Franz is a mixed bag of skills and passions:
Since childhood Franz has always been involved in some kind of enterprise: growing and selling veggies to neighbours as a schoolkid, operating a boarding school tuck shop, making leather saddlebags for motorcycles as a student, developing and marketing construction products, enterprise in the aftermarket motor industry, and more recently Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.
Franz understands the unique challenges an entrepeneur faces inside a dying business, which he personally felt in the 2008 economic meltdown, how to crawl back out of the hole and start again.
Adventure is one of the foundations of Franz’s life. His experience includes short wilderness treks, scouting previously unpaddled rivers, rock climbing, surfing, white water kayaking, and expedition kayaking.
As a student Franz tried and failed to ride at least once on each tar road in South Africa with his 1984 Suzuki GSX1100, mostly solo. Yet he carries intimate knowledge of many backroads in South Africa, especially KZN and Mpumalanga.
In 2015 Franz initiated the Triwaters Tour, a 2500km Vaal River Source to sea which took three months of creative challenges to overcome the exceptionally low river at the beginning of one of South Africa’s most severe droughts.
Franz runs The Trailblazer Guide, a blog through which he tells stories of adventure and encourages people to get back out there. He often invites other adventurers to write guest contributions on the blog.
If humanity does not soon change its behaviour and consumption patterns we are doomed to extinction and will take a big part of the world (as we know it) with us on our destructive path.
As a Freelance journalist Franz has investigated various subjects in the extractive industries, specifically coal mining: focusing on measuring company policy and procedures against international standards, environmental and social legislation.
He dedicated three months of his life to bring awareness to South Africa (and the world’s) eminent water crises through a three month expedition on the Vaal and Orange rivers. During this project river health measurements were made through citizen science MiniSASS sampling and diatom sampling in collaboration with SAEON. With WESSA and the International Eco-Schools project, riverside schools and communities were engaged and encouraged to become custodians of their water sources through Riverside Talks and hands-on river health assessment.
Franz studied Industrial Engineering at the Technikon Pretoria (now called the Tswane University of Technology) where he also achieved a B.Tech. (Facility Management). He has analysed and optimised various systems, contributed to projects in the military automotive industry, mining and heavy industry, energy and construction. Lately he also started nosing around in commercial aviation.
His greatest engineering passion is environmental sustainability, energy efficiency and business development.
Through public speaking Franz loves to engage and challenge audiences into independent analytical thinking to solve problems. He especially loves engaging audiences on becoming the change they want to see, sustainability, adventure, environmental justice and overcoming personal challenges.
Franz has contributed to the following events:
- 2015: Multiple Riverside Environmental Talks as part of the Triwaters Team in collaboration with SAEON, Pick ‘n Pay Schools, and WESSA. Audience varied from scholars to town businessmen, civil society and government.
- 2015: Guest speaker the the De-Rust Ecofest.
- 2014: Mpumalanga Wetlands Forum meeting.
- 2013: WITS Power Reporting – African Investigative Journalism Conference – Cutting Edge Session participant.