Where are you from originally?
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania I came to LA 32 years ago.
When did you start working at the Chamber?
While I was in the restaurant world, I was involved with the Chamber for 12 years on their Board and served as President of the Board 8 years ago and Chief Financial Officer for 2 years. I took over as CEO almost 3 years ago. Being on both sides, I feel that I have a unique perspective on both sides of the table being a member and part of the staff.
What were you doing before you started working at the Chamber?
I was in the restaurant business for 28 years and 17 years was with Lawry’s. I was the General Manager for the Beverly Hills location then served as Regional Manager for 6 ½ years.
Favorite thing about your job:
Being an extrovert, I enjoy meeting people and listening to their opinions and perceptions. It’s also not a normal 9-5 job which I have never wanted, hence going into the restaurant world. When you find what you’re passionate about, you don’t mind working 50-60 hours a week because it is no longer work…it’s a lifestyle.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love doing stuff with my wife and dogs! Also, Scuba diving, skiing, gym, long walks
What are the best and worst things about living in LA?
Worst: The traffic – It’s overpopulated, but hey there’s always other places to live. My hometown has a population of 3,000 and a total of 4 stop lights!
Best: There are so many culturally different styles of people that makes it very interesting. And of course, the weather. There’s also a lot to do here!
One piece of advice for Chamber members:
Get involved! I always tell people, “You have to join the Chamber for the right reasons. And you’re going to get out of it what you put into it.” It’s like a gym membership. You have to go to see results. Our Chamber offers over 150 events a year, and you can choose which to get involved in, but bottom line, get involved!
Three bucket list items:
- My wife and I are avid scuba divers and there are some other tropical locations we want to go to.
- I want to be remembered for making a difference in someone’s life in a positive way – I try to make sure that people who work for me leave better than when they started. I want to make sure that I’m doing my best for them.
- I don’t necessarily have a bucket list because when there’s something I want to do, I go do it!
What is one thing you wish you could tell your fifteen-year-old self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. This was a piece of advice my mother gave my wife and me when we got married, and my parents are celebrating 60 years next month. And ultimately, you grow and learn when things aren’t good. It’s great when you’re loving life and things are rosy, but I think that your faith is never tested until it’s stretched and, in the end, it makes you a better person.
If you could have one superhuman power, what would it be?
The ability to communicate with everyone on the planet.