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Industry ExpErts MAGAZINE Kent Smith Information Technology Consulting Staffing eLearning Training Managing Director Eikon Consulting Group Keith J. Harmon Art Design Owner Chief Executive Officer Keith Harmon Designs (310) 869-4437 http www.keithharmondesigns.com keithjharmon msn.com 5 39 contents... Keith J. Harmon 18 Marty Ueland 65 Carl Dean Clive Angus features 10 Kofi Agyapong Software Mobile and Web Application Development Founder Director of Operations Creos Group LLC New York City NY 35 Kent Smith Information Technology Consulting Staffing eLearning Training Managing Director Eikon Consulting Group McKinney TX 50 Scott Keefer Human Capital Consulting President Cobra Leadership Development Inc. Dumfries VA 84 Lars Phillip Michelsen Construction (Restoration and Decoration) Sole Proprietor - Cygnet Painting Harwich MA Industry ExpErts Marissa Bacchi MAGAZINE ISSUE 3 Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF HEAD WRITER Holli M. Narvaez Felix Pons WRITER ART DIRECTOR Antonio Meneses Jill Mongonia LAYOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Rachael Raffna Anne Chilar SELECTION COMMITTEE SELECTION COMMITTEE Kimberly Deihl SELECTION COMMITTEE Rebecca Valuch Indutry Experts Magazine Published by National Association of Distinguished Professionals 560 Broadhollow Road Ste. 310 Melville NY 11747 Phone (631) 465-9024 Fax (631) 465-9035 http www.napdrofessionals.com Keith J. Harmon Art Design Owner Chief Executive Officer Keith Harmon Designs Palm Springs Beverly Hills CA 5 Industry Experts I n the mid 1970 s Italian and German born Artist Keith J. Harmon began his career in the art world by creating unique one-of-a-kind baskets that were sold in exclusive boutiques in the Beverly Hills California area. Matching linens with Kleenex box covers waste baskets breakfast trays and other wicker items Keith s small business took off tremendously. Soon decorators and interior designers were asking him if he could paint on wicker walls ceilings porcelain sinks toilets or any other material that could serve as an artistic backsplash. Of course Keith said yes and soon he was painting his way on every surface he could find. Since that time Keith spent much of the 1980 s 90 s and beyond recreating numerous famous landmarks across the United States. His time spent creating baskets by the hundreds quickly evolved into bigger and better projects including murals for major hotels businesses and homeowners as well as many other projects. His clientele was rapidly growing and he owed it all to word of mouth. The baskets were a turning point in his career. Had it not been for that opportunity he would not be where he is today. His big break however came to him when he was presented with the opportunity to paint at The Bistro Garden a lovely restaurant in beautiful Beverly Hills. Painting 80 s luxury for the bistro Keith received raves for his work. Not long after he was ready to secure studio space and hire assistants so that he could fulfill the many new promises he had made for his new clientele. It was the beginning of the formation of his business which was officially launched in 1976 called Keith Harmon Designs that would serve both the Beverly Hills and Palm Springs area. Some of Keith s best works have included custom art murals faux finishes custom painted furniture custom d cor gold and silver leafing and sculpting. Traveling from city to city for clients his larger projects murals in particular would typically have him away from home for two to three months at a time. Some of his grander projects have included the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco California the US Grant in San Diego California the Grand Floridian Hotel Disney Premier in Orlando Florida the Princess Le Meridien Hotel in Scottsdale Arizona and the Marriot Key Bridge in Washington DC. He has also done work in several other restaurants around Los Angeles including Andre s the Chameleon and the Four Seasons several more hotels in San Diego including the Omni Hotel and the Meridien Hotel a luxury condominium called The Meridian also in San Diego the Marriott Key Bridge in Washington DC and the Four Seasons in Austin Texas. Well recognized for his works Keith is considered by many as a new age Piccaso with unbelievable talent whose educational value and ability to work with brushes and paint is nothing less than amazing. Creating original pieces through a variety of mediums through paints objects and his incredible imagination Keith s art may be categorized in two different ways two-dimensional work which consists of drawing painting and collages and three-dimensional work which consists of sculpture and installation. When most people think about working as an artist they usually think only about the creative process Keith explained about the complexity of being an artist. But the truth is in this occupation selling is just as important as creating. Without good marketing and sales capabilities it can be very difficult to make any money as an artist. Since there are so many types of art each type requires its own set of techniques too. Keith further explained that fine artists like sculptors and painters create art that is intended to make people think or to be visually pleasing. Their work is frequently displayed in galleries museums and homes. Some fine artists sell their work on their own whereas others rely on galleries and art dealers to help them find buyers for their work. While each new project is unique they also offers new problems new headaches and new challenges. Yet each new wonderful opportunity enables Keith the ability to feel fully renewed and rejuvenated especially once each project is completely realized. For example although two clients my ask for the same subject matter one may be for a low ceiling back bedroom while the other may be a high ceiling with many windows in a dining room. Math geometry and algebra subjects Keith never though would be of much use to him are now indispensable to his current work. Dividing a dome or ballroom ceiling into equal sections is the very first step to designing a symmetrical pleasing outcome. In addition to the many complexities of the work itself Keith sometimes finds himself dealing with tricky clients that expect the world. Although some of them can be difficult to work for Keith takes the most delicate approach so that each project results in more than satisfactory results. After all giving the client what they want is the number one goal every time. 6 Industry Experts 7 Industry Experts I have learned over the years that when your name is on the masthead clients will want you to perform any miracle that needs performing Keith said honestly not one of your assistants performing it for you. I tend to think that my role in the company is to make each customer feel 120% satisfied with the outcome. Over the course of Keith s career as an artist one thing is certain you never really know until you try and you won t lose anything by trying even if you don t do well at it in your first attempt. The important thing he says is to have the confidence in yourself so that you can tackle whatever it is you are aiming to do the entire event is always a new learning experience. He also says that your neighboring artists are often happy to offer their advice on a wide variety of subjects from displays and preparation to what to sell and how to use color. This is because an artist s alley at just about any convention becomes a community of artists and not just total strangers sitting in the same room. Even if you cannot meet your expectations you will still walk away with something you did not have before experience Keith took a liking to the art of painting when he was just a child. Born on September 7 1950 the first child of two younger brothers Gerald and Dean they were surrounded by two loving parents Frederick and Christine Harmon. While his brothers enjoyed learning all the facets of electronics just as dad did Keith preferred books drawing and painting instead. Not much has changed over the past sixty years. Born in Indiana Keith grew up in Michigan City not far from the big city of Chicago. Dreaming big he initially pursued a degree in education at Purdue University graduating in 1972 with his bachelor s. He then spent two years in the United States Army during the Vietnam War from 197274. Receiving an honorable discharge he applied and was accepted to the University of California Los Angeles to work on his double master s degree in both English and American Literature completing his degree at the age of 28. Accepting a position at Santa Monica City College Keith taught remedial grammar to college students. It was his first and last teaching job. Teaching just wasn t for him. Believing that if you dream big success will come to you Keith has always worked hard to get what he wanted out of life. Feeling very happy and fulfilled Keith considers himself lucky to have enjoyed the many blessings that the art world has presented him. Seeing himself as a homebody he is often found working on projects around the house when he is not working. Turning his sanctuary into a comfortable yet elegant place to rest his head is something he is constantly working to achieve and is personally satisfying to him. Admitting that he has no plans to retire from the world of art any time soon Keith did reveal that he will continue creating masterpieces until all his work is done. When I was a kid I was never good at sports or the usual imagination that other kids were experiencing Keith recalls. My brushes were quite the team for me and so I pursued it as my outlet to create my impeccable paintings or as I like to call them dreams. 8 Industry Experts Q&A Q Who are you and what do you do A The eldest of three boys born to Frederick Lorenz Harmon and Christine Marie Arcuri Harmon we lived in Michigan City Indiana about 35 miles due northeast of Chicago and named after one of the Great Lakes. Trained to be an English teacher when it actually came to teaching I intensely disliked it. This was because a lot of students were forced to study American grammar because they had not learned it in grade school junior high school or high school. Finding within myself the ability to paint saved me from a lifetime of unhappiness. Q Why do you do what you do A I do what I do painting on almost any surface because small changes in background or foreground or intensity of color translate to different moods in people improving their level of happiness relationship to their surroundings and especially to other people. I know this because I first of all feel it in myself. Q What do you like about your work A I like that it is all customized to the client. My first business partner wanted to have us create 5-10 paint-bynumber style murals on canvas or distinct directly onto the walls. Q How do you work A I initially need a designer and his or her clients. We talk about the general scope and possible subject matter for a piece. Both the client and I must have trust in the decorator as he or she only knows with any certainty how the finished project will look as it takes shape. I take notes during the next several meetings but I typically bring pencil sketches to mark pages in books in order to give examples of the final effect. Lastly the designer clients and I settle on one or two subjects. Q How has your practice changed over time A My process of getting initial talks to finished murals is much more streamlined. For instance the first few designs are usually the best ones and clients will let me know if I am on track or not. Instead of offering a myriad of possible solutions I present (after consulting with the designer) two three or four sketches for approval. More often than not boundless choices are just cause for confusion. Q What is an artistic outlook on life A An artistic outlook on life to me means seeing things most other people gloss over or totally ignore. Not only colors or patterns but the thin tissue that connects man with all the other life on this planet and extends to this amazing recreating universe. Q What was your strongest memory of your childhood and how does it relate to your work now A Undoubtedly the strongest memory of my childhood was my mother s love. She taught me that attention to detail no matter what task or challenge was of great importance. A stunning photo from the early 1950 s where a tree of hers had looked as if it was made of silver or silver icicles totally covered with tinsel serves as proof of this great ability of hers. My mother never ignored other things either she just made everything fit in and she did it with charm and style. Through this experience my mother taught me patience which I greatly require in my work. Q What was your scariest work experience A My scariest experience was pancakeing down through an otherwise reliable scaffold which had been put up by guys that the contractor had found because his men were all busy. I was not badly hurt however if the scaffold had been doubled in height the injuries would have been considerably worse. I should have been hands on with eyes peeled to make sure that all the bolts were tight and secure. The safety of myself and my fellow workers is my highest priority. It was potentially the most damaging incident in my career. It could have ended it and it was 100% preventable. Q Is your life as an artist lonely How do you counteract that A It certainly can be lonely although the aloneness shouldn t be confused with feeling lonely as in pining for one s true love. The rewards of creating works of art surpass manual labor although that is a big part of the creative process it liberates the artist. Although being paid for a piece of work tells the artist that someone else values their work enough to pay money for it deep down an artist knows instinctively whether or not his interpretation of the landscape wood grain marbleizing etc. really hit the mark or not. Q What do you like about your work A What I like about my work are the constant challenges and problems that need to be solved making each day unique unlike any other from tiny projects like making a mailbox look like the brick pilaster it stands on delaying out of ballroom ceiling to give a definition and a sense of order the ultimate goal is to achieve the most perfect solution to the issue at hand as possible. And the best part of it is it isn t really work it s fun 9 Industry Experts Kofi Agyapong Software Mobile and Web Application Development Founder Director of Operations Creos Group LLC New York City NY 10 Industry Experts T echnology is fast becoming a staple in everyone s life and while some may argue that it distracts people from the real world Kofi Agyapong would argue that a meaningful technology could actually allow users to navigate through the real world much more efficiently. As the founder and director of operations for Creos Group LLC in New York City New York Kofi is rapidly understanding how true this statement really is. I have not been in this industry for that long but the thing that has kept me in it is the speed at which one can create something meaningful Kofi admits about the evolution and complexity of technology. I don t know everything about this industry but my curiosity about existing technologies and my passion for idea development should keep me in it for a very long time. Arguably the most curious 22-year-old on the planet everything Kofi is and will ever become stems from his family friends and of course his co-workers. He seizes to exist without them. A native of Ghana he came to the US for soccer and school. His parents the Clark family in North Salem New York were host parents who catered for him while he worked towards his goals. After getting college scholarships from Ivy leagues schools including Columbia University and Harvard University he opted for Wake Forest University then Columbia University. The Clark family became the family that Kofi never had. When it comes to the Creos Group Family Andre Fonseca Katherine Spiliotis Paolo Luciano Liisi Fall Jesse Huang Nia Bolling Konrad Kucharski Max Moller Pietro Bruno and Henry Chancy are the ones that Kofi s says have really made the business possible. Recognizing that it is hard for clients with financial power to look at a bunch of twenty somethings like Kofi s staff and decide to throw money at them just because they have a brilliant idea Kofi says it has made it somewhat difficult to secure any major investors. But even though he and his staff are still relatively young they certainly have a serious drive to achieve success for their investors. As a result Kofi and his team have been working very hard as a result to prove their capabilities to the world. One of Kofi s most influential thoughts begins by starting with an idea that will help people. Whether you are helping 50 million people or just five the ideas that catch hold are the ones that provide real value to real people. From there you must absorb as much information as you can from those who have been through the gauntlet. You must also perfect your product before launching it. While there is no such thing as a perfect product making sure that you pay attention to detail is most important. And last but not least don t do it alone take a partner. Getting started in the technology industry in 2011 Kofi came up with an idea that his host brothers helped him develop. It was a simple platform that provided real utility to smart phone users. At the time he was always intrigued at how technology could simplify people s lives. The next thing he knew an offer was being made for their designs which has now been developed and used by many iPhone users. That aside Kofi would say that the real journey for him began after being recruited by Apple. Deciding to move to New York instead to start something with his friends who were equally motivated to explore something new Kofi and his partners were ready to create Creos Group. As the company s founder Kofi s additional responsibilities lie in serving as director of operations. Much of his tasks range across different aspects of the business whether it is developing strategic partnerships researching and developing patentable technologies or white-boarding ideas all of these duties have Kofi devoted and willing to push Creos Group s mission of developing disruptive mobile technologies for the everyday consumer. With a focus on studying the dynamics of everyday life to develop innovative solutions to its problem with a focus on design and development of website and mobile applications Creos Group s team consists of a diverse group of individuals of various cultural backgrounds. Their friendships are just as solid as their working relationships and Kofi takes pride in that this simple fact is what defines their success. I have taken a lot from entrepreneurs that I read about especially from books with firsthand experience Kofi admits about where he gets both inspiration and determination to succeed. Steve Jobs is certainly the king of my inspiration though. Steve was considered eccentric even crazy to the point where he was ostracized from his own company. I find that inspiring because often times it takes a bit of crazy to get your message across in a statusquo environment. I want to break the status quo so I look to absorb as much information from those who have. 11 Industry Experts Kofi started a non-profit organization with his friends called Excel At Both which they hope will support young student athletes excel at school in sports and the arts or both. Kofi is currently serving on the charity s board. Creos Group also has a soccer team that plays in an indoor league every Sunday which to date is still undefeated. Kofi enjoys painting themes from his root of Ghana. He enjoys reading and spending quality time of friends too. The most recent addition to his family is his new puppy Zizou. He is a handful but the two of them get along pretty well. Graduating from St. Luke s School paved the way to Kofi s formal education. Earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree in (what field ) in 2013 from Columbia University he then earned a Master of Science Degree in Architecture and Regional and Urban Planning in 2014 from The Ohio State University. I always say to my friends that we spend too much time worrying about time when in fact we should actually enjoy every moment that comes with time Kofi said. For me it s all about enjoying what you do. I would rather make nothing in a year and still have a genuine smile than fake a smile with a million dollar check in my pocket. Working with my friends certainly gives me all the joy I could ask for. 12 Industry Experts Q&A Q What should a potential entrepreneur be thinking about when trying to find a problem to solve A The biggest fault a potential entrepreneur can have in his thought process is What can I do to make millions Instead an entrepreneur needs to understand that the best way to make millions is by helping millions of people so think about that Q Who were the ones to inspire you the most to become an entrepreneur A Family always comes first. I ve always had a family pushing me everywhere I went. I couldn t count how many families I have on my fingertips. Friends come right after that. A big reason I am where I am today is because of the friends who chose to stick around and put up with my craziness. Everyone had his or her own goals to be something and I was inspired to join in to create something together - that was the whole idea for Creos Group. Q What kind of advice would you give to an entrepreneur who wants to recruit his friends or anyone for that matter A The key is character the character of the person you are speaking to is everything. It is difficult to fully gauge over an interview but when you are working with a person that you can trust with the company itself especially at the beginning then you chose the right person for the job. You do not need to convince these people just show them the vision. Q What is the greatest advantage you can have in an entrepreneurial world A The greatest advantage in my opinion can also be the greatest disadvantage to entrepreneurs and that is belief. Do you believe that you can fix a real problem Do you believe in your vision and your path to get there If so then you just go for it. Q How has your experience been in starting up in Manhattan A The biggest challenge is the dollar cost of survival but besides that there is nowhere else in the world where you have such broad access to people from different backgrounds. Whether it s asking for help feedback advice or even beta testing a mobile app the convenience factor is huge and we have been taking full advantage of that. Q When did Creos Group get its start A It was the end of June 2014.v I told my friends that they would remember that time I told them that they would quit their jobs in three months to build something amazing. Two months later we were all living in one building working fulltime to put Creos Group on the map. Q Is there such a thing as a 9-5 or work-life balance in your world A There is always going to be a need for work-life balance but in my world my work is my life. We made a decision as a team to move in together so the line is often blurred but I will sacrifice all the time and sleep in the world to change the lives of people who use our technologies my co-founders feel the same way. Having a set work time is unnecessary even obstructive. Q Is there anyone in particular you look up to A I refer to Steve Jobs for things like the DRI Mark Zuckerberg for his youth and reckless belief as a founder and my friends or in this case my team. Q Do you have any interesting projects going on right now A We are very excited about a piece of hardware we are developing to house an ed-tech platform. For now we are focused on our Mobile Commerce application that was released in February called SwipeShop. Q Can you give me a little known fact about Creos Group A Andre Katherine Paolo and myself all met one way or another through soccer. At one point I was playing for Everton Beachside Connecticut Wake Forest University Columbia University and then Ohio State University. Today I play in New York City every Sunday with the Creos Group Cornhuskers a team made up of teammates for all the teams and schools I had played for before I hung up my boots. 