After receiving my MBA from the University of Notre Dame, in 1974, I began my professional career at Supermarkets General Corporation in New Jersey, where I progressed from store management to district management to corporate management.
In 1979, I moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin as Director of Business Planning for ShopKo Stores, a division of Minneapolis-based SuperValu Inc., eventually becoming Vice President of Marketing, responsible for Marketing, Advertising, Distribution, Real Estate, & Store Construction.
In 1989, I was asked to join the parent corporation (SuperValu) as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Planning, responsible for Corporate Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Consumer Research, Site Location, and the International Division.
In 1997, I joined Best Buy, Inc. becoming Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, responsible for Corporate Strategic Planning, Marketing Research, Real Estate, Store Construction, Site Development, Mergers & Acquisitions, & Consumer Relationship Management.
I was terminated in September 2002. I was 52 years old, at the time.
As part of my termination package, I was supplied outplacement with Right Management. There I was introduced to George Dow, who became my counsel.
George immediately began assessing my background, skill set, mindset, including my goals and ambitions. He then began offering me with a conceptual construct of what life options I may want to consider, around a career, community & personal activities … a ‘portfolio’ approach to life.
George listened intently. He was sensitive, objective, supportive, and realistic in his evaluations & guidance of my ambitions & goals. George’s approach was a genuine back-and-forth dialog, collaboration. We were discussing my life: where it had been, where is currently was, where it was going, and, most importantly, where did I wanted it to go.
It was obvious right from the beginning that George’s vast experience with executives in similar (& different) circumstances provided him with a large number of real world examples & case studies of individuals, who took the next steps, not simply to successful career moves, but more to a holistic satisfaction of ones life ambitions & goals. George’s counsel was everything to my developing options and ultimately making choices.
As it became clearer where I wanted to be heading with my career & life, George introduced me to a support group of four individuals with similar objectives. George moderated us.
In my case, as well as others in the group, I was looking to ease-into-retirement…a retirement that would include personal pursuits (travel, writing); community give-backs, and some transitional employment. Again, George & I, individually and as part of our group of five, discussed the various options available to me (i.e., re-employment, teaching, professional volunteering, consulting, authorship). It resulted in my concluding that approximately 5 years of consultancy would ease me into the portfolio I desired.
As a result, I & two former Best Buy associated became partners, starting-up a consulting company, Retail Masters, in 2003, which immediately began obtaining clients. Our two largest contracts had us employing anywhere from 10 to 20+ employees, and provided me with an annual, mid-six-figure income, as well as warrants (stock options) from our clients. As part of my plan to ease-into-retirement, after the five years of retail consulting, I resigned from my consultancy, last year, to pursue the rest of the life portfolio, George & I designed.
George & I, and the rest of our support group, still meet every year (at least twice), for 8 years now, to monitor each of our portfolio plans & progress.
Currently, I’m in process of writing two books, one business and one a fictional biography. Who knows if they will ever get published, but I’m doing what I enjoy.
My wife and I travel extensively around the world during the course of the year, we play doubles tennis weekly, and we spend 5 months of the year in our home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to get away from MN’s winters.
I can, without a doubt, say my life would have been gravely different if it wasn’t for George’s insight and counsel. I would have undoubtedly, prematurely jumped back into the work force without considering what I really wanted to do and what I could afford to do, with the rest of my life.
George’s intelligence, experience, and empathy were and are crucial to my portfolio decision making. George has seen it all and can bring these observations to bear on a successful executive life transition. I could not have been as successful and happy without George’s counsel.