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01 February 2014

HTC grad Alberto Torruella: “I think training should be required.”

Alberto Torruella is a man who knows his business. The 80-year-old attorney comes from a background of sugar cane farming in Puerto Rico. Then things got interesting: “Initially our business was sugar, but my great-grandfather started producing rum. After Prohibition, we set up a distillery and went into the rum business, which was kind of a secondary business at the time.” Alberto’s “secondary business” is now the Serralles Distillery, makers of Don Q Rum. It’s not only the largest rum producer in Puerto Rico, but the second largest producer of quality rums in the United States. Then a decade ago he went into the hotel business as well, and when he bought his first hotel, he added a golf course.

Alberto lives on a beach in Puerto Rico and when he retired last year, he discovered the hovercraft golf cart via the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. “I figured this was something to keep me busy,” he says. But business is never far from his mind, so he realized he could also benefit from the Bubba’s Hover phenomenon: “And I thought it would help the golf course. Puerto Rico has 12 or 13 golf courses – lots of competition for attracting golfers – so we can offer rides.”

Like all good businessmen, Alberto decided to test the viability of his plan – so his first step was to undergo pilot and maintenance training at HTC last November before he bought his Neoteric HoverGolf™ Cart…
Alberto Torruella (left) receives his pilot certification from HTC Senior Instructor Chris Fitzgerald.
I decided to take training to see how it works out, whether I can handle it.” he said. “Obviously I know it takes practice; you don’t do it overnight. You don’t do anything like that. It’s not just knowing you have to press X button; it’s doing it, and doing it with instruction.

Alberto is a pilot and has operated boats and motorcycles since he was a child. But after completing his training course at HTC he said, “This is different. I used to drive motorcycles so I’m used to speed and some crazy things – but not this crazy! I mean, you’re going 30 mph and all of a sudden you can spin and go backwards!

Then he added, “There are some things you’re never going to do by yourself until you see it done by someone else and learn what works. You have to know what can be done and practice it. I think training should be required.”

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