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I’m an Aquarian by birth, but I’ve never been one to put too much emphasis on astrological signs. However, I am a water baby. I was born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I learned to swim before I could walk, I learned to fish before I could talk, and I learned to ski before I was riding a bike. I can’t remember a time when water wasn’t a part of my life. I grew up canoeing the bays and lakes and tubing the rivers and creeks. I even took up surfing for a few years until I got cracked in the head and almost drown. I learned a lot about myself because of that environment, and I believe it truly shaped who I am today.

I graduated high school in вЂ?93 with hair down to my waist and no vision, so I decided to take a year off to “find myself”. I didn’t actually look too hard. It turns out that I was right there the whole time smoking weed. I did somehow manage to enroll in the local junior college by the fall of ’94, but that’s only because I was getting a little pressure from my folks. Looking back, I think I started before I was serious enough to make an effort. I really wasn’t able to get my head into it. I did do well in the classes I liked, but I wondered through the rest of them in a self induced fog.

Time marches on, so a half dozen girlfriends and two years later I was still spinning my wheels, and I wasn’t even close to my associate’s degree yet. Back then, I spent my nights slinging sandwiches. Since I was only clearing a couple of hundred bucks a week, I decided I may as well start looking for a “real job” that didn’t require a degree. Although $90 a month for rent wasn’t bad, living with 3 roommates truly sucked. I needed to make some money fast, so I started browsing through the want ads.

One fateful Sunday I caught an ad that read simply “Tree Climbers Wanted”. I thought to myself, “I climbed trees when I was a kid. Why not?” I applied with a company called Atrex, Inc. that actually mounted antennas in trees for a local cable provider called Wireless One. I managed to BS my way through the interview, and soon I was keeping up with the senior installers. It didn’t take long for my boss and I to become buddies, so naturally I moved through the ranks quickly.

Over the next couple of years I learned the ropes in the cable TV business. I traveled around for most of ’96 and ’97 going where the work was. I tried to leave the Gulf Coast behind, but it had a hold on me. I missed the water. I eventually made my way back there, and leased a house with some long time friends of mine. They were a couple who I had known for years. One of my roommates, now my wife, had been dating my other roommate for quite some time, but to my credit, I dated her first. We still had some electricity between us, and well, the rest is history. Needless to say though, it did cause some problems in the household, but we were coping.

I got a call from my boss on a Friday afternoon about an opportunity to move up to Atlanta. The tricky thing was that I had to make the decision in an hour. To add a little extra pressure, I had to leave that Sunday or my window of opportunity would close. I was at a crossroads. My girlfriend and I were just starting to get serious; we had just signed a lease. I didn’t know if she would go with me, but I sucked it up, called my boss, and agreed to the move without talking to her.

That evening when I got home, I nervously told my girlfriend the news. She was ecstatic! I think she was more excited than I was. We agreed that I would go ahead and go up, and she



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