13 Industry Experts 14 Industry Experts Paul Douglas Castle Writing Publishing Creative Story Designer Self-Employed Costa WV P aul Douglas Castle owned and operated his own construction company in Costa West Virginia for much of his career. When he was ready to retire he already has a plan in place as to how he was going to spend his days. Ready to begin his second act Paul began writing bible stories. Paul has also written and published more than 420 Christian bible stories to date and has well over 200 bible stories that have not yet been published. Combined his bible stories exceed more than 900 000 words. My dream has always been to write bible stories in simplicity with lots of definition so that everyone could understand the meaning of the subject being portrayed Paul explained. After giving many interviews I discovered that very few people really understood the Word of God the way they should understand it. It also became obvious to me that people were living from day to day doing their own thing without realizing the importance of securing their eternal salvation. I consider it part of my duty to raise awareness through my books that salvation can be lost when people are cold or lukewarm toward the Word of God Paul said about why he writes. After all man should not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. As the sole-writer and creative story designer of his books and hundreds of bible stories Paul does not seek help from other writers everything he writes about is his own work. They are his odyssey his journey in life. At first Paul began writing a few bible stories just for friends. Very evident that he had a great understanding of the Word of God his stories continued to blossom. By 2011 Paul had published his first book The Homosexual God and the Children of Satan and within just three years eight more followed Spiritual Fornication Illustrated Through Man Made Temples (2011) Swine Wolves Snakes and Dogs (2012) The Symbolic Swimmer in the Pool of Life (2012) The Supernatural Orchestration God (2012) The Love Tree (2012) Cursed and Damned on Highway Hell (2012) The Mystery of Life and Coals of Fire (2013) and The Conclusion to the Whole Matter (2014). All of his books can be found at Xulon Press and WestBow Press. Paul s books and bible stores are meant to erase spiritual blindness and open eyes to the important things that mold and shape our character in the ways that are Christ-like. Admitting that he does not write mainstream bible stories he instead writes about the unusual and the mysteries of life with boldness and courage. He also never skips over or neglects controversial issues. Paul believes that the subject he writes about is the most important subject in the world and the bible stories he puts on paper have the power to transform and convert readers into wise men and women that truly know the weightier matter of the Word of God. All of his books he notes are written for the greater knowledge and understanding of readers. 15 Industry Experts I take my writing very seriously Paul added who hopes to someday write the largest bible story book in the world. It s my responsibility to relay the Word of God through my books in a way that readers find friendly and enjoyable yet in a serious manner providing an explanation that is easy to understand. Although Paul never anticipated to write as much as he has he knows that it was supposed to happen this way. Admitting that he is hopelessly in love with the Word of God his thoughts follow him everywhere he goes even when he is asleep. It consumes his thoughts throughout the day and he wakes up in the early morning hours in order to jot it all down. Imagine the bible being one great big swimming pool with honest and pure words flowing from the mouth of God like water. Imagine you and all your family and friends being there. And all are welcome to swim in the pool of life and drink the waters from it. The pool of life is symbolic of the bible and the waters thereof are the words of God the symbolic swimmer can be you or me or anyone willing to take the plunge into the pool of life. You can swim shallow or you can swim deep and you can stay in the pool of life for as long as you like. Wisdom knowledge and understanding can be drunk from the pool of life. The pool of life knows all things from the beginning of creation until the end of time. In the pool of life you can meet The Supernatural Orchestrator God that s behind more things than most men are aware of. This book is all about The Supernatural Orchestrator God that destroyed the first earth age with the great flood of Noah s time. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that parted the Red Sea for Moses and the children of Israel to cross over on dry land. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that delivered Goliath into the hands of David. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that made the sun stand still for Joshua. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that destroyed the Philistine wooden statue God called Dagon. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God That parted the Jordan River for Joshua so the people of Israel could cross over into the land of milk and honey. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that threw great stones down from Heaven onto the enemies of Joshua. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that rained fire and brimstone onto the homosexual cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and round about plains. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that cursed the devil and the rebellious angels with the curse of a reprobate mind and homosexuality. It was The Supernatural Orchestrator God that created man from the dirt of the earth. It is the Supernatural Orchestrator God that throws the devil and the false prophet into the lake of fire. It is the Supernatural Orchestrator God that brings the New Jerusalem down from Heaven. It is The Supernatural Orchestrator God that grants life everlasting to those that worship Him and love Him and believe in Him. Sin comes at a cost and it is The Supernatural Orchestrator God that puts the price tag on sin that every man must pay. I eat it I drink it and I love every Word of God Paul said. I believe His scriptures and His miracles are true and I believe He has a place prepared for all of us. Not married Paul says that he is committed to the Word of God married to the Gospel. Being in love with a mate is one thing but being in love with an ideal and a righteous way of life is another thing Paul explained. I m in love with the Gospel of God and the desires of my heart are married to His way of life. The Ten Commandments are my wedding ring and the bridegroom is my king. I m hopelessly bound by an invisible unbreakable chain that cannot be seen with the naked eye. But just the same chain between us is unbreakable and I cannot resist from following after Him. Love is the strongest and most unbreakable chain of all chains. I testify that the intangible substance of love is more valuable than the tangible substance of silver and gold. Paul notes that he is a non-denomination Christian. He does not attend church. Belonging to what he says is the living church of God that talks and walks and spreads the gospel into all four corners of the earth he is greatly inspired by the Holy Ghost which gives him the ability to write the greatest series of bible stories ever written by any man past or present. Here is a summary of one of Paul s books The Symbolic Swimmer in the Pool of Life a 322-page book released in 2012. Q&A Q Did you ever write in any other capacity prior to retiring from the workforce If so what did you write about A Bible characters and events are the only kind of stories I ve ever been interested in writing. I ve never written about anything until I retired from the workforce. Although I ve always been a big reader. Q What makes your bible stories more important than others realize A The world is in trouble with God. My stories seeks to explain this to others through my unique stories. Simply because we re all judged by three words which are hot cold and lukewarm. Meaning we better get on fire for God before the death of the flesh. Therefore my bible stories are trying to point people toward God and educate them about God because men perish for lack of knowledge about God. Q From one bible story writer to another what would you say A Never take on the philosophies of other men. Don t write your stories based upon the traditions of other men either. Study the bible intensely and keep your living temple clean so that the Holy Spirit will be strong inside of you. I can assure you that you cannot write good bible stories without the help of the Holy Spirit. The temple of the Holy Spirit is your heart and the cleaner your heart the more mysteries He will reveal to you. Those that write bible stories should do it with courage and boldness simply because passive bible stories won t help anyone. But passionate hard hitting bible stories will. Q What do bible story writers have in common A Hopefully bible story writers will write with courage and boldness for the good of helping the lost and the unlearned. It s our desire to spread the gospel of God to as many people as possible simply because salvation needs to be won instead of lost although not all bible story writers are on the same level of accuracy which makes some writers much different than other writers. I assure you all bible stories cannot be told as if their readers are children because we re here to win the prize of immortality and a gentle passive mentality about the word of God isn t what people truly need. Furthermore for generations bible story writers have been writing with kid s gloves which waters down effectiveness. I assure you my writing changes all that. Q Can anyone write bible stories in your opinion A Very few people in this world are called to write the right kind of bible stories. Most people that do write bible stories write an inspirational story that usually involves themselves. My bible stories aren t about people unless their ungodly lifestyles cross paths with the Word of God. Therefore the meat of Christianity is something that most bible story writers fear to write. Q What do you mean The meat of Christianity A For example most preachers and teachers can preach and teach about Jonah and the big fish Noah and the great flood the parting of the red sea or the staff of Moses that turns into a serpent but those are just good bible stories about the history of God. The meat of Christianity is the weightier word of God that tells us how to receive divine blessings and dodge divine curses. The meat of Christianity reveals the narrow path man must walk upon. The meat of Christianity reveals the true requirements for eternal salvation. In comparison some bible stories are the milk of Christianity while other bible stories are like strong meat. And strong meat is better than milk. Q Why did you begin writing bible stories specifically A I believe it was my destiny to write bible stories since birth. Three very unusual events happened to me in my youth. Proving to me that Satan was trying to destroy me before I could dedicate and proclaim my works are for the benefit of higher learning which will defeat many of his ungodly works. I also know that the knowledge my bible stories are written with come from God because I could never write what I write without the Holy Ghost sharing His wisdom with me. What I do with the pen and pencil are the works of the Potter Man which shaped and molded me into what I am today definitely destroying me in my youth would ve prevented the greatest series of bible stories from ever getting written. And at some point and time I ll share with the world those three unusual events proving that Satan tried to prevent my works from being accomplished. Q How and where do you promote and share your books A Xulon press and West Bow press have them. There s also several other places they can be found on the internet like Barnes and Noble and Amazon plus several others. Q Do you ever anticipate retiring from writing Why or why not A Some people are chosen to do certain things for the glory of God and this is my calling in life. Definitely no one could do the works I do unless it was meant to be. Therefore I separate the milk from strong meat because that s what God chose me to do. I do assure you no other flesh and blood person since the beginning of time not including the prophets have written the word of God the way I do. This means that I cannot retire from writing bible stories until God says I m finished which will come soon enough because life is compared to a vapor and it doesn t last as long as you might think. The rest of my life is donated to writing the word of God and it s a meaningful thing to do among so many meaningless things in this life. God Bless all you readers. I hope you won t be like the five virgins who miss the bridegroom when He comes. Q Do you plan on writing more books or just continue writing more bible stories A Only the death of the flesh can stop me from writing more bible stories and more books. As of now my works have increased to 765 individual bible stories and I seriously doubt any other bible story writer can make that claim not even since the beginning of time. 17 Industry Experts Carl Dean Real Estate Investments Education Managing Director American Real Estate Investments (AREI) Dallas TX 18 Industry Experts S erving the role of man of the house early in life as Carl Dean got older his family began to depend more and more on him and his guidance. He helped all of his three brothers find their own niche in a similar or related field to his own and helped them get their own companies off the ground before leaving his home state of Michigan to chase his dream of working in real estate and investments. Nine years ago Carl started a small construction company under the name of 4 Brothers Construction. The company essentially named itself because it was primarily he and his three brothers that did all of the work. 4 Brothers was a small LLC that specialized in flooring and carpentry. Due to the ever growing Global Financial Crisis the business of new home flooring installation began to decline while rehabbing low income housing for cash flowing rentals began to have overwhelming demand. By 2010 Carl found himself partnering up with investors to begin producing C-class rentals in the city of Detroit Michigan. Beginning his new career in single family rental (SFR) his previous experience gave him a huge advantage. Growing into new markets across the US Carl was beginning to make a name for himself. Carl hires only the best and brightest people he can find and develops positions for them within the company pertaining to their strengths. AREI s employees are family and they make their offices bright colorful and upbeat places where creativity can flourish. I hire people based on their personality Carl admits. I don t care if one knows more than the other or went to a bigger school. I want the guy who wants it more and will persist until he succeeds. My dream is to become a venture capitalist and help other companies get off the ground. I want to invest in my belief in people and help them make their dreams come true and retire as a motivational and self-development speaker. I want to do right by others and be the best in the business. Getting into SFR in Detroit had me learning countless lessons the hard way Carl explained. Dealing with risk factors like the ones on the outskirts of Detroit will prepare you for anything in this business. Enjoying every aspect of real estate and problem solving Carl excelled in the industry. He has grown to become a passionate and determined leader and loves that he can control his own destiny with no cap on the amount of success he can achieve. He is also extremely passionate when it comes to helping and teaching others. Growing up very poor he has come to have a genuine respect for capital preservation and financial planning. His career choice has given him the opportunity to teach others what he has learned and help them so they do not have to struggle through life or worry about retirement. I truly believe that the A-type properties that I invest in produce and sell at this point in my career are the absolute best and most secure investments you or anyone can make Carl noted. Houses do not go out of business they are always insured and as long as they are properly managed and performing I am a firm believer that they can ride any wave that the economy throws at them. As the managing director of American Real Estate Investments (AREI) in Dallas Texas Carl helps develop and manage all operations. He represents AREI at all major events and drives the sales and marketing team to develop and manage relationships with potential clients or affiliates. He develops relationships with major funds that purchase SFR on a consistent basis and guides the acquisitions and construction departments to produce these investments and provide service to industry partners. Carl also notes that if you want to be the best in the industry you have to build your foundation off of your character and focus on doing what s right from the beginning. Realizing that many people don t care about their reputation for being a shark and doing something less than ethical to make money quickly they obsess over the next get-rich-quick scheme and quickly bounce to the next once it s running its course. Protecting his reputation by any means necessary is a priority for Carl and that ll never change. Carl explains that word travels fast in business and even more so when you get to an elite level working among top competitors. If you get a bad reputation early on others who are doing well will not want to be associated with you publicly. You have to draw a line in the sand he said and stick to your guns because doing the right thing or the wrong thing will always come back to you. 19 The defining moment in Carl s career came as a result of a very unfortunate time in his career something he can speak to now with pride. While working for the first company where he was responsible for operations he was let go due to a financial error that was later determined to be the fault of another employee. Devastated to lose what he thought was his dream job Carl was told that he had 30 days to find new employment. He quickly started reaching out to his network of people and had acquired several interviews with some firms that were doing big things at the time. He soon landed a job managing a high end retail market fix and flip company. The principle owners of his current job which slated to end in two weeks came to him to express their most sincere apologies for the mistake that was made and asked him to stay. This scenario proved to be a mental battle for Carl because the owners were two of his closest friends and he truly loved his job however he now had an opportunity to make just as much money elsewhere but be able to learn much more about the business on a grander scale. Carl ended up walking away even after the principles counteroffered to double his pay. He ended up having a major falling out with those two great friends and decided to take a leap of faith and choose the opportunity to learn and grow over more money. Since that time Carl has rekindled his relationship with those friends and associates and even gets business referrals from them to this day. Carl is an extremely active networker and maintains that it is something that should be taken very seriously especially in his line of work. He is always sure that the social media outlets he uses represent a respectful image of him and his work as he tries to always improve the size and quality of his network. Carl uses his network to his advantage by continually marketing himself and his character. As a result it has proven to be a valuable asset for him. Throughout his whirlwind career Carl has performed all aspects of construction such as general contracting serving as a fire flood mold certified technician and site manager and operations management all while still in college. Upon receiving his real estate license he began pursuing bigger and better positions and before he knew it he was running Right Way Realty Brokerage which transitioned to landing a job with AREI as VP of Sales. After three months with AREI Carl made partner becoming managing director and leading the team. The employees at AREI believed in him so much that when Carl decided to move the company headquarters to Dallas Texas every employee from all over the US decided to relocate to follow him. They came from New York Michigan Kansas City and San Diego to be a part of what he is creating as the new face of AREI. Carl s a big advocate of self-development acquiring a BS in Business and Marketing from the University of Phoenix. He s involved on many LinkedIn groups is frequently on the Bloomberg Radio show The Self-Directed Investor Hour with Pete Asmus and is continuously inspired by many motivational speakers like Jim Rohn Tony Robbins and Les Brown. His biggest motivator mentor was the CEO of Real Deal Advisors Tyler Wine who taught Carl about the business and making successful deals happen. Tyler is the most driven honest and motivated person I ve ever met Carl noted. Without his guidance I m not sure where I d be today. The most important thing he ever taught me was that you don t have to be the smartest or the best to be successful you simply have to know where you want to go and what has to happen to get there. Then put your ego aside and find the best people to work with and persist diligently with a plan of action delegating tasks to the people who will handle it best and work as a team. It s hard to do anything on a large scale without a good team that works well together. Carl s work truly is his work which is evidenced by his machine-like work schedule sometimes upwards of 90 hours per week. But make no mistake about it he is happy just the way it is for right now. He wants to be remembered as someone who went against the grain and changed the world for the better. Given his drive and mindset this doesn t sound clich to him and he plans to prove it to the world. When Carl takes a break from it all it s usually spent traveling doing outdoor sports volunteering or educating others in the field. He still keeps a close relationship with his brothers as well. The eldest Anthony is a real estate agent and plant manager Sam owns his own real estate home inspection company that Carl helped start and Chris is a husband and father of two who runs a small construction company that Carl lent a hand in getting off the ground. Carl s parents have been divorced for most of their life but they are great friends. Mom is a property manager for a large firm and has been in the business for 20 years. Dad has always has been in the construction trades. They all reside in Michigan. My mother and I are very close Carl said with adoration. She has always been there for me in my life and has always believed in me. I owe a lot of my successes in life to her. 20 21 Industry Experts Q&A Q Why do you feel you have succeeded and progressed so quickly in your career A I am great with people and building relationships and go above and beyond on tasks. I m extremely persistent about progressing in my career and made sure that everyone I ve ever worked with knew that I had big hopes and dreams and would stop at nothing to achieve them. Q Why do you feel you are an industry expert in your field A I have swung the hammer ran the crew and construction designed the renovations knocked on doors to collect rent ran the management company built and ran the acquisitions departments and built and managed the dispositions department. I simply have done every aspect of the business and there are CEO s of some of the biggest SFR investment REIT s who are less educated about the business than I am on a granular level. Q If you were to take 150K of your own money and invest it how would you do so and why A I would buy a single family rental asset in north Houston. Out of all of our markets Houston has great employment opportunities newer quality homes and has a 12% appreciation factor in 2015 not to mention homes can be fully insured. This is what I know and what I am comfortable with based on my experience. Q What do you think the best qualities are for an employee to have A Creative problem solving skills and persistence. I like for a person to just find a way. Break the problem down into what has to happen step by step and attack and be persistent. Q What made you change your direction from producing lower income housing rentals to producing more expensive assets at three to four times the cost A Experience knowing that the lower income assets are not scalable and the risk is a real thing. You can t win in the lower income assets they don t appreciate well and there is no good exit strategy. The lower income assets were just a headache for everyone involved and the horror stories are something I can t handle. Q What separates you from others in the business or the industry A The way I develop and manage my teams is like no other. I want to be the Sam Zell of single family rentals and I run a tight ship with authority. Our image and our product must be flawless and everyone on the team is like a family that s the only way it can be. Q How many hours would you say you work in a typical week A Probably about 90 hours of actual working at a desk or in front of a computer and another 10 hours simply responding to emails or calls for work. I am dedicated and my career it is what is most important to me at this point in time. Q What were your favorite topics in college A Economics marketing and psychology. I really think they all go together perfectly when you throw in sales and when I relate them to what I do on a daily basis I am always fascinated at how cyclical things seem. Q What are your favorite markets to invest in and why A Texas markets are my favorite to invest in at this point in time. Most migration coming in for jobs highest appreciation on housing market most fortune 500 companies low unemployment and most gold star rated schools outside of New York and California. It s just a booming market. Q What is a dream you have A I want to be on the cover of Forbes for being the guy who can build the best teams and just gets things done a respected leader with a unique style in how I operate. 