Exploring the Depths of a Passion for Building a Business

Date: Oct 20 2020

Author: 
Heather Abramson, Director, Relationship Manager

Stockton Rush founded and leads OceanGate, as CEO of the company dedicated to opening the oceans for human observations and exploration through the development of state-of-the-art five person submersibles.

With his family’s wealth behind him, Rush had the capacity to “meander” his way through various jobs and experiences that eventually led him to the ocean. The family funds originally came from his Grandfather, who Rush describes as a “dirt poor Irish immigrant,” who by age 33 became the youngest director of Standard Oil in America.

Rush graduated early from high school, convinced his mom to buy him an airplane, got his commercial pilot license pilot, and completed jet training at United Airlines, becoming the youngest jet pilot known still today. Turns out his eyesight was not quite good enough for aerospace or the military, and he realized he was not likely going to space.

Rush went on to business school, and eventually moved to angel investing, which allowed him to spend more time with family, and for travel and experiences. When he “accidentally” bought an unfinished submersible submarine in 2006, finished it, and took it on a dive down 250 feet, he realized how transformative the experience was, and he desperately wanted to expose more people to the amazing wonders of the ocean.

Rush has a deep understanding of the adventure tourist market. Adventure travel is not as unique as it used to be, as many people nowadays go on safaris, visit Antarctica or climb Mt. Everest. Also many other high-net-worth individuals have seen the importance of the ocean, with the rise of scientific research, submarines in movies and TV, and even the luxury research yacht approach.

OceanGate launched its first sub in 2015, called the Cyclops One. In December of 2018, testing led to Rush, alone in a sub, floating down 4,000 meters, with the sub connected only to a single piece of fishing line. He lost communications for three hours, but says it was to date the most amazing experience of his life. OceanGate is planning to go to Titanic in the summer of 2021.


Heather Abramson is the Director, Relationship Manager for Family Office Exchange (FOX). In her role, Heather works with business-owning family members to understand their objectives and provides guidance to help address their unique needs through the resources available at FOX. Heather also runs FOX’s Rising Gen Community, which is designed to provide next-generation family members an opportunity to learn, share experiences, and develop skills as future leaders. Heather has held multiple roles at FOX including membership development.

Areas of Expertise: Rising Gen, Business Owner Trends


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