Thanks for joining us jayhawk1996. As a Texas resident, how prepared are you for the U.S. Government's attempt to take over Texas with the Jade Helm 15 operation?
About as prepared as I was for Y2K. I'll have plenty of booze.
Starting from the beginning, what was your family like when you were growing up? What did your folks do? What kind of a kid were you?
My family was fairy typical, except we moved several times. My parents are KU alums but didn't start dating until after they had graduated and were living in the KC area. I'm the oldest and my brother came along when I was 3. My dad spent his entire career in the non-profit world, mostly with the Boy Scouts of America. My mom taught third grade before I was born, then was a stay-at-home mom and went back to work when I was in high school.
I was born in Kansas City, Mo., and lived there until I was 9. Then my dad got a job as CEO of the Boy Scout council in Sioux Falls, S.D. We lived there for five years. The Black Hills of South Dakota are great - the eastern part where Sioux Falls is - not so much. I made some lifelong friends but the weather is miserable from November to April.
At age 14, my dad was transferred to Baton Rouge, La., and led their Scout council. I attended high school there - which was a big culture change. Louisiana is filled with food, culture and fun, but it never really felt like home. I still visit - my best friend from KU (who is from Salina) got a job there after graduation. My dad moved on to the BSA national office (Irving, Texas) in 1995, just before my senior year at KU. He retired in 2007 and my parents are still in the Fort Worth area, along with my brother, a cousin and their families. Except for my uncle in KC and some cousins in Nebraska, everyone from that side of the family is in Texas.
What kind of things were you into during high school? Sports, clubs, hobbies?
Choir, musical theater, and newspaper staff. I also became an Eagle Scout and lettered in football - as the team statistician.
What made you pick KU for college?
My dad took me to a football game in 1982 and I was hooked. It helped that my grandfather and parents were alums. After a year on the newspaper staff in high school, I decided to major in Journalism, and KU is well-known for that. I had no other schools on my list, despite being offered an academic scholarship to nearby LSU. Having moved twice, I was eager to get back to the KC area.
How and when did you find RCT?
I think it was around 2009? Like others, I got fed up with the message boards on KUSports.com and gravitated here.
I know you used to work as a copy editor. What was your journey from graduating college to where you are now?
I left KU with a journalism degree and the desire to be a sportswriter. My first job was as Sports Editor at the Southwest Daily Times in Liberal. I quickly got my fill of Southwest Kansas and went to a sister paper in New Braunfels, Texas. After about a year there, I was promoted to News Editor and helped put the paper "to bed" each night, meaning I got to yell "stop the presses" if necessary. I only did that once, when our office flooded and we had to evacuate. We carried out as much equipment as possible and set up shop at our publisher's house, which was on higher ground. The newsroom took on about 6 feet of water but we got that edition published (a day late) and continued to print it in a nearby town until our press and offices were fixed.
In 1999, I moved to Dallas and worked for two online sports websites, editing copy and supervising writers. Both were dot-com startups, so by the end of 2000, I'd been laid off twice and needed more stable work. I was able to parlay my experience into a job at The Dallas Morning News as an editor/producer on their website, dallasnews.com. I was there for 7 years and enjoyed it, but got tired of the odd work hours. The news business requires a lot of nights, weekends and holidays, and it's not as glamorous as it looks.
So I took a job in 2008 as a digital marketing specialist for a non-profit health care system here in North Texas. A couple of months later, I met the woman who would become my wife. We had both worked at The Dallas Morning News but had different hours and were on different floors, so our paths didn't cross until we'd both left. I experienced what's referred to as "The October Incident" (Ebola patients), and decided it was time to look for something new. Maybe I have a 7-year job itch?
A friend texted me in February and said she had a web content manager position at the multilevel marketing company she had helped start in 2011. I accepted an offer in March and started working there about 6 weeks ago. Switching from non-profit work to a direct sales company was a tough decision, but it was the right one for me and my family. I've enjoyed the work so far and the commute (15 minutes and no freeways) is glorious.
If I came to Dallas to visit you, what would we do and where would we go?
We'd start where most visitors go: The Sixth Floor Museum and Grassy Knoll downtown. For decades, Dallas tried to deny what happened in Dealey Plaza in 1963, but time and the efforts of preservationists have left an outstanding tribute to President Kennedy and that fateful day.
Then we'd tour one or more of the microbreweries here in North Texas. I've lost count, but they are nearly 50! I'm partial to my hometown Boulevard Beer, but do my best to "drink local" and support the people making quality stuff in DFW.
This time of year, we could catch a Rangers game at Globe Life Park in Arlington (including a tour of nearby AT&T Stadium) or see the MLS team up in Frisco. There are also outdoor concerts and activities, including Klyde Warren Park, which was built over a freeway on the north end of Downtown Dallas. It's quite a marvel and a great place to enjoy a sunny day or cool evening.
Then July hits, and we pretty much go inside to the air conditioning and don't come back out until September, when the State Fair of Texas kicks off and the OU and Texas fans invade. A day at the fair should be experienced by everyone, especially when the Red River Rivalry is played. I've been twice but OU lost both times, so my Sooner friends stopped inviting me.
What has been your biggest success and biggest regret?
My biggest success (other than career and family) has been as a Big Brother. I volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters 10 years ago and was matched with an 8-year-old named Chris. He's grown to be an impressive young man and will graduate from high school next month. He will attend a nearby community college this fall - the first in his family to do so. My relationship with him predates my marriage, and he's become a part of our family. He was the junior groomsman in our wedding and our 4-year-old son loves spending time with him. Mentoring someone is very rewarding. Whether it's with BBBS or another program or just with a neighbor or friend, I highly recommend it.
I don't have any regrets. Maybe that's the optimist in me. There are things I'd like to do over, but you learn from things and "just keep swimming."
Anything else about you we might not know?
I'm a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and member of The Monticello Association. We are related to his eldest granddaughter, Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead, who is buried at Monticello in Virginia. The association holds an annual meeting of "cousins" and I've attended twice. I look forward to visiting again as our son gets older.
Age - 41
Height - 5-foot-8
Where do you live - In a house
Facial hair - None
Any pets - Dog, a Chihuahua/Terrier mix named Conrad Bain
What kind of car do you drive - 2005 Honda Civic coupe
Corrective lenses - Contacts
Hair style - Happy to have missed the male pattern baldness gene to this point
Favorite movie - It's A Wonderful Life
Favorite tv show - The Bob Newhart Show
Favorite beer - Peticolas Velvet Hammer (one of our local microbrews)
Favorite band - Beastie Boys
Favorite food - Kansas City style barbecue
Favorite non KU team - Arkansas Razorbacks (my wife is an alum, and they play Mizzou on the regular so it's my new Border W)
All time favorite KU player - Danny Manning
First concert - REO Speedwagon
First w-2 job - Boy Scout camp counselor
Best athlete seen play live - Randy Moss
Favorite dinosaur when you were a kid - Dino from the Flinstones