Oklahoma City businessman Steve Trice said he was burned out and anxiety-driven in his mid- to late 30s.
Trice, president and CEO of Jasco Products, said he was depressed four out of seven days a week and found himself battling bladder cancer on top of all that. Doctors told Trice he had about five years to live, and the news set him on a path to self-discovery.
“I really started searching for my purpose in life,” Trice, 64, said.
He said he was invited to the prayer breakfast held each year by Connecting Business Men to Christ (CBMC) in downtown Oklahoma City. Trice said the guest speaker told a story similar to his, except the speaker's tale included his life transformation through Christ.
Trice said he prayed that day to receive Christ into his heart. Over the course of about four years, he started meeting for Bible study with two men from CBMC.
The business leader said his Christian faith transformed him so that his focus and acumen changed for the better.
He said that transformation resulted in his partnership with Mid-America Christian University.
About 18 months ago, Trice started a tuition program for his employees to attend Mid-America Christian University. Trice said of the roughly 254 employees at Jasco, nine people took him up on his offer when he initially began the college tuition program.
Now, about 15 people are taking part in the program, he said.
“I've never known a businessman who, when asked what is his most important asset, wouldn't say ‘people,'” Trice said.
“If people are our most important asset, that should be our motivation — trying to help people be all that they can be.”
Jasco employee Roosevelt Hall, 54, said he didn't think the college program would work for him, though he did not obtain his college degree during stints at several colleges. He said he eventually decided to try the program and is now enrolled as a student at Mid-America's north campus, 11600 Broadway Extension Service Road.
“I always wanted a degree just as a personal achievement,” said Hall, a forklift driver who has worked at Jasco for six years. “I'm hoping to start a new life.”
Living out faith
Jasco, based at 10 E Memorial Road on the southeast corner of Memorial Road and Santa Fe Avenue, produces consumer electronics and electronics accessories.
Trice said despite the bleak prognosis when he was diagnosed with cancer at age 39, the cancer never came back after it was surgically removed.