John Bardis

The DNA of a Leader Who Sold His Company for $2.75B

Season  1Episode  362 MinutesNovember 29, 2023
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Prepare to be spellbound as host Jeff Hopeck welcomes a truly exceptional guest to the stage in this electrifying episode of Interesting Humans! Join Jeff as he sets the stage for an unforgettable conversation with none other than the illustrious John Bardis – a man who wears many hats, from role model and advisor to friend and mentor.

Hold onto your seats as Jeff and John embark on a captivating journey through the labyrinth of John’s extraordinary achievements. From his unwavering dedication to supporting U.S. Veterans and his pivotal role with the US Olympic wrestling team to his executive producing credits for the gripping documentary film Mully, John’s impact reverberates far and wide.

And let’s not forget his stellar success in the cutthroat world of business, where one of his recent ventures soared to unprecedented heights, fetching a staggering $2.75 billion!

This isn’t just any episode; it’s a rendezvous with destiny, a chance to unravel the enigma that is John Bardis. So, buckle up and brace yourselves for a rollercoaster ride of inspiration and revelation as we peel back the layers of John’s remarkable story.

Tune in now and prepare to be dazzled!


Key takeaways from John:

  1. Philanthropy is important. Give back where and when you can.
  2. Be resilient, especially when facing adversity.

 

Tune in to hear more inspiring stories from fascinating individuals.

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Timestamps:

3:22 – Meeting a life-changing individual.

4:09 – The military legacy of a father and grandfather.

09:28 – The US veteran that broke and inspired John.

13:41 – Surviving 78 reconstructive surgeries.

16:06 – Uphill wheelchair race at marathon.

20:16 – Philanthropy in Africa, Janine Maxwell, and Mully.

26:09 – The documentary Mully.

29:00 – John’s business Medassets.

29:50 – The Olympics and wrestling.

36:31 – The difficulties of poverty.

39:04 – College recruitment and transfer.

44:21 – Surviving risks and death.

46:05 – Lincoln as a transformative leader.

52:21 – Saving the nursing home industry.

54:01 – Building a culture.

57:43 – The potential of people.

1:01:00 – The person who had the most influence in John’s life.


Transcript:

When I get to the finish line, do I stand up and thank Jesus for being able to walk again? Or do I just keep going? I choose number two. I roll another half a mile away into a field, fall over, change my clothes, put them on inside out. Cause when I go back to meet Cannon when he comes, I’m not recognized as the fraud that I am.

Wow. From rolling a wheelchair across the line. That’s incredible.

Welcome everybody back to episode two of Interesting Humans. My name’s Jeff Hopek, and today is just going to be such a special episode because our guest, Mr. John Bartas has been a tremendous role model, advisor, friend, and mentor to me.  This podcast is truly a passion project for me. I’ve been fortunate to do some really cool stuff in the first 45 years of my life.

Everything from U. S. Secret Service at the White House, traveling the world, wrote and self published two books, started multiple businesses, have a long, fruitful run in residential real estate investing, and the list continues to go on. So, along the way, I met some remarkably interesting humans, and their stories have inspired me so much.

Men and women who have endured  They didn’t stop and they literally risked it all to get exactly what they wanted out of life. This is going to be everybody from F 18 pilots, retired secret service agents, people who have coached Olympic sports teams, entrepreneurs with all sorts of levels of success, including our guest, Mr.

John Bartas, who executive produced a movie that we’re going to get into called MOLI, coaching Olympic athletes, great success in business. In his portfolio companies that he’s sold, I think one of the most recent the sale price was over 2. 75 billion dollars. So we’ll talk about a mix of all things John today.

His story is remarkable. So John, to start off, why don’t you tell us, give us a snapshot, where are you at now

in life? Well, I’m, I’m a grandfather, of, of, soon to be four. So, pretty excited about that.  Judy and I celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary a month ago. Congrats. And,  she’s been such a huge part of anything that has ever happened.

That meant something to us, because of her, her nature, her work ethic and her patience.  and I’m the proud father of three children, two boys and a girl. And,  so,  just recently retired as.  from my last role as CEO of, of an investor based company, just really about four weeks ago. So, now really off,  just doing personal family office management and,  and, and focused on a number of specific charities that we’ve been involved in for, for quite some time.

Sure. Why don’t,

why don’t we get into a

few of those?  Well, and, originally in, 2003, I met a young man, who  was sitting on a bench outside of,  the Warden Park Marriott in Washington, D. C. next to Walter Reed. It was a very unusual circumstance because  about ten minutes before that,  a young man, Had come out of his car at the turn circle of the Wharton Park Marriott and yelled to me, said, Mr.

Bartas, Mr. Bartas, and I went over to see him, young African American man, and he said, you hired me off the Morehouse College campus in 1986,  and he said, it changed my whole life, and I want you to meet my wife and children, who, the children are in the back seat, and  it was really cool. This was 2003 and so I took 10 steps to my right after we greeted one another and I was heading back to the hotel and there was a young man sitting on a bench with a shaved bald head and a missing a leg but sweating profusely.

He was extremely pale, didn’t look well, sat down next to him and found out that he had stepped on a land mine two weeks before. In Afghanistan, he was part of the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. I can tell he was hurting. And so we got into what turned out to be an hour and a half conversation.

And I asked him, you know, what he was really doing there just at the Warden Park Marriott. He said he was looking for his father. And as it turned out, I knew his dad. Oh, wow. And so his name was Rick. His father’s name was Rick Callahan. And this young man’s name was Justin Callahan. But my wife’s father lost his leg after a 20 year battle after the Chosen Reservoir  battle as a Marine.

And for years, just suffered from infection and and sweats and he eventually lost that leg and he was quite an athlete. He was a three sport letterman at the University of Chicago. He was drafted by the White Sox, used the GI Bill after serving in Korea and became a very prominent product liability lawyer, but a guy that I respected enormously and he was also terribly crippled with rheumatoid arthritis because he had the R factor.

Unlike my father and his father, His story of actual service in combat was hugely affecting to me,  and influenced dramatically how I responded to Justin Callahan.  more specifically,  the conversation that we had in which Justin disclosed he was very concerned about his future because he was 19 years old, now he was missing a leg, and he was afraid of what his future might hold, including whether or not he would be able to even date a girl again, or somebody would find him attractive as a person.

And, his story was so deep and, and, and wrenching in terms of the pain that it brought up a lot of memories of my family and Judy’s father,  who all served in really, really difficult

combat. Interesting. Okay. So you meet a 19 year old, you got a, I could tell already, if, if I can go back to that time, you’re  John’s mind is going.

