For my initial go through college, I went to Iowa State to study science and play hockey. I was a semester short of a degree when I found myself working as an area supervisor for a restaurant franchise, making quite a bit more money than most college graduates.
But after a while, I decided the restaurant industry wasn’t for me. I came home to Elmhurst and started my own landscaping and snowplowing business. The company grew quite signiﬁcantly, but I wanted to learn more about business and develop a career. To do that, of course, I needed a degree.
I started with an associate’s degree at College of DuPage. Then I chose Elmhurst for my bachelor’s, partly because I needed a program with evening classes and a lot of ﬂexibility. I was still running my own company, my wife worked full time, and we were raising a child.
At ﬁrst I took maybe two courses each semester, but when I started working on my master’s degree I was going to class every night of the week. It wasn’t easy, but it was time to get it done. Sometimes the power of the mind puts you in a position to do amazing things.
Having completed my master’s at the age of 33, I wasn’t on the traditional path for a position at a Big Four accounting ﬁrm. Instead, I chose a path of aggressive selling. I had met a senior manager at Deloitte, and I called him for 32 days straight, saying I’d love the opportunity to come in and meet with him. It was a pretty aggressive sales pitch. Once I got in the door, they made me an offer—and I’ve been here ever since.
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