while on the bigger ones, you’re dealing
more with the professionals?
Without a doubt. And
your presentation to both the client
and the law firm and the other
professional groups that you’re
working with is also very different.
When I was doing large cases, we
spent three days putting together our
deck. When you’re working on smaller
cases, there aren’t the resources or the
time, so we don’t do that. It’s four or
five pages in a key presentation with
pure bullet points. It’s really a
completely different way of doing
business. I wish there were an
environment that allowed me to do
both because when you’re in the big
firms, cost plays a big role in
assignments. The structure of large
firms just doesn’t allow you to do many
of the small assignments. As much as
the firms say they can, we’ve all seen
the reality of that. It’s very different.
Q What advice would you have for someone who was new to the
industry or was thinking about getting
into the industry?
My advice would be that
they need to keep a level head and their
eye on the prize. And to me, the prize is
always what is best for the client. With
that, I think it’s important to get as much
experience as you can with as many
different types of assignments as possible.
I was always the first one to raise my
hand, and I would go anywhere and
I would do everything. Our job’s not
only about evaluating and preparing
financial statements and speaking with
the client. I’ve had situations where
I’ve had to move companies, and I’m
the guy who’s sweeping floors at the
end of the day because I need to make
sure I can maximize my recovery and
get my deposit back. I’m the guy who
has gone to assist with an inventory
of television sets because I know
that when I sold these sets in a bulk
sale, they told me that I was short.
I was there at 4 in the morning to
meet the truckers to pick up all the
holiday items and patio inventory
that the bank had sold to recover
their money. I needed to be there to
make sure my client got proper credit.
Nothing went out the door without
me checking it. I had two staff people,
but I was there with them. I’m a firm
believer that if my staff can be there
at 3 in the morning, then so can I.
I volunteer both professionally and
personally. If you’re involved, then you’re
part of the solution versus waiting for
somebody else to resolve the problem
or identify ways of making it better. I
always like to be the guy who’s helping
to make it better. Sometimes it goes
my way, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s
remarkable that as you learn more,
people start to listen to you more
because you can contribute more.
Q Do the people listening to you trust that you know what you’re
you have the chance to say, “I told you
so.” We’re only advisors. I can’t force
clients to do what I suggest. I can only
say, “This is why I think this makes sense.
These are the other options, but this, I
believe, is the best one.” I can’t tell them
how to run their business; I can only
explain to them how to run their
There’s nothing like that moment when
they come back and say, “Well, I guess
you were right and we should have
done it that way.” Once they make a
decision, I’m on board to try to make
their decision the best it can be. I also
have contingency plans because I know
certain situations will come back.
Q What role has TMA played in your career?
TMA has really played a
tremendous role in my exposure to so
many professionals like myself.
I’m a founding member and a past
president of our chapter. It was
tremendous, because I had seen
it grow from within. By the time I
became president, I had already been
participating on a national level, which
is just so different from our regional
positions and our local market. I was
working in larger firms, so I was already
traveling into other states across the
country doing work in California and
the South, so I was meeting people
from all over who were part of TMA.
Meeting people and being able to work
with people from local chapters of TMA
was great. I would visit other chapters
where we were working in other cities.
We would determine if there was a
TMA meeting, or we’d find people who
were in TMA. “Oh, you should do this,
and when you go to Grand Rapids,
you should do this.” I’ve made some
great friends that I only get to see every
once in a while at the national TMA
conferences. Now, social media and the
technology world make it a lot easier
for all of us to stay in touch. I wouldn’t
have met these people without TMA.
Q When you finally get away from the office, what are you passionate
about outside of work?
My family. I have two
kids. They’re both in college now, so
the dynamics have really changed a
lot. But when I have them home, they
are my complete focus. My wife and I
do everything we can to make sure
we have as much time with them
Like many people in my age bracket,
I’m also responsible for aging
relatives. I’m a New York state certified
ombudsman. I volunteer and am
the ombudsman for an assisted
living facility on Long Island. I’m an
advocate for the patients. That has
led me to become the guy who, when
my friends have issues, they call me.
Everybody in my age bracket seems
to be facing similar issues, whether it
involves a parent, an aunt, or an uncle
who needs some kind of attention. I
myself have an 83-year-old father and
an 86-year-old uncle that I take care
of, and I’ve had others in the past.
continued on page 34
If you’re involved, then you’re part
of the solution versus waiting for
somebody else to resolve the problem
or identify ways of making it better.