What, what ended up happening with that

conversation then? Well, I, I, at the end of the conversation, I said, look, I don’t want you to worry about any of those things. When you get out of here, I said,  You got a job. I guarantee you. You can come and work with us. And I said, I want to know what room you’re in, because I’m coming tomorrow.

I was able to go there the next morning, but I did call my wife in between because this kid broke me in half. And, all of the things that I had experienced with my own father, who fought under Patton in the 95th. My father was part of the Bastards of Bestong. They had some of the most brutal combat you could imagine.

He lost. a great number of friends during battle. I have an entire scrapbook of pictures he took all the way through France and, and, and through Belgium and Germany. Right.  His father, 26 years before,  served under Pershing and Pershing’s American Expeditionary Force as a foreign national living in the United States.

And he was front line in the Battle of San Miguel. He tried to give his wallet to the cook cause he had, the cook had. treated him well and because he knew he was going to die. And he was hit instantly upon the whistle blow. But,  he fell and his mother, was notified that he died in battle, but they never found his body.

He woke up four days later, nearly bled out.  and what saved his life was the mud. It compacted into his wounds. And so he was behind the lines  and eventually pushing an empty fuel drum. he was picked up by the Red Cross.  where he spent,  over a year in an army hospital, during which time he contracted the Spanish flu.

Spanish flu in 1918, we know for sure, based on public health records, killed 75 million people.  The San Miguel Cemetery has more dead soldiers after November 11th, which is the armistice, than there were from the battle itself, and that was because of the Spanish flu.  The average life expectancy of a white male in the United States in 1918 went from 1917 of 52 years of age to 30.

So public health records worldwide show that 75 million died, but we think it’s more like 150. Now that matters. Right. Because there was only 1. 5 billion people on the planet at the time. It was significant. We lost 5 percent of the population. Unbelievable. And so he survives the Spanish flu and throughout his life shook from it.

His hands would shake. That was one of the side morbidities that occurred for those who had survived the Spanish flu. So I would sit with him as a kid. He lived to be 96. He was my best friend. He died in 1984  and he would ooze shrapnel because this was before the Geneva Convention and then shrapnel could be blown into microscopic pieces.

And so I watched the wounds of, that he had his entire life until he died, continued to afflict him. Like I said, my father served under patent. Only 26 years later, my father was an ROTC kid. He went right into service at the age of 18 and then fought in the Battle of the Bulge at 20. So,  my father’s scars were more on the inside.

He struggled mightily. He had night terrors,  spent somewhere between, I think around six. Christmases in a mental institution. My father was never, never, well around Christmas. And of course the, two nights before he died, he told me why, because he lost all of his best friends in the Battle of the Bulge during the winter, December of 1944, where they were just shelled day and night.

And we came very close to not winning the Battle of the Bulge. It was that, that,  give or take. So,  you know, those experiences were very impactful, really affected how. I thought about veterans. Both my father in law, my grandfather, and my father,  they suffered, quietly.  Never really talked about it unless you asked him.

Right. Right. And so I saw the three of them and this kid who was sweating so profusely, it was running off of his nose. And he was clearly heavily infected. Yeah. He had just come back from Afghanistan.  and I learned something from not just him, but his father specifically told me, he said, you know, when they bring the boys in from Ramston, they allow the parents to see them, but they do not allow the boys to see their parents.

The parents stand on a port of mezzanine up about two stories as they watch the kids wheeled in. And the reason why they don’t let the boys see the parents is they cannot hold it together when they’re injured and know they’re dying if they see their mother.  They lose it.  They start to cry like little kids because it’s their mother.

And so,  Justin was one of those. Sure. And so I was able to visit him the next day and what I saw at Walter Reed completely blew my mind.

So then you, okay, so you go to Walter Reed, but you had a phone call before Walter Reed. To Judy. I did. Okay, so ring ring, Judy answers. I

told her what I just experienced and I lost it.

It broke me. Like I don’t think I ever remember being broken. Right, and from that experience all of the things that as a child and as an adult I experienced from the pain of our fathers and the pain of our grandfathers.  in combat, not just serving, but in combat just welled up and I said, we got to do something about this.

We cannot. And it was, I’m very grateful because every time I have been broken, which is many, many times,  I believe  finding that place of brokenness and then responding to it through prayer and effort, things that need to be done can get done because from, from these difficulties and hardships and, and compassion.

and concern that you have about other people are born.  commitments to do something about it. Sure. And that, that’s what happened here. I said, you know, whatever happens, I’m not letting this kid go.

Right, right. So you, did you have a vision at that point? No. An idea in mind? How did it come to life?

I said, you know, I said, we got to hire this kid.

I’ve got to provide him a place to live. He’s coming. And what happened is he moved to Atlanta. First day he came, he broke his prosthesis. he was really discouraged about it because it was a Sunday. I brought him over here to the cooler and I got some hockey tape and I taped up his, his prosthesis so he could walk on it until we get him back over to the VA to get the prosthesis fixed.

And, and,  right around that same time, another veteran was brought to my attention by a dear friend of mine who ran into a young man named Oscar Cannon in the Bethesda Naval Hospital. And he said,  And this man at the time who called me, his name is Chuck Lauer. He was weeping profusely. And he said, this young man just fought in the battle for Fallujah.

And he was considered one of the lions of Fallujah, Marine Corps sniper. And I asked him, I said, son, what can I do for you? This is Chuck Lauer asking. And Chuck was the publisher of Modern Healthcare in our industry. And, he said, can you do something to let my men know back in Fallujah that we care about them?

And so from that, we started the Oscar Cannon Military Care Program. Oscar went through.  78 reconstructive surgeries. He was a Marine Corps sniper doing the house to house battle in Fallujah, and he was up against a wall firing and taking out the enemy, and one of his men was mortally wounded, and he said, Sergeant, don’t let me die here.

It was in the middle of an alley, and Sergeant Cannon went and grabbed him and pulled him over next to a wall for cover, and in that wall, there was an IED, and they blew it. And they, blew the front left half off of Sergeant Cannon’s stomach and, thigh. The only thing left was his femoral bone and his not intact but not cut femoral artery, which, when his heart was beating, was arcing out like the St.

Louis Arc every time his heart beat. So they had to, that’s what caused him to survive.  He, through that, went through 78 reconstructive surgeries. And,  that summer of 2003, he came to our house to stay. Oh my goodness. And so he stayed with us that summer and he was in a particularly tough place. Cause the way that those kids were treated at that point in time, if they were injured, is they were given Ambien at night.