22 Industry Experts 23 Industry Experts Andy Blevins LGBT and Military Advocacy Military Family Support Development Director The American Military Partner Association Salem OR 24 Industry Experts W hile still serving in the US Navy under the Don t Ask Don t Tell military law in 2011 Andy Blevins also began his career in Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) military advocacy. As a Cryptologic Technician Second Class stationed at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Guam he helped to establish an organization known as OutServe which is now the world s largest resource for the actively serving LGBT military community. Living in fear was difficult painful and frightening and it inspired me to advocate for the rights of underrepresented minorities within the military community Andy explained. A large part of this industry involves educating. I m not talking about standing in front of a classroom and lecturing but rather engaging in an effective dialogue that opens the hearts and minds of the people you encounter. I served as the Regional Director for Guam and the Marianas Islands before co-directing the 2012 Our Families Matter Congressional Summit and the 2012 International Military Leadership Conference Andy noted. Now as the Development Director for The American Military Partner Association I m responsible for building and executing a development plan that will grow and diversify the organization s funder base. The kind of work I do is not supposed to be sustainable it is meant to educate allocate resources and advocate for a demographic that is for all intents and purposes a group of second-class citizens in the free world and I will remain in this field until I no longer have to. Andy has an impressive career history for still being so young. Getting on board with his current organization in March 2015 which is based in Washington DC he previously served as Operations Director for the Military Partners and Families Coalition from 2013-15 as the Assistant Conference Director for OutServe Service Member s Legal Defense Network from 2010-12 and as First Lady Michelle Obama s Scheduling and Advance Intern at The White House for six months in 2012 all following his four years of service in the US Navy as a Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) Petty Officer Second Class (E-5). Earning his Nuclear Electronics Technician Certification in 2008 his Cryptologic Technician Certification in 2009 and his BA in English Writing and Pre-Law with minors in Sociology and Urban Education as a Graduate with Distinction from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2014 Andy is now a JD Candidate at Willamette University with an expected graduation date of 2018. Andy discovered that he was gay while serving in the military. The Don t Ask Don t Tell policy was already in effect at the time of his enlistment and he felt he had nowhere to turn for guidance without the possibility of being discharged as he came to grips with his sexual orientation. Hiding who he really was from his peers subordinates and superiors left him feeling empty inside and unable to establish any solid connections with those around him. The secret to happiness is acceptance of yourself Andy said lastly who resides in Salem Oregon with husband Colin and their dog Sir Reginald the Earl of Puppydom . 25 Industry Experts Q&A Q Don t Ask Don t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act have been repealed so LGBT service members have nothing else to worry about right A Unfortunately no. We still have a long way to go before the LGBT military community has nothing else to worry about chiefly open transgender service non-discrimination protections marriage recognition and access to veteran s benefits. Q Can you explain a bit more about open transgender service A Transgender service members are still unable to serve openly. There are an estimated 15 000 actively serving members of the military that are not able to live as their true authentic selves because of the outdated medical regulations within the Department of Defense. Q So transgender service members aren t able to serve openly now even after Don t Ask Don t Tell has been repealed A Great question. No the repeal of Don t Ask Don t Tell allowed homosexual and bisexual service members to serve openly but made no changes to the bars preventing open service because of gender identity. Q And what is the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity A I explain it this way sexual orientation is who I am attracted to and gender identity is who I am. Sexual orientation (which is the term preferred over sexual preference ) is an individual s physical and or emotional attraction to the same and or opposite gender. Gay lesbian bisexual and straight are all examples of sexual orientations. Gender identity refers to a person s innate deeply felt psychological identification as a man woman or some other gender which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth. If an individual s identity doesn t correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth they re transgender. Q Regarding marriage recognition with the Defense of Marriage Act repealed why are families not being recognized A Many married same-sex families serving in non-marriage equality states are not recognized. While they do receive the benefits married couples receive in the military they face other problems like filing state taxes bans on second parent adoptions and denial of in-state tuition for military families. Q Why is it so important for same-sex military spouses to be recognized by the Department of Defense A The are so many benefits to recognition too many to fully list and explain in this interview but some of the most significant include military retirement and survivors benefits medical plans command-sponsored visas housing allowance legal assistance and access to military facilities (including recreation center exchanges commissaries and the base itself). Speaking as a current military spouse I can also say that getting my spouse identification card was validating in and of itself the country I served and that my husband currently serves finally looked at me with the respect that it has always given to my heterosexual counterparts. Q Why are veterans benefits still a concern A The US Supreme Court s decision in United States v. Windsor prompted many federal entities to begin recognizing all legally married same-sex marriages regardless of their state of residences current policies on the matter. However there is an inconsistency in the statute that regulates veteran benefits so the Department of Veterans Affairs only recognizes same-sex marriages in marriage-equality states. This bars many same sex couples from scores of benefits including the VA home loan and spousal survivor benefits. Q I saw recently that sexual orientation was added as a protected class within the Department of Defense. What does that mean for LGBT service members A That s correct it has finally been added as a protected class This is great for service members because it means complaints of harassment or discrimination based on an individual s sexual orientation will automatically trigger access to the Military Equal Opportunity Program s complaint and support processes. Q You currently work with the American Military Partner Association. What do you do for the LGBT military and their families while they are still facing all of these problems A I feel privileged to work as the Development Director for the American Military Partner Association. We always have several projects in the works and have as a non-partisan 501(c)3 nonprofit organization we are committed to education advocacy and support for LGBT military families or as we like to call them modern military families. We work to accomplish our mission by connecting our LGBT military families supporting them through the challenges of military service honoring them for their commitment to our country and serving them by advocating on their behalf. We are also entirely volunteer-led so 100% of our donations goes directly into our programs which is great for our families. Q It sounds like you are doing a lot for our military families. Has anything happened that made you sit back and realize the work you and your organization are doing really is making a difference A Most definitely We receive messages of thanks and photographs all the time affirming that we are making a difference. Occasionally I will print out a message and stick it on my cork board to remind me that the work is worth it especially during those difficult times. Right now I have a card hanging up given to me by a four-year-old Army brat after we sent her to the White House for an event with Mrs. Obama s Joining Forces initiative. She had the opportunity to meet Kermit the Frog see the First Lady tell a few jokes and watch the movie Muppets Most Wanted. Historically LGBT military families were unable to attend these events because of Don t Ask Don t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. Knowing she was able to attend and that she had an incredible time is absolutely affirming of the work we do. 26 Industry Experts Dr. Salilesh Mukhopadhyay Education Information Technology Statistical Research Religion & Ethics Environmental Pollution President Chief Executive Officer Feasible Solution LLC Hackettstown NJ 27 Industry Experts ppointed as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the West Bengal Higher Educational Service by the Governor of West Bengal in June 1980 Salilesh Mukhopadhyay had plans of dedicating his career to the study of mathematical physics statistical analysis computer science and religion ethics. Pursuing his undergraduate work at Vivekananda College in Thakurpukur Kolkata in Mathematics he then attended the University of Calcutta in West Bengal India to obtain his MSc PhD in Applied Mathematics which he completed in 1988. A My passion for teaching and research has kept me going all along in India Australia and the United States Salilesh said about his dedication to the field of higher education. I have always loved my students as my own and always strive for a better life for everyone. Over the course of Salilesh s career he has three published books on mathematics and religion and ethics Elementary Statistical Techniques in Data Analysis 2008 Mathematics Religion and Ethics An Epistemological Study 2010 and The Foundations of Geometry and Religion from an Abstract Standpoint 2012. In 2015 he published Just Get a Better Life. It is a step-by-step manual of how to live a better life by introducing the concepts of Good life Better Life and The Best Life as experienced by great philosophers and prophets including The Lord Buddha Jesus and The Mohammed. Chapter I on Indeterminates Cosmic Determinations and the Indeterminable are explained with natural versus artificial intelligence. The purpose of writing Just Get a Better Life was to enlighten people as to how to become more efficient and elevate their state of minds to the ultimate goal of Samadhi (Enlightenment) and thus attain Nirvana. While working toward his PhD in Applied Mathematics Salilesh s dissertation was called Some Problems on Statistical Mechanics (Foundations) From An Abstract Standpoint. Upon completion of his PhD Salilesh migrated to Melbourne Australia. Having earned a postgraduate scholarship to attend Australia s La Trobe University on July 4 1986 he graduating in 1992 with his second PhD in Statistics. His dissertation this time was titled Asymptotic Normality A Bayesian Approach. During his studies he worked as a statistical consultant for the Key Center for Statistical Sciences or KCSS for epidemiological studies on the AIDS epidemic that was hard hitting at the time. Remaining in Australia for nearly a decade Salilesh left for the United States on a Green Card in June 1996 to teach as an adjunct professor at the well-known City University of New York better known as CUNY in New York City. As he adjusted to working in the Big Apple he began spreading his wings teaching at the College of Staten Island the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Within just two years of living and working in the United States Salilesh founded his own business Feasible Solution Inc. which subsequently dissolved into a limited liability corporation in 2008. The mission statement of Feasible Solution LLC is For a better life in this lifetime. The initial purpose was to procure independent contract from larger incorporations to facilitate their quality assurance of the softwares. Later Salilesh started publishing books on mathematics statistics religion and ethics. Presently it is working as a Center of Excellence and Enlightenment. As President and Chief Executive Officer of Feasible Solution LLC Salish s main purpose is to establish a unique center of excellence in research and consultancy. He has published four books all available in the market via Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Moreover he is working on designing softwares for critical financial (banking and brokerage) applications together with his brother Dr. Saibalesh Mukhopadhyay. 28 What is Life by Erwin Schrodinger inspired me to concentrate more on the mathematical and statistical aspects of life especially the modern day Genom research project. It provides a step-by-step method to elevate oneself to the higher and better state of mind. Salilesh has hosted and organized numerous workshops in his field as well as boot camps like Charging the Chakras Small Business Feasibility and Economic Freedom and Basic Budgeting to name a few. He has also worked on the frontier of research in Catastrophe Theory Solitons Electromagnetism in Moving Media Plasma Entropy Theory Operator Algebraic Approach Phase Transition Using Von Neumann s Statistical Operator Artificial Intelligence and Designing of Expert Systems Fuzzy Logic Ergodic Theory Artificial Intelligence Versus Natural Intelligence and many more. Certified in the Introduction to CMMI Version 1.2 through the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute in 2009 this certification enables one to apply the capability Maturity Model with the individuals involved to get software companies different levels of maturity from two to five. Salilesh also earned a WNSF-Phishing Awareness Course through the Chief Information Officer G6 United States Army that same year. This series of courses from the Defense University enables the contractor to protect the content of Classified Secret and Top Secret documents. In 2014 he became a life member of American Mathematical Society. Residing in Hackettstown New Jersey Salilesh has been married for 30 years to Mrs. Sumita Mukhopadhyay. Some of his favorite pastimes include photography in the panoramic format with 35mm 120 and 220 films and medium format camera like Mamiya 645 and Yashica 635. Industry Experts Q&A Q What is Feasible Solution LLC A It s more than an incorporation it is a center for excellence and enlightenment. Q What was one remarkable achievement of Feasible Solution A We provided quality assurance during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to the Department of Defense US Army for Mortar Fire Control Systems (MFCS). Q How can you protect your digital life A The main purpose of writing the last of the trilogy was to educate people about the vulnerability of exposing their digital life. Be very careful what you publish in internet forums. Q How can statistics help to better one s life A Apply statistical decision theory to find out the best strategy decision in mitigating inherent risk. These models are intensive and require complicated mathematics. Q What will be the future of Feasible Solution LLC A The mission statement For a Better Life In This Lifetime demands that ultimately people will find time and the scope to enlighten themselves in their own space and thus continue my legacy. Q How will the genome research help mankind A A genome is an organism s complete set of DNA including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans a copy of the entire genome more than 3 billion DNA base pairs is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. Further documenting all living species genome sequencing will bring about a bright future. Q What is Homology A Homology is used differently in biology and mathematics. In biology similarity of the structure physiology or development of different species of organisms are based upon their descent from a common evolutionary ancestor. Homology is contrasted with analogy which is a functional similarity of structure based not upon common evolutionary origins but upon mere similarity of use. Homology in mathematics is the correspondence between elements that play similar roles in distinct geometric figures or mathematical functions. Q What is the globalization of Feasible Solution LLC A During my stay in different parts of the world I have established my students and followers who will continue the unstoppable urge to get a better life or eventually the best life in this lifetime. Q What is the difference between an academic institute and a corporation A As I see it they are both helping people to get a better life. Without proper education and research one can t achieve the better life. On the contrary large corporations bring exposure to the modern technologies for living a better life. Q Lastly how do you design the program for achieving a better life A This is a totally individualized program so the methods are different and designed as the specific need of the individual one-on-one basis. 29 Industry Experts Elsa Gomez Audrines Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Director Research and Development Quality Assurance Watson Manufacturing Services Inc. Corona CA B orn in Venezuela but raised in New York City and Puerto Rico Elsa Gomez Audrines had the wonderful opportunity to work for the Defense Department in the mid 1970s just after graduating college auditing pharmaceutical companies that provided medications for them. Switching gears she took a position with Searle Pharmaceuticals as a QA auditor and director in Puerto Rico before being promoted and transferred to Skokie Illinois as a plant manager. In 1995 she accepted a job with Watson Manufacturing first as a director of quality assurance then as vice-president of quality assurance and finally as vicepresident of operations before becoming their director of R&D quality assurance. Elsa has been challenged both mentally and physically in her field throughout the years. She believes that it is imperative to be able to communicate with coworkers just how important it is to do things right the first time and when errors occur not be afraid to inform management to implement corrective actions. In pharmaceuticals you cannot afford to have mistakes let alone be aware of them and do nothing about it when it happens. She also has the notion that it is very important to be open minded and willing to listen to new ideas in the field especially as they relate to manufacturing high quality products and maintaining affordable pricing in the industry. Elsa earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and her Master of Science Degree in Physical Chemistry both from the University of Puerto Rico. She considers herself blessed to have a career that is interesting rewarding and personally satisfying and is she glad that she can be a small part of making the world a better place through hard work and dedication to her field. However Elsa has learned that it isn t always about work. She loves to travel worldwide read and volunteer. Most recently she participated in a local literacy program in Corona to help those that struggle with their ability to read something many of us take for granted even today. I m lucky to work in an industry that can provide quality prescription medications at affordable prices. I also wanted to be able to ensure that medications made by the companies that I ve audited or worked for met all FDA requirements and were helpful to the people taking them Elsa said. As the director of R&D Quality Assurance Elsa ensures that all medications developed and manufactured by the company always meet Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requirements. She also ensures that the processes and any deviations from the processes if they occurred are investigated and documented. 30 Industry Experts Q&A Q What was it about the pharmaceutical side of the industry that initially enticed you to want to work in this particular niche market A Being able to provide medications needed by the public at a lower price was what really interested me. Q Had you not chosen to work in pharmaceutical manufacturing what direction do you think you might have explored A I would have probably gone into the school system to become a teacher. Q What are some of the most challenging aspects in working in pharmaceuticals and manufacturing A Some of the most challenging aspects are in proving that the product you are making meets all federal requirements and that it had the same effects as the brand product. Q What are some of the ways in which the industry changed since you first started out A Generic pharmaceutical products are accepted and are used the same as brand products the public is more knowledgeable of how the generic products function and are manufactured. Q What areas do you feel still need improvement A Directing Research and Development groups to work on medical conditions that need medication whether it is a new drug or a generic drug still needs improvement. Q What are some of the biggest misconceptions about the FDA A Some misconceptions are that they do not have knowledge information on pharmaceutical manufacturing processes and only focus on the testing of the drug products. Q Are you a member of any organizations in your field A I am not actively involved however I do participate with the American Chemical Society from time to time. Q Do you think mentorship is an important role to play to the next generation working in your field A Yes. Absolutey. Q Have there been any mentors or others in the field that have inspired or helped you gain insight into your specialty A I was fortunate enough to work with two pioneers of the generic pharmaceutical industry Allen Chao PhD and David Hsia PhD founders of Watson Pharmaceuticals. Q What is the biggest difference between generic pharmaceuticals and non-generic for patients For you A There is no difference. A patient with an illness takes medications that are prescribes to them by their doctor(s) and these medications can be the brand or the approved generic version. 31 Industry Experts Dr. Henry E. Halladay PE Aerospace Systems Electrical Research and Development Retired Boeing Company Private Consultant Bellevue WA 32 Industry Experts E lectrical Engineer Dr. Henry E. Halladay spent his 40-year career in aerospace systems working with aircraft missiles space systems subsystems and components. Since retiring from Boeing Company in 2008 he has been doing private consulting work on the side. Ever since I can remember I ve been interested in science and technology Henry said. I chose to study electrical engineering because of the varied and interesting challenges and combined knowledge of electronics chemistry physics and communications. Although it was sometimes challenging to keep up with varied fields like software microelectronics aerospace systems and subsystems electromagnetic compatibility and communications Henry continued to excel. He honed his communication skills to get his ideas across convinced management that his ideas had merit and continued to work with varied groups to solve key technical issues. He was continually willing to work as part of a team and was constantly educating himself in the field. Henry has been instrumental in the development of a state-ofthe-art Signal Analysis Laboratory for component subsystem and system analysis verification and validation. He has published papers in Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Proceedings IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices and IET Electronic Letters and holds four US patents in geolocation algorithms and hardware implementations. He s also written numerous Boeing documents presentations user manuals and software documents. Henry attended the University of Minnesota obtaining his BS MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering. During his time at school he was elected to Eta Kappa Nu Tau Beta Pi and Order of the Engineers. After graduating he chose to work for Boeing because he was driven by the company s varied divisions and advanced opportunities. Boeing is a company that recognizes engineering contributions which was quite appealing to Henry. It also offered an environment that fostered advanced technology. Henry was fortunate to work with a large number of engineers who served as mentors which was always a plus. He was able to learn new skills and expand his capabilities while working alongside others that kept him motivated throughout his entire career. Initially Henry was involved with microwave integrated circuits for aerospace applications as a research assistant. His background and interest expanded his role in subsystems and system design research and development including software hardware. This also included his own research and development assisting of subcontractors and doing system integration tasks for aerospace subsystems and systems. Henry advanced through the company from research assistant to principle engineer technical fellow and finally as senior technical fellow. He was involved with aircraft components and subsystems satellite components and subsystems communication systems electromagnetic compatibility issues and computer simulations of circuits subsystems and systems. In addition to hardware design implementation and delivery he also worked with computer systems software and networking. He is experienced in computer languages including FORTRAN C Visual Basic IEEE 488 instrumentation control and Ethernet protocols for instrumentation command and control. It s important to keep on learning not only in your immediate skills but in others as well. Communicate your ideas results and recommendations publish your work and push yourself Henry said who has been doing private consulting work since retirement. Henry is a senior member of IEEE and a member of National Society of Professional Engineers and Washington State Chapter of Professional Engineers. He is also a contributing