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The rest of my journey……
While I was in college (LFC and University of Denver), during the summers, I worked in hotels and restaurants in Ocean City, Maryland. After graduating from LFC, I went on to the University of Denver to study Hotel and Restaurant Management, graduating with a second bachelor’s degree in 1971.
After graduating from University of Denver I got a job on the opening team of Walt Disney World in Orlando working as a supervisor in the Polynesian Village Hotel. It seemed like an amazing opportunity. What could be better? After about a year it became clear that Walt Disney World was not all “pixie dust”. After being transferred to the Pinocchio Village Haus, a fast food restaurant in the park where I supervised sending a ton of hamburger through a machine every day, I decided my career was not going the right direction.
In 1972 I joined the General Mills Restaurant Group (Red Lobster and eventually the Olive Garden) where I worked for 15 years. I began as a manager trainee in restaurant operations (we had 35 restaurants and about 3000 employees). It wasn’t long after graduating from the training program that I concluded that restaurant hours were not for me. Luckily, I was able to transfer into human resources when the function was in its very early stages. My first HR job was managing the relocation of managers between restaurants. Over the next 15 years I worked my way through the development of the human resources function to the position of VP of Compensation and Benefits, leaving the organization in 1988 (over 400 restaurants and 40,000 employees). While working for the GMRG I attended Rollins College part-time in the evenings and obtained my master’s degree in Management.
I loved developing new functions and programs but as GMRC got larger it was harder to facilitate and implement changes and I didn’t feel as challenged. In 1988 I went into human resources consulting with Mercer Human Resources Consulting in Tampa and subsequently joined Ernst & Young Consulting in Atlanta in 1995. I was a Principal and Practice Leader in both practices, focusing on the development of pay, recruitment, and retention programs in hospitals.
After seven years I left at Ernst & Young and launched Talinsight, LLC in Atlanta, a boutique human resources consulting firm. I had always had a passion for managing and developing the people on my teams and was very interested in using personality assessments to facilitate the selection and placement of employees. Talinsight sells personality assessments to both small and large companies to screen candidates for employment and to support employee development initiatives. I conduct personal assessment interpretations for my clients and train their recruiters and trainers to use the assessments. I also sell the assessments wholesale to other consultants and support their initiatives. The development of Talinsight has been a very significant challenge but through some luck and excellent employees I’m still in business after over 17 years.
I met my wife, Belinda, the last summer I worked in Ocean City when we both worked for the same family. We were married in 1971 in Orlando where we began our careers. Belinda began as a teacher in Kissimmee, Florida teaching middle school and learning disabled students. She went on to get a he went on to get a master’s degree in education Florida teaching was not for her at the University of Central Florida but soon decided that teaching was not for her. While I was working for the GMRG she left teaching and set out to get her J.D. degree from the University of Florida. As there was no law school in Orlando I became “Mr. Mom” taking care of our six-year-old daughter while Belinda lived in Gainesville pursuing her degree. After graduating, Belinda clerked for several judges and worked for several organizations in Orlando. After we relocated to Atlanta, she opened her own law practice specializing in employment and family law. She ran a very successful law practice for over 18 years.
Our daughter, Nicole, was born in Orlando in 1976. Nicole currently lives in Tampa with her husband and our two grandchildren, Parker age 13 and Caroline age 10. We relocated from Atlanta to Clearwater Beach in 2012 to be closer to our family and to spend time with our young grandchildren who were 3 and 6 at the time. Both Nicole and her husband work so a significant focus of our time has been spent babysitting and most recently picking up the kids after school and taking them to their activities. We live approximately 25 miles and about 45 minutes from them. We spent a lot of time driving back and forth but feel it’s worth it to live at the beach.
Belinda retired when we moved to Clearwater Beach in 2012. Talinsight is a virtual Internet-based business that I now run from my home office. I have a full-time employee that lives in Atlanta and runs the day-to-day operations of the business. I consider myself to be semi- retired as I no longer market the business, focusing only on existing clients. I have a very flexible and controllable schedule which includes spending time with our grandchildren, volunteering, traveling, and working with my clients.
We currently live in a condo on Clearwater Beach. Besides taking care of our grandkids and enjoying the beach we are avid travelers. We have been traveling internationally for over 35 years and have visited over 45 countries. We are very interested in ancient history and love to visit archaeological sites and museums and to learn about the people and cultures of the countries that we visit. We happened to have been to be in Mumbai, India the same day that Mumbai was attacked. We stayed in one of the hotels that was attacked the night before the attack. Needless to say, we didn’t make an international trip the following year.
Looking back, it’s easy to see that life is often an unplanned and uncontrollable journey with many challenges and ups and downs along the way. My career started in hotel and restaurant management and over the years went to corporate human resources management, to consulting, and finally to becoming an entrepreneur with a business that ties together much of my talent, experience, and passion. And marrying a schoolteacher that turned out to be a very successful attorney. Who would have known? And now being able to live at the beach and be close to our grandchildren. We have been both been very lucky and blessed.