Sleep and hydrocodone during the day. This is true for Marcus Littrell as well, lone survivor, right? This is the way we treated because  there was no war before this point in time where the triage was so good, where the people with these kinds of injuries lived. They didn’t. Right. They died, right? So now, for the first time, we were dealing with severely injured and rehab able people, but with long term deleterious effects of those wounds.

including the fact they couldn’t sleep at night because they had night terrors and, and, concerns about their pain. And so the way we did it was hydrocodone and Ambien.  so what happened was,  Oscar was sitting on the couch and he was in a very bad place. Callahan wobbles into the house,  with his leg and, he hears Oscar,  saying he is upset with this, that, or the other.

And,  To be clear and not vulgar, he says,  to Oscar Cannon, Sgt. Callahan says to Oscar Cannon, he says, shut the hell up.  He says, shut the hell up and get up off your ass and do something about,  what your problem is. And that really, I mean, I couldn’t say that. I had, I did not have the rank, the experience,  or the chops to say something like that.

But another wounded veteran could. For sure.  And so I was able to jump in the middle and just say, Hey, look, let’s, maybe we could plan something to do together that would be tough, but test us a little bit and, and give us something to work toward. And we agreed to do the Marine Corps marathon together that October,  in a wheelchair.

And so,  so we did. The thing about the Marine Corps Marathon, the first half mile is uphill and the last half mile is uphill, but if you don’t know the course, the first half mile will cause you to think it’s going to be pretty long, particularly if you’re in a wheelchair. And that was true for me. I’m going like, it’s going to be a long day.

I think it’s maybe a seven or eight hour day, but I’m going to do it. We’re going to get this out and, you know, I’m cranking this thing along and it gets flat and you learn how to do it and you start rolling. And  I went in pretty good shape, but I’m not a wheelchair guy, right? I don’t have to be in one.

about half a mile, I broke my seat back and I had to lean forward and crank up that last half mile and one of the funniest things happened was a lady who sees me struggling going up this hill in a wheelchair because I can’t put my back into it because I can’t do the crank, right, correctly. I’m going, but it’s really slow.

This lady climbs the fence, gets up in front of my grill, and starts telling me that I sacrificed for my country and therefore I can make it to the finish and I’m not wishing to tell her that I’m actually fully able to walk because it will sort of blow my cover. And she, and I’m going, you know, it’s good, you know, please just, I can make this, if you could just step aside.

Now I’m thinking, what do I do?  when I get to the finish line, do I stand up and thank Jesus for being able to walk again, or do I just keep going? I choose number two. I I roll another half a mile away into a field, fall over, change my clothes, put them on inside out. ’cause when I go back to me, cannon, when he comes, I’m not recognized as the fraud that I am.

Wow.  Rowing a wheelchair across the line. So  , that’s incredible. From, from, yeah. And I’m, I’m, you know, I’m. I’m hoping that no one recognizes me, but Oscar makes it. Sure. And,  from that,  we start Hire Heroes USA.  today, as it turns out, not because of myself, but because of leadership that we later hired.

Brian Stans specifically, who is a Silver Star decorated Marine from the battle for Ramadi. I came in and figured out how to run it and build systems around. And today Hire Heroes.  USA is the largest veterans employment organization in the world. We will hire 17, 000 veterans this year alone. We process over 200, 000 a year.

Our queue fills up every week by Tuesday afternoon. And that’s been because of Brian Stan and Nate Smith. Both Marine Corps, Infantry, Fighters, and Christopher Plump, an Air Force Warthog pilot who ran it for a number of years thereafter, and today, a retired Marine by the name of Andrew Sandow. They knew how to deal with returning veterans, and they’ve turned Hire Heroes into something very, very special.

But all of this came from  a chance meeting. with a young man. Sure.  named Justin. Incredible. What a story.

How many people, just curious today, how many people has Hire Heroes connected? How many troops coming home have you gotten hired?

85,

000. 85, 000. And what was the year again? Started 03? 03. Right after, so the wheelchair was the event, the wheelchair marathon.

And then boom, Hire Heroes starts that year. That’s incredible. Yeah. 85, 000.

Yeah. What a story. And we’re now, you know, we track about between, we’re headed toward 17, 000 18, 000 a year now, and the Walmart Foundation, Call of Duty Endowment, and Charity Navigator rate us the number one veterans charity in the United States.

Oh my goodness. So the veterans pay nothing. We also find jobs for their spouses. We have 136 full time employees who do nothing but seek jobs. And the great news about the American people is they want to hire veterans. Right. They’re not shy about it at all. They just need to know who and what Yeah. is, is

available.

Sure. What do you, what do you think that is? So when you say they want to hire veterans, what drives that? I’m sure there’s certain, several factors, but any opinion

on that? Well, you know, Jeff, I think the American people have come to recognize what the American veteran has meant to America’s freedom, right?

We have adversaries throughout the world and they choose not to mess with us most of the time, in large part because of what our military capability is.  and it’s these veterans who make it possible for that to be the case. We’re the number one military in the world.  we are 4. 4 percent of the Earth’s population.

We’re 20 percent of global GDP. this happened for a reason around the way our country’s structured, but more importantly, the veteran, which represents only 1 percent of our population, only 1 percent of our population.  Wow. And so,  it’s these people who make it possible for us to walk the streets freely and not be concerned about foreign adversaries.

so we owe them a great deal and we believe that we certainly owe them the first place in line as it relates to the American dream. Right. And that first, that first place in line means first and foremost an economic opportunity. Sure,

sure. Okay, we’re, we’re going to get into some business stuff.

There’s, we got to make another stop first. An incredible stop. MOLLE is just remarkable. I tell that story to so, so, so many people, so  walk me through how that all happened. The movie MOLLE.

Yes, well, in 2008, I was serving my last year as team leader for the United States  World and Olympic team for Greco Roman wrestling.

And before I left for Beijing in 2008, one of the people who worked in our company handed me a book  called, It’s Not Okay With Me, written by a lady named Jeanine Maxwell, in which she told a  series of stories that were rather harrowing and scary and depressing. About the conditions in Africa and particularly amongst the poor and the condition of the children.

And she had visited the Kibera slum in Nairobi and witnessed  the rescue of a child in a mud hut who she happened to film. And we have this film to this day and her name was Lillian and the girl was completely depleted. looked as though she was maybe four or five years old.  and as it turns out, she was 12 and she weighed 14 pounds and she was with a gentleman named Charles Mully who rescued this child, pulled her out of the mud hut and and it’s on this video where he’s saying we must get her to a doctor immediately before we do.

