Describing the past 50 years of my life in a few short paragraphs is a difficult task. I want to make it interesting but not bore you with too much information. I have chosen not to write this chronologically but to group it by subject matter allowing you to skip whatever part you may choose and not lose much.
I met my wife, Marilyn, in 1977. She came to Dallas to teach nursing at the Baylor School of Nursing. The Dean and I attended the same church. She gave me Marilyn’s number and I called. While feeling “somewhat skeptical about going out with a guy who couldn’t get his own dates,” she agreed to a blind date. We married one year later in Dallas.
We had two daughters. The oldest, Lauren, works in Seattle for an advertising agency. The youngest, Lindsey, is finishing a fellowship at Dartmouth and the University of Vermont Medical Center and has accepted a position with the University of Oklahoma Medical School as a Mohs surgeon in the dermatology department starting in December in Oklahoma City. Both Lauren and Lindsey are single. I really enjoy spending time with them when possible.
After Permian, I went to Rice on a football scholarship along with Paul Strahan and James Garner. Our teams were not as successful as we had hoped, but then we had been spoiled with amazing coaches and results at Permian. Following Rice and a BA in economics, I attended the University of Texas and received my MBA in 1973.
After graduating from UT, I accepted a job with the now infamous Arthur Andersen and Co. and became a CPA. Leaving in 1977, I accepted a position as the VP Finance for three privately-held companies in Dallas. When the owner decided to sell two of the companies, I left in 1986 to become the VP Finance for a privately-held family-owned grocery chain of sixteen stores (Harps Food Stores) in NW Arkansas. I would later become the Executive VP in 1995 and then President and CEO in 2000. In 2001, we became employee-owned, buying out all the outstanding stock from the family and management. The Company now has 87 stores operating in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas and over 4,000 employees (www.harpsfood.com). I stepped down as CEO in November of 2016 but remain as Chairman. I am working about half-time. Fortunately, I had a job that was fun, challenging, and put me around some outstanding employees.
Like most of you, I have had some health issues with which to deal. My most difficult hurdle has been the loss of my wife in 2011, after a two year struggle with cancer. God has helped me work through the pain and obstacles that we have all faced. I remain optimistic and happy as a result of my faith and growing up in a family where our parents made us feel good about ourselves and our family.
I have always counted my time at Permian as very special and as a great resource. I had good teachers and coaches who were mentors, pushing us to be our best. Permian was full of classmates who made me want to be a better student, a better athlete, and a better person. I am very excited to reconnect with everyone. Here’s hoping that you can all make it back!