I moved to Arizona after college in 1978. Actually, I was moving to San Diego and my car broke down at I-17 and Bell Road. The want ads in the newspapers actually had jobs available for teachers, so I decided to stay in Phoenix for a while. Here we are over 30 years later, I guess I’ll stay. Back then, I was a substitute teacher making $27 per day until a full-time job came available. My first teaching contract was for $10,300. I remember thinking, “What am I going to do with all this money?” Fifth grade special education was my first assignment. It lasted for 5 years. I then taught third grade for three years and second grade my last year with the Washington School District.
In 1982, I met my wife Marie. At the time, she was a teacher in the same district as me. I knew she would be my wife; however, she didn’t catch on for several months. We married in 1983. Until recently, Marie was a Special Education teacher at New River Elementary. She retired and now works for Scholastic Incorporated, training and mentoring other teachers. Our first child, Jessica, was born in 1986. She has proven to be everything a parent could hope their child could become and so much more. Currently, Jessica works for Grand Canyon University. She married her husband, Steve, in 2012. In 1988, our son Zachary was born. He’s now grown up into a fine young man and recently completed a 4 year stint in the United States Marine Corps. I was not thrilled when he announced he was leaving college to join the Marines. Looking back, it was a good experience for him. He has grown in so many ways because of his decision. Right now, Zach attends Northern Arizona University and studies construction management. Our third child, Mason, was born 18 months after Zach. Mason seems to make friends with everyone he meets. He has an engaging personality and an innate ability to make conversation with anyone and everyone. He is handsome, intelligent, and outgoing. Thank goodness, he takes after his mother. Mason recently graduated with a degree in finance from Northern Arizona University. He is also pursuing a job in the insurance field.
In the midst of having 3 children, it became clear to me that I needed to find a higher paying occupation. After working summers doing various odd jobs to supplement my teaching income, I decided to enter the insurance business. It’s in my nature to be a problem solver. Insurance offered pay based on effort and the ability to scratch my itch of problem solving. I worked for 20 years for a nationally-known property and casualty company. In 2007, I retired from that company and opened my own independent agency. My goal was to work for myself and my clients, not a company. No longer would I be writing for one company with limited options, instead now I can analyze the client’s situation and find the correct company and coverage for them.
In 1996, I was inducted (my sister-in-law says indicted) into the Grand Valley State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Playing football helped pay my way through college. I still hold a record or two at the university. It was an honor to join the GVSU Hall of Fame because having the ability to not only play football but also attend school, made my parents very proud. They worked very hard their entire lives and passed that work ethic onto their 5 children.
My family moved to the Anthem-area in 1993. We built a home in Desert Hills prior to Anthem’s existence. When Anthem came along, we moved to the area in 2000 and have lived here since then. I am thrilled to be working in the same area where I live. Daily driving into town became tiresome for me. Plus, most importantly, it gives me satisfaction to help those in the same community where I go to church, live, work, and perform community service.