We need to pray for her.  they couldn’t, they couldn’t initially find a vein in her. There was no doctor in Nairobi that they could get her to. So he drove her all the way back. to Yotta, which is about an hour and a half away, got her to one of the doctors and they began to feed her sub in the subclavian vein because she had no vascular system in her arms that could work.

she survived. But what we learned about at that point in time was that this is a man who, since 1987, gave up his life and began rescuing children outright.  And from that inspiration, Janine Maxwell founded Heart for Africa and built a similar model, which today she has 390 children. I read the book, It’s Not Okay With Me, on the plane back from Beijing.

I walked in the office and there she was sitting in our  boardroom with the woman who had given me the book, serendipitously. Oh my goodness. And we sat down for five minutes and it turned out to be two and a half hours. And she,  was in tears about wanting to do something about it in Swaziland, which is the only sovereign kingdom remaining in Africa.

It’s embedded in inside of South Africa.  and what that turned into was an investment into a 2, 900 acre patch tract of land that Judy and I had made to support our heart for Africa beginning a model that looked like Molly. We had a gentleman who were, I worked with for 31 years, whose name is Wayne Clark.

Unfortunately, Wayne passed away three and a half years ago,  who was an incredibly prolific writer.  and an administrative genius, and he was the person that handled all of our outreach. So we had a program in the company called Heart and Soul. It was central to our culture. It was how, we believed our corporate responsibility and individual responsibility was laid out before us to respond to others in need, including people within our own company.

But we, through the Heart and Soul program, I asked him to actually physically go, to Swaziland to take a look at the land, and he did. He called back and said, this is the real deal. So we chose to make the investment, but that we had, we had read the book about Mully. In between that time, it was called Father of the Fatherless.

And I asked him if he would consider flying 1500 kilometers north and meeting Charles Mully.  And he did. And Mully and Wayne became dear, dear friends.  and right off the bat, Wayne said, this man knows how to do this. And so we purchased the land, but Charles then came and dedicated it in the June of 2009 and gave his firstborn son to manage the land.

So for the first four years, his intellectual knowledge of how you build,  on the ground, large orphanage, orphan type infrastructure from education to housing to,  medical,  to living quarters, they transferred that knowledge. And so, Heart for Africa then Also, did all the right things with their people, with their team, Ian Janine, moved there, brought their kids there, gave up their life here in the United States.

But getting to know Charles was an entirely different thing altogether. So he received our Norman Borlaug Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2009 and he flew  all the way from Kenya with his wife to Las Vegas to receive it.  And we bought him as a company, we bought him the next 500 acres of land.  On which he’s planted over 2 million trees.

In a desert that now produces rainfall. It rains there now. And so, he has, as we speak today,  in four locat excuse me, seven locations. Two very large ones. He has 7, 700 children in his care. But he’s physically adopted over 35, 000 children. And, and raised them to adulthood. 35,

000. Correct. I remember the launch party for the movie.

Yes. At CCS. And I don’t remember what the number was much, much, much lower. So that’s an incredible impact. These are all kids that have his last

name. They don’t know, they keep their name, but they call him Daddy Molly. They call him Daddy and they call Esther his wife, Mommy. Mommy Molly and Mama Molly.

And  they, they take every one of these children, no matter how broken they are. And it’s been an incredible success story. and so. In 2013, I asked his permission to make a documentary about his life. I knew two young filmmakers who were interested in taking on the task. It was a pretty enormous task.

He has to fly to Kenya. Yeah, right. And actually film it. Lucas, right? Yep, Lucas Benneken and Scott Hayes. And Scott Hayes has become a very, very,  you know, pretty much an A list actor now in Hollywood. He’s done everything from Jurassic Park, Billy the Kid, I mean, pretty amazing stuff. Sure. and his, um  But, but nonetheless, they went out there with three of them and a set of drones and three cameras and they made that movie.

That ended up winning five film festivals and today remains on Amazon Prime.  And  to be candid with you, crazy things have happened, things we would have never anticipated. I thought, well, if we made a good film, maybe someone would buy it and then we’d give the proceeds. And I told Charles from day one, I would sign the movie’s rights, ownership, a hundred percent over to him.

But instead, what happened?  People started watching it,  and as people started watching it, out of the blue, they started mailing checks to Mollie Children’s Family.  So, so much so that we actually had to begin an office here in Alpharetta called Mollie Children’s Family USA, which is today run by a gentleman named Craig Studerman, who retired from UPS, and Charlie Malmquist.

These two gentlemen now have been running the office here in America  since that time, and,  the movie has now raised by people randomly watching it and just simply sending a check. To Molly Children’s Family USA, it’s raised 30 million dollars.  and he raises a child.  And educates them and houses them for 1, 000 a year.

And where

do the children are coming from? That country? They

are. They’re all Kenyan, all Kenyan orphans. So if you go into the Kibera slum, which is viewable at the front end of the Mully movie. Yeah. It’s a level of destitution that Americans are simply not used to. That’s where he’s

picking a child out of the gutter.

I remember how it opens up or starts. Yeah,

that happens every day. Like under a bypass. Yeah.  Wow. Yeah, people abandon their children. Unbelievable. Yeah.  Janine Maxwell has retrieved children who were recently born out of latrines.  Parents actually throw the child into a latrine. Unbelievable. Which is, yeah, it’s, it is unbelievable.

It’s so different than Western thinking. Sure.

Now did the one organization Van become roll up under MOLI or

they’re still separate? They’re separate and they’re thriving separately. Great.  Isaac spent  four years there building and helping design the infrastructure and then came back to MOLI. Yeah. And they’re separate.

And like I said, they’re 1500 kilometers apart. So, you know, it’s not like they’re next door neighbors. Right.

Right. That’s remarkable. All right, John. Business and MedAssets. I know a lot of people are going to have questions on the business stuff. I’d love to stay on the philanthropy stuff all day, but let’s, let’s focus in on the company.

So what did the company do?

Well, MedAssets was a performance management company for U. S. health care providers. So we managed the procurement process,  which was about 70 billion a year of procurement for major U. S. hospitals. We also managed the revenue. cycle process, which is payment for hospitals. And then we did clinical consulting around process improvement and clinical efficiency.

And so we, we managed about 500 billion a year of reimbursement, about 70 billion of actual product purchases. Okay. And then we managed a clinical process engineering to make care process more efficiently for hospitals.

