Like many Americans, I am the product of hard working, middle-class parents who did everything they could to provide their children with opportunities to succeed.
My father came to this country from Romania after World War II, fleeing the oppression of communism. He put himself through engineering school and spent most of his career in the aerospace and defense industries, designing and building weapons that helped end the Cold War. My mom worked at IBM as a computer programmer and put herself through graduate school as a single parent in the 1970s. My parents taught me the values of hard work and integrity, and to appreciate the blessing of an American life.
My parents' dedication to hard work and the American dream is what led me to pursue my own dreams and ultimately work to create value for myself, my family and my community.I left school early and started my first company at the age of 15. With the help of many others, I learned important lessons concerning productivity, discipline, and collaboration. I learned how to grow a business from the ground up.
At 21, I started Decisioneering, a software company that created over 100 jobs in Colorado. While building my company, I earned an undergraduate business degree from the extension program of the State University of New York and my Masters in Business Administration from the University of Colorado.
In 2000, I turned over the day-to-day operations of Decisioneering to other leaders developed within our company. I then focused my efforts on acquiring and investing in other small companies. I've been deeply involved with a number of companies here and elsewhere, like Photo Stencil – a terrific manufacturing business in Colorado Springs that employs 65 people and that fabricates and exports equipment used in computer manufacturing all over the world.
My experience as the product of a non-traditional education and as an entrepreneur taught me that education and personal initiative are two of the best resources that a young person can rely upon in order to become self-sufficient, move up in life, and ultimately create opportunities for other people.
My personal experience led me to get involved with local organizations that have a record of success working to improve opportunities for Colorado youth, particularly young people growing up in economically and educationally challenged families. As a board member and advisor to groups like the Alliance for Choice in Education, Colorado Uplift and The Wellness Initiative, I have seen the success that can materialize when private, community-based organizations work from the bottom up to tackle society's challenges. I'm proud to have supported these terrific groups as they have helped thousands of Colorado children and teens find their own course for success and the American dream.
In addition to my work in education, I have also served on the Colorado State Treasurer's Investment Advisory Council; on the Colorado Executive Committee of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee; as President of Colorado's Chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs' Organization; and as an advisor to the Leadership Program of the Rockies.
Most important of all, I am the proud father of three amazing children -- David, Isabel and Jonah -- and husband to Jennifer.
That's my life in a nutshell, but here are some things that don't appear in a typical political biography that you might find interesting about me:
- I am a licensed commercial pilot.
- I practice yoga.
- I am a news junkie and policy nerd! I love the give-and-take of a good political argument.
- I'm a "bleeding heart conservative" -- I even put that on my business card. Why? Because my core principle of governance is that liberty and free enterprise mean opportunity for everyone -- regardless of who their parents know or whether they're rich or poor -- to create a better life for themselves and their children.
- I'm proud to have won the Defender of Capitalism award from the Leadership Program of the Rockies.
- I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
- I've never held any public office -- I'm not a politician.