Monday, May 19, 2008

Mr. President

Tom Butch is the President of Waddell and Reed. He has been with the company for about six years and is a geat addition. I have become good friends with him over the last few years as a result of being on the Presiden's Council. He is my same age and has 2 children. He is from Pittsburg originally and was President of the Stein Roe funds prior to coming to Waddell and Reed. He is often kidded about his extensive vocabulary and has a very quick wit. He is he master of a presentation. His annual presentation is always filled with the typical power point slides but he will insert video clips to add some humor. Last year he made a video trying to show what the financial planning world would look like in fifty years. It was a crack up. This year he made a home office version of "THE OFFICE" the hit NBC comidy about a paper supply company. He had different home office people play different parts on the show. He has established a tradition of finishing his presentation with some type of musical number. He does the singing and it is obvious that he has a good enough voice but is by no means a professional. He has done ROCK and ROLL, COUNTRY, OPERA, RAP. He'll compose the words to summarize his presentation. This year he used a SOUND of MUSIC theme. ( For our big company trip we are going to Vienna Austria, Sound of Music Country) He changed the words to fit his presentation. His presentations are always the most memorable part of the conference. A great leader.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bishop Bo

These pictures are from our recently completed Circle of Champions trip where Bo, Ted and I went to Tucson. I thought I would tell a little of the story of Donovan Jackson.

We met 14 years ago. He was a part time advisor for Waddell and Reed. He and his brother Darrin ran a pre-school full time. We were friendly and occasionally shared a ride up to meetings in Reno. He and his brother sold the Pre-school and Donovan (Bo) decided to go full time with Waddell and Reed. He opened an office in Minden, bought some furniture and hired a secretary. I was still working out of my office at home. I was getting really busy and a little overwhelmed and needed help to get everything done. I sensed that Bo was not doing enough business to do much more than cover his overhead. I proposed to him that we merge our two practices into one and form a partnership. That was 10 1/2 years ago and we've been going strong in the business ever since. We added Ted to the practice 7 years ago and Janelle 6 years ago.

At the time we started working together, Bo was single, dating beutiful women, hunting, fishing, skiing and taking many adventures. He and his friend Vini had traveled to the Europe and traveled the British Isles on motorcycles, sailed the Greek Islands, traveled to Turkey, helicopter skied in Alaska, and dove for abalone off the California coast . His latest trip several years ago was to go back packing along the "Inca Trail" in Peru. I told him that I wanted to see the pictures when he got back. This was actually before we started working together. When he showed me the pictures I asked him if anyone told him where all the Inca's went to. He said "no one knows". I told him that I knew and when I had time I'd tell him. We were traveling together to a meeting in Reno and he turned to me and said "you've got an hour, tell me what happened to the Incas". So we talked about the Book of Mormon. Later that night Jared and I took him a copy of the Book of Mormon and one of the church videos that we watched together. Bo started seeing the missionaries. He went through several over the course of two years. One day he showed up at church. He said he had a dream that the missionaries were there waiting for him and he had to meet them. He has been coming to church every since. Now he is married to Heather Paterson, has four little boys and was recently called to be the Bishop of the CVIII ward in the Valley. Quite a journey.

2008 Circle of Champions

I just got back from Tucson where I attended Waddell and Reed's Circle of Champions meeting. This is a meeting where top advisors in the firm are recognized and we get a chance to meet with home office personal and top management from the company. This was the 25th year that I have attended this function. The first one was in Scottsdale Arizona. There are only three or four people in the advisor division of the company that have been to as many as I have. We've been to Arizona a number of times, Quebec, Florida, Chicago, San Antonio, Seattle, Salt Lake, Kansas City, San Diego, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Francisco, Albuquerque and probably a few places I can'nt remember. In fact it was in route to the Circle Trip to Lake Tahoe that we discovered the Carson Valley where we now live.

Of the 2400 advisors and managers that work for the company about 600 qualify by their production to attend the meeting. In the early days of my career I would just barely qualify to go. Now I am one of the company leaders. For the last 6-7 years I have been one of the top ten advisors in the company. I get a lot of recognition. Last night I had a lady come up to me and say she just wanted to meet me. I thought she might ask for an autograph or something. I used to hold the top advisors in awe. Now most of them are my friends.

At the meetings we have business meetings in the morning and then free time in the afternoon, then some kind of dinner activity at night. One night on this trip we went to the Pima Air mueseum. It is basically a graveyard for old airplanes. But I love airplanes so I thouht it was great. They had a big dinner. We got to see JFKs presidential plane. Johnson used it as well. At the end of the evening they had a skyjumping team parachute into the field.

