Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Gary's History

Academy Days

Gary.jpg I enlisted in the Air Force in 1958 as I had no other job or college prospects. I had a vision of one day wearing those gold bars. Luckily, I was able to get appointed to West Point Prep School in Ft. Belvoir, Va. in 1960 which resulted in my appointment by Senator Dirksen to the AFA. Great opportunity for this poor, small town Illinois bumpkin.

Loved Colorado, loved the academy and loved Margaret Ann…not necessarily in that order. Got married secretly July 20, 1961.

Memories? Doolie summer runs, throwing up every time I got off the ground, marching tours, and the "Magnificent Seven" event are my dominant memories of Academy days. I stayed in the academy for two and one half years and resigned in 1962 as Marg was pregnant with our first son Craig.

One of the best outcomes of my Academy days is that my good friend, Parke Hinman, married Marg's sister Rose and became my continuing good friend and brother-in-law. I have not been good at keeping in touch with classmates of any of my past institutions, this one included. That is one of my major disappointments as I look back. However, fortunately, I bumped into Fred Grant in the Atlanta Underground one evening and we have, over the years, remained in contact, are close friends, and he saw the wisdom of retiring in SC and now lives a few minutes away.

The Rest Of My Life

Went to work as a Sales Rep for AT&T Long Lines in Colorado Springs with the DOD-Cheyenne Mountain as my customer. Learned to fly fish for trout in those wonderful mountains (actually I am still enrolled in that learning program). Then transferred to Wash DC. Finished my Business Degree at night school, University Of Md. Second son, Eric, born in 1965.

Spent 24 years with AT&T in multiple cities (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, Wash DC, etc.) and multiple departments and positions (moved every couple of years whether I needed it or not) ending as Director-Consumer Marketing with AT&T Communications at Bedminster, NJ HQ. We lived on Bernards mountain and stayed in Bernardsville, NJ for about 8 years. Got a MS degree from Stanford Business School via the Sloan Program along the way (1977-1978) compliments of AT&T. Another great learning experience.

Acquired two terrific daughters-in-law: Carolyn and Sheila. Left AT&T to become VP/GM of Communications Division at Computer Consoles Inc. in Rochester, NY. Did a successful turnaround and sold the company to STC in UK in 1989. Stayed on as CEO for two years. They in turn sold out to Nortel Networks.

Then, I started a high tech waste tire and plastics recycling company; filed 6 patents; raised startup capital; completed pilot operation; couldn't raise scale capital; closed it down. In 1995, I bought a small promotional products manufacturing company in Greenwood, South Carolina. Bought two other companies and merged with it. Sold it in 2003 and started a Business Brokerage Advisory firm (Empire Business Advisors-Southeast). We facilitate the sale or purchase of small and lower middle market businesses.

Still doing this one, enjoying it and still learning. Puts to work all those accumulated experiences over the years (i.e. mostly mistakes made). Fred works with me a bit and keeps me straight…when I can get on his calendar. I served as President of Carolinas-Virginia Business Brokers Association this past year. Glad that is over. Also bought some acreage in 1995 and started a small land development company where we developed, built and lived in the first house constructed in this small country estate type sub-division. Lived there for 10+ years, sold it, and in 2009 we built and moved into a new home on adjacent lots.

This year we are trying to get settled outside…lots of acreage and a couple of ponds to landscape and care for. Some say we took on a big project at this stage of our life. But I just turned 50….that's my story and I am sticking to it. I can't accept that the clock has turned as fast as Father Time says. I am in a state of total denial on that one. Marg and I have been very fortunate health wise. No serious problems at all. My mother, at 93 is living with us and doing fine. And I have 5 beautiful granddaughters…Jamie, Megan, Lindsay, Kelly and Kendal…my greatest achievement. I am very busy, still working hard, not fly fishing enough, but life is good.
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