Education: The Ohio State University
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The one thing that stuck with me and still does today is I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. In fact, I fully intend to pursue a second career someday when I retire from this great firm. Whether it’s in higher-ed, K through 12, or I don’t know what it’s going to look like that’s my goal and ambition.
What made you pursue accounting?
My best friend growing up had an older brother, Ted, who we always admired everything he did and was probably six or seven years older. He went to the University of Notre Dame, and when he graduated, he got a job at some place called Ernst & Ernst that we had never heard of, and so we were like, what’s Ernst & Ernst? He was fresh out of college and he said, ‘Why don’t I arrange to get you guys to come downtown and take you around and you’ll get a sense of what we do?’
We were probably in eighth or ninth grade. From the minute we got in the car and he’s in a suit, and we thought that was cool because we didn’t even own a suit and he takes you into this building that’s 30 stories high, and we said, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ That was the beginning of my career. I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ I pursued it with diligence.
What was your first job, and what did you learn that still applies?
I actually worked as a landscaper on a golf course. Think about golf courses, and people start playing very early in the morning. We had to get up at 3:30 in the morning and be there at 4:15 because that’s when we started working, and your job was to cut the grass and mow the greens and rake the sand and make everything look nice for the members.
[I learned] discipline and hard work and going to bed early. When you’re 15, you’re more interested in staying out late, and it taught me a tremendous amount of discipline. You worked from 4:15 in the morning till 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It was a really long day, and it’s all outside, so you’re in the sun. You’re whipped after one of those days.
It taught me about being disciplined and being on time if you’re late, they send people out on crews to different parts of the course, and if your crew went out without you, you had to go find them and catch up, and then you’ve left your crew with more of the work.
What’s your favorite board game and why?
Probably Scrabble. I’ve always loved Scrabble because I’m big on reading and writing and putting words together and I’m fascinated by great penmanship and interesting writers and authors, and I think Scrabble is a game that brings together a lot of that thinking.