I'm fortunate to work with a company that has a mission to serve the public, to recognize and treat it's people well and pays me pretty well. I have many friends in the company and am on a first name basis with the senior management of the company.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A chance to change the world

A couple of weeks ago I attended Waddell and Reed's President's Council meeting in Kansas City. (Sixth time) We work all day and then they try to entertain us at night. They have always tried to do different and interesting things. In the past we have gone to the Truman Museum, the College Basketball Hall of Fame, various fancy restaurants and the Kansas City World War I Museum. This time they took us to a Jon Bon Jovi concert at the newly completed Sprint Center Convention Center. The company owns an executive suite there which is like a hotel room with a kitchen and it opens out onto the concert venue. We had all kinds of food and drinks available and great seats to see the concert. Bon Jovi came along in the 80s so he's a little newer than my 70s rocker days and I was not familiar with his music. There must have been 35,000 people in the Sprint Center and they were all screaming when he came out. The music was so loud it was hard to really hear the melodies. Bon Jovi is a very talented singer and an incredible showman. He performed for all he was worth for two solid hours.

I couldn't help but notice the spell he had on all of the young people in the audience. He was clearly being adored by them. His show was pretty clean and his music mostly uplifting. I thought that with such a spell over his audience, he had the ability to send powerful messages to the youth of today. To avoid drinking and drugs, to live a chaste and virtuous life, to do good and to serve others. Of course he mentioned none of these things. Todays celebrities could do a lot to change the world with there example and there messages. I suspect that great entertainers like Bon Jovi would still attract big crowds and make millions, but the world of entertainment does not think that way.

Pictures from Whistler Helli-skiing

It was great to spend time with Jared. We couldn't helli-ski the second day due to weather, so we skied on Whistler mountain which was solid ice except for one patch of ice we found in the trees. It was too much work and we were both tired from the previous day's skiing. So we drove around the area and had an early dinner. I have a best friend in my son which is most gratifying. He even waits for me to catch up on the ski slope. We agreed that Whistler would make an excellent family destination and promised to return to try Helli-skiing with the family. I'll have to work on my powder skills and the mutual fund business will have to do well in the mean time.
Well here goes. I'm going to try my hand at Blogging. My daughter Jesse is my inspiration. She posts to her blog two or three times a week and even though she is a long way away in Michigan, I feel like I know more of what is going on in her life and mind the my other three kids living here at home. Hopefully this will serve as a journal and history of life's events and maybe I can even get it published in a book like Jesse did.

Jared's 23rd birthday present.

Since this will probably be Jared's last birthday at home for a long while. ( upcoming plans for a two year LDS mission and Air Force career after that) I also feel a little cheated in that I haven't been able to spend much time with Jared for the last few years.

So for this years birthday we took a trip together. We went to Bristish Columbia to go Helicopter Skiing at Whistler. It has always been a dream of mine and I knew that Jared would like it. I signed us up for two days of skiing. Hopefully we would get one in with the weather. If the weather did not allow for Helicopters we could always ski at one of the premier spots in the world.

British Columbia is beautiful. It reminds me much of Alaska, but with a much smaller investment in time to get there. Just a 90 minute flight to Seattle and then less than an hour flight to Vancouver. Next a three hour drive to Whistler. Whistler Village is a lot like Heavenly Village only much bigger. The elevation is around 2,000 feet and the mountain tops at the ski resort are around 7,000 feet. There are two mountains to ski, Whistler and Blackcomb. Either one is larger than Heavenly or Vail.

We lucked out and got to go Helli Skiing the first day. After equipment rentals ( Big Fat Boy Powder Skiis) briefing on finding a lost skier after an avalanche (very comforting) and helicopter safety we were ready to go. Thirteen of us piled into the chopper. I believe Jared and I were the only Americans and I was definitely the "old man" of the group. Ten skiers, the pilot, our guide, and a photographer. Several of our group were from Japan, a couple from Spain, some Canadians and Londoner. It is very tight quarters in the helicopter. There are seats that face each other and we have to interlace our legs to fit.

It was a little bit stormy with broken clouds so the chopper would get altitude ( about 7500 feet) and watch for an opening in the clouds for a mountain top. The chopper landed at about 7500 feet and we hopped out, the guide got our equipment and the helicopter took off to haul another group of skiers. We were on a peak, surrounded by glaciers and ice fields several thousand feet above the tree line at that latitude. The snow was not deep light powder. It was more like hard crusty snow. The pitch was very steep for me. I found the skiing a little difficult for me. I was trying to get used to the big fat powder skiis with no powder to ski in. In normal ski conditions, I must plant my poles very close to my skiis, because I kept skiing over my poles. It made me fall once. (luckily I don't think anyone saw me fall, especially the photographer) I got used to the new skiis and as we got lower the snow got better. Actually it was incredible. As we got lower the snow got icy and it was very hard work for me to keep an edge on the steep pitches. We crossed some avalanch fields and worked our way down to the about the 4500 foot elevation. Here the snow was soft and heavy. Our Chopper was waiting and we went and did it two more times. Jared went for a fourth. I was bushed.