Interesting. Very cool. Okay.  You coached Olympic wrestling teams too.

Do I have that right?

Yes. I served as the team leader for the Beijing Olympic team and the team leader for the Tokyo Olympic Greco Roman team. Okay.

Awesome. So let me ask you a specific question that, so  you’ve, you’ve had success with,  coaching teams in the Olympic arena and wild business success. So my question is, did  you find similarities in top athletes and top performers in business?

And if so, what were they?

Yes, I do. I find very similar characteristics of people who succeed. Number one, they’re incredibly hard workers.  two, they’re gifted, right? Our top elite athletes are incredibly gifted. I started coaching in the UFC in 1997, and it was because some of our wrestlers were retiring,  moving into another form of opportunity, given the fact that The Olympic years usually take you through maybe 30, 31, 32, and you haven’t really built out your capabilities and say business or education or what have you.

So the UFC became a really tangible way that some of the skills they had developed over many years of international competition as an elite athlete might be applicable to this new job and that is being a fighter in the UFC. So,  I have found that.  All of these elite athletes have common characteristics, right?

And it isn’t that they never lose, it’s, it’s just simply one, they’re incredibly gifted, they’re great athletes, they’re mentally tough, right? They have great EIQ for what they’re doing, they can see it, they understand where they are spatially, they can read an opponent, and that comes from years of close quarter combat.

Right now it would be a different set of skills for a center fielder who’s got to field a major league.  That’s a whole different thing, right? These guys are trained and synapse developed around this sort of three to four foot space in front of them where they can feel, read, and even see ahead of time exactly what an opponent can.

Or what might do so they, and then on top of it, they’re incredibly powerful. I mean, I, I personally think pound for pound,  and it’s kind of been proven over and over again. You know, they are amongst the toughest people in the world. If not the toughest, you know, physically from, from, from being able to endure the physical toughness.

Sure.

Now. How about your story? How’d you get into wrestling and why and Oh,

gosh. When I was six, my dad bought me a heavy bag to hit. Because the way he grew up, you had to learn how to fight,  in order to make your way  around, right? Whether that was on the schoolyard or in your neighborhood or whatever.

And that turned out to be incredibly valuable. So from the time I was six until the time I left the house at 17, I hit that bag all the time.  and I think my dad probably knew that this was an appropriate thing to occupy me as opposed to breaking something in the house. Right. And so, it was probably a lot wiser than just simply being concerned about my ability to defend when I was 10 years old.

A kid in my,  my fifth grade class, whose name was Jeff Schenck, who now lives here in Atlanta, came up to me in class and said he was going to kick my butt because his brother was on the high school wrestling team.  And I wanted to know more about this wrestling thing. And it turns out only three weeks later, the head coach of the local high school came to the elementary school and said they were going to do a wrestling clinic and anybody who wanted could sign up and then they’re going to hold a tournament after.

I was like the first guy in line because I had to figure out what to do with Schenck.  And so,  turns out I, you know, it’s a, it’s like a six week, you go after school kind of a thing. And I fell in love with it. I go, man, this, I think this is, this might be me, you know. And so it turns out they have a tournament afterward and who’s, who’s in my weight class but Shank.

So cool. And,  And I was lucky enough to win.  we wrestled together in high school. I think he wrestled through his freshman and sophomore year, but had a lot of success in football and, and did very well. But that was sort of my eye opener, right? And so I fell in love with the sport. Just totally fell in love with the sport.

Loved the independence of it. Loved the difficulty of it, how hard it was.  And that’s why, that’s where I began.

How’d you get to the next phase in wrestling? Didn’t you go  wrestle in college? And how far did it

go? As it turns out, my high school, three years before I entered high school, had hired a new head wrestling coach.

His name was Bob Camp.  Bob was a two time All American,  two time Big Ten champion, which Big Ten today remains the most dominant,  conference for college wrestling.  and he was tough as all get out. As I got lucky enough, about a quarter of the way through my freshman year to make the varsity team at 98 pounds of all, I can tell you that.

So,  I wrestled under Campbell and I had great mentors that were seniors. But,  I was lucky enough to do well,  and in our senior year, excuse me, sophomore year, went through a massive, change in our high school, and that is we started busing. And we started busing in kids from underprivileged areas, most of them happened to be African American, and it changed the entire profile of our school.

at first it was highly fractious,  combative. We had a number of riots at the school,  injuries and that sort of thing. But we ultimately came together and learned how to,  know each other and live with each other. And it was probably the most substantial cultural experience I had in my life. I learned so much.

I, you know, we were not wealthy at all in our family. We had no major savings or anything, but we ate. Right. These kids didn’t have dads. Now these kids lived in really tough conditions. And two, Richard Holiday and Edward Beeks and I, We’re lucky enough my senior year to go to the state championship,  in Illinois.

And Illinois is a top five wrestling state in America for kids. And, and the three, all three of us made it to the championship match. And by the time the finals were, we won the state title with just three guys.  And so we won the first state championship in the history of the school in anything.  and, both of them ended up while not having fathers had incredible lives.

Ed became a, a certified.  Deep Sea Underwater Diver worked for the Seals and with the Seals in Gulf, the first Gulf War. Wow. I took him to the Olympic trials with me in, three years ago.  and Richard Holiday has become a successful defense attorney in Washington, D. C. So I’ve kept in touch with both of them and their lives have been.

really successful out of nowhere, by the way, they were as poor as could be. Sure. They did. They had but one or two changes of clothes as they were youngsters. Right. Yeah. But that was hugely, hugely important to me to see how the poor lived and how difficult it was for them and what they had to do to get out of the circumstances that they were facing.

Right.  At that particular point in life. Did you have what you would consider a mentor? Do you have anybody pouring into you?

I had, I had wonderful teammates, you know, when I was a freshman, they, those seniors took me under their arm.  they treated me,  as a younger brother. And that was huge how it influenced the way I would treat younger people when it was my turn.

In Illinois at that point, we had the number one senior Olympic level. a men’s wrestling team in the United States. It’s called the Mirror Daily Youth Foundation, and they would invite kids to come to practices two nights a week. So I would take the L train, the IC and the L train into Navy Pier, and I’d wrestle those nights and get my head kicked in by nationally ranked senior wrestlers.

But it was so critical for me, to really find out what the best looked like, how they felt, what they did, how they thought. And, you know, I really felt, and it was a great honor for me to pay that price, but it changed the way I thought about the sport.  And I was lucky enough,  to win the state freestyle and great.

