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Early Years

I was born in McAllen, Texas; the first of four boys.  Life was very tough back then.  But then again, so were mom and dad.  And dedicated. 

Dad was the first to attend college in his family.  After earning his MBA, my father got a job in Boulder, Colorado, working for IBM.  So, when I was nearly eight, my parents left everything and everyone they knew to pursue a better life.

Family life was traditional.  Dad was the main earner; mom made the house a home and cared for her boys.  We were tight.  Having meals together was a priority. We learned hard work, dedication, faith, and how to have fun. 

Life revolved around school, church, and sports.  We each played football, basketball, and baseball. 


I’m a product of Catholic education.  For high school, I went to on all-boy, Jesuit, college preparatory school called Regis.  It was very demanding and prepared me well for college and life.  Their motto, “men for others,” meant something and forever imprinted me. 

I attended Iowa State on a full-ride academic scholarship and earned a BBA in accounting.


My first summer job in college was a weird one:  selling books, door-to-door, in Mobile, Alabama.  The next summer: Pensacola, Florida.  I knocked on doors from seven o’clock in the morning until nine o’clock at night, six days a week.  The daily goal was 30 “demos” to make two sales.  It was hard.  It taught me discipline and persistence. 

After university, I worked for two really big companies:  Prudential (Fortune 100) and Principal Financial Group (Fortune 300).  With Pru, I did some planning and investments, but mostly sold life insurance.  At Principal, I sold retirement plans like 401(k)s and pensions and “executive-only” plans like deferred compensation, SERPS, and LTIPs.

In January 2002, I set off on my own.