I grew up in Bethesda Chevy Chase, Maryland, and graduated with a D+ average from BCC High School. I moved with my family to Evanston, Illinois, where I attended Morgan Park Academy, where I learned how to study and graduated with a 3.4-grade point average. After graduating from Central, I completed my education at the University of Iowa.
My memories from my years as a student at Central include: Helping to form the Phi Delta Tau fraternity and learning business under Professor Don Butler and life’s meaning under Dean James Graham. From Dr. Graham, I also learned good English, writing and communication skills. He was instrumental in helping me at Central and gave me the encouragement to go on and get a master’s degree from the University of Iowa.
By the age of 28, I was senior vice president and general manager of four divisions of Bell and Howell Companies in Chicago, Illinois. I then served as senior vice president of marketing at CBS in New York City before moving on to McGraw-Hill Company in New York City and Washington, D.C., where I spent 18 years creating and selling education books–rather ironic for a chap that had a D+ average in high school and hated education. After a stint at the University of Maryland University College as vice president of marketing for seven educational units selling education to the military and civilians, I headed up the marketing department at the National Wildlife Federation in Reston, Virginia. I ended my 38-year career selling education for Keystone High School, an internet and in-classroom delivery of education.
I am the father of two children and grandfather of four. John III is 51 and is CEO of Giant Media, an internet advertising firm based in Kansas City with offices in California, New York, Florida, and Chicago. He was President of Peterson Publishing and started many auto, trucking, hunting, fishing magazines for them over his 20 years with them. He has two children Kelly is a high school freshman and John IV is just entering his senior year in high school and in August he became an Eagle Scout.
My Daughter Kristin is 48 and worked for Oracle Business Software Company as a salesperson. In 2005 she was named salesperson of the year (WORLDWIDE) for Oracle and got a $1,000,000 bonus tax paid. She is now retired and lives with her husband who is the head of Polaris Venture Capital Group in Boston. She has two boys attending The Governor’s Academy in Massachusetts.
Now I consider myself a tree farmer enjoying life in West Virginia. The highest point on my property is a mountaintop I like to call “Cobb’s Knob” at 1,725 feet above sea level. My family calls this land “Grandpa’s Forest.” When I first bought this land back in 2006, no one had lived there for decades. Parts of it were overrun by invasive plants, and there were hardly any breaks in the forest canopy. I decided to make a few changes, which I started in 2009 and it’s still a work in progress. I just planted 91 Black Walnut trees around my new field. I am currently reading and recommend 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus by Charles C. Mann.