A: I went on a full-ride basketball scholarship to Yuba College, 70 miles north of Sacramento. Upon graduation, I walked on the basketball team at Sacramento State, but quit after I dislocated my shoulder in a wreck with my new Ford Maverick. Turned out, it was the best thing, because I got more focused on my studies. I finished at San Diego State, where I worked in the intramural department.
Q: How'd you start your career?
A: After a year working in the recreation department of Spring Valley, Calif., my wife, Barbara, and I started a summer recreation camp, leasing 110 acres in Calistoga, Calif. In 1984, Barbara started working full time as a nurse, as well, and I started selling for the school division of Oklahoma City-based American Fidelity Assurance Co. Then, we got real silly and decided to have children. We had too many balls in the air, so we closed the camp after 10 years. But there was nothing better than seeing young people experience something they never thought they could do, like rappel off a cliff, rock climb or water ski.
Q: What brought you to Oklahoma?
A: We relocated to southeast Edmond in 1995 — when my daughters were in the third and fifth grades — for me to take a middle management position with American Fidelity. When I left the company in 1999, I was a regional manager, traveling two weeks of every four. Just prior to joining Advanced Academics, I commuted for three years to San Francisco to work for a California-based firm that provided online benefit and payroll applications to small businesses. I'd fly out every Monday and return every Friday.
Q: How'd you come to join Advanced Academics?
A: A former colleague at American Fidelity was its acting CFO and initially recruited me as a board member in 2000. In late 2002, I started working in sales and marketing; then held an operations role for five years before being named president this past April. The opportunity has been the high point of my career. The best part is when I travel to schools nationwide and meet the students we help achieve.