A state Greco Roman championship in Illinois. And I won as a junior national Greco Roman title my senior year. And then  I got a full ride scholarship to Wisconsin.  our starting 150 pounder, he and I were recruited together. his name is Lee Kemp. Lee is considered now to this day in the rearview mirror to be one of the 10 greatest wrestlers in the history of the world.

Lee ended up winning three world titles. So he and I were in the same weight class our sophomore year at the NCAA finals, cause I transferred.  and so I had, and I had incredible mentors on that team, on that team in that room, we had 11 world team members and NCAA champions in the room, so it was.

You know, it was a war zone. If you went into practice every day, you had to be ready to get your head taken off or to take somebody else’s head off.

Right. So, in a way then, did, did wrestling sort of, am I saying it the right way, get

you out of Chicago? Absolutely. Yeah, if I didn’t, if I, if I didn’t have a wrestling scholarship, I, I mean, I, I put everything I could into high school wrestling because I knew it was my ticket.

Hmm. I needed to get out of there. Right.  I knew that this was the only way that. The person I was at the time could possibly have a chance at, you know, a job in the future or an education. It was my ticket.  And so I was lucky to get a full ride to Wisconsin. And then later, I had, I had previously been recruited by a number of schools, including Arizona State.

but I, when I saw the desert for the first time, I left my, recruiting trip in Chicago. I took the bus to O’Hare. It was August. It was, excuse me, April 1st. It was sleeting sideways, literally. Wow. And I caught the plane. He meets me at the airport and it’s 83 degrees in Tempe, Arizona. And there are girls on campus throwing frisbees, wearing bathing suits.

I’m going. I can’t find anything about this I don’t like. Right. And so, at the very end, I signed with Wisconsin, but later transferred to the University of Arizona and ended up wrestling against the Arizona State guys with Bobby Douglas. That’s where I met my wife,  at the University of Arizona, who was on the golf team.

And it turns out we grew up a mile from each other,  in the South Burbs of Chicago, but didn’t know each other because we went to different high schools. Although I was a caddy where she was a star golfer and she was on the Arizona golf team, we couldn’t have been more different, right? I was a guy that walked around with sleeveless t shirts and, you know, platform shoes.

You know, she was cultured. how in the world she could possibly have ever found me interesting, still is baffling. Did you ever caddy for? Oh no, no. I, they wouldn’t allow, I had to get there at six in the morning and I would get out at two with the worst golfers that were at the club, right? And for the right reasons, right?

I was not a very skilled caddy. Right.

So, okay, so rustling got you out. Let’s focus on birth to college. Unpack a little bit more. What, what were things like? What do you remember? Early childhood memories? Well, I

actually, so I, I apparently almost died. At six weeks of age, I was born with pyloric stenosis, which is a,  which is a closing of the,  pyloric valve and prevents you from, digesting food or taking it into your stomach.

So you Where’s that valve at? That valve is right here, dead center, right up under your, your sternum.  and so I obviously had made it,  and my parents did a great job of, of making sure that I did.  I ended up with a pretty substantial infection because I was so depleted.  But,  I don’t remember any of that.

I do remember, you know, growing up that,  my parents were very hard workers and taught us early to work, right? And, that they’re examples even though they both suffered meaningful trauma in their lives. Sure. You know, my father war wise, my mother growing up in a family of 11 immigrant children who had no money.

She remembers when she was young, she was about six years old when the father, Charles, had to put his two eldest sons out of the house because they couldn’t feed them. They literally had to leave, because they couldn’t feed them. And so, you know, she lived through the Great Depression, so did my father.

They lived through the wars.  and they learned to, particularly to value education.  And that’s what they did. They worked their tails off. They never had money, right? They had enough to get by.  my mother ended up becoming, as I mentioned, a college professor. And what made her, retirement possible, she retired at 76.

Was she, was she got a pension? You know, she had a, we didn’t know of such things. My, my grandfather,  recognized he was going to receive social security in 1935. He became a citizen after the war in 1926. Believe it or not, this guy fights for the United States, gets severely wounded and doesn’t get a citizenship until 1926.

Not allowed to. So you talk about coming through the front door and paying the price. Sure. He paid the price. Wow. And so, he became my best friend. He could not read.  but he was a carpenter at a craning company for 40 years and he got the, he thought he hit the lottery because in 1935 Franklin Roosevelt passed the Social Security Act so that when he turned 65 he would get a pension and on top of that he got a pension from his workplace.

This is a guy that grew up in rural. Lithuania. On the age of 13 when his father died, he migrates to Liverpool, England and works in the coal mines and gets his brains beat out routinely by the English who do not like foreign workers.  And his story is really crazy and I’ll give it to you briefly, but what he ends up doing is he books himself on a ship to Canada and writes his mother he’s going.

And he’s third class on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. He gets bumped. She doesn’t know it. The news around the world shows, says the Titanic has sunk and there are virtually no survivors and she has a mask set for him back in Lithuania. He gets bumped, gets on another ship, gets to Canada, and  finally gets a letter to her, eight weeks later.

Of course, she ends up with a similar letter from the United States Army in 1918 that he’s been killed in action. And in both cases, it wasn’t true. And then the next thing he ends up in is in a boat, in a ship, going back across the ocean to fight in World War I.  Under Pershing’s American Expeditionary Force.

I have all of his papers, including his wound papers, his citizenship papers,  his commendations from Pershing. Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty cool.  So cool. It is cool. I mean, just the story of his survival is a miracle because at any point in time, does he not make it? Right. There’s none of this. There’s none of it.

It’s all gone. There’s none of it. And I thank God almighty, for the, the chance he’s given our family to even be. And I look at the providence of that and realize that on both sides of the family, there was such risk and death all around them, right? They made it through the flu pandemics. Do you understand?

And most people don’t that there was no antibiotic in the world until 1933 when penicillin was invented was discovered. Right. Right. The mortality rate of children in New York City in 1906 was 20 percent. Two out of ten kids died. It was like clockwork, right? We didn’t know what disease was. We didn’t know how to treat it.

so,  you know, the advancements that have been made by this nation and the world, but led by this nation. We think about a third of the baby girls being born in the United States today will live to be 100,  right? Because we know so much more about preventative medicine and so forth. So, you know, they lived through a time where living was really almost a miracle.

Mm

hmm. That’s incredible.  Let’s, let’s move, let’s talk about some books. You mentioned one before. Do you have a favorite? Do you have a most recent read?  What

comes to mind? Well, I, I just, you know, I, I’ve, I’ve reread recently, Dolores Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. Lincoln is one of my absolute heroes.

and Lincoln was a genius. And even Dolores Kearns Goodwin said, you know, little did we know, did anyone know, that Lincoln at the time of his ascendance to the presidency was a genius. You know, what he did to save the union,  the Emancipation Proclamation, the state land grant, a program that he personally thought of and signed into law made it possible for the state university system to exist today.

