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Since getting my Masters in Accounting (and passing the CPA exam) in the 80's, I have always worked in a technical, geeky sort of job, but always with
a strong dose of financial accounting systems thrown in. I started as a systems consultant at Arthur Andersen & Co. It was a great place to get
a lot of great training. I worked on lots of large accounting system installations including a two year stint on a project in Germany as a consultant
to SAP – one of the largest software firms in the world.
In 2003, I was looking for a job with less travel required. I had two small boys at home and didn't want to miss out on too much more of their growing up. I interviewed with Shawn and Brandi and got hired to work on the technical side of the HR and Payroll side of the practice. I worked a lot with time management systems, building Crystal Reports, and working on interfaces. When CS3 decided to adopt Sage MAS 500 as one of their products, I transitioned onto that team. More recently, as our Sage 100 practice has grown, I have become part of that team, also.
The best part of my job is the people I work with. Every now and then, CS3 management will give us all a book to read and then we will discuss it in our company meetings. My favorite episode from this exercise came from the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. If you haven't read it, you should. One of the chapters is about getting the right people on the bus and the wrong people off. There are a lot of great companies around that do this instinctively. I think CS3 has been doing it for a while. After reading this book as a collective, we all understand how important having the right people around is.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Boy Scouts of America. I am proud to say that both of my boys are Eagle Scouts. I have been an active Scout leader since my older son (now 23) was a first grader. When they recruit you as a Scout Leader, the joke is, "It only takes an hour a week". Don't believe it. I spend hundreds of hours on the Boy Scout program every year – planning, attending meetings, working on service projects, and going camping. It's a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I see the benefits. I see young men mature and become strong leaders. Plus, our Troop goes and does things that I never would have done if I weren't active in Scouting.
I have been to the Florida Keys and camped on a deserted island, backpacked in the Rockies, and gone canoe trekking in the Canadian Boundary Waters. I go camping one weekend a month throughout the year and have for years…along with 20-30 boys and other adults. I am the Scoutmaster for our Troop and have been for the last 6 years. I spend a week of my vacation every year going to Summer Camp and camping in a tent in the hot Oklahoma summer while our Scouts are earning merit badges and taking advantage of all the things there are to do at one of the nation's best Boy Scout Summer Camps.
What is the scariest thing you have ever lived through?
A typhoon and a fire – all at the same time. While serving as a junior officer in the Navy, I was aboard the USS Bausell (DD-845) in the South Pacific. We had been working with a submarine for a week; ending with the observation of a sub-surface launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. That was pretty amazing all by itself.
On our way back into Guam to drop off some scientist and their special missile telemetry gear, Guam shut down the harbor and sent us south 100 miles to avoid the typhoon they had coming in. While bouncing around in the high seas, the electric motors that control the rudder managed to catch fire and the rudders were suddenly locked in place.
The ship went to General Quarters – the only time in my 4 years in the Navy when this wasn't a drill. The tail end of the ship was on fire and we were cutting donuts in the middle of the ocean with 30 foot seas and 100 mile an hour winds.
I was new aboard and my GQ station was to go to the bridge, stand in the back, keep quiet, and learn what I could. I was at the perfect spot to observe everything going on as the ship wallowed in the troughs.
Attached to the ceiling of the bridge is an inclinometer. This is a device sort of like a protractor with a pendulum hanging down showing you how much the ship is healing (leaning over). I watched as the pendulum swung from 55° to the left to 55° to the right – a 110° arc – three times in a row. Imagine the wall becoming the floor and back again over and over. I watched as the conning officer used engines to steer the ship without the rudders and get us out of the troughs that were threatening to roll us over. The fire got put out and the rudders finally were brought back into control using manual hand cranks.
We rode out the storm and managed to get back to our home port in Japan using manual rudder control. Those old ships were built to take a licking and still be able to do the job.
Mountains or beach?
Living in Oklahoma, you don't get much of an opportunity for either. I have hiked to the top of two mountains, both about 12,400 feet. Mt. Fuji in Japan while in the Navy and Mt. Baldy at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico with the Boy Scouts. Baldy was a lot tougher to get to the top of, but it was the only time I ever had the feeling that I understood, finally, why mountain climbers do what they do.
In the Navy, I spent some time on beaches. Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, San Diego. Mountains or Beach? I think I have to go with the beach.
If you owned a yacht, what would you name it?
I do own a yacht, if you call a 30 foot sloop rigged sailboat a yacht. She doesn't have a name, but we have talked about naming her the Mayme Lou II. The Mayme Lou was our first sailboat - named after my wife's Granny Mayme. I am always looking for crew, so if you want to go sailing sometime, just let me know.
How many jokes do you know by heart?
It is common knowledge around CS3 that I can't tell a joke. I like jokes. I have a good sense of humor, but I can't tell a joke. If I do remember a joke (for a day, at most, after I hear it) and try to tell it to someone, I always mess up the punch line.
What is your favorite movie line?
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Delivered over and over again by Mandy Patinkin in the 1987 classic, The Princess Bride, one of Rob Reiner's early films as a director. Many of our brand new 11 year old Boy Scouts haven't ever seen it and won't watch it simply because of the title. So, every year on our way to Summer Camp, I find those that haven't seen it yet and make them ride with me to camp. I drive a big, old conversion van with a TV and a VHS machine (remember those). The captive audience doesn't know what they are getting into, but if you have seen the movie, you know it is a great movie for young boys (except maybe for the kissing part).
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