member of Alumni of the University of Minnesota Boeing Museum of Flight and Psi Upsilon. Keeping active both physically and mentally is very important to Henry. He monitors his health through FITBIT and Body Monitor Scale and enjoys using his Elliptical to stay in shape and his hot tub at the end of a long day. To keep his mind strong he likes playing mind stressing video games educates himself via the internet and DVD training and reads current technical journals emails and publications to stay abreast of current trends. Widowed Henry has two children and one grandchild who all live close by. Residing in Bellevue Washington he enjoys gardening feeding the wild birds and taking care of his cats. 33 Industry Experts Q&A Q Do you have an advice for others interested in working in the same field A Obtaining a BSEE is a great start. But following up with an MSEE from a recognized school is even better. Seeking summer employment while still in school within an industry that is interesting to you and offers varied opportunities is also important. Researching into companies that offer varied opportunities affords you more opportunity as well. Talking to people within the industry also offers you the chance to gain more insight into perspective companies. Q Had you not worked for Boeing where do you think your career might have taken you A I had interviewed with several other electronics companies prior to choosing Boeing and would have selected another if Boeing did not work out. Q What are some of the misconceptions about working in a field such as yours A This probably would include insufficient professional recognition pay for performance advancement processes varied assignments and working environment. Q What are some of the ways in which you contributed to your field do you feel set you apart from the competition and that you feel is good advice for others in their career A You must be willing to work as part of a team first and foremost. Keep on learning not only in your immediate skills but in others as well. Be able to effectively communicate your ideas results and recommendations. Maintain a healthy mind and body. Publish if you can. Most importantly push yourself. Q In order to become a consultant or expert in your field such as yourself what do you feel are some qualifications one must have to be successful A You should be able to demonstrate professional performance through advancement have recognized publications and skills obtain patents and be a member of recognized professional organizations. Q How is consulting different from your former 9-5 job with Boeing A First of all it was never 9-5 but what the company wanted or what I thought was necessary. But that meant my life was Boeing with dedication perseverance and persistence and learning all the time. I am still learning but now on MY schedule. Q What types of projects do you currently consult clients on A Engineering software hardware and the integration of those technologies. Q Do you ever plan on fully retiring from your work A No but I can focus on areas of my interest not someone else s. Q Did you ever consider teaching at any point in your career in particular higher education Why or why not A I taught as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota and provided seminars and mentoring at Boeing public school teaching has more politics than just teaching. I witnessed even more politics at the University level. Q Other than the complications of keeping up with the varied fields like software microelectronics and others you mentioned previously what were some of the other drawbacks you encountered over your 40-year career A I don t consider them drawbacks. I think learning is an important aspect of any career which means keeping an open mind exploring new ideas and profiting by others experiences. Keeping abreast of one s chosen profession is the way we become successful. 34 Industry Experts Kent Smith Information Technology Consulting Staffing eLearning Training Managing Director Eikon Consulting Group McKinney TX 35 Industry Experts O n the road nearly 100% of the time as a traveling salesman for a tropical fish products manufacturing company called Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Kent Smith thoroughly enjoyed his career. But after he and his wife were expecting their first child he knew that the traveling life was no longer in his cards if he wanted to be a good husband and father. Desperate to get off the road Kent was encouraged by his wife who has spent the last 20 years in the staffing business and now working for KPMG to join her. In creating a business model for Eikon Kent knew that if he launched as a staffing provider he was going to have a tough time so he needed to market himself in a different light with different service offerings coupling staffing and eLearning training with consulting services. He wanted clients to know that he wished to be a true extension of their organization and that meant that he would help them when staff augmentation was needed. He also wanted them to understand that he valued employee retention for their organization since his clients best hires are those already working for them. In May 2014 Kent was awarded a Learning Management System project with one of the largest telecom companies in the world. Partnering with a leader that did phenomenal LMS work with exceptional customer service the project has become a catalyst for new clients needing LMS services. In June 2014 Eikon acquired a B2C eCommerce Training and eLearning company called CompuCert which entered the web in 2004 and had built a great following from individuals across the US looking for great training curriculum to acquire IT certifications. Kent believed that being able to offer clients employee discounted training courses or client managers the ability to get their internal staff certified would add tremendous value to Eikon s relationship with their clients. Eikon now offers over 200 courses from providers like Microsoft Cisco and CompTIA and will be expanding their training services to cover classroom training and new courses for other skillsets like business skills finance and accounting. Eikon also created a professional services division led by a former client of Kent s LuAnn Martinez. Kent asked her to come on board to lead their Professional Services practice becoming instrumental in differentiating the company in the marketplace. A career professional and change agent with over 20 years of experience LuAnn s experience includes technology change mergers spinoffs and acquisitions. She is technically and functionally well rounded has worked in program management budget and resource management process development data center infrastructure voice and data networking help desk technology architecture system development and implementation and call center support systems. She holds a BS in Computer Science and an MBA. An active member of the American Staffing Association Kent s business strategy to offer more than just staffing have been instrumental in his success. For over 15 years Kent has differentiated himself by offering a one-of-a-kind virtual resume called Techie-Talk. Techie-Talk is customized audio interviews of their candidates that they then present to their clients and embed the audio profile on the candidate s resume. Traditionally staffing firms source candidates and send over text resumes to their clients. From that resume the client has to make a decision to either interview or not interview the candidate. If they guess wrong they re interviewing a candidate for 30-45 minutes only to realize within the first few minutes that they aren t going to move forward with hiring that candidate. Techie-Talk is 100% customized and allows Eikon s clients to hear a candidate s communication skills or technically evaluate a candidate s skills based on specific technical questions that their clients want to hear. 36 Industry Experts My wife was a recruiter for a small staffing company in Dallas at the time Kent remembers. She would bring home the names of companies looking to hire salespeople. I would call them for an interview but once they learned that I sold fish drugs I would immediately be rejected. After nearly a year of trying Kent got a lucky break when his wife s boss had left her company to work for another firm in town. When one of their sales reps resigned Kent interviewed for the position and got the job. Entering into the information technology (IT) consulting field in 1998 Kent literally felt like a fish out of water (no pun intended). At the age of 30 he didn t even know how to send an email on the computer. Three months and thousands of phone calls later Kent hit a grand slam with a new client and the rest is history. Kent went on to finish the year as the top sales person in the office and number seven in the company that included over 50 offices. Kent s passion for helping people and making a difference is what he loves most about the industry. Now the owner of Eikon Consulting Group in McKinney Texas a suburb of Dallas as founder and CEO Kent s company is just a little over a year old. Whether it s helping an individual make the perfect career choice or aiding a client in finding great talent Kent s excitement each day is always unique. He oversees every aspect of Eikon including sales marketing website design strategic direction recruiting cold calling and bookkeeping. He s come a long way and couldn t be happier with his success thus far. My very first boss in the staffing business used to tell me that it s simple but it s not easy Kent explained. It s an industry that is very crowded and filled with tons of competition and rejection but you have to stay the course and remind yourself daily that it will be worth it in the end. A client once said to me I don t know who I m going to hire in the first few minutes but I know who I m not going to hire and this technology gives me those first few minutes Kent added. Techie-Talk is a way of taking something that is done the conventional way and making it unconventional. I ve never had a client tell me that Techie-Talk was a waste of their time. Eikon s newest service offering that is being launched in early 2015 is fractional project management services. This allows Eikon to target clients from the smallest to the largest that need project management services but either need them on a part-time basis or to help their clients bridge a temporary gap if a full-time resource is not budgeted. Service Offerings Eikon Consulting Group can provide services either on a contract (hourly) basis or as a Statement of Work (fixed fee). Eikon provides technology consulting services in several areas of specialization (and a unique delivery method in Techie-Talk) Professional Services - SOWs fixed fee or hourly agreements ranging from Program Management Project Governance Business Strategy Technology Strategy Business Analysis Technology Architecture IT Budget Development Administration Business Process Reengineering Part-Time Project Management Office (Fractional PMP certified project managers) IT staffing (consulting on a contract contract-to-hire or direct hire basis) Techie-Talk (a unique service offering that allows our clients to hear a candidate s communication skills and technical aptitude BEFORE you waste your valuable time interviewing audio samples can be heard at http eikoncgi.com techie-talk.aspx) eLearning and LMS services (LMS Services External Training eLearning services- CompuCertwww.CompuCert.com. Utilizing CompuCert to benefit our clients that need their internal staff trained in technologies like Cisco Citrix VMWare Microsoft and many others. Based on the volume of staffing consulting business that is generated we give our clients training vouchers that could add up to FREE training for their employees.) Married with three children Kent and his wife have two sons and a little girl that they adopted from China. Their eldest son is now 16 and a sophomore in high school while their youngest son and adopted daughter are both four-years-old. 37 Q&A Q What is it about the development of Techie-Talk that makes Eikon stand out A Techie-Talk saves valuable time for our clients and our talent in the interview process. We believe our interviewto-hire ratio is as close to 1 1 as you can get because our clients get to hear a candidate virtually before they set up a phone screen or face-to-face interview. We utilize Techie-Talk to create a general overview of a candidate s background allowing our clients to gauge our talent s communication skills in an industry that is extremely diversified. We also record our reference checks instead of using a conventional paper reference check and create customized technical screening questions that our clients want to hear the candidate answer. Q As a business owner what are some of the important principles that you stand by A I m not sure it s anything I ve learned from business but honesty and integrity are the two guiding principles that I live by each day and have served me well in business. Industry Experts Marty Ueland Plastic Material Handling Products Owner President TranPak Inc. Fresno CA 38 Industry Experts I t s been nearly 25 years now since Marty Ueland first made the decision to get involved in the business of recycling. Working among many agriculture chemical companies that used plastic containers he was hard pressed about not letting them end up in landfills. Helping to develop a process where these containers could instead be cleaned picked up and made into an aftermarket product Marty became educated about plastics and the processes involved with them. One of the in-use markets I felt would fill a need was a plastic pallet that could be reused and created from recycled materials Marty explained which ultimately led to the formation of his own business. They are much cleaner making it less of a hassle as far as paperwork processes and procedures at the border and in the long run is more economical and efficient than traditional wood pallets. After earning his Bachelor s Degree from the University of Montana in 1966 Marty sold insurance for a few years which actually began while he was still in college. After marrying his wife he left the insurance business to work for Chevron Chemical. After just one year the company requested that he downsize to a 3-hour work day due to sales being twice what the company forecasted for his territory. After his employment with Chevron he ran the Bitterroot Cannery for two years. He was then invited by two gentlemen from Billings to help them start a chemical company. Agreeing to join in for 25% of the profits of his sales the company was eventually sold after seeing substantial growth. As a result of the sale of the business Marty owned a good share of the spinoff company Snake River Chemical. Within five years ConAgra bought the business and he began working for them. On his own to find customers buyers products and land the right sales ConAgra continued to grow and Marty found himself in in Washington DC learning how to start a pesticide container recycling program. Spending two years learning all about plastics Marty then decided it was time to form TranPak manufacturing reusable plastic pallets and bins for a multitude of industries. Having spent most of his time meeting people looking for new clients and markets and trying to continuously grow Marty spent the little free time that he had with his family. Although he has always known that he would have to slow down a bit at some point it is still a work in progress for him. He is beginning to enjoy life more and for the first time ever he spent much of his summer learning to play golf and fly fish. He s even gone rafting and hiking a few times and plans to take his boat out on the lake next summer with his wife. You have to use your common sense have an open mind and hold passion for what you are learning Marty admits about his many lessons learned in business. Looking back I feel as though all of my objectives have been met and I thank God for the many gifts I have been given not only in career but the education I ve received and the beautiful family I am blessed with. I am very content. One of the biggest influences on Marty s career was George Doering from ConAgra whom he still regards as one of his greatest mentors in life. George was a very professional person who was able to talk to anyone from the truck driver transporting goods to the higher-ups. He could think and work with anyone on any level. He had the respect of everyone he worked with and taught Marty a great deal when it came to business and how to work with a multitude of different people. Marty is forever indebted to all that George has bestowed to him over the years and Marty is a better boss for it today. Marty and his wife Donna have three sons Eric Christian and Jon. They also have six grandchildren Luke Cooper Lucy Porter Noah and Gabriel. Growing up in Montana Marty graduated from Boys Central High School in the town of Butte. Defining himself as a man who was always excited about whatever he was doing and whoever he met it is the essence of who he is and everything his company represents. He is a man who was never afraid to take risks and never hesitated making cold calls. He believes in who his and what his company represents. He views the world with enthusiasm 39 and positive expectations. Launched in 1995 TranPak Inc. is based in Fresno California with facilities in Salt Lake City Utah and St. Louis Missouri and managers based in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest areas of the United States who provide clients with fast experienced service. Specializing in stocking the largest selection of one-of-a-kind plastic pallets and plastic bins in the country TranPak prides itself of providing a unique stock of products that are ready on time with deliveries made very simple for each and every customer. TranPak will even take the necessary steps to design and create custom bins for clients making for a great return on investment in the end. Every pallet is designed and tested for quality by doing a series of tests including impact crush and heat and certain plastics are later recycled and restored with major recyclers all over the nation. Although Marty s business has him exploring new markets often it is also his responsibility as president of TranPak to teach other companies the value of using plastic pallets to ship their products. As a member of Pesticide Stewardship Alliance and several other organizations he feels it s equally important to belong to as many local commodity groups as possible and attend as many meetings as he can to stay informed of their needs and be on top of what is and isn t available currently. Marty invests a lot of time in his employees too making sure that each of them is happy and that everything is running smoothly on site. Marty s great interest in the technology and in the fact that people were genuinely interested in purchasing a product with returnable and recycling value has kept him yearning to do better and better every day for more than 20 years. Yet learning exactly what each client needed and how TranPak fit into the criteria of what they needed used to be somewhat of a challenge for him in the beginning. Marty spent a lot of time learning how to listen and ask questions and assess what he had learned to become an expert in effectively supplying clients with products that would serve them well. Q&A Q Why is your industry essential in today s world A It s essential because we recognize the importance of sanitation cleanliness and ergonomics as well as the value of products that are reusable and recyclable. Q What makes Reusable Pallets from TranPak a good investment A Our reusable pallets are designed for specific in-house or closed loop application. The proper pallet from TranPak will streamline operations and satisfy regulations while reducing costs over traditional packaging. Q What makes TranPak unique in the world of material handling A We listen to your needs and bring the most cutting edge plastic pallets and bins to the market so that your needs are satisfied. We specialize in stocking the broadest selection of plastic pallets and plastic bins in the country and pride ourselves in being recognized experts in all lines of product and process. Q Why is a product that can be reused of more value than a product that can be recycled A The formation and distribution of those products comes at a tremendous energy cost whether it s fuel to transport the products or electricity and water to form the products. TranPak sources avenues to REUSE plastic pallets and containers whenever possible. Q What s most important to maintaining the highest level of return on your investment in reusable pallets and containers A Choosing the correct product for your need is the most vital component to assuring the highest level of return on your investment. TranPak excels in their knowledge and understanding of all products processes designs and testing. We apply our expertise in determining the product that will most effectively serve your application. Q What is the most challenging part of growth at TranPak A The most challenging part of TranPak s growth is finding the right people to work and lead the way to future growth while effectively sustaining a superior level of operation. Q What is the marketing plan for TranPak A We attend appropriate tradeshows have an internal web and social media employee who keeps us updated print very nice literature to send out and speak at various seminars. Q What seems to be the most successful method of making the correct sale A We visit the site to see how the pallet is to be used listen ask questions and get input from different personnel from shipping to finance quality control and production. Q Who are your main customers A No one segment stands out but some include pharmacy high tech and food processing. TranPak really focuses on exporting one-way pallets. Plastic is exempt from declarations since insects do not reside in our products like they do in wood pallets (which must be heat treated) and certified papers are needed at the ports. Q Do you see growth in your business A We have a steady pattern of growth and profits for over 20 years and today are very sure there will be accelerated growth if we want to accept it. 40 Industry Experts Nathan Annenberg Education Mathematics Consultant Gold Star Consultant New York NY 41 Industry Experts F or over 30 years Nathan Annenberg was a mathematics and science teacher in the New York City public school system. Retiring in 2005 Nathan capitalized on his ability to improve the effectiveness of math teachers and went on to open his own business as a mathematics consultant. Not only have I proven to be a successful math coach but I truly enjoy what I am doing Nathan said about his last 10 years in coaching. It is touching to see the gratitude of the teachers that I help and the appreciation of the administration but most of all I love to see the aha moment in students faces when they finally get a difficult concept that I ve helped them to understand. Nathan is an expert in every level of mathematics education. Whether working in the elementary middle or high school he understands the big picture when it comes to the history behind mathematics education and the direction it is going. In the lower grades he can guide what they are learning in terms of where they need to be in the future. In higher grades he knows what prerequisite skills they should have been taught in earlier grades for them to be adequately prepared for their current level. To truly be recognized as an authority in his field Nathan has written two books and is now putting together two more. The first book Why Didn t I Think of That A Collection of Unorthodox Approaches to Mastering Math demonstrates an entirely new and fun way to master mathematic topics previously viewed as difficult by permanently internalizing concepts through something he calls guided self-discovery . The second book The Algebra Tiles Compendium was written for students who are struggling with the abstract concepts of algebra. The algebra tiles kit consists of a few large plastic squares some plastic rods and many tiny squares. Nathan shows the reader how to use these tiles to master ratio and proportions linear equations factoring and solving quadratic equations among other topics by moving the tile pieces around. Working on ways to integrate Vedic math a system of knowledge from ancient India into the US Common Core Nathan has already lead two workshops on several of the Vedic topics. He specializes in learning ancient Hebrew chants for the weekly Torah reading and at 65-years-old constantly tweaks a weightlifting program of his to preserve strength and fitness well into advanced years. Involved with two professional math educators organizations Nathan is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Association of Math Teachers of New York State. He participates in both of their periodic workshops and reads their professional journals regularly. Nathan earned an MA in Elementary Education from New York University an MEd in Educational Administration from the Teacher s College an MS in Computers in Education and an MS in Math Education from Long Island University. He graduated from both the basic and advanced level online courses from the Vedic Maths Academy an organization that teaches alternative ways to present math from the wisdom of ancient India holds a certification in New York State Teacher of Mathematics grades 7-12 is a certified NYC licensed Curriculum Coordinator and holds a NYC Common Branches license. Married with two children Nathan s wife is a public school teacher who has developed special math and art programs. Their daughter is majoring