My full name is Richard Anthony Kendzior and I’ve been known personally and professionally as Tony Kendzior since 1959.
Born in wartime England in 1941, I moved with my parents to France late in 1947. My father took a job with the International Harvester Co. We first lived in Le Vesinet and later in Le Pecq, along the Seine River, about 40 miles from Paris. I attended a local school, L’Ecole du Lac where no one spoke English except for one boy who became a best friend and who remains a friend today.
In 1950 we left France and after short stay in England, moved to the United States. Three months later we moved to India and stayed two years before returning to the States. In 1959, I became a citizen of the United States.
My father was a mechanical engineer with a degree from LSU, and in early 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.
At the end of those three months, CAT moved us to India. I attended three different schools while there. My primary school was a mission school in the mountains of southern India, in a town called Kodaikanal. The school is there to this day. 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 graduated 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 stay 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 call myself semi-retired and operate as a sole proprietor. For a time, I owned and ran a Registered Investment Adviser firm. Regardless of any technical requirements, I have always assumed a fiduciary responsibility toward my clients. I consider myself legally, morally and ethically bound to put my clients interests first, a responsibility I embrace.
Today, my time is spent developing and marketing an online school created to help people as they plan their retirement. The school is called Successful Retirement Secrets™ . It teaches a step-by-step process to help people arrive at retirement and have a successful retirement. I’ve also published two eBooks that relate to this topic. They are Your Future Retirement and The Dynamics of Retirement.
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. I’ve been Chairman of the Advisory Board to the Academy of Finance and the Academy of Entrepreneurship, both 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, computers, being a grandfather, looking after clients, and staying as active as possible. Please wish me luck!