Education: B.S. Engineering, Idaho State University
Profession: Founder and Managing Director, ATA Ventures
Redwood City, California
Interests/Hobbies: My 17 year old son is a high school sports star in both football and baseball – my favorite hobby is supporting him. Other hobbies include Idaho fishing, particularly in Hell's Canyon, along the Snake River.
Latest Accomplishment: Caught a 10 foot sturgeon this summer (the tape measure indicated 9 feet, but I'm sure the fish was larger than that).
Why I Do What I Do: I've enjoyed a career of pursuing technology-related innovations from several perspectives, with my positions ranging from scientific to executive management roles in leading businesses. Currently, my investments in technology startups provide me the opportunity to enjoy all of the favorable aspects of developing conceptual "possibilities" into profitable, growing businesses. Besides the obvious financial motives, the constant interaction with brilliant entrepreneurs and technologists is an everyday inspiration.
Words of Wisdom: When I was playing football in high school, there was a quiet, autistic kid who followed the team. The day before our final playoff game, I jokingly asked him for advice on how to win the championship. He answered with the most profound advice I've ever received. He simply said, "Run fast, jump high, win." I've tried to profile my life and career after those words ever since.
ISU Recollection: When I first came to ISU, several of the freshman football players were interviewed and asked what we intended to choose as a curriculum major. For some reason it seemed like nearly all of the other players intended to major in physical education. Although I knew absolutely nothing about technology, I responded with nuclear science technology as my preferred major - it sounded impressive.
Word got out, and as a result, I received a note from the College of Engineering dean, Dr. Albert Wilson, saying "welcome aboard! We haven't had a ball player in quite some time." Four (and a half) years later, I graduated with an engineering degree. Little did I know, but that one off-the-cuff comment in the Mini-dome (Holt Arena) locker room would determine my life's career.
ISU Experience: I think one of the University's great strengths is the small campus environment and all that entails. During my senior year in high school, I had accepted a football scholarship to the University of Washington. Having developed some questionable study habits, I wasn't able to attend because of a sub-standard high school GPA. I turned to ISU, who had also been recruiting me, and after reviewing my situation, they agreed to consider more than the GPA alone. My other academic scores and achievements were enough to allow me entrance. ISU's level of flexibility and understanding was an attribute that stills lives within the campus environment today.