Born in wartime England in 1941, my parents and I moved to France early in 1948 where my father took a job with the International Harvester Co. We lived in Le Vesinet and Le Pecq, along the Seine River, about 40 miles from Paris. I attended a local school where no one spoke English but I made friends, one of whom is a friend today. In 1950 we moved to the States for a few months, then to India for two years, and back to the States in 1952. In 1959, I became a United States citizen.
My father was a mechanical engineer with a degree from LSU, and in 1950, took a position with the export division of Caterpillar Tractor Co., located in Peoria, Illinois. In three months, exposed for the first time to Saturday afternoon matinees and ‘cowboys and indians’, I forgot every word of French I ever learned. I did, however, learn to speak American, and to this day am told that traces of a mid-western accent can still be heard.
After three or four months in Peoria, CAT moved us to India. There I attended a mission school for two years in the mountains of southern India, a town called Kodaikanal. It was an idyllic setting around a lake in the mountains and I have strong memories of the place. It was also where I learned to play golf, on a beautiful but hilly, 18 hole course carved out in the mountains in 1895. It was run by an elderly Scotsman named E.O.King. I can vividly recall being alone on the course one day, armed with three golf clubs, and finding fresh tiger tracks in a sand trap. I picked up my ball and hurried back to the clubhouse!
Returning to the States in 1952, we stayed in Peoria for 18 months. My father came home one day and announced that we were moving to what was then the Belgian Congo in Africa. My mother said “No, we are not moving to Africa”. My father subsequently resigned from CAT and instead we moved in 1954 to Jacksonville, Florida. Three years later, we moved again, this time to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
I graduated from Chattanooga City High School in 1959, and, surprise, my parents decided to move again, this time to Clearwater, Florida. I entered the University of Florida as a freshman and was able to graduate four years later with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, having majored in Marketing and Economics. Those four years, here in Gainesville, were the longest I had ever lived in one place.
Gainesville has been my home ever since. Having worked as a student for four years at the Campus Bookstore, they hired me as the Assistant Director in 1963. Ten years later I became the General Manager of the Independent Florida Alligator, the student newspaper at the University of Florida.
This was when the Alligator became an independent, off-campus publication, and I believe I was instrumental in it surviving as a viable business enterprise. During my tenure at the Alligator, it grew to have the largest circulation of any truly independent university newspaper in the country.
In 1975, I earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Florida, College of Education. In 1976, I started in the financial services industry and built my career, trying to be on the cutting edge of industry developments. I also earned the professional designations of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). Today I am no longer a Registered Representative of a Broker/Dealer, but at one time held Series 7, 24, and 63 securities licenses.
Today, I own my own financial services business, Florida Wealth Advisors, LLC, which until recently was a Registered Investment Adviser firm. Regardless of the technical requirements, I assume a fiduciary responsibility toward my clients. I consider myself legally, morally and ethically obligated to put my clients interests first, a responsibility I embrace. My efforts are focused on wealth management services for my clients, estate planning and insurance strategies.
A summary of my current professional efforts reads as follows:
- Providing wealth management advice to clients and former clients, protecting and growing their money to be used for their benefit in the future.
- Helping medical professionals protect themselves against existential risks that could compromise their ability to practice medicine and provide for themselves and their families. These risks include cyber threats, billing and coding errors, licensure defense and asset protection in general.
- Developing online courses to teach the metrics and questions to ask of yourself as you think about retirement and what has to happen to assure financial success.
I‘ve been active within the Gainesville community for many years. My activities have included being Chairman of the Alachua County Bicentennial Commission in the 1970‘s to a founding board member and Secretary of the Community Foundation of North Central Florida. Also, Chairman of the Advisory Board to the Academy of Finance and the Academy of Entrepreneurship, magnet programs in the Alachua County School System, Chapter President of the North Florida Estate Planning Council, and have taught retirement planning at Santa Fe College. I have been the president of The Alachua Press, a not-for-profit publishing house focused on the history of Alachua County and the surrounding area. There have been numerous other activities and board tenures over the years, including a year as President of the Gainesville Country Club, a private club with some 750 members.
I am married to the former Candy Algee and we have two grown children, Eric and Erin, and two grandchildren. My interests include writing, reading, collecting stamps, computers, being a grandfather, looking after clients, and staying as active as possible. Please wish me luck!