Hometown: Manchester, Connecticut
Education: Texas Tech University—B.A.; Hollins University—M.A.L.S.
Year Appointed: 2009
Current Position: Director of Marketing, Assistant Coach Cross Country
What is one thing we might not know about you?
I’m an Eagle Scout and remain active with the troop I joined as an 11-year-old in Connecticut. The troop is unique in that we actually own our summer camp just north of Keene, New Hampshire. I started going to camp in 1978 as a scout, and I have only missed a few summers as a staff member while I was living in Texas right after college. Each August when I return, I’m responsible for the 14-year-old senior scouts and I teach the Small Boat Sailing and Lifesaving merit badges. Every few years, to change up the pace, I will lead a seven-day canoe trip for the 16-year-old scouts on the Connecticut River or the Appalachian Trail.
Taking something complex or unorganized and making it easier for people to understand is something I’ve always enjoyed. I like to figure out a problem and work until I find a solution. Often there is more than one way to make it work, and that process is never boring to me. I guess that’s why I enjoyed teaching, and is why I enjoy graphic design and marketing so much. The process of “how can we do that” is rewarding.
What was your favorite book you read in school?
When I was in fifth grade, I was lucky enough to have an amazing teacher named Mrs. Howard at Bowers Elementary School. She had a library in her classroom with hundreds of books. Her books were our books, and in fifth grade it felt like a huge honor and responsibility to borrow a book from her library. We had a big wall chart in the classroom that tracked how many books each student read during the school year. We were required to read 25 books that year, and ten had to be “classics” selected from a generous list she provided. One of the first books I read for her class was Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. As a youngster growing up New England, the book had everything for me: Boston as the backdrop, the lead up to the Revolutionary War, a disfigurement, prison, and spying. It was the first time a book had me completely engaged. She gave me a lifelong gift by putting that book in her library.
Who do you consider as your mentor, and what have you learned from them?
The biggest mentor in my life, aside from my parents, was my scoutmaster, Harry Maidment. Harry was one of the smartest people I ever met. He could have picked any career path to follow and he would have been immensely successful. Harry served in the field artillery in Europe during WWII and promised himself that if he got out alive, he would dedicate himself to scouting. He returned to Manchester after the war, and in 1948 while he was completing his undergraduate degree at Yale, he took over as scoutmaster of our troop. After graduation he became a teacher and guidance counselor at Manchester High School until he retired. He served as scoutmaster until 1988, at which time his son took over the troop for the next 26 years. I’ve never met anyone who dedicated himself to others the way Harry did. When I was a scout the troop had nearly 100 active scouts and a volunteer staff of 30-40 parents, and Harry managed it all. From clearing trees for a waterfront beach at camp, to running fundraising sales, or going to court as character support for scouts who wandered into trouble, he was always there for his scouts. Over 260 young men in Manchester earned the rank of Eagle Scout under his leadership. Harry taught us how to be leaders and how to put people ahead of things. My wife Hilary and I had a very small wedding in 1993 with our families, but we invited Harry and I was honored that he attended.
When you're listening to music, who is playing?
It really depends on what I’m doing. If I’m at home cooking in the kitchen or working in my office, I consume a steady diet of independent bands like Wilco, Spoon, Alabama Shakes, The Black Keys, and Dawes. On long car trips, I like to switch over to the album-oriented rock from my youth and mix in a lot of Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Hall & Oates, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Who, and the Rolling Stones.
If you didn't do what you do, what would you be doing instead?
I enjoy working out every morning and I would love to have the time to spend 20-30 hours per week fully committed to training for Ironman length races. My life is too busy for that now, but I would enjoy the process of committing to a goal, learning how to be better at it, and grinding it out on the road and in the pool. The process would be as rewarding as the finish line. I also enjoy hiking and would like to hike the entire Appalachian Trail with my son, Elliott, when he gets older.
Do you have a particular North Cross memory that stands out? What's your favorite North Cross tradition?
Symposium is my favorite, by far. I’m always impressed with the variety of seminars Jennifer Landry manages to put together for our students to experience. She gives them a chance to see, hear, and learn things they might never come across otherwise. There is always great energy on campus during Symposium.
If you could say something to the students here at North Cross, what would you say?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. When you feel uncomfortable in class, the art studio or on the athletic field, that’s when you are learning and getting better at something. Embrace that feeling, recognize it, honor it, and work through it. That’s how you get better at anything worth achieving in life. Don’t ask a teacher or parent to remove a roadblock as soon as you encounter it; try to get over it or around it yourself. You just might be surprised at what you can do.