studio by the same name must be on his third.

Mere years after Gene Fowler, having gone bankrupt owing creditors $2 million, buried Fat Kat Productions in a shallow grave, and launched something called Loogaroo in 2009 to pretty much carry on where its predecessor left off, the ebullient, home-grown tech and entertainment entrepreneur watched as his world once again collapsed around his ears.

A big international deal to produce a TV show for pre-schoolers fell through. A valued and trusted employee, he says, made off with $30,000 in company funds. What’s more, his wife left him and his father died.

As if to prove the adage that when it rains it pours (and that cats really don’t like the water), all of this occurred between July and September 2012.

“I kind of went a little nuts,” says a man who is not above exaggerating, when mood or circumstance beckon, with uncharacteristic understatement.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the world turned. . .again.

Bluedrop Performance Learning, based in St. John’s — a publicly listed firm (TSX) that bills itself as “the largest elearning company in Canada and a global leader in the field” — asked Fowler to become its creative director, telling him that he could continue to operate from his Loogaroo offices.

It’s a happy chore that he has undertaken, now, going on three years. “I handle all of the company’s marketing materials,” he says. “I still run Loogaroo and between this and Bluedrop, I guess we have anywhere from six to 20 people, depending on the number of freelancers we’re using.”

Fowler has even found love again. He and his new spouse (they’re unmarried for now) have a two-month-old infant. Perhaps the other thing they say about cats is also true. When dropped from a height, they tend to land on their feet. By Alec Bruce

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