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Everyone will encounter times in their life when they will be challenged… when they are faced with the decision to either do what society and their family and friends say they should do, or they can do what they know they need to do… when they can either give up, or face their fears and go beyond what they once perceived as impossible. I faced a challenge like this when I was a child, which was a defining time in my life. It was when my father left.
I grew up living what I thought was the American dream. We had a nice home, a couple of cars; I spent time playing baseball and playing catch with my dad. One night my parents had a big fight. The next morning my mom took me and my siblings to church, and when we returned home my dad was gone. He had taken everything. He took the money, the car, and he left us with nothing. Our family quickly went from living a dream to living on welfare and food stamps. Some years, Christmas would come and we’d wonder if we were going to get any presents. After living in this constant state of worry and pain, I promised myself that I would never live life feeling like this again.
I started making more choices to better my life and my circumstances. My passion was to get out of my small hometown and make something of myself; something I could be proud of. I was able to realize my dream of seeing the world by joining the U.S. Air Force. As crew chief on the C5-A Galaxy, I was responsible for a multi-million dollar jet, and had the opportunity to fly all around the world. After the Air Force, I attended college in Richmond Virginia. In 1985 I read an article that predicted the computer industry becoming the next area of job growth, so I aimed my college career in that direction and continued on to pursue a career in computer technology.
After a few years at a small company called Computer Corner, I decided it was time to head back to Syracuse to be closer to my family. I found a new job at another computer company which distributed computer hardware. I climbed the corporate ladder from Executive Leader to Vice President. During this time, I began struggling with a new challenge: to do what I believed was right, or to do what the company expected me to do. I was forced to make a choice to either play follow the leader, or to become the type of leader I always dreamed of being. After all, I believe that a true leader sets examples and makes the same sacrifices they expect everyone else to make. It was time for me to walk the walk. That’s when I decided to give my two weeks’ notice and leave the corporate world behind me.
I partnered with my amazing wife, Shari, in the launch of several businesses including an Internet Marketing company, a Private Label Wine company, and a Property Holding Company. I also helped her grow her E-Rate consulting business by 200% over the next three years. Together, we realized the importance of seeing and treating our employees and people as capable individuals. Shari and I continue to work as a team, and build a company filled with empowered employees. This gives us greater fulfillment than we ever dreamed of.
If this defining moment in my childhood taught me anything, it’s that when life’s challenges present themselves, it’s possible to overcome and grow from them. Now I have found a new calling, and that is to share what I’ve learned with others. We are all on this journey, and we all encounter tough times. It’s time to stop looking at what is, and start looking at what could be. I want to help you discover what’s possible and realize your dreams.