My path to where I am today is a story of challenges, adaptation, failure and triumph. It's my story and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I was born in upstate New York, the second of two children in a military family. Shortly after my arrival, we would pack up and move to Baumholder, Germany; the first of two times I would live overseas and the first of 11 moves before my 18th birthday. My father was on a significant upward trajectory as an Army Officer; a path that would see him retire as a 3-Star General and the highest ranking Filipino-American officer in the Army. His service to a greater good and his patriotism instilled a deep love of country and a reverence for those who would volunteer to lay their lives down for others within me.
We averaged a move every 2-3 years and I spent many summers in the back seat of our old Volvo station wagon or Grand Cherokee watching the world go by and wondering what I'd find at the next Flying J Travel Center. Our second to last move took us back to Germany where I would spend my Junior and Senior year of High School at Wurzburg American High School. I didn't know it then, but the constant residence change and the need to be able to connect quickly with others would serve me well for the rest of my life.
HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE, AND THE ARMY
I spent the first half of high school at a small, private Catholic school in Colorado Springs and spent the second half riding trains, learning to drive on the Autobahn, and enjoying all the freedom and immersing myself in the culture associated with living in Germany. I played 4 years of varsity golf and 4 years of varsity soccer between the two schools. Soccer was my first love and that feeling was enhanced by living in Europe. I never considered playing golf in college, but I longed to play soccer at the Division I level. What I didn't understand was that D1 Soccer was reserved for much taller, faster, and more talented players than myself.
I applied and was accepted to the University of Colorado's Leeds College of Business and I joined my sister at the University of Colorado. I was granted an Army ROTC scholarship and moved to Colorado to enjoy the full college experience. I suffered through 4 years of mediocre Big XII football while working full time,
training with Army ROTC, and enjoying a fulfilling social life. Following my junior year it became apparent that my path was different than that of my father and grandfather and I focused in on my Business Administration degree. It was a terrific personal and professional setback for me as the Army had been a part of my life for 21 years at that point. I clearly remember a point in my youth when I believed that everyone's parents were in the Army; I couldn't fathom any other options. I was quite simply, lost.
PUNCHING A CLOCK
Following graduation, I went to work for the University of Denver's Human Resources department. It was important work, though it certainly didn't fill me with passion and enthusiasm. I learned valuable lessons about time management, attention to detail,
department politics and interpersonal relationships. On top of all that, the pay made it difficult to stretch from payday to payday. I needed something more; from both a personal and financial perspective.
A NEW DIRECTION
To supplement my meager paycheck at the University of Denver, I approached a good friend, Greg Koss, about a side job he had just taken on. He had begun working at Broadlands Golf Course, a brand new golf course in Broomfield, CO. I joined him, closing the golf shop during the week and opening the golf shop on the weekends. The Head Professional, Tony Principato, PGA invited me to help with junior golf clinics during the summer and I was hooked. I remember asking him if I could make a living working in golf. With a wry smile, he replied "I'll try not to take offense to that, because I am making a living doing this." When Tony moved on to Coal Creek Golf Course that fall, he brought me along as his Tournament and Marketing Director. At Coal Creek, I advanced from Tournament Director to First Assistant, to Head Golf Professional under the mentorship of Tony and eventually Eric Jensen. During that time, I got a taste for working within a management company structure for Western Golf Properties. I was elected to PGA Membership in 2008 and I absolutely loved my job. It was challenging, I ran a business, I impacted my community, I worked with kids, and I led a team. I met the love of my life, got married, bought a house and two dogs! Things were going so well that when the opportunity to go run the signature golf course for the largest municipal golf course operation in Colorado presented itself, I jumped at the chance. It was that fateful decision that would change my career path forever.
MY HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED
This image is an accurate representation of my state of mind around 2011. The golf industry was struggling and the strain to do more with less was starting to wear on me. I was in my second
PGA Head Professional position, running the City of Denver's "crown jewel" at City Park Golf Course in downtown Denver. I felt as though I was further away from the things I was passionate about than ever before. I felt trapped behind a desk, no longer in touch with the game and the people that I had come to love. Instruction and coaching were a distant memory and spreadsheets, reports, meetings, and box-checking became my life. I missed leading a team and running a business; I was simply minding the store according to policies and procedures that I had no influence on. Then along came my saving grace. During a volunteer opportunity, I met PGA Professional Nicole Poulos. Nicki would later invite me to help her coach the Heritage High School men's golf team. I was immediately re-invigorated. So much so that I launched a significant growth of the game program at City Park which impacted thousands of consumers and provided revenue and employment to fellow PGA Members. Those programs would lead to being recognized by the Colorado Section for my efforts and
receiving the President's Plaque for Growth of the Game for three years in a row. The network provided by that experience led directly to being elected by my peers to serve on the Colorado PGA Board of Directors.
FAITH, FAMILY, AND A MISSION
With new challenges, work life was good. With my beautiful wife, personal life was great. We had began attending Flatirons Community Church and our faith and marriage blossomed. We welcomed our first child on May 14th, 2014 and we could not have been happier.
As my first year on the Board came to a close a shake-up at the Section office created an opportunity for me to take a leap of faith. To leave the green grass side of the golf industry and join the Section staff as the Player Development and Operations Director which would later lead to the position of Assistant Executive Director and Foundation Director. With counsel from my wife and from my mentors, I chose to make the change and start my career on the administrative side of golf.
The opportunity to serve my fellow members brought out the best in me. We had a significant
positive impact on the lives of others through the game of golf. We launched military, youth, and diversity based programs. We developed meaningful education and fellowship opportunities for the membership. We grew our charitable foundation to heights that we could not have dreamed just years before. My mission was clear; leverage the game of golf to have a positive impact on the lives of the people around me, and to grow my circle of influence to maximize the number of people I could impact.
In 2017, PGA of America COO Darrell Crall pulled me aside at the PGA Merchandise show and asked me what my future plans were. He asked me what I was passionate about, and what fulfilled me. Hearing my answers, he smiled and said "stay tuned". What would come would be a life changing opportunity. Following a rigorous interview and screening process, I joined the PGA of America's Career Services department to serve the Members of the Colorado and Utah Sections of the PGA as their Career Consultant. I provide career development, planning, strategy and wellness services to the 1200 Members and Associates in my territory. I deliver industry-leading educational programming to advance the careers of the Members within my territory. I engage employers, providing
executive search and talent acquisition services along with educating the sector on the unique value proposition of PGA Members. It is the most rewarding professional pursuit in which I have engaged.