My name is Alex Brewer. I am Ignite Life. Ignite Life is the last ten years of my personal evolution encapsulated in a name, a logo, a brand. But more-so, an idea. Below is a brief history of Ignite Life’s development which started from a simple, off the cuff and half joking catchphrase into to a full blown lifestyle brand. We’re still in the early stages of the dream, but we’re proud of our evolution to date, and we’re extremely excited for what’s to come and to share it with the world. There’ve been so many memories and a cast of characters along the way who have added to Ignite Life’s ever-evolving story, so I can’t possibly touch on everything. But below are some of the most pertinent moments that contribute to our philosophies, our mission, and who we are today…..
Ignite Life began with a chance encounter in the mountains of Colorado. While finishing college at Texas State University, I took a seasonal job at Winter Park Ski Resort as a lift operator. That’s where I met a charismatic young man named Zach Marzec. While Zach and I worked together for just a few weeks, that brief encounter changed my life forever.
Zach was getting ready to head back east, to Nags Head, NC and the tallest sand dunes on the east coast. He told me of a cool summer job; being a Hang-Gliding Instructor. As he was describing the job to me, we both looked up at the sky, and I began to wonder if I could be an instructor too. That’s when Zach said, “You’ll never look at those the same.” Puzzled, I asked what he meant. He replied, “The birds, you’ll never look at birds the same.” I was hooked. I rushed back to Texas to my then girlfriend (now wife) Sarah and convinced her of the opportunity. We packed up her old Ford pickup and headed the 30 hours east to North Carolina. Sadly, I never had the chance to tell Zach how impactful his advice was on my life, as he tragically passed away just a couple of years later.
That summer, my body was battered and bruised more than I ever could have anticipated. You see, teaching hang gliding on the east coast’s tallest living sand dunes requires sprinting down the dune while instructing your students as they fly overhead and then carrying their hang glider back up the hill. We didn’t do this once per day, or even five times. Rather we’d repeat this process 50-180 times daily on a 60 to 100 foot tall dunes (side note, it’s typically 90 to 100 degrees as well). After that summer as an instructor, Sarah and I went back to Texas, and I vowed never to set foot on those sand dunes again, it was too hard! I’d expected a cushy post college summer job, and this certainly was not it. Upon returning to Texas, we settled back in our comfort zone; same school, same friends, same bars, same job waiting tables that we’d left months prior. I began to realize we’d made a mistake. I decided to give hang-gliding another shot, but this time I would be prepared. So we went back to the dunes the next summer, and I truly began my career as a hang gliding instructor.
A couple years later, a businessman came along and made arrangements with Kitty Hawk Kites, my employer at the time, to attach GoPro cameras to the gliders and sell footage of the lessons to the students. I was intrigued by the idea and saw its potential. When he suddenly left the area to pursue another business opportunity, I decided to buy his company and give it a try. I began running this business while also becoming a lead hang gliding instructor.
During this time, my fellow instructors and I would travel to our sister flight park, Morningside, in New Hampshire. It was a rugged affair; camping out, grilling our meals over the fire, and lots of good fun. I’d like to say we were experienced campers and well prepared, but we weren’t. I did, however, think to bring a headlamp (a head worn flashlight). At night, as my fellow instructors needed to see one thing or another, they’d yell “Brewer, shine your light over here.” This eventually turned into “Brewer, ignite the light!” Something clicked. The words “Ignite the light” were seared into my consciousness.
Cut to a couple weeks later, we’re back on the dunes teaching students how to fly. As a lead instructor, I’d ready my team for the day’s lessons. We’d discuss the oncoming wind, the approaching weather, our students, and we’d end with an inspiring countdown with such gems as “3, 2, 1, Fly, Fly, Fly!” or “3, 2, 1, Fly Your Faces Off!” Not very creative, I know. One day my team asked me “So Brewer, what do we say today?” And it just popped in my head, “3, 2, 1, IGNITE THE LIGHT WITHIN YOU!.” We used that phrase for the rest of the summer.
So there you have it, I found the concept that would propel my business, my philosophy, my outlook on life: “Ignite The Light Within You.” I eventually changed the name of my video business to “Ignite Films,” and then to simply “Ignite Life.” A simple concept really; set your goals, pursue your dreams, never stop trying to be a better you . . . Ignite the Light Within You.