in media and communications while their son is studying biomedical engineering. Nathan started his teaching career in 1970 teaching for 19 years in District 10 School s fourth grade in the Bronx New York. In 1989 he was asked to teach science and coach in Public School 246 a position he held for another 14 years before going back to District 10 in 2002 as a math coach. During this time in Nathan s career he also taught math and science in the evening for Telshe Yeshiva of Riverdale a high school level yeshiva in the Bronx with its own dorms for students all over the country. Retiring from the position after 23 years Nathan was honored in their newsletter as the most popular secular studies teacher they had ever had. In 2005 Nathan began working with Fordham University s Special Educational Outreach Department which builds up its own network of schools with distressed math programs. Nathan is sent into these schools to raise the students math scores. As a math consultant Nathan works with teachers modeling countless lessons for them to instruct their classes so that each teacher can appreciate and benefit from a new way of delivering the information and engage students more. He also supports and empowers teachers with new tools and insights to assist in the students ability to learn. Nathan watches each teacher lead the lesson then during key points he interjects with helpful tips or takes over the lesson for a few minutes to tweak it in a certain direction. After the lesson is complete Nathan gives the teacher feedback either through a private conference or via email. Nathan also works directly with the school administration advising them on the general direction of where the school should be going and on specific issues regarding teachers. He designs his own curriculums and assessment units to present the material in a clearer more effective way. On days when students are out Nathan leads professional development workshops on specific math topics. Through all of Nathan s teachings and administration consulting he continues to teach students as well. He works with individual students to see how they learn and gains more experience among a whole spectrum of ages abilities and backgrounds. Working with students from kindergarden-12th 42 grade Industry Experts Q&A Q Who is the intended audience for your books A My books are for parents whose children are struggling with math and teachers who need novel approaches to reach their students in math class. Q What are some ways your books will help elementary school kids to not be afraid of math A I stress guided self-discovery. Instead of having to memorize boring addition or multiplication tables I devise fun engaging activities for them find out for themselves what these basic math facts are. This way they own it because they discover it on their own. Q How will your books help a student through middle school math A A big part of this grade band is ratio and proportion. I show how it branches out into so many topics like making recipes showing fractions in simpler form and calculating the speed of a car. I also show a quick and easy alternative to the usual clumsy way that is taught to solve proportion problems. Q What about the rigors of high school math How can you overcome that A One of my two books deals with algebra tiles a handson way for kids who are afraid of solving scary equations by just moving physical shapes around. For plane geometry I show how one single diagram can cover a huge part of this curriculum and demystify all those abstract concepts about proving two triangles are congruent. Q Are there any pivotal moments that really honed your skills as a math educator A My toughest audience ironically was not the often difficult students in many inner city classes I usually visit but rather the ultra-Orthodox yeshiva high school students I had for my night job as a science and math teacher. Their Talmud studies actually train them to be good arguers and they really forced me to become a very clear explainer. Q Could you sum up great math education in as short a summary as possible A Two principles 1) As much as possible students should not be made to blindly memorize any skills procedures or formulas. Rather they should appreciate the conceptual understanding behind them and any logical connections to other areas of math (it must make sense to them) and 2) Different students see the same problem in different ways. Teach two or more approaches to the same topic and encourage from them their own unique kinds of solutions. Q Is real-life application important A Obviously and that should always be encouraged but math games and puzzles are equally important. It s a great motivator and inculcates the idea that math can be fun and challenging. Q As a math coach is there any special advice on how to train teachers A Being an expert in your field and a clear speaker in only 50%. The other half is skill in human relationships. You need to be more of a mentor to the teachers than an authority figure (like their supervisor). Your message I m here to help you out not judge you. Q What about students who fear math How do you help them overcome it A Teach that making a mistake is an opportunity for learning. When a student answers a question problem I pose I ask how he she got it even if they are right. It s the explanation of the student where you really discover the thinking process behind it and are better able to help. Q What is your opinion of calculators A They are good for one thing accomplishing truly difficult math tasks (like finding a trigonometric value or getting out of the way cumbersome calculations like the square root of a non-perfect square). But NEVER should it be used as a crutch to do basic calculations in the four operations of simple addition subtraction multiplication or division problems. Mathematical illiteracy is widespread because in part calculators make it too easy to get the answer. However this will backfire because mathematically slow students cannot translate a verbal math situation into an abstract math problem. This ability only comes with diligent practice in manual math calculations. 43 Industry Experts Raymond Hopper Music - Traditional Country Owner of www.hoppervalleymusic.com Universal City TX 44 Industry Experts R aymond Hopper was 19 years old in the United States Air Force when he started writing songs. He has always loved country music mostly because the songs tell a story. So I quit the band after a New Year s gig. I never sang or performed again until after I was retired from the Teamsters. Most of Raymond s songs came to him going down the highway in the late hours of the night during the years he drove an 18-wheeler following his time with the band. After finishing basic and advanced training I was in Oakland CA waiting to go to Korea and heard a sad story about a guy who shot his girlfriend s father during an argument because he didn t approve of their relationship. That incident inspired me to write my first song Looking at the Sunset . Raymond grew up listening to Hank Williams Sr. but heard Elvis Presley while in the Air Force and was taken with rock and roll. Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers became his idols. I have written around 100 songs. I recorded my first album in 2003 and started my website HopperValleyMusic.com. In 2010 I recorded my second album. I am associated with BMI and have 26 songs registered with them. His love of music has kept Raymond going all these years. When I was in Yokota Japan I heard Elvis sing That s All Right Mama and I was hooked. During his time in the service Raymond drew inspiration from other situations as well. I was going over the bridge on Old Highway 90 in Pascagoula MS. A lover s triangle on the radio inspired me to write the song Sinning Wonder . Another time I was in Korea and my mother sent me a breakfast meat that is eaten like gravy. I shared it with my Sergeant and his wife and ate it with biscuits she had baked. That inspired me to write the song Mothers Remember . Two years later Raymond was discharged and started up a rock and roll band. But after four years of playing in bars and being very religious he began to see that he could be led astray by the temptations that came with fame and fortune. At times writing my songs would lift me off the ground and make me fly. To me I was hearing the song lyrics and music before anyone else. Even my own family did not know I had written all those songs until I recorded the albums. I am hoping someone will hear my music and be able to help make things happen with my songs. I truly believe that if you love something do not procrastinate. Go with it full speed ahead. 45 Industry Experts Q&A Q Why is my business music A There is no end to music. Q Why am I a songwriter A There is no end to songs. Q Why am I a singer A There is no end to singers. Q Why do I love music A There will always be music. Q What happens when I write a song A Sometimes it lifts me off my feet and I fly. Q How do I write songs A Songs just come to me. Q Why can t everyone write songs A Because music is a gift. Q Why can t music become extinct A Because people compose music daily. Q Why are there so many different kinds of music A Because people write different kind kinds of music. Q Can music ever be replaced A No way. 46 Industry Experts Executive Coaching and Career Direction Franchise Owner The Entrepreneur s Source Boston MA 47 Robert T. Foley Industry Experts R obert T. Foley set out in 2014 to reinvent himself after retiring from his corporate career. He wanted to start a second career where he could help people define who they really are and what they really want to do with their own career. He graduated in 1974 from Providence College with a degree in social work as the Great Oil Recession gripped the employment market. I had to improvise and ended up going into public service as the County Sheriff s Assistant with a large part of my job focusing on Human Resources. Three years later Marriott Hotels came calling and invited me to join them as my hometown Marriott s (Springfield MA) Director of Personnel. Robert went on to work his way up the corporate ladder for several other well-known companies such as Sheraton Fidelity Investments LaQuinta Inns Travelodge Hotels and Pyramid Hotel Group. Today to realize that second career he s found and purchased a franchise The Entrepreneur s Source a company that provides alternative career choices for those in need of bringing clarity into their personal and professional lives. Through this clarity process Robert brings new perspectives to clients business challenges. And his coaching brings engagement that helps clients really discover what they want out of life and how to achieve it. Our approach is different than most others in that we help our clients by opening them up to self-employment through buying an existing business or starting a franchise something I know a great deal about having worked for the then world s largest franchising organization with 41 brands under its umbrella. This approach has proven very popular with baby boomers not ready to retire but ready to hang up the corporate lifestyle . His advice for anyone getting into this industry is to be able to manage its growth and individual company assignments. In the earlier part of my career that meant feeding the system with the very best talent available and then making sure they were wellinformed on their task. As I ascended through the ranks my role became more strategic and I had to learn how to lead rather than manage. That is a big transition which is what defines good from great. Robert would like to be remembered as someone who did the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. 48 Industry Experts Q&A Q You mentioned in an earlier conversation that you retired from your corporate career and launched your second career a coaching career. What led you to do this A Need. Over the last ten years I kept coming across people who didn t feel they fit into the traditional workplace. These people are baby boomers and millennials. Their companies have not given them the coaching they need to succeed. So they feel disenfranchised and not wanted. Q So baby boomers feel they don t fit in due to their age A That is the great misnomer. Baby boomers aren t too old. They have priced themselves out of the market as the millennials are cheaper better educated but inexperienced. Baby boomers need to understand that their value is in their experience it s just a question of how they go to market. Q So if the millennials are inexperienced how do they get that experience A Companies need to invest in succession planning driven by a skills gap analysis and that will lead them to a pathway to deliver high performance leadership training for the millennials and third party consulting opportunities for their baby boomers. Q That sounds logical and simple so why isn t it mainstream A Change. Big corporate does not like change especially if it s leadership that just happens to be baby boomers. They don t want to displace themselves although time and trends will push industry that way and it will be viewed as catastrophic by some. But if dealt with now it will be seamless. Q Does it still seem like a daunting task to get these two groups equipped for the great generational change A The change is underway in a limited way for some of the more recognizable companies. As new millennial leaders emerge and occupy CEO chairs the baby boomers will get the point and start the transition process within their companies because they don t want their legacy to be one of an obstructionist but rather a visionary. Finally it will also help their transition if they make using outside consultants acceptable for their second career. The last thing you want to be is the last one to the life boat. Q I am intrigued with your positioning of self-employment as a transition strategy. Please explain further. A Like every change people gravitate towards things that they know. For the most part corporate types like vision purpose and structure. That s why if they get displaced in this grand generational change they will gravitate first towards another corporate job which 20% will be able to land (but for how long ) through relationships usually at a less position and pay. So what of the 80% They are the group that franchising will appeal to. Q What about buying an existing business Why wouldn t that be more appealing A First off the volume of displacement will outstrip the available inventory of businesses to buy. Next the displaced executives will need to mourn the loss of their executive careers and then decide what is best for them. That s when enlightenment and freedom will dawn for the ones that get through the denial and anger stages. For those brave souls some (15%) will find a business to buy but for the 65% still flailing a franchise business will become a real consideration. Q So how does the story end for the 65% A First off 15% of the displaced will have enough saved to retire which leaves us with 50%. Of that group 10% will be smart and resourceful enough to begin and sustain their own consulting business or go into not for profit work. Of the 40% remaining a little more than half that number (60%) will embrace franchising with the remaining 16% never getting by the anger stage and will find and sadly occupy an undesirable position. Q With the high rate of start-up business failures won t that be a big negative for people becoming sole proprietors A It will be a challenge. In fact most successful small business people will tell you that they have at least two to four attempts before a business takes for a variety of reasons but usually it s because the business plan is flawed as either the model the market or their funding is lacking. That is where the career coach comes in. They can help facilitate a less rocky transition but in the end it s up to the individual to make their business successful. Q So with those flaws what is the best course to take A The most logical path is franchising because you are buying a proven business model with support from people who have done it before. But buyer beware not all markets support all business models no matter how proven. The bottom line is that water reaches its own level and so will you. Just hang in there and remember you are launching a new career. You may have to acquire a whole new skill set and that can take time and money. Your coach will be your counselor and help you to avoid costly pitfalls. They will also help you determine which business is right for you. 49 Industry Experts Scott Keefer Human Capital Consulting President Cobra Leadership Development Inc. Dumfries VA 50 Industry Experts S upporting small- and medium-sized companies in Northern Virginia as the founder of Cobra Leadership Development Inc. Scott Keefer specializes in assessments and surveys leadership development programs and executive coaching. Helping professionals and organizations solve everyday problems and become better in their own industries is something that Scott enjoys wholeheartedly and he feels very fortunate to be able to work alongside some of the most intelligent and enthusiastic professionals each and every day. Cobra Leadership Development Inc. focuses on highperformance leadership development staff assessments and team improvement. As president Scott works diligently by offering his expert problem solving skills training facilitating and coaching abilities in an effort to assist top management on a range of subjects. He is considered a very trusted and well respected advisor in personal and professional growth and is eager to work with both commercial and government clients to get them to the next level. Conducting highly sensitive organizational assessments to get to the current status of his clients organizations and the environment they are competing in Scott combines team building activities strategy development and execution individualized coaching performance improvement and project management delivering results they are looking to achieve. Earning his BA in Political Science from Clarion State University in 1983 followed by his MBA in Conflict Resolution from Touro University in 2003 Scott continues to challenge his mind wherever and whenever possible. He is very fond of reading all about the great leaders in history which enables future leaders the ability to apply historical lessons to today s environment. The foundation of being a good leader and great problem solver after all hasn t much changed. He also believes in studying up on diverse organizations particularly when it comes to race culture gender and generational making for a more professional and well-rounded individual. You have to have faith in yourself and be able to realize that nothing comes easy Scott said about what it takes to reach your goals in life whatever they may be. But you must develop a plan for yourself first. Stay the course and in the end you will achieve success as you define it. My career in this business is the next step of a professional career that began when I entered the Army in 1983 Scott noted. I served a total of 23 years in the active and reserve component of the US Army and 16 years with Booz Allen & Hamilton a leading consulting firm based in Northern Virginia. Armed with the experience I was about to compile in the Army and at Booz Allen I decided to start my own company to support other businesses. Scott also oversees the sales and marketing aspects of the business handles business development and serves as the lead trainer and facilitator. Taking one day at a time his newly formed business is making big strides in just under a year. But his years of experience speak for themselves and he is determined to be an asset to the industry. Scott de-stresses by taking nice long rides on one of his Harley Davidson motorcycles and getting in a good workout at the gym. He also volunteers often in support of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association an organization that leverages the love of motorcycles to raise money and awareness of veteran causes where their motto is Vets Helping Vets . A proud father to an 18-year-old high school senior at Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge Virginia Scott s daughter is his greatest accomplishment yet. 51 Industry Experts Q&A Q Why do you feel that your company industry is relevant in today s world A With the number of small businesses out there today providing them the opportunity to secure help in the hiring and training of their staff is important. Bad hires or untrained leaders can cost a company 10s of thousands of dollar a month. Q Why did you decide to start your own company A I had had enough of the corporate world and managing to make shareholders happy. Owning my own company allowed me to get back to doing the delivery and allows me to focus on providing a service to small companies. Q What do you think the biggest change in the work place is in the last 5 years A Generational Diversity is at a new level we currently have 5 generations in the work force as people are working past traditional retirement ages and the Gen Zers are now entering the work force. I would never suggest we have fixed the more traditional diversity issues (race religion gender etc) completely but at least we have been aware of them and working to train and enlighten leaders on them. Generational Diversity needs to be worked on so we can get the most out of everyone in the work force. Q You hear the term job fit a lot these days what is it and how do you do it A Job Fit is a term associated with making sure you have the right person in the right job. Q You mentioned providing assessments and surveys as a service offering how would a company use them A There are several types of assessments and surveys so let s focus on two. The first would be the personality profile traditionally when a company is looking to fill a position the put out an announcement of the opening in some manner. Then they collect a bunch of resumes and then conduct interviews. An EEOC compliant personality profile assessment provides the 3d leg of the hiring process conducted prior to the interview it will provide insight to personality traits that may make one applicant a better choice than another. Q So what is the other assessment survey you wanted to cover A This one is known as Benchmarking this is where a company surveys its top performers in a specific job type. They then Benchmark these results and when looking to hire new staff or reallocate staff they can use this Benchmark as their left and right limits. 52 Industry Experts Q Those sound like individual assessments what is an example of a survey you employee at Cobra Leadership Development A We work with our clients to develop what is known as an Employee Engagement Survey. This type of survey uses group based opinions to help you evaluate the overall engagement of your employees. Since research shows an engaged workforce is important to a company s long term achievement it is essential that a company measure and understand their staff s level of engagement. Q Why should a company spend money to train their staff on anything other than job specific skills A First I would say it isn t really spending money it is investing money. Training is one way to keep employees engaged and many employees see training as a benefit and you can use that a selling point during the hiring process. Add to that more engaged employees result in less turnover saving money in the turnover cost realized by a company and I think you can see how training is an investment not spending money. Q What else can business leaders do to be more successful A I am sure you have heard of Master Mind groups these are a great opportunity for peers or near peers to get together and share experiences issues they are having and best practices. Napoleon Hill introduced the business use of the Master Mind group in his classic Think and Grow Rich but the concept has been around throughout history. Benjamin Franklin called his a Junto some would argue Jesus and his 12 disciples was a form of a Master Mind Group. Q Tell us a little more about what Master Mind Group is does A A mastermind group is designed to help you navigate through challenges using the collective intelligence of others. Deep down we all want to be pushed. We want someone to challenge us to put our best work forward. We want to be understood supported listened to encouraged called out and held accountable by people that care about us. We want these things and yet so many of us lack the right people in our lives to make it happen a Mastermind Group puts those people in your life. I have always gotten great satisfaction in saving lives and making people s lives better in some way Steve admits about his time serving in the US Navy. My military career gave me the opportunity to learn that whatever I put my mind to I could achieve it. My work with the Navy was the best decision I ever made for my life and career. Steve Benoit National Security and Technology Field Engineer ManTech International Corporation Senior Cyber Intelligence Analyst Lockheed Martin Herndon VA 53 Industry Experts W hen joining the United States Navy in 2000 Steve Benoit fed his interest in the intelligence field and technology. Serving eight honorable years as an intelligence analyst his military service paved the way for a career in national security and technology providing all the education experience and tools needed to achieve the success he has today. During the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami Relief efforts Steve realized just how much he wanted to serve and help others. He was a first responder while on the USS Abraham Lincoln Aircraft Carrier and the work he did along with the lives he saved were his greatest and most rewarding accomplishments. After that experience he knew he had to find a career that continued to provide the same kind of passion and sense of achievement. While serving as an intelligence analyst and information manager in the Navy Steve was tasked to research analyze and report on political and military activity in the Pacific and Middle East regions in support of the Navy Joint and Allied world operations and the Operation Unified Assistance. Steve conducted all source intelligence gathering and researched for daily briefings and intelligence reports. After completing his eight years the military Steve spent several months working at the Navy Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) International at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville North Carolina. He was hired with full responsibility for the Common Tactical Picture and Common Operational Picture for the Special Operation Forces at the Joint Special Operations Command. Steve operated Tactical Data Processors including Command and Control PC Joint Battle-space Viewer and Global Command and Control System Joint. For the next three years Steve was an intelligence analyst for the US Central Command MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida and the National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville Virginia. As an intelligence analyst Steve maintained data files and control procedures including system security data integrity resources back-us and management requests for information. He also managed and maintained the Operations Floor and Collaboration Room audio and visual systems Global Broadcasting System and Video Teleconferencing systems. While working as an intelligence analyst at the Air Force Base in Tampa Steve provided all source intelligence analysis and network analysis in support of targeting efforts during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in Tikrit Iraq. At the Intelligence Center in Virginia he supported the Counter Insurgency Targeting Program as an All-Source Subject Matter Expert analyst while targeting insurgent networks operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. Steve went back to ManTech International at Fort Bragg in January 2013 where he served as a field engineer providing the highest level of technical support for customer and company network systems. Providing world-class customer support Steve ensured that customers had the latest and greatest products and technical support. Steve traveled the world supporting hundreds of bases with thousands of military and government systems and networks. 