His ability to bring people together at a time in which there was true hatred and bigotry and, you know, ownership of other human beings, right? In his speeches, the second inaugural, right, in which he says, if the, if the Almighty should ask that every last lash of the bondsman’s whip should be repaid by the lash of the sword, we would say this is a judgment that was true and just, but if in his mercy.

He would give us the chance for peace. We would be grateful. So he knew who was in charge and at the end of the day, he also knew what was wrong.  and so I thought, you know, I think Lincoln was a transformative leader, maybe the greatest ever.  and,  in terms of books today, I, I think the two best.

Economic books I’ve read in a really long time are Ray Dalio’s Big Debt Crisis and, Changing World Order. Okay. just phenomenal. Ray is, you probably know, started Bridgewater Hedge Fund. It’s now the largest hedge fund in the world. Brilliant thinker. Mm hmm. And he basically, with great humility, sort of lays out what the data is telling him.

Mm hmm. About The current economy and the future status of the reserve currency of the U. S. dollar and a variety of other things. It’s, it’s just an extraordinary,  a bit of writing.

I’m curious how you go from wrestling and that world and  into entrepreneurship. It’s fascinating. Can you tell us about that a little bit?

Yeah, well, first of all, I was very, very, very lucky.  and I’m grateful for it. Off the college campus, I got two job offers from one of the companies. That would, in today’s terms, be considered sort of like a Google or an Apple, but it was in healthcare. Wow. It was a great company called American Hospital Supply Corporation, and they were growing very rapidly and were run by young people and go getters and they really liked, and they specifically oftentimes recruited college athletes.

I was, I was given opportunities that to this day still stun me.  By the time I was, I was hired when I was 22, worked as a sales rep for 18 months and then got promoted to a regional manager that I held that job for three years, but I was traveling five states and running a,  a regional sales organization.

And then from there at the age of, of 26, I became director of corporate sales operations in a program called corporate sales. I had mentors that were unreal. two of them recently died. One was Frank Eman. Frank. Frank is still to this day the leading scorer per minute in the history of Northwestern basketball and became my friend.

He used to play on his volleyball team, but he was running,  two thirds of American House of Sly Corporation. He was the number three guy,  and I, I received opportunities for him. And then another two individuals named Bob Simmons and Terry Mulligan started the corporate sales program. It was the first consolidated corporate sales program in healthcare where we had 27 major divisions in the company, all consolidated in terms of a selling approach to provide one source.

To the client and this thing became enormous. Bob and Terry built this thing and they offered me the director of corporate sales ops at the age of 26. And so I held that job and then got promoted a number of times. By the time I was 28, I was running a 500 million dollar business. And I won’t tell you that I received those opportunities because I thought it was great.

We were growing fast and I received these great blessings where people gave me opportunities to leave that I could. Carry my weight,  but then Frank Eamon ended up on the board of a startup company in San Antonio, Texas, who was looking for a new head of field operations and distribution, and he said, gosh, you gotta call this young guy  and see if he would be interested.

And sure enough,  It was an opportunity that Judy and I really paid attention to because it was the first time I would ever have a chance to own equity. I had some stock options at Baxter, an American, but it was very different. This was actually getting in on the ground floor of something that was pre public offering and learning about how capital is created, learning how stock works, what does that mean, you know, what’s a preferred share of stock, what are, Public investors, all of that kind of thing.

So I was able, I received a promotion and, and ended up being president of the company, but we took the company public in 1988  and, I stayed till 1992 and was recruited away to be CEO of another company, but I went through the entire public offering process. KCI was later sold for 6 billion.  And, but I, I’m so grateful to Jim Leininger and the people, the family who, who started the company for giving me, again, opportunities that my resume did not necessarily suggest I should have.

Right. And so I think I was given many blessings, including being born a white man in the United States of America at this particular point in time. Happened to have been a college athlete and, you know, happened to have been an Olympic alternate. These were all things that gave me access. at really critical times that otherwise I certainly wouldn’t have had.

and then in 1992, I was recruited to be CEO of a startup company called Theratex out of San Diego, California. They were a little bit stuck on revenue growth and we just got lucky again. I, we moved the company from San Diego to Atlanta.  we built the complex across the street  called Sanctuary Park.

and we grew that company from 10 million to 500 million in five years. And we were the second fastest growing public company in America, in 1996.  And so I would tell you long tales about things that were.  If you’re in some way, shape or form, I was trying to explain to you that why I was the key. It isn’t the case.

These, we were able to build around a culture of service. And then in 1996, the, excuse me, in 1990 of,  The Omnibus Reconciliation under Newt Gingrich passed, and I read it and got nauseous because it would destroy the entire long term care industry, which we built the largest rehab network in the long term care industry.

So I called Newt Gingrich. he said, come on over. He was speaker. And he said, have you, you, we got to call this guy. And I actually knew the guy was a lobbyist by the name of Mike Bromberg, who also was the chief lobbyist for American Hospital Supply. We became dear friends. He got Bob Dole to write a carve out that saved subacute rehabilitation in nursing homes.

The nursing home industry didn’t like it because they wanted the rate mixed in with their daily rate as opposed to separately. I went into a meeting in the Adams Hotel and they just screamed at me the whole time and we told a gentleman named Keith Weichel, the president of HCR Manicure, finally said, stop yelling at him.

He goes, the 500 pound girl in the room is Bob Dole. And so, Dole kept it. 1997. Wow. Pretty large sum. In 1997, we built this place, The Cooler. And then in 1999, I started MetAssess. And,  you know, at that point I had served as president of two public companies and I’d learned a lot about,  how the financial markets work.

It was such a, an enabler. Most people don’t know. Most people don’t even people from educated families. They don’t know how  capital creation works, but, but also how critical it is to the future of the country. Sure. Right. Today, you look at Elon Musk and Tesla, right? The company’s worth a trillion dollars on trailing revenue of 87 billion.

It’s in this country, right? Where you have this opportunity where if you can come up with an idea that you can execute against and raise capital, you have that chance. Sure. That then brings classes of people up to better opportunities in life and improves charitable giving. I mean, the list goes on. Yeah, the list goes on.

