That one I have not been able to
complete either, failing both times on
the far side of Vail Pass. But they are truly
wonderful rides. You see the mountains
far more up close and personal than
you do when you’re just in a car.
We’ve also done a little hiking more
recently. Just last summer we hiked a
couple times up in Rocky Mountain
National Park, and we’ve done it in
some other areas as well. You’re not
going to see me on any of those outdoor
shows, but I’ve been outside a bit.
Q What else are you passionate about outside of work?
Learning. I’m trying to be a
lifelong learner. I read almost constantly. I
watch a lot of sports too, with two sons
and an understanding wife, but I read a
lot. I think that helps me not just in
dealing with day-to-day life but the
professional life as well because I read a
lot of history, biography, and that sort of
thing. Sometimes you find interesting
arguments that you’d never really
thought of. Some of my passion about
history and reading came from my dad’s
experiences in World War II and those of
his brothers and one of his sisters, too.
They were all in it.
Q Do you just read World War II history or all kinds of history?
It started with World War II
history. Dad was a Nebraska kid and
volunteered for the Army Air Corps and
was shot down on his second mission.
He evaded capture in France for 2½
months and then was caught by the
Germans. He passed through the hands
of the Gestapo. He had to listen to the
firing squads working in the Gestapo
prison in Paris, where they kept him for a
while. Then he wound up in a POW
camp in northern Germany—extreme
northeast Germany, right on the Baltic
Sea—and was there until the closing days
of the war, when the Soviet army
Listening to him tell those stories is what
really peaked my interest. I also had
an uncle at Normandy. I had another
uncle who fought on Iwo Jima, and
my aunt was in intelligence. With all
of those experiences, World War II
history is really where I got my start.
Q And you expanded after that?
I read all kinds of world history.
I became a Civil War buff. Growing up in
Illinois, you learn to revere Abraham
Lincoln. He is someone who fascinates
me. Those are some of the areas that I’ve
read a great deal about.
Q Have you been to the Abraham Lincoln Museum
in Springfield, Illinois?
I can’t say that I’ve been to
the museum. There’s an old grain mill
near where I grew up in west suburban
Chicago. Abraham Lincoln spoke there
once in, I think, the late 1850s or early
1860s. I’ve been able walk quite literally
in his footsteps, which for me was
Q What else keeps you busy outside of work?
I’ve also done a fair amount of
volunteer work of different types. Before I
got married and before we had kids, I was
very involved as a volunteer for the Boy
Scouts. Then after we had kids, I, along
with another dad from the elementary
and middle school where our boys went,
helped rejuvenate the Cub Scout pack at
the school. That took quite a bit of time,
but it was also a very rewarding
experience because we gave kids
something here in the city that they
would not have otherwise had.
I also had done a lot of volunteer work
at the boys’ school, both on the PTA and
what we call the Collaborative School
Committee, which helps set policy for
the school. The entire time our boys were
there—which, combined, was about 12 or
13 years—I did that every year. It was very
gratifying to try to help students and to
help the teachers and the administrators
give greater direction to the school.
I volunteer for the Colorado Bar
Association as well. I do a lot of
work right now, for example, on the
Legislative Policy Committee for the
bar. That’s one of the most fascinating
things I’ve done in my career, testifying
in the legislature and helping to
write legislation. It’s great fun.
And then, of course, there are
Suzanne and the boys. They’re
an incredible part of my life.
Q How long have you been married?
Our next anniversary will
be number 24.
Q And how old are the boys?
Hunter is 21. He’s a senior at
the University of Washington in Seattle.
Connor, our younger son, turns 17 today,
March 13. He’s a junior at Denver East
Q How did you gravitate into turnaround/restructuring work?
I’m not sure that “gravitate” is
the right word. I would say that I kind of
got sucked into it. In 1995 I was employed
as in-house counsel by a privately held
group of companies. In February 1995,
the primary owner and four or five of his
entities filed what was then the largest
bankruptcy in Colorado history.
I had done some bankruptcy work
prior to that, but all of a sudden I was
on the inside of a very, very large
bankruptcy. We had five different
debtor counsels for the different
entities and the individual. We filed in
February 1995, and I continued to work
either for the bankruptcy estate or the
liquidating trust after the liquidating
plan was approved until November
1997. I got a very intensive inside view
of the bankruptcy process from that.
It also permitted me to meet many
people in the bankruptcy and
restructuring industry—the lawyers
involved in the case, both for us and for
the creditors’ committee—and many
of them became friends, many of
them became colleagues, and many of
them were TMA members—and some
still are, along with me. That’s how I
wound up getting involved with TMA,
or one of the reasons, I should say.
Q It must have been something that you enjoyed since you stuck with it.
I did. It was an exceptionally
educational experience. One of the
things that struck me was that even in
the adversarial setting that we were in—
and I was very clearly viewed as one of
the debtors’ lawyers, even though I
wasn’t bankruptcy counsel—I never had
a conflict with any of the creditors’
lawyers. No one ever questioned my
integrity, and I was always treated fairly.
Like I said, some of these people
became my friends. I think part of it was
that the people were so good to work
with, even though the process could be
a little difficult at times. I really enjoyed
the people I met in the bankruptcy bar.