54 Currently working at the Defense Information Systems Agency Central Command (DISA-CENTCOM) as a Cyber Intelligence Analyst for Lockheed Martin Steve conducts acquisition vetting and validation of cyber threat intelligence from various internal and external sources. He focuses on the fidelity and contextual analysis of indicators of compromise and attacker TTPs (tactics techniques and procedures) in support of security operations. He is also responsible for creating and executing incident response plans processes and procedures and performing root cause evaluations. Life has many professional and personal trials and Steve has faced his fair share. The toughest challenge Steve believes has been learning from his superiors how both good leaders and bad leaders work. He has learned invaluable lessons from both including staying positive and not letting tough situations affect him too much. Using this knowledge to his advantage Steve has successfully trained mentored and supported junior analyst and engineers on intelligence principles proper techniques of situational awareness utilization intelligence product production technical support and customer service. He would love to someday provide the leaders of the industry with his thoughts on how to make the industry more innovative and profitable. With an Associate s Degree in Applied Science Business Administration from the University of Phoenix Steve is working towards his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Information Systems Security and expects to graduate from the University of Phoenix in March 2015. He holds certifications in CompTIA Security Windows Server and Server Administrator. Hoping to pass on all that he s learned to others Steve strives to help people grow while also leaving behind something that everyone can aspire to. He wants to be able to teach others that everyone has the ability to do well that can change their lives for the better and that they too can help change the lives of others no matter what industry they are working in. He believes that everyone can make a difference with their unique talents and gifts for the betterment of humanity. In keeping with serving others Steve volunteers in his local community with Habitat for Humanity. His favorite hobby is downhill skiing and he enjoys river rafting hiking and camping. Residing in St. Croix US Virgin Islands Phyliss Laue Steve s mother is a practice manager at Imaging Center PC and his father Steve is a US Post Office carrier and US Army Veteran. Steve s brother Daniel is also a US Army Veteran and a field technician for FMC Technologies in the oil and gas industry who is married with two children. Sunshine Steve s sister is a partner at the Bryant Barnes Blair & Benoit LLP Law Firm in St. Croix. Steve resides in Tampa Florida. Industry Experts Q&A Q What would you say is an important challenge in the intelligence field A Data fragments and data sharing are very important. There are too many data sources for one analyst to mine. Q How would you fix the problem A I think there should be one database and one data format for all agencies. An analyst needs to be able to pull all the data they need for a specific region network country etc. Instead of getting all that data from a plethora of sources getting it from one source would decrease analysis time and we could share so much more information. Q What is the need for intelligence A The need is vital to help our military plan and execute its missions keep an eye on our enemies and their plans to harm us and to help our government form and execute our fragile foreign policy. Without intelligence we would be in the dark. Q How does the job you do now help the intelligence community at-large A In the past I helped identify and define who what and where the threat is and was. Today I help maintain the vital systems that help the US Army complete their missions and support the Army with providing the information they need to modernize and enhance their capabilities. Q How has your industry shaped the intelligence community A The information technology (IT) industry has allowed us to keep our men and women out of unnecessary harm and our information safe. IT is vital to the protection of our nation in all sectors of our government. Q What kind of training is available for your industry A I would say the military is the best and most valuable training one could receive. Always encourage others to seek all the education they can get in school or within their companies. Q What kinds of training issues are in the intelligence industry A I think the biggest issue is specific training and knowledge of ethnic groups and country customs. Agencies need to focus training and education on foreign customs and history. Q How do you keep current on this industry A Currently I m in school for my Bachelor of Science in IT with a concentration in Information Systems Security at the University of Phoenix. Also I subscribe to magazines and blogs on the Internet. Q What management issues do you face in your industry A I would say the number one management issue in the intelligence and IT industry is communication to employees. Management could do a lot better at communicating company goals expectations and getting to know their employees. Q What are your future aspirations within your industry A I want to be a leader in my industry. I want to pass on my knowledge and skills and lead a team to the development and delivery of world class intelligence products and services. 55 Industry Experts Steven L. Diamond Insurance President JPS Inc. Remco Agency President Simon Agency NY Inc. President Front Street Life Agency Inc. President Metropolitan Midtown Co. Ltd. Hempstead NY 56 Industry Experts M aking the decision to pursue a Bachelor s Degree in Business from Bryant University Steven L. Diamond graduated in 1974 and began working as a life insurance broker and financial planner for New England Mutual. His love and respect for the field led him to enroll at American College to earn his Chartered Life Underwriter degree a respected designation in insurance that he knew would help him excel in his field. Not long after that he obtained his property-casualty license and began working with his father who owned his own small brokerage firm. Making acquisitions to help grow the business he added more and more clients to his father s business. But by 1990 they decided to sell. Success in the insurance industry Steven says is built on renewals and he works diligently with all of his business contacts to bring in new clients to the agencies each week. Writing up new business while servicing his existing customers Steven is cognizant of how important it is to be patient and to do the right thing by his clients with every transaction that is made. Overseeing over 55 employees Steven hopes that each of them feel they ve been provided a great work environment and have been treated fairly. He knows the importance of effectively communicating with his employees and he is willing to face them head on to deal with whatever issues need to be addressed. Active in his community Steven is a member of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce where he was also named Business Man of the Year in 1998. He was previously on the board of the Long Beach Hospital and also served as president of his religious organization for three years. An avid baseball fan Steven was president of the Long Beach Little League for over seven years and still enjoys playing in a very competitive senior softball league. I enjoyed dealing with people and helping them with their financial security. To be successful in the insurance business you have to build long lasting relationships and work the referrals you get from existing clients Steven said about the secret to success. After leaving the business for a few years Steven received a phone call from a former business partner Marty Simon. Marty had always been an inspiration to Steven so when he mentioned that he was looking for someone to run his struggling wholesale property-casualty business he was inclined to take on the role. In 2000 Steven was hired as president of his insurance business Simon Agency NY Inc. which was being run by Marty s three daughters. After just a year Steven decided to buy the business and attempt to revive the struggling company. One of Marty s daughters Sheryle stayed on board as a partner and together they embarked on a plan to bring back an agency that once was a thriving organization. After a lot of hard work blood sweat and tears Steven was finally able to rebuild the agency into a successful wholesale brokerage. Five years later in 2005 Steven was presented with the opportunity to buy the Remco Agency a JPS Inc. company. After accepting the challenge he has grown the company to triple its original size and it has become one of the leading retail brokers in the state of New York. Today they are a full-service agency offering home automobile life health and business insurance. As president of both the Simon Agency Remco Agency Front Street Life Agency and Metropolitan Midtown Co. Ltd. Steven is responsible for securing insurance company contracts so the agencies can offer their clients the product they need. He is also in charge of hiring qualified staff and training them to provide the most outstanding customer service possible. I have had many ups and downs in my financial career and I think it s important to always put everything into perspective Steven explained about the everyday hitches at work. If you always try to display integrity and honesty when you re at work you will usually get a favorable outcome. Steven and his wife Jamie have been married for 40 years. They have three sons Shawn Nevin and Jordon and one granddaughter Jaedyn. Over the years Steven has tried to convey his people skills and entrepreneur personality to his family so they would not only survive in life but also prosper. Steven and his wife Jamie have been married for 40 years. They have three sons Shawn (who has recently joined the business) Nevin and Jordon a granddaughter Jaedyn and a newborn grandson Ryder. Over the years Steven has tried to convey his people skills and entrepreneur personality to his family so they would not only survive in life but also prosper. 57 Industry Experts Q&A Q Has the internet ever hurt your insurance business A No it hasn t. People want to deal with an actual person when it comes to their financial security even though my company actually gets leads from the internet to help us find new customers. Q Has automation helped the insurance industry A When I first acquired the Simon Agency there were thousands of files in a room. Employees could never find a file until it was returned to the file room. Today every piece of paper is scanned to an automated file and is able to be retrieved in seconds from multiple people at the same time. Q What is the hardest job when managing 55 employees A The hardest job is making sure everyone feels important and ensuring their needs are met. Everyone has their personal issues at home and empathizing with them is crucial when they have a problem. Q What kinds of insurance do you sell A We have four divisions Personal Lines homeowners auto umbrella and recreational vehicles Commercial Lines a variety of business insurance for all industries Life and Health Insurance life long-term care group medical and disability and High New Worth insurance for the special needs of high net worth clients and the preservation of their assets Q What do you like most about the insurance business A Residual income. If you keep your customer happy you will get paid every year for a policy you wrote once. Q Where do you think the future of the insurance industry is going A The insurance industry is bright but always changing. Automation is a key component and social media is important in helping you attract new clients. It is vital in this industry to always stay on top of the changes. Q Would you recommend the insurance business to a graduate today A Yes. I think the industry will be here for a long time because almost everyone has to buy some form of insurance every year. The other important fact is that people working in insurance are building residual income. Q What kind of insurance do you enjoy selling the most A I like to sell life insurance because it s something the customer doesn t have to buy. What I mean is that if they have a car they must buy auto insurance. The same goes for owning a house. But life insurance sales requires you to point out the needs that are required to take care of. It s also nice to know that you may have saved a family from financial ruin if the breadwinner dies. Q Is there anything you find difficult about the insurance industry A The insurance industry is very cyclical. There are good times and lean times. Not knowing when the cycle will change I have survived the lean times by saving money during periods of increased business. Q What is a memorable moment you have had in your industry A I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Warren Buffet the most successful investor of the 20th century about the insurance industry and the economy. Warren s company owns many insurance companies and his advice was priceless. 58 Industry Experts Trevor Ray Slone Social Consulting Christian Consulting Christian Apologetics Conferences Radio Broadcasting Founder Chief Executive Officer Intelligent Interactions LLC Co-Director Founder Intelligent Interactions Generosity Fund Director The High School Education Division of Institute of Biblical Defense Secretary of Executive Board International Society of Christian Apologetics Online Station Owner apologetics.airtime.pro Radio Host Think it Through Manhattan KS Industry Experts 59 N ot seeking honor for himself through his accomplishments Trevor Ray Slone seeks only to honor his Savior and Lord Jesus Christ through his work. The one constant that has always been there for him no matter how tough life has been Trevor entered into a ministry-oriented business endeavor with great intentions. Although both are just getting off the ground he s already experienced a level of recognition in the industry. I suffer from a number of ailments including ADHD Bipolar 1 disorder Type 2 Diabetes Chronic Kidney Disease and a number of social disorders that sometimes make it hard for me to communicate effectively with others Trevor admits. Over the past few years however I have largely overcome all of them learning to adapt and know my limits. If you do not openly and seriously commit to personal growth and development and then do whatever is necessary to foster an environment conducive of such growth you will never ever even come close to reaching your full potential Trevor explains. We all have a responsibility to contribute as much as possible to society and we simply cannot do so without developing and implementing working strategies for personal growth. Trevor continuously makes an effort to contribute to the world of literature and scholarship. He has published a book Doing Apologetics Without the Need for Apology Biblical Principles of Confrontational Relationality and is currently working on several other pieces in the areas of theology and philosophy. He hopes to begin writing more on the subjects of communication and leadership soon too. A member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society American Philosophical Association American Society of Bioethics and Humanities and Creation Research Society Trevor is also the secretary on the executive board of the International Society of Christian Apologetics and is a past board of directors member for a mental health non-profit organization called Morning Star Inc. He recently started a branch of certifications for high school students in the area of theology philosophy and apologetics for the Institute of Biblical Defense and is also in the process of starting the first ever 24 7 365 online radio station that is all apologetics all of the time under his LLC. Trevor holds a diploma in Electrical Technology Magna Cum Laude from North East Kansas Technical College an electrical journeyman s license a BS in Religion Summa Cum Laude from Liberty University and a Master s of Ministry in Bible Theology and Apologetics Magna Cum Laude from Temple Baptist Seminary. He has taken several courses in law bioethics and organizational leadership has a diploma in personal training from Pinnacle Career Institute and recently started working on his PhD in New Testament Theology. At just 11-years-old Trevor was invited to spend a summer at Duke University to take his SATs and possibly attend college. With a genius IQ he was consistently scoring in the 99th-100th percentile on his assessment tests. A bit bitter at first about the missed opportunity because his parents didn t think it was a good idea Trevor sometimes wonders what life would have been like had he gone. Married to a well-educated wonderful woman Trevor s wife is finishing up her second doctorate this time in veterinary medicine. She also holds a PhD in Microbiology Immunology. Trevor has an eight-year-old son from a previous marriage who lives in Ottawa Kansas. Trevor s parents live in Mississippi and his in-laws are in Minnesota. Trevor held many positions over the past 10 years or so but in July 2014 he finally found his niche starting his LLC which followed shortly after with the start of his non-profit. Having worked for a non-profit campus ministry organization Ratio Christi as a chapter director at Kansas State University he quickly noticed that many people these days lack the awareness of the necessity of critical thinking. People were being rude and disrespectful to him and others on campus and he wanted to do something about it. Intelligent Interactions LLC s objective includes consultation work for a large range of audiences on issues to refine thought processes and mannerisms pertaining to ideas and individuals. Their mission is to foster a greater sense of appreciation and respect for and understanding of critical thinking cordial dialogue and consistent interaction with ideas and individuals for a more apt approach to confrontation and disagreement that encourages understanding and mutual respect for all parties involved. As the organization s founder and CEO Trevor markets produces marketing and presentation material and handles every other aspect of the business calling on his wife and others from time to time when he needs assistance. As founder and co-director of his newly formed non-profit The Intelligent Interactions Generosity Fund which is intended to help fund the ministry and educational aspects of the LLC Trevor is currently working to solidify the bylaws and basic structure of the organization. Overseeing the websites for both his LLC and his non-profit not to mention his new and upcoming online radio station apologetics.airtime.pro he is continuously developing new ideas and content. 60 Industry Experts Q&A Q What place does your organization have in our society A We teach critical thinking skills above all else and critical thinking is the cornerstone of coherent cognition. Q Why should people support non-profit organizations that foster greater education experiences A Without education in one form or another there could be no learning. Without learning there could be no advancement society survives and thrives on advancement. Q Why should people support organizations that help society understand mental health issues A Mental illness is just as real as physical illness and just as debilitating too at times. We all need to seek to better understand and empathize with our fellow human beings. Q Why should people support organizations that foster a greater sense of racial sensitivity A All people are people and we all have an inherent level of dignity and worth regardless of our color of skin. Therefore we all deserve to be treated with a certain level of respect and anything that can help us to have that kind of attitude should be supported and emulated as often and as much as possible. Q Why should people support organizations that help others better understand Christianity A Like any religion Christianity has many unique aspects that are often misunderstood at face value. If we are to make rational coherent and informed claims and judgments about a religion than we must first and foremost do our absolute best to understand that particular religion as best as we can. Q Why should people support an organization that help society better understand military families A Although in a lot of ways military family life is typical of what non-military families experience in many other ways it is most certainly not. These people sacrifice so much to help us retain our freedom so the least we can do is try and understand their situation so that we can better communicate and empathize with them. Q Why should people support businesses that revolve around speaking and presenting information as opposed to traditional style work A Speaking and presenting is a great way to truly and adequately get some people s attention. As long as the message is honorable the closer attention people pay to the information being provided the greater impact that information can have on them and in turn on society at large. Q Does owning your own business mean that you make a lot of money A It can but not necessarily. The real glory in owning your own business is that you get to take full responsibility for the way and how greatly your business impacts the lives of others whether you are a single member LLC or a fortune 500 company. Q How hard is it to start a business A Making it official with the state and the IRS is not very hard at all. What is more difficult is acquiring start-up capital (especially if you have poor personal credit) and determining what avenues are the most potentially profitable to pursue with that capital. Q What is something you wish everyone would know realize and act on regarding their life and work ethic A That there is no such thing as remaining the same in this life. Every second of every day we have experiences whether at work or not and we can either learn from them or not. 61 Industry Experts William Bill L. Bayless Animal and Plant Agriculture All Natural Specialty Feed Ingredients & Biodegradable Water Conservation Products Vice-President of Business Development Brookside Agra O Fallon IL 62 Industry Experts O ver the past 33 years William L. Bayless who is better known by colleagues and friends as Bill has learned a great deal about what it takes to work in animal agriculture. Discovering the many different aspects of such a unique field such as nutrition animal husbandry which is the science of breeding and caring for animals health and production Bill has always found his career to be both challenging and interesting. He s enjoyed traveling and working with many talented people and has greatly developed his talents throughout his journey. Bill s goal after completing his Bachelor of Science Degree from Southeast Missouri State University in 1981 where he received an achievement award for outstanding performance was to try and acquire a job with Ralston Purina Company. Landing