You'd think that with all the things I do and all the things I'm into, I would have had a personal website by now. So, voila!
When I asked the late Claude DeLong to be a character witness when I attempted to challenge a Kansas law on age limits for City Commission candidates, he said, "Sure, I'll get up on the stand and tell the judge, 'yep, he's a character!".
I've lived my life in reverse: in junior high through college, I was always more serious than my contemporaries--starting businesses, and careers in journalism, real estate, and insurance. When they got serious, I turned into a party animal in my 30s and 40s.
I graduated from K-State and took my first job after college as Sports Editor of the Herington Times. The year there is best described as "culture shock", but what I learned under the late Larry Byers would be a tremendous help later. Between reporting on mooning in freshman English to managing the women's softball team, I became one of the most disliked people in a three-county area (great preparation for Wichita), and I returned to Manhattan to sell insurance for what was then Fidelity Union Life. I later got a promotion to assistant manager in Emporia.
I returned to Manhattan in 1982 to start my own independent insurance agency, thinking a return home would be a return to normal. One phone call and I was wrong. An agent in the Topeka area asked if a company I represented offered group life. I told him I would check. Like anyone in Kansas would do in a situation of this type, I got hold of a friend who got hold of a friend. Lo and behold, we won the bid, and I suddenly became an expert in group insurance.
Theodore Roosevelt told an audience of young men at what is now Kansas State University, "When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it." Not bad advice, actually. It worked for me, anyway.
One thing led to another, and I soon had an $82 million book of business. It sure looked good on paper--not so much to my father. Having worked for wages his entire life, commission structures were foreign