So, we got very lucky. I, every single one of the companies that I was associated with as the leader. I almost drove off the cliff multiple times, right? So I did not have a secret formula for, for being successful at all, but we did live by a set of values and, and in starting MetAssets, we  with alongside Wayne Clark, we built a culture and we said, this is what it looks like.

Our first core value was we believed that every human being is. Deserving of treatment that is dignified and loving. If you have any questions about any other core value, please go back to one. Wow. Every person in the company was given a week paid leave to serve anywhere in the world that they would choose at any time, as long as they served.

Beyond normal vacation. so we believed it was our responsibility and privilege. To serve special. It was,  you can get away with that. Sure. If you’re the founder, you can’t get away with that. If you’re a higher professional manager, you can’t, I could get away with it because I constructed the board.

That’s Harry Mulligan who was one of my mentors at American was the first guy I went to. He built an advisory board of CEOs of major health systems that literally I couldn’t get a return phone call from if I were Trying to do it myself at the beginning of menace. It’s no way. No way. But he brought them all together.

We had 10 of the top CEOs in America on our advisory board, right? Gave us credibility, right? When we had nothing. Right. So, you know, all along the way, given, given so many things and trying to really work hard to try to remain cognizant of that in a stewardship fashion, recognizing that in every one of these cases, I was one step away from absolute failure.

Yeah. One decision away. Yeah, and I was kicking, I remember one time, frankly, Jeff, in 2001, we were in such tough place. I was kicking my bag down Park Avenue in New York City. I had, this was during the.com bubble burst. Yeah. I had 24 meetings with my investment banker, with potential investors, and was turned down 24 times.

24 times.

That was for the start of a Met

Asset? That’s correct. We were two years into it. Oh, for 24. Oh, for 24. And he was a French banker. His name was Bernard Yola. And Bernard’s final introduction of me to the last 24th, right. Failed meeting was this, he says to.  The potential investor goes, and he was, he was French.

He said, I don’t know. He goes, I think it is maybe a piece of sheet, but you can decide. And I immediately put up my time outside. I said, Bernard, do you have a moment? We could talk outside.  we’d really appreciate if you didn’t introduce the company as a piece of shit and it would, it would, it would improve my chances.

Obviously we failed. And at the last minute, because I was so beat up, I get a phone call from a regional banker from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Who sounds like Mr. Green Jeans from Captain Kangaroo on the phone and says, Is this job? I said, yeah. He goes, I think I might be able to lend you the money you need.

And I’m going,  what? Okay. How do I find you? Wow. And it was, he was smart. Paul was part of a small branch for US Bank out of Minneapolis. And we did, we We did the loan, we did the transaction, and the rest is history. We became the largest group purchasing and medical supply manager of product in American health care.

Wow. It was crazy. So

that’s 98? 99? That was 2001. When you finally got the money?

Yeah, and I was, I was, we were

done. What was the number? How much did you need? 25 million. 25 million? Yeah. So awesome. What a story.  So,  how do you go from corporate, so you, you worked up president, CEO, ran companies, I’m What is that like when you go into entrepreneurialism?

That’s a huge jump.  Get me in that mindset. Get, get me there. Well,

I mean, to me,  the best leaders I’ve ever seen. are, are completely and utterly committed to their people. Not everybody’s in that boat.  Right? I’m, I’m, I’m not a believer in a one, two, three clep test, right? I believe in the potential of people as it relates to the way they’re treated.

I have met more people who have done more extraordinary things by being treated with honor, respect, and not just a giving heart, right, but a teaching mind. People who care. I want people who want it. Right. I want people who want it. Right, right. People who want it can be trained. People, right, if, if we took the Jack Welsh approach, what would our military look like?

That’s a great point. I, I, are you kidding me? Right. Right?  I’ll take our guys over anybody in the world. Anybody. Because of what they have been trained to do and believe in.  Yeah. Do they believe that the cause is just?  Are we a righteous actor?  Do we stand for the principles that we expose? Yeah. People can do anything  if they are believed in and given the proper direction.

To date,  24 percent of our hires and our heroes are African American women.  The American military brought my family out of poverty. That’s no joke. Sure. My family out of poverty. That’s incredible. That’s right. And so you tell me that we need to take a CLEP test that matches Jack Welsh’s boxes in order to be successful.

And I tell you, you’re out of your mind. I have met kids in the sport of wrestling through the process of grind have gone out and become collegiate all Americans. And I can tell you that’s hard wrestling in the NCAA tournament. Tournament is a. Absolute bear. It’s a bear. It’s round after round after round.

And when you see the kids we have today on our world and Olympic teams, they’re unreal. I think maybe it’s the best we’ve ever had,  but what they have to go through to get there, it’s all tough. It’s all tough. It’s not mean.

It’s tough.  And there’s a difference. Big difference. Yeah. Big difference. Yeah. Well, I wish we had another hour.

I, I have so many questions personally, and I’m sure the audience does too. But we’ll, let’s, let’s end here, John, with a specific person or event in your life  that has shaped

the person that you are today. You know, there are many. And I have Thanks to give to many people in my life, those who are here and those who have passed.

But, you know,  it comes to mind that an individual who was actually a very good wrestler, whose name is Dale Anderson, was a competitor who won two NCAA titles, and actually wrestled my high school coach in college,  the last two seasons of their wrestling careers four times. Once, twice in the Big Ten Championship, which my high school coach won, and then twice in the semifinals of the NCAAs, which  Dale Anderson won, and Dale went on to become a two time NCAA champion for Michigan State.

Dale, as it turns out,  was an attorney, actually working as, in the U. S. Attorney’s Office,  in Arizona, Southern Arizona District, when I was a sophomore at the University of Arizona, and he would come in and, and wrestle with Our college team a couple times a week and was a great guy. I never knew much about his work or exactly what kind of an attorney was at that time.

But as it turns out, I got myself into a good bit of trouble. My, sophomore redshirt year  and, Dale really stepped in at a critical time in my life and sort of straightened me out.  and really mentored me and helped me a great deal during a time which, you know, as a kid,  I could have gone the other way.

And so, I look back at what he did for me and, the fact that he, well, number one, didn’t have to, but did. it really not only influenced,  my life going forward, but it also influenced the way I thought about other people when facing difficult circumstances or choices. that they might otherwise not make.

So, you know, I’d say, you know, along with many, but very specifically Dale Anderson was an individual who dramatically impacted my

life. That’s incredible.  just can’t say thanks enough, literally for your time. I mean, it was a special interview. We learned so much. I’m confident everybody out there is going to gain at least a nugget or two.

So I greatly appreciate your time.

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