I was asked to join Wanderer Capital because of my recent experience mentoring young Slovakian entrepreneurs. Since retirement in 2002, I have focused on mentoring young men and women in the US and Eastern Europe. My emphasis, first and foremost, is helping to create the thought process around starting and building skills necessary to be successful whether it be the individual’s first or 10th attempt to build a business. We have all heard the story of the billionaire who had multiple failed businesses before she hit the right one!
My interest in business started at a young age growing up on a farm an hour from Chicago, IL. From the time I was eight, I took on multiple jobs on both our farm and the neighboring farms which taught me responsibility and the benefits of hard work. I learned the principles of free enterprise by raising and selling my own livestock at the local stockyards. Who could resist buying a pig from a ten-year-old? These early experiences informed me of the importance of working hard and managing money as key to any successful endeavor.
As life on the farm became difficult financially, my family packed up and moved to California where I started high school. What a culture shock leaving a school of less than a hundred students to one with about 4000. This began the transformation of my learning from being a self-starter to the importance of team building. I was fortunate enough to play basketball on a state championship team that awarded me a full basketball scholarship at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). At UCLA I was again fortunate to be on a national championship team. I spent two years in the US Army Medical Corp where, because I was the tallest, I was appointed (on the first day) to be the leader of a 250-man company. I returned to UCLA to complete my degree in Electronic Engineering with a minor in Economics. My life has been full of opportunities to both participate and lead teams. These experiences have profoundly influenced my professional career as a strong advocate of building and operating as teams of professionals.
My professional career has included working for both large and small US based corporations as an engineer and manager. I have served as Chairman, CEO and Owner, sitting on multiple boards. Successes have come from building strong teams; being forward thinking and having the ability to maximize returns on investment in knowledge (people, processes, and intellectual capital) and leveraging assets (technology and customer relationships). I have led both the acquisitions and sales of companies.
I have a long track record of building fruitful partnerships and delivering bottom line growth while bringing a valuable combination of executive leadership, collaborating with venture capital shareholders, raising investment capital and developing relationship with banks and other sources of financing. I have led multiple “turn arround” successes and built profitable operations in multiple markets (government contracting, IT, communications) and selected the Ernest & Young/Forbes Magazine – State of Maryland “Turnaround Entrepreneur of the Year” awardee.
I look forward to contributing to the success and growth of Wanderer as they identify and grow deserving products and entrepreneurs.