an interview with them that very spring he got the job and began working in late May that same year. He was absolutely thrilled and thankful for the opportunity. It was a dream come true. Moving up the ranks Bill became a district manager for Ralston Purina. He then worked for Ringger Feeds as a swine consultant for Continental Grain Wayne Feeds as a district manager and swine specialist for Trouw Nutrition (formerly NutriBasics DuCoa) as a swine business manager territory sales manager and national sales manager for The Maschhoffs as an associate director in wean-to-market production and finally for CJ America as a national accounts manager. In March 2014 he began working for Brookside Agra. Headquartered in O Fallon Illinois Brookside Agra is a fourth generation family-owned business that offers a full line of specialty feed additives and an environmental line to aid businesses. Their products are specialty feed additives that help make feed rations for all livestock poultry horses pets and agriculture perform better. They also offer other products which help improve the everyday environment for workers and animals. As vice-president of business development for Brookside Agra Bill develops and implements their global sales and marketing plans new product development and launches key account development and seeks new business opportunities. Because the company s product portfolio includes both nutritional and environmental products they and Bill support Pork Producers organizations and are members of the Golf Course Superintendents Association. They also support tradeshows and fundraising events that bring revenue to these organizations. Learning to pay close attention over the years to what was going on around him Bill said Our industry has consolidated considerably in the last 20 years. In some segments a large percentage is owned and operated by just a few different companies. It s important to build strong relationships with the leaders within the industry as well as industry experts to gain the necessary knowledge and wisdom to continue on. Becoming an expert oneself is important. Bill s experience has served him well over the last three decades. Likewise his solid work ethic was inherited from his father a World War II veteran who served at the D-Day invasion in Normandy France. His father treated everyone like they were the only one that mattered. Everyone loved and respected his dad and Bill tries to emulate him every chance he gets as a leader in his own field. With the understanding that life just simply isn t fair Bill takes advantage of every challenging situation at work as a learning opportunity always chooses to take the high road and never ever burns bridges. He s also inclined to ask quality questions and has developed great listening skills to help him grow and evolve. Entrusting that a solid education is best used as a platform or foundation in which to build upon Bill has since taken additional coursework at Southwestern Illinois College in nutrition and animal husbandry took a class at Font Bonne University in executive management and attending training through the American Management Association in Preparing for Leadership and The Psychology of Leadership. I have always taken pride in doing my best at whatever I was doing Bill said. Whether it was my responsibilities at work with my family or in the community I ve always been willing to make sacrifices for their well-being. Making marriage and parenthood his first priority Bill s wife of 33 years Glenda holds a Master s Degree in Speech Pathology and works as a speech therapist in their local school district. They have two children Eric 26 a computer engineer living in Kansas City and Kristin 23 who will be completing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in December 2015. Both Eric and Kristin were valedictorians of their graduating high school class. Bill sings in the church choir on Sundays and is the past president of their church s parish council. He loves to get out on the golf course when he has the time and also enjoys shooting trap. For many years Bill was also a diving coach for his community s summer league diving team. 63 Industry Experts Q&A Q Why is Brookside Agra successful A We bring value to our customers with innovative natural products that perform. Our value proposition answers current and future needs of the industry. Q Why is Brookside important today A Our product strategy is to provide products that improve the sustainability of our industry and our business strategy is to be a sustaining resource to our customer. Q What is Brookside Agra doing to meet the demands of a growing population A It is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be over 9 billion people on Earth. We are developing and looking for natural compounds that improve the efficiency and performance of food animals and food crops. Q What is Brookside s commitment to the environment A We are focused on the development of natural products that are environmentally friendly. Brookside Agra markets product in over 90 countries around the world so we have the ability to positively impact the environment globally. Q With increasing population there is growing concern about water and water conservation. What is your company doing to help with this concern A Brookside Agra has developed a natural product that conserves water needed by the plant. In one of our trials it reduced the water used by 24.1%. It can be used by crop and vegetable farmers as well as golf courses. Q With consumers concerns about the food they eat what is Brookside Agra doing to reduce these concerns A That is one reason why our focus is on natural products that assist the food animal s innate ability to deal with environmental challenges increase animal viability and reducing the requirement for conventional therapy. Q What are you doing to sustain Brookside Agra long-term A As V.P. of Business Development I am aggressively pursuing new ventures that fit our product strategy and our business model. Q What made you initially decide to get into this field A In animal agriculture you are talking about producing food to feed the world. Simply put this is important stuff. Also the people in agricultural fields like my father have a high degree of integrity mixed with real character. Q What is one of the most difficult aspects of working in agriculture A One of the most difficult aspects of working in agriculture today is the competitive nature of our industry and the competitiveness is magnified by the consolidation we are experiencing in the industry. Q How do you anticipate the field to change in the next 1020 years A Technological advancements will be at the forefront of change the next 20 years. With a rapidly growing population we will need to be more productive and more efficient while protecting the environment. 64 Industry Experts Clive Angus Technology and Services Mobile Applications (Apps) for iPhones iPads and Android Devices Chief Executive Officer of Local App Creation LLC West Palm Beach FL 65 Industry Experts C live Angus saw the future in 2010 when he started researching mobile applications. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is relevant in today s world A Our society is becoming more and more dependent on technology. Our business strives to provide customers with the most efficient usage of technology by providing mobile applications (apps) for smartphones and other devices. Q Why is your product relevant in today s world A Our product is cutting-edge technology which is updated all the time and provides your local business with the tools they need to succeed. Q What type of tools do you provide A We provide mobile applications. Q What kind of mobile applications do you provide A We provide mobile apps that work with your mobile devices such as iPhones iPads and Android devices. Q What type of features do these apps have that can help me with my business A Our apps let you keep in contact with your customers. You can send your customers a push notification to let them know what offers you have. Q What kind of information can I send in push notifications A Push notifications can alert your customers to what specials you have to offer. For example if you have a club and you re having a bad week you can send out a push notification to notify your customers that drinks are half price on that particular night. They will get this notice instantly. Q Can my customers interact with the app A Yes. Q How long does it take for my app to become live in the marketplace A It takes about three to four weeks depending on the approval from Apple and Android. Q Will I be able to see a demo of my app before it goes live A Yes you will be able to see a demo of your app before it goes live and make any changes to it. Q Once the app goes live in the marketplace will I be able to make changes A Yes you can make up to two changes per month. What I found shocked me. There were tremendous possibilities. This was a trillion dollar industry that I could enter virtually unopposed because very few mobile app companies were making anything for individual business owners. I also found out that mobile apps were going to take traffic away from websites since everything was going mobile. So I started my business 2012. Today Clive oversees everything for Local App Creation LLC. from start to finish. I talk to all my customers helping them with their concerns until their app goes live in the marketplace. I coordinate with my organization to make sure everything is functioning properly and implement new ideas and software that will grow my business on a day-to-day basis. In this business there are a lot of challenges simply because it s a new industry. These challenges have contributed to my overall success. I had to be patient and overcome a lot of frustration when starting this new business. I have been a businessman for over 35 years and understand that hard work will eventually pay off. I know that starting a business is a hard road to travel. There are lots of ups and downs mainly downs. If I did not learn these lessons I wouldn t be in business today. But either way Clive is dedicated to everything he does and would like to leave the world with innovation technology and a company with the success that Apple has enjoyed all while helping as many people as he can. My motivation comes from helping other people succeed in their business and personal lives. Getting feedback from my customers with success stories keeps me focused and motivated. I hope I am making a difference in their lives. 66 Industry Experts Glenn Koonce Educational Leadership Chair Educational Leadership Programs Regent University School of Education Virginia Beach VA T otally immersed in his profession from the very beginning Glenn Koonce began his journey in education teaching health and physical education while coaching wrestling at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake Virginia in 1974. He quickly move on to the Deep Creek community coaching football soccer and gymnastics. All these years later Glenn is still in education and in 2012 he became the Chair of Educational Leadership Programs at Regent University School of Education in charge of the masters specialist and doctorate degree programs in educational leadership. He got on board with Regent University in 2003 as an Associate Professor and served as Associate Dean in the School of Education from 2008-2012. Matriculating through the many educational leadership positions he has held Glenn now has the esteemed role of preparing principals and other education leaders for real world practice. My love of sports and a healthy lifestyle led me to the education profession Glenn said about what initially sparked his interest in the field. Although in different capacities I have remained an educator at heart and in spirit in almost whatever I do. In this field it s important to be competent develop caring relationships find mentors have a vision and develop a culture where everyone can learn Glenn noted. Leading with the heart education begins in the eyes and voices of the children or for me now adult learners through which I remember my calling. When I stand back and reflect my heart rises refreshed the mind settled and the purpose clear. I am energized all over with the joy of learning. The relationships Glenn has made with students colleagues parents and the many varied communities where he has served as a teacher and leader in the field over the years have all been a positive experience for him. Teaching in the classroom until 1982 he became an assistant principal then principal (elementary middle and high school) director of pupil personnel and student activities and assistant superintendent before working in higher education. 67 Glenn s personal and professional life are both filled with a positive proactive adventurous and healthy lifestyle. Happily married to his wife Suzanne they have a blended family of four children and seven grandchildren. Looking back on his long and successful career in education Glenn says that he hopes to have modeled the way to have inspired a shared vision to have challenged the process enabled others to act encouraged the heart and left every place better than it was when he arrived. Industry Experts 68 Industry Experts Q&A Q How do you think your industry and education resonates with American society today A We all have a story to tell about our own education no matter what the quality and how long we attended school because each of us had teachers and school leaders in our lives. We must thank educators for the work they do. However we must not shy away from addressing educational practices that aren t in concert with maximizing achievement for ALL students. Q Why is the preparation of quality principals so important to you and the profession A Researchers policymakers and practitioners increasingly recognize the role of school leaders in developing high performance schools. Principals are regarded as central to the task of building schools that promote powerful teaching and learning for ALL students. Q What motivates you to be successful A I believe the key to success is motivation and the key to motivation is self-motivation. If a person waits around for someone else to motive him or her they are in a heap of trouble. We all have hot button somewhere and we can t wait around for someone else to push it. We have to push our own hot buttons and propel ourselves in to action Q What is next for you A I am pleased where I am currently in higher education because it allows me not only to teach and lead but I have taken advantage of the opportunity to be a scholar by publishing professional peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals write two books to date (one being Taking Sides Clashing Views on Educational Issues) present my research and speak on education topics at conferences and seminars (nationally and internationally) serve in many professional and community organizations having been in a leadership position in many and I am a consultant in my field traveling all across the country. It has been a life-long passion to be a respected educator. Q How do you prepare school leaders A My vision is to provide a clear understanding of and demonstrated convincing actions in addressing developing communicating implementing monitoring and evaluating a vision of learning assuring a culture and instructional program that values teaching and learning managing a safe and efficient learning environment ensuring relationships with the broader community to foster learning having integrity fairness and ethics in learning and participating in the broader political social economic legal and cultural context of learning. Candidates work in the program should be defined as integrity competence caring vision and action. 69 Industry Experts Q Are university preparation programs for school leaders relevant today A Absolutely but must complete comprehensive program analysis identify content gaps determine instructional implications and align the curriculum to national standards. Q You bring many different experiences to the university classroom scholarship and service. Which are the most important in your view A All my experiences from childhood to my position as chair of the educational leadership programs at Regent University have prepared me for success in the industry we call education. Every position of leadership I aspired to and held was supported by a mentor who was a role-model and coach for my continued growth. I can name an individual for each of the many variety of positions I have had the honor of holding. It has ALL been about developing and maintaining genuine relationships with other people and the communities I have served. Kenneth Ellerbe Energy Commodity Acquisitions President Chief Executive Officer Breckenridge Global Inc. Washington DC J oining the Washington DC Fire and EMS Department as a Firefighter in 1982 Kenneth Ellerbe progressed through the ranks to Sergeant Fire Inspector Sergeant Lieutenant Captain Battalion Fire Chief Deputy Fire Chief and Acting Assistant Fire Chief. Kenneth went to work for Sarasota County Florida as their Fire Ems Chief in 2009. When he moved there he had no idea that in 18 months he would be back in Washington DC as the DC Fire EMS Chief in 2011. While in his third year of study at University of the District of Columbia Kenneth took the Myers Briggs test which indicated he was best suited for military and paramilitary careers. In 2014 he founded Breckenridge Global Inc (BCI) as CEO President after his retirement in July of the same year. Working alongside two business partners BCI is an international consulting firm that provides oil and gas services and specialized fire public safety emergency management and EMS consulting services to organizations worldwide. I m a lifelong learner and am utilizing my energy to move into the energy space with the same intensity that I devoted to my public safety career Kenneth said noting his great interest in transforming the industry with the introduction of a company that operates with principles based on honesty integrity and trustworthiness. My goal is to develop an extremely small but completely satisfied client base. Kenneth holds a BS and MPA from the University of the District of Columbia is a graduate of the George Washington University Center for Excellence in Municipal Management where he received his Certification in Public Management and completed Harvard University s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Executive Education Program at the Kennedy School of Government and the Naval Post Graduate School s Homeland Security Program for Executive Leaders. Lecturing and advising to national and international public safety leaders he s provided consultation to several local national and international organizations and countries including South Korea Brussels and Taiwan. During his fire prevention years he worked on an ad hoc committee with the National Fire Protection Association that developed the visual alert devices (the universal lights that flash when fire alarms are initiated throughout the country) for the hearing impaired. The father of two grown daughters he is also a member of the International Association of Fire Chief s and the Metro Chief s Section. 70 Industry Experts The position in Sarasota paid much less than the lower ranking position that I left behind in DC but it afforded me the opportunity to work at a much higher level and demonstrate my capability to manage an entire department Kenneth explained. Sometimes you have to take what may appear to be a step back in order to move forward. Kenneth responded to and extinguished fires rescued trapped citizens and mitigated hazards and emergency medical care early in his career. He later evaluated and revised codes and standards and code enforcement to make the community better before becoming responsible for operational management of different divisions in the department such as training fire prevention facility management firefighting operations and risk management to name a few. Once Kenneth became chief he began managing the overall function of the agency including budget development advanced personnel management property acquisitions and managing the department s relationships with the Mayor s Office and their City Council. Q&A Q Why do you feel that your business is significant today A I work in the global energy industry. Energy is important because it provides power to accomplish many of the modern tasks in our world today. Q How does your business affect the energy industry A Our business evaluates reliable acquisitions and evaluates credible buyers before bringing the two parties together. We operate with integrity and honesty that ensures that our transactions are successfully completed. Q What made you choose this business A I discovered that there were very few successful small businesses in this industry and my curiosity inspired me to discover why. I found that the initial investment while cost prohibitive to some was not an obstacle that I couldn t overcome. Q What has been the most rewarding experience so far A The successful completion of our first international transaction coupled with the valuable international relationships that my company has established has been the most rewarding experience. The international travel is an added bonus too. Q Where would you like to see your company in five years A I d like to see my company become a recognized entity and the go to group for energy transactions. Ideally I d like to see us donating substantially to scholarships for worthy young people as well. Q What advice would you give to someone who might be retiring or considering a career change A My advice for anyone considering retiring young would be to seek a challenging second career that they would enjoy. I would advise anyone considering a career change to do their research about the proposed new career try to spend some free time while employed to dabble in the new career and try to be as sure as possible before leaving a job where they may have considerable time invested. Q What principles from your previous successful career will you carry into your next career A The principles of honesty integrity and hard work helped me to be successful in the public safety environment and seem to be working for me so far in my new endeavors. In an environment where trust is so important securing the first major transaction was primarily the result of being honest with our allocation holder and our international buyer. 71 Industry Experts Nicole G. (Yap-Sam) Chin Loan Underwriter Commercial Real Estate and Corporate Banking Loans Miami FL 72 Industry Experts B orn in Kingston Jamaica in February 1964 Nicole G. (Yap-Sam) Chin and her family migrated to Montreal Quebec Canada when she was 11-yearsold. Two years later they moved to the US planting their roots in Coral Springs Florida. Nicole attended Coral Springs High School and later began her college education at Florida State University (FSU) in 1980 when she was just 16. With four classes remaining to graduate Nicole became pregnant with her first child and got married during the summer of 1984. She took two classes at the local university and after her son was born she commuted to Tallahassee and took the last two classes to earn her Bachelor s Degree in Finance. She had her second child a daughter a year later. The first job in banking Nicole held was a summer position when she was still in college at NCNB (now Bank of America). Working in their operations center she filed checks and mailed statements to customers. Five months after the birth of her second child she reentered the workforce. Accepting a position with Southeast Bank as a receptionist secretary in their commercial banking department she was soon promoted as the assistant to the Commercial Banking Group Head and the city loan manager. She entered their 18-month Professional Bankers Credit Training Program in January 1988 and was later placed permanently in the Commercial Banking Department as a credit analyst. She worked for Southeast Bank and Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo) for a combined total of 14 years. As a loan underwriter Nicole analyses cash flow assets of borrowers and guarantors and their abilities to repay their loans. She also analyses real estate projects compares the rents and expenses to comparable properties and reviews the appraisals of the properties. She volunteers for the Orange Bowl Ambassador Program where she s enjoyed being the Captain of Team Arrivals for the past nine years and has volunteered at Camillus House (a homeless program). She s served as ministry head nursery coordinator at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church as well. Currently Nicole participates in Our Lady of Guadalupe s weekly bible study and attends mass. Proud of her children who are now 29 and 28 Nicole s son Brandon holds a BS in Business and is an auditor for a local accounting firm. Her daughter Shannon holds a BS in Biology and is now enrolled in the physician assistant program at Miami-Dade College. Q&A Q What do you think of the current state of the economy A I think we have been steadily coming out of the recession over the past several years and in a state of recovery. Corporations have been experiencing strong revenues and profitability. Q How do you think the federal chairman has managed the economic crisis A I believe the federal chairman has maintained interest rates at a low which has truly benefited the nation corporations and consumers as a whole. The stock market is also at an all-time high. Q Are banks lending money in today s environment A Yes. Banks make money by growing their loan portfolios. Banks are lending and it s a very competitive environment but you differentiate yourself by providing excellent customer service timely turnaround and by providing a product that meets the needs of your customers while maintaining strong credit quality. I ve worked as a banker for over 21 years now Nicole said. I enjoy the analysis of companies and individuals as well as the underwriting of real estate projects. I ve learned to be very patient. You have to work hard and be committed to doing your best in order for your efforts to pay off in the long run. Nicole also gained experience working in the legal and accounting fields as a legal assistant did bookkeeping work as an accountant as well as some litigation support work. In 2000 she earned her Master s in Accounting from Florida International University (FIU). She then became a Certified Public Accountant in 2001 providing her with a specialized niche and additional benefit and skills in analyzing borrowers and guarantors financial statements and tax returns in a more proficient manner. She s a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) Miami-Dade Chapter where she previously served as secretary vice-president treasurer president-elect and president from 2006-09. She has also served on the FICPA s Industry Conference Planning Committee from 2008-09 and on their Chapter Operations Committee from 2009-13. 