There is a point in every man’s life when the time comes to take stock in his situation, gather inventory of his dreams and dare to do it, take a risk and make his life. I was there in the spring of 2004.
After completing an incredible journey to Athens for the annual Ohio University Sales Symposium, I was facing a long drive back to my real life in NYC. Its not like I didn’t know it was coming… I had been in this place before… and I knew what it felt like. It was time to embrace a risk, disrupt myself and be the man I was meant to be.
That summer my wife and I took a fairy tale trip to Spain: attending weddings in Bilbao, sunning on beaches in Barcelona and touring bull fights in Madrid.
Of course, just before I gave notice and sailed the quick confines of AT&T, to join in starting an innovative business model to the power of 3 creating exceptional outcomes in service delivery.
Join me in the IMS Experience!~
Dean, Frank & Sammy move over, there is a new gang of 21st century performers taking the stage and stealing the show!
Just like their name sakes, this combination of unique personalities and trend setting talents is creating a buzz from underground clubs to concert halls, board rooms and business venues across the nation. But unlike the Rat Pack of old, this group of impudent trouble makers is set on generating economic, political, artistic, athletic, and social reactions in the Greater Ohio Valley!
So who are they? Why are they special? Even better, what are they up to and where are they appearing next?
Catch them when they drop their first live performance, dazzling audiences and the elite with the CreateWV conference in Parkersburg WV this fall!
That’s how I like to tell people about my experience at Ohio University. During the 90’s the Internet was blowing up, people were making millions starting websites and I was right in the thick of it working at the OU Innovation Centre helping companies like Speciality Books launch online e-commerce sites as early as 1995. At that time, my driving passion was getting out of school to start my own venture that would revolutionize the world!
Once I’d graduated and moved to NYC, I realized the 16 hour days at PricewaterhouseCoopers and institutional constraints of selling for AT&T weren’t all that I had dreamed life out of school would be. So I found myself traveling back early and often to Athens for my OU fix. 9 out of 10 straight homecomings, Sales Centre board meetings, visits with my brother and then my wife’s cousin became yearly highlights. Finally, after toasting screw drivers at homecoming with friends recently relocated from California to Athens, Stephanie and I decided it was time to get back in and moved to the now famous State of Appalachia.
Life has definitely come full circle now as I’ve returned to teach Entrepreneurial Sales and Information & Telecommunication Systems for Ohio University and enjoy a slightly different kind of college party with a craft beer at this week’s Ohio Brew Week. My experience with OU has taught me so much about how to be a professional, a person, a coach and a contributor that I am certain of one thing, I will spend the rest of my life trying to give back the “fair/unfair” advantage that my time then and now at OU has given me!
Oil, gas and power have always been part of the history for the State of Appalachia region.
In fact the first history of modern oil discovery and production was right here along this valley and in these hills. It was here in the heart of the state of appalachia West Virginia that the famous oil men like Rockefeller first discovered and processed oil on a major scale. It was this geographic proximity to the appalachian mountains, oil, steel and most certainly coal that created the industrialized towns of Cleveland (Rockefeller’s capital and lakeside shipping port to the world), Pittsburgh (Carnegie’s steel town, consumer of all that energy) and even places like Parkersburg (A major Standard Oil outpost with logistics through the Ohio & Lil Kanawha rivers and B&O railroads).
So while its never really gone away (at least in coal that is) and the world swoons over the supply of oil while clamoring for green energy, we in the state of appalachia sit on the precipice of a new age with the advent of Marcellus & Utica shale finds throughout the northern and southern mountain ranges. Thanks to new technologies in storage and shipping (read Alan Greenspan’s Age of Turbulence Chapter on energy and his background and thoughts on natural gas) natural gas is the newest best thing for cheap, clean, still relatively abundant fossil fuel resource. Add to it the new methods of drilling and extraction, and wala, people that have owned land in the hills and the hollers of appalachia could be sitting on a literal gold mine.
But is all this too good to be true? Leveraging a history of energy natural resources and innovation to address the worlds challenges (and opportunities) with this next generation of technology and fuel? Will it be the boon to peace and prosperity in the region with every farmer leasing gas rights to their land and every family employed in the surveying, drilling, extraction, transportation and transactions in the space? Or will that all come to be and then come to end and fade as quickly as the previous booms that oilmen and others helped to fuel in an earlier generation? Or even worse, will it be a continued opportunity of exploitation for the area, were outsider investment or insider connections cordon off the profits for a few while leaving the costs to the rest?
Whichever of these or more possibilities come to bear, the only thing that is certain is there will be change and opportunity. How we respond to both as a people, as entrepreneurs, community leaders, businesses and workers, family members & friends will dictate which of the scenarios will come to pass to benefit or bereft our great State. I for one will be pulling for and participating in the changes to shape the opportunities for us all to benefit by the journey!