April 23rd, 2012 13:13 EST
Judyth Piazza interviews Bill Kizorek Founder of Two Parrot Productions on The American Perspective
Picture a man who is a combination of James Bond, Marco Polo, and Mother Theresa. Imagine the stories that come from a guy who started out working as a private detective, built his company into one of the largest agencies in the world, sold it and then went on to create over thirty documentary films for non-profits "mostly filmed in Third World countries. At the end of 2011, had 1K status on United Airlines, Platinum on American, and Platinum Medallion on Delta "all at the same time "and wrote a book about the perils of travel and the work in these remote places. That guy is Bill Kizorek.
The US Army`s Stars and Stripes newspaper was the first to turn the spotlight on him when he served in Vietnam between 1969 and 1971. Bill graduated from Loyola University as English major "studying in Chicago and Rome. After working as a private investigator, he took a break to serve as a criminal investigator during the Vietnam war. He directed over 90 undercover operations to try to stamp out the heroin supplies that the US troops were getting to US troops.
After the war he went back to the insurance investigative industry, founding InPhoto Surveillance. He pioneered the use of undercover surveillance of insurance disability claimants---using video as evidence. He was featured on 20/20, Oprah, Inside Edition, A&E, the BBC, London Weekend TV, and all the major network newscasts.
According to Kizorek, it was an exciting time in my life, and I wrote an entire series of books about it (Claims Detective, Surveillance Risk Management, Psychological Claims Investigation), and gave speeches throughout the world.
By the time he sold his company, in 1999, Bill had traveled to over 135 countries and amassed over three million frequent flyer miles. He retired " at the age of 54. By this time he was the most well-known insurance investigator in the world, was on the cover of a variety of magazines and had written ten books.
Having led what was the most fascinating possible life, having achieved financial security, I then focused on those who had little or nothing, " said Kizorek. He donated almost all his miles to fly video production crews to the far corners of the earth to document what charities and non-profits were doing for the worlds` most needy people.
The inspiration for what happened next this was taking a little trip " with his 19-year-old daughter Jessica. She was struggling with college and retired. So they bought two Round-The-World tickets, packed up their bikes, and took off on a modern day epic journey to bicycle on all seven continents in one trip. We DID it, " exclaims Bill, but we had only ten minutes warning from the captain of the Russian-built Antarctic ice-breaker that we needed to toss our bikes in the rubber raft to bike with the penguins.
During this trip Jessica decided to return to college (and graduated Magna Cum Laude), and both Bill and Jessica founded Two Parrot Productions. I gave the company the three million frequent flyer miles to be used to create documentary films about what non-profits were doing. We then proceeded to additional globetrotting with our cameras: Moldova, Romania, the Congo, Jordan, Indonesia, Burma, Cuba, Rwanda, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Ghana. " Bill nurtured Jessica`s entrepreneurial skills and she went on to write five books, found three companies, and start a global women`s business movement.
Two years ago Bill`s other daughter, Carly, graduated from college with a math-education degree, at a time when 300,000 teachers were being laid off. No jobs available, Bill and Carly then teamed up at Two Parrot, and proceeded to produce additional films about non-profits working in Thailand, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Liberia. By now Bill had been to over 150 countries, and Bill and Carly wrote a book about their global charity adventures: The Perils and Rewards of International Filmmaking. The book is out in softcover (Amazon.com) and at the iBookstore as an enhanced video-e-book, as well as other e-book formats.
This book is terrific for a whole gamut of readers, said Bill. World travelers, non-profit workers, film producers, charities, and anyone interested in the perils (and rewards) of traveling to far corners of the earth to see what is being done for those most in need. It is not, however, about fly-covered lips and gaunt faces, but more about the dangers of getting in and out of these places in spite of malaria, snakes, bad water, taxi crashes, African air travel, tse-tse flies, and thieves. The videos "and there are almost thirty minutes of embedded video segments in the ipad version of the book "show wild animals bounding across the roads, apes swinging through trees, and two-dollar-per-night hotels " (and the adventures that lie within them). A sample is available on the iBookstore.
Carly went on to produce films in Asia and Africa, directed another film that just won first place at the International Economic Development Council. Two daughters, two entrepreneurs, both offspring creating businesses but also devoting their time for free to those who most need it.
What`s next for Bill and his daughters? Bill says, the sky`s the limit! We still have a million and a half frequent miles left to help out charities, our passports have enough pages to last at least another year, and we each have about $1,000 worth of vaccinations in our body to protect us while we embark on more adventures and encounter more perils for non-profits.
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