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Quietly Ambitious

Certificate and Badge of Honour recipient Frank E. Flowers

My dad came from nothing and he always said if much is given to you, much is expected of you too. That's the philosophy I was raised with and I have no plans to change now.

—Frank E. Flowers

Frank E. Flowers

Certificate and Badge of Honour

You need scant introduction if you are Frank E. Flowers. However, while most people are aware that he runs the Flowers Block Factory and organizes Cayman's biggest annual swimming event, there is much about him that is little known.

Such as the fact that it hasn't always been smooth sailing for him; as an asthmatic child, his illness kept him mostly indoors. Later he became severely obese and doctors did not expect him to live.

However, as he has so many times in his life, Mr. Flowers applied his signature determination and used those less-than-perfect circumstances as stepping stones to success.

Asthma motivated him to shadow his father Mr. Clarence and learn all he could from him. And his life-threatening obesity inspired him to make a drastic change - he started running.

At first he only did a few miles, but with perseverance, he averaged 110 miles each week. "According to my calculations, the amount of miles I have run in my life equates to circling the globe three times," he jokes. But on a more serious note, Mr. Flowers has yet to miss a single training opportunity in the past 32 years!

In time, however, running took its toll and knee injuries threatened his health regime. But while he could no longer rack up the running miles, he sought an alternative.

"I started swimming, and soon realized that while we have the best water in the world, we don't have many swimming events." Thus the Annual Flowers Sea Swim was born.

This one-mile swim event began with few swimmers, but gradually became a highlight on Cayman's sporting calendar. Some 800 swimmers took to the water this year, including international athletes from as far afield as Australia.

But that is not enough for Mr. Flowers: "We have big ideas for next year," he promises.

A quiet man, his fierce ambition might take one by surprise, especially when it comes to his tireless community service, much of which remains out of the public eye. Thus few are aware that he donated thousands of building blocks to help the rebuilding effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.

Other contributions are more visible, simply because he and his family entities are so well known. Most recall the welcome sight of familiar Flowers' water trucks repeatedly replenishing supplies of clean drinking water during the first days after the storm.

"You know, although it was bad back then, Ivan did bring back the closeness that I cherished about old Cayman," Mr. Flowers reflects, demonstrating his knack for seeing positives where most perceive only problems.

Raised by a father who felt a deep sense of responsibility towards his community, Mr. Flowers is set on continuing the legacy: "My dad came from nothing and he always said if much is given to you, much is expected of you too. That's the philosophy I was raised with and I have no plans to change now," he says.

At 60-plus, he enjoys a full life with Eve, his wife of more than three decades and he cherishes their two children, Frank Jr., a film writer and director living in California and Dara, her father's understudy. "I will be retiring from business soon, but not from my community work, for there is still much to do," he pledges.

Generally soft-spoken, Mr. Flowers is adamant in his passion for his homeland: "I simply love Cayman for people still know each other and the place is small enough to make a tangible difference in people's lives. Here you can actually see where the ripples of a good deed go."

He also proffers a strong and encouraging message to the next generation. "Always compete, not just with others, but with yourself. And strive to be the best, not just locally, but in the world."

It is this simple, but powerful philosophy that has taken Mr. Frank E. Flowers to the top and it will surely continue to keep him there.

For further information contact: Wosila Rochester