73 Industry Experts Alissa M. Werre P.E. Civil Engineering Transportation Engineering & Contract Management (for El Paso County CO) Civil Engineering Geotechnical & Residential Structural Engineering (for AWE) Engineering Design Supervisor Project Manager - El Paso County CO) Owner Engineer - A. Werre Engineering (AWE) Colorado Springs CO 74 Industry Experts A lissa M. Werre is the engineering design supervisor project manager and contract manager for the Transportation Division of El Paso County Colorado. Q&A Q Is it difficult to be a woman in the engineering profession A While statistics show that the number of women in my field is still pretty low society is adapting quickly. I ve found that gender has not significantly impacted my profession. Q Why engineering A In high school I wanted to be an architect but learned that I m more math and engineering minded than artistic. I also have a certain fascination with dirt and rocks (as my mother lovingly says). In an effort to combine architecture with dirt and rocks I decided to pursue a career in civil engineering. Q Do you make a lot of money as an engineer A I don t make a lot of money as a civil engineer. Most other engineering disciplines make more money. Q Why stay with the same company for so long A I make enough money to be comfortable and I enjoy the benefits and privileges of being with El Paso County for nearly 15 years. And even more importantly I love the people I work with and the diversity of the job. Q What do you want from your profession in the future A I want to be able to expand my business to allow me to retire from El Paso County at a young age. As the engineering design supervisor I provide guidance to my staff throughout the design process including application of criteria engineering calculations construction plan production and specifications coordination with consultants utility companies and stakeholders and coordination with the County Attorney Procurement Officers and management. As a project manager I perform similar tasks for my own projects. I also manage contracts with engineering consultants construction management consultants and construction contractors. Most organizations from governmental agencies to consulting firms have many individuals with very specific job descriptions. At El Paso County we have very few individuals that have very diverse job descriptions. The intimate and detailed knowledge of each project from cradle to grave helps the transportation engineering division function at a high capacity. Alissa is also the owner and sole employee of A. Werre Engineering (AWE). I am the engineer and CADD technician for all of the projects. While not significant tasks I am also the accountant and project manager for the company. Luckily my husband through his roof truss company (DMS Building Components Inc.) is my primary salesman. She has learned a lot about herself and who she wants to be over her relatively short lifetime. Every experience has played some role in how I approach life. I try to be an ethical tolerant and accepting person who enjoys life to its fullest each day. I want people to know me as a good person who did not waste her life waiting for something better to come along someone who took the initiative and made her life what she wanted it to be. 75 Industry Experts Benjamin L. Bell Sr. Music Entertainment Founder Chief Executive Officer Recording Artist Time Now Records LLC Chester PA 76 Industry Experts L ike most Benjamin L. Bell Sr. was just a fan of music at first but after writing his first song at the age of 12 he realized that he had a special talent all his own. Becoming an entrepreneur many years later in 2013 after researching and studying different aspects of how to start a business it was a lifelong desire that finally came to fruition. Now as the founder CEO and recording artist for Time Now Records LLC working in Chester Pennsylvania Benjamin is living out his dream. Finding it difficult to make connections in the industry to help boost Benjamin s business it s tough to get going and keep going without wanting to sometimes quit. But by trusting in himself and remembering why he started in the first place he keeps head on straight and pushes through. Strong in his faith Benjamin is a Christian who stays grounded and continuously growing. Involved with the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers as a writer and music publisher he soon hopes to begin teaching area youth on several aspects of the music business and getting involved with performing arts and after-school programs. Married to his wife Johneane Bell a licensed practical nurse for five years they share three children. Becoming a businessman was always on my mind in my late teens and early 20 s Benjamin said but I was not sure how to execute what I was feeling or thinking. Looking back I always had potential but I had no confidence and didn t believe in myself. My environment surroundings and so forth were the reason for some of that. It wasn t realistic for me to be anything or to achieve greatness at least that s what I thought anyway. I want people to see value in who they are Benjamin added. I want to be someone who didn t follow someone who was a light in a dark area someone who changed the world through music. Believing in himself finally Benjamin wants to see positive change in people s lives in his community and in the world at large. His genuine love for others and for music is what keeps him on the go. Being able to express himself in a creative way and make people feel what others are thinking is something rather special. Being a positive impact through music and the arts and being a strong presence and influence is a special quality to have and something he wishes to continue to share. As founder and CEO Benjamin handles everyday tasks like tax reporting and bookkeeping. As a recording label he handles contracts agreements music publishing and copyright marketing and promotions. As a recording artist under the label he mostly does songwriting recording and performing. The music industry is very tricky and if you re not wise you can find yourself in a world of trouble Benjamin warned. It s one of the few industries where your actual talent and hard work doesn t necessarily dictate success. There s many powers in the music business and they can unfortunately control the artist in a number of different ways. 77 Industry Experts David T. Blount Franchise Broker Consultant President Chief Executive Officer - Eclectic Franchise Solutions Inc. Offices in Newark NJ Wilmington NC and Atlanta GA 78 Industry Experts D avid T. Blount has been employed by several enterprise businesses including Prudential Xerox Oce MCI and Sprint-Nextel. During his tenure with these enterprises he served as a Consultant Global Account Manager for Fortune 500 companies such as Samsung LG BMW BASF and Maersk. He also received many hours of training in sales and marketing and received numerous awards for his sales accomplishments. However in 2013 he was downsized from his last position with Sprint-Nextel. David got into this industry to assist those who want to improve their current financial circumstances. It was tough to accept initially but it didn t come as a total surprise. The company had been downsizing since the merger in 2005 and things were getting more competitive in the industry. This has become the norm in most industries especially for those of us from the Baby Boomer generation. I was hoping I could last another 10 years in my current position and then ride off into the sunset but that wasn t meant to be so I started looking for another corporate position. David found this process more depressing than losing his job in the first place. He quickly began to realize that if he were fortunate enough to find a job it most likely wouldn t compensate him at the level he d become accustomed to. Therefore he decided to start his own business. Franchise consulting provided me an opportunity to help others and myself at the same time. What I enjoy most is sharing my talent ability and experience with aspiring entrepreneurs looking to realize their full potential by starting and growing their own business. I ve placed an emphasis in providing these services in underserved urban areas. As President CEO of Eclectic Franchise Solutions Inc. David assists clients in finding the right franchise opportunity that not only meets their financial requirements but their lifestyle requirements as well. Whether you re looking to replace income or build wealth we can assist you. Our services are completely FREE to you. We are compensated by the franchisor. Using a franchise broker consultant does NOT increase the cost to the franchisee at all and is already built into the franchise fee. We re very much like real estate agents for franchise businesses. The real estate agent saves homebuyers many hours of effort by gaining an understanding of what the homebuyer wants in a home where he she wants to live and their budget for purchasing a home and then shows the homebuyers the available options. We provide a similar benefit for franchise businesses. His expertise hasn t gone unnoticed as he was the featured Expert on IBN Gospel Network Radio s Hour with the Expert hosted by Shelton Hunter. He was also featured in Broker Spotlight on the Franchise Brokers Association s website (www.franchiseba.com). In his spare time David proudly volunteers for several community organizations and makes charitable donations to them as well. We use a variety of tools to assess our client s interests motivation skill sets etc. to provide the platform for them to be as successful as possible. 79 Industry Experts Gregory Greg L. Moore Jr. Natural Healing Media Productions Acting Sole Proprietor Supernatural Entertamited & Productions Murfreesboro TN P ursuing his calling in natural healing Gregory Greg L. Moore Jr. had a tough life growing up. Losing his mother and brother in a fire when he was only 12-years-old Greg remembers it like it was yesterday. Forced to take life in his own hands at such a young age he learned how to be independent self-sufficient and a grown up all at the same time. It is perhaps why he took such a liking to the supernatural and magic. Now in adulthood Greg has finally found his calling as a psychic healer and sole proprietor of Supernatural Entertamited and Productions which was founded in the town where he grew up in Chicago Illinois. His work can be found on YouTube and he has two channels that can be found at Gregory Moore TV and Supernatural Entertamited & Productions TV . All of his work is real and true to his own ideas. Breaking into acting and media production Greg also has his own YouTube channel to feature himself in various acting roles. I am my own inspiration Greg admitted who now lives in Murfreesboro Tennessee especially when it comes to my spirits ancestors and fans. Without all that I have been through I would not be as strong as I am now. With all the hard work I put in to transforming my life and my destiny I am very pleased with where I have come. Ever since I lost my family I learned how to transform all of my pain into my profession. This alone has helped me prepare my mind body soul and emotions for success Greg said. I work hard to bring longevity to my clients. All of the supernatural work I do is real. I was born with my gifts and I want people to know that they have a divine shoulder to lean on. Overseeing every aspect of his small business Greg specializes in energy and alignment work aromatherapy and herbalism. He does divine destiny readings for clients helps make their plans successful by aligning them with the best choice of action in life. He also works to remove the everyday roadblocks of life which include breaking hex curses doing house cleansings and jinx removers and exercising of spirits. Greg does Pet Tarot Readings as well by way of traditional style divination. Greg spends his down time keeping up on the creative aspects of his company such as marketing his website and 80 social media. Currently working toward becoming certified in his healing abilities Greg studies meditates works on his acting and media production plays tennis enjoys taking nature walks and site seeing when he has the time to relax. But at the present moment he is very much enjoying the bliss of parenthood. Recently becoming a first time father with his girlfriend on December 13 2014 (12-13-14) Greg says it is a a very lucky date . Industry Experts Homer Hans Bryant Dance Training Founder Artistic Director of Chicago Multicultural Dance Center The School of Homer Hans Bryant Chicago IL 81 Industry Experts A s a child growing up in St .Thomas Virgin Islands Homer Hans Bryant was always dancing around the house in the yard and in the streets. I remember when I was 11 a friend and I would always walk past the local dance studio after school and one afternoon the teacher (Mrs. Jane Miles) told us that she would the call police on us because we would go about three times a week and watch the girls dancing inside. My answer to her was but I really want to dance . Not learn how to dance but to dance. Mrs. Miles then handed us some application papers to take home to our parents. My mother (Elesta Steele) a single parent (may she rest in peace) said Boy are you crazy We can t afford that However my friend s mother was able to pay for my first six months of dance. We were now on the inside with the girls. Life was good. After 6 months Mrs. Miles said Now it s time to start taking ballet classes. Long story short my buddy said Hell no Maybe not in those exact words but either way I was hooked. The girls loved dancing with me so Mrs. Miles granted me a scholarship. That scholarship led Homer to New York in 1968 where he met the dance master who would change his life Arthur Mitchell - Founder Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH). Mr. Mitchell has been one of the greatest inspirations in my life as a dance artist. But my greatest inspiration is my daughter Alexandra Victoria Bryant (Alex). She was born with cerebral palsy in 1981. We were told by the doctors that she would not live to be five years old (my greatest pain and sorrow). Alex never crawled walked or talked. She would sit in her wheelchair while I would teach dance classes move her little fingers and smile with the joy of life on her face. I learned from her that life would be slightly uncomfortable and that was what (to this day) I have my students say whenever they were not feeling well. Mr. Homer I am slightly uncomfortable today. They learned not to complain with Alex around. Alex transitioned on the first day of April 2010. She would have been 29 years of age. Her will to survive came from a greater power. Today Homer is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center The School of Homer Hans Bryant. It s his job to oversee the daily operations of the school and reach out to individuals in an effort to get support for underserved students who (like him) cannot afford this life-changing opportunity. (Donations are always welcome.) Most people are not aware that when one studies dance and movement especially classical ballet both hemispheres of the brain become organized. Homer believes that this leads to critical thinking for our youths creating better citizens and human beings for a better world. The fun is in the discipline. 82 Industry Experts Lars Phillip Michelsen Construction (Restoration and Decoration) Sole Proprietor - Cygnet Painting Harwich MA 83 Industry Experts L ars Phillip Michelsen is a third generation decorative painter who started painting houses in 1985 as a foreman for a company in Boston. I was born to be a painter artist. My grandfather started in Copenhagen Denmark in the 1920s then my mother in Massachusetts. This profession affords me the opportunity to pursue my art and the autonomy to choose projects for creative expression. Since undergoing training Lars was always inspired by the craftsman s guild model of professional development. I spent 12 years doing apprenticeships in various workshops such as furniture refinishing plaster restoration and house painting to get proficient. Then I spent 10 years as a journeyman going wherever the opportunities led me. Now I m master of my own workshop employing journeymen and apprentices on a temporary basis for projects. As the owner of Cygnet Painting a company that specializes in furniture restoration and detail work Lars and his team work in the Scandinavian tradition quality craftsmanship and design with simplicity as a core value. Training is better than formal education in this line of work. Avoid debt and other encumbrances as these will bind you preventing growth in your craft. Put off conspicuous consumption to focus on skill building and acquiring tools. Find a mentor and serve him her in exchange for training. In his free time Lars volunteers for the Cultural Center of Cape Cod Provincetown Art Association and Museum and Gallery X (New Bedford MA) maintaining and improving the buildings as well as contributing pieces to exhibitions. I do restoration renovation work partly because it s environmentally sustainable. Another motivation is to preserve the integrity of the built environment and to share beauty. Crafts and the visual arts have to be maintained for posterity. Lars has also been a volunteer with the Big Brothers of the United Way for 23 years having mentored six boys and would like to leave behind a legacy of his work by training some youngsters who want to follow his path. For example if a client requests marbleizing for a floor I ll always recommend something plain not too dazzling. This way projects get a harmonious finish not a surface that demands attention. We actually strive to blend our work with the existing structure and or finish on a piece wall room or building Despite his quality work Lars has still found it difficult to compete for contracts over the years. I ve searched in three countries with no luck but will keep looking. I want to offer an apprenticeship in painting woodworking etc. to carry on these traditions to future generations as well as the ideals which accompany them. Globalization has caused a flow of cheap imported labor into my field for over 20 years. Regulations in the construction industry are not evenly enforced so if a small company is determined to comply with EPA and OSHA rules they re at a disadvantage. We deal with these strictures by staying small and lean. Lars advice for anyone starting out in this industry is to obtain the proper training. 84 Industry Experts Robert Bob V. Zanotelli R Packing and Safety Supplies Distributor Partner Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Thomas Industrial Supply Inc. Schofield WI obert Bob V. Zanotelli has been working in the industrial sales marketplace for more than 25 years. Graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a business education office management degree he was hired at Stanley-Bostitch as an industrial sales representative. Working his way from the ground up he learned everything he could about the industry. In his experience Bob has found success in focusing on the customer s needs first. He doesn t try to sell the latest features and benefits to every customer that walks through the door but rather approaches his position as a professional consultant that listens to the needs of the customers. Bob has seen a shift in purchasing over the last decade where customers are more price driven in their decisions. To overcome this challenge he has set his company apart from the I can sell it for less distributors by using product and application knowledge to show customers the ways in which to improve productivity and efficiency and still save them time and money. He s found that this approach gains customer loyalty which is more important that being the cheapest priced supplier. Married for 30 years Bob and his wife Kathy have three children. His son Zach works with him at Thomas Industrial Supply daughter Jessica just started her career in marketing and youngest daughter Valerie is a senior in high school. Bob is a member of Knights of Columbus and an usher at church. He enjoys playing golf fishing and spending time with his amazing family. Competitive by nature I m always looking for and embracing new ideas in sales and marketing to be a leader in the field Bob said afout what keeps his job interesting. Even after 25 years I can still say that I see and learn something new every day. After nine years as a sales rep Bob was promoted to district sales manager for Stanley-Bostitch spending the next four years improving his managing ability while interacting with clients employees and upper management. In 2000 Bob decided to buy into Thomas Industrial Supply Inc. in Schofield Wisconsin becoming a partner and vice-president of sales and marketing. Bob s main focus is to manage the sales and service while also marketing the company. Like any good leader should Bob has a hands-on approach when it comes to daily sales operations website design material handouts newsletter flyers and any community development that the company gets involved in. 85 Industry Experts Stephen Peter Weston Home Improvement Protective Sealants for Granite Glass and Natural Stone President HydroShield of Tampa Bay Tampa FL 86 Industry Experts L eading by example and creating a sense of purpose in others by instilling positive encouragement and motivation to reach success Stephen began his career in customer service at age 12 mowing lawns. He later worked for Publix Supermarkets Inc. investing 22 years as a manager effectively promoting associates to management roles to help further their careers. A born visionary and entrepreneur Stephen strategically made the decision with the support of his wife Tracy to invest in a business opportunity that would expand their family s future success HydroShield. HydroShield of Tampa Bay a division of Aquarius Worldwide Enterprises LLC is a family owned business that specializes in protecting and sealing surfaces throughout residences and commercial establishments. HydroShield is an eco-friendly protective coating that s applied by certified technicians to granite countertops glass windows and shower enclosures grout and tile porcelain and natural stone surfaces protecting against stains and various contaminants. For added benefit HydroShield makes surfaces super easy to clean. Stephen also contributes to United Way Foundation Fighting Blindness American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other charitable organizations. He s a current member of Business Network International Tampa Bay Business Owners Tampa Bay Builders Association Florida Home Builders Association National Association of Home Builders Construction Partners of Tampa Bay and National Association of Distinguished Professionals. Everyone has the ability to be a great listener and to develop skills to be a great leader and role model towards others whatever path you live Stephen added. All you have to do is desire to be better and act on it. I believe in the platinum rule...treat others the way that they want to be treated. It is our philosophy at HydroShield of Tampa Bay to give the ultimate in customer service and satisfaction excellence Stephen said. As president and owner since 2014 Stephen handles daily operations sales service training and relationship development with companies and customers that HydroShield of Tampa Bay serves. Active within his community Stephen is the president of Fair Oaks Manhattan Manor Neighborhood Association. He and Tracy have served on several community boards relating to neighborhood improvements including his local library during the planning stages for design. Stephen has a degree in computer engineering technology from Tampa Technical Institute is certified in food safety and sanitation guidelines and is certified to use and market HydroShield Protective Coatings. He has been very happily married since 1988 to his soul mate Tracy who has been a strong leader in her career having served as a vice-president for a major financial institution for many years. They also have three amazing children Amanda Alexis and Stephen currently in college and high school. 87 Industry Experts Andy Blevins LGBT and Military Advocacy Military Family Support Development Director The American Military Partner Association Salem OR Carl Dean Real Estate Investments Education Managing Director American Real Estate Investments (AREI) Dallas TX