BS Economics, 1992
•Oft-Injured Weekend Warrior
MA Economics, 1994
The Long Version
How I got to where I am.
I was born in an old coal-mining town in northeast Pennsylvania, called Wilkes-Barre. (In case you were wondering, "Miner’s Mills" is a section of Wilkes-Barre… I took the name, but dropped the apostrophe). As a kid, I initially planned to become a professional baseball player, but when I realized I couldn’t hit a Little League fastball, I turned my gaze to the stars, deciding I would instead become an astronaut. Then, in high school, I had the revelation that my true calling was actually to be a rock star... and there were certainly more rock stars than astronauts, so I figured that was a more conservative path anyway.
Since no recording label signed me out of high school, I decided to head off to college to the only university in Cambridge, MA that accepted me: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which I graduated in 3 years with a major in Economics (Course 14 for those who speak “MIT”). Eager to find a warmer climate, I packed up my car, and drove out to California, to enter the Economics PhD program at Stanford University. I spent an inspiring 2 years at Stanford, passing all the PhD qualifying exams, and receiving a Masters degree, but, wanting to try out the “real world,” I decided to take a one-year leave-of-absence… from which I still have not returned.
Paying my Dues
By the time that first year had passed, I had moved down to (even warmer) Los Angeles, and began working in the legendary William Morris Agency mailroom, applying my extensive economics training to delivering scripts, answering phones, and setting meetings. Empowered by some particularly supportive agents in the “new media” department, I began to absorb a skill for strategy, business development, and negotiation. After 2-1/2 years at William Morris, I took off the training wheels, and joined 3 of my MIT classmates in launching LOOK! Effects, which we quickly bootstrapped from a couple of borrowed computers into a profitable digital effects studio.
Realizing that I love the problem solving and energy of entrepreneurial businesses, I launched my consulting practice, initially focusing on business development and deal negotiation for start-ups and individuals in media and technology. But, as I realized that people were really leaning on me for my math and finance skills, I began to evolve my practice to focus more on these areas, which also allowed me to begin working with clients in a wider range of industries, including consumer products, real estate, manufacturing, finance, and health services. (Haven’t worked directly for any political clients yet — though the economist has been lobbying to go there…)
Fast Forward to the Present
So, that’s the brief story of how I ended up where I am now. While I often refer to myself as a “Consulting CFO,” I continue to provide strategic, economic, negotiation, and other executive advisory services through my company, Miners Mills, which I also use as my brand for thought leadership and other initiatives.
Oh yeah... I should mention that while I do love math and analysis, I happen to have a human side too. My wife (a school principal!), our three sons, and I live near Hollywood (literally and figuratively). I take my kids for hikes, have coached their sports teams, tell them dad jokes, and play guitar at their school every week. And that’s sort of like being a rock star, isn’t it?