Double Lives

I love the way that Twin Cities Business magazine presented my article, Alter Ego: The Double Lives of Leading Local Executives. I had a lot of fun working on it. The awesome photos were taken by Travis Anderson.

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DOUBLE LIVES

In his navy blue suit, Scott Kadrlik looks like you’d expect a managing partner in a CPA firm to look. Tabatha Erck’s appearance is perfectly congruent with her role as CEO of a thriving chiropractic network. Small business owner Dave Wirig would blend in well at any business luncheon.

Looks can be deceiving. After shedding their business attire, one of these three executives dons a wig and Spandex and transforms into a head-banging rock star. Another grabs a microphone and hits Twin Cities stages as a stand-up comedian. The third guns a BMW and races around Brainerd International Raceway at 140 miles per hour.

Every day, you might bump into a handful of businesspeople whose after-hour activities may surprise you. In fact, you may be living such a double life yourself. In the pages that follow, you’ll meet 10 otherwise ordinary professionals with extraordinary private lives.

DAVE WIRIG

dave-wirig-davey-roxx




DAY JOB
: Co-founder and CFO of Medical Solutions, Inc., a provider of new and reconditioned medical equipment.
DOUBLE LIFE: Plays guitar under the alias Davey Roxx for heavy metal band Hair Metal Mania.







When Dave Wirig, 44, and his lifelong friend, Dave Delgado, decided to start a business of their own in 1996, they had two criteria: it should have controllable outcomes and be in an industry that could withstand tough economic times. “Dave and I were trained in sales,” Wirig says. “We knew we would do well if the company was direct-sales oriented. We chose the medical field because it’s so interesting; there are always cutting-edge breakthroughs and new products coming out.”

The two Daves ended up founding Medical Solutions, Inc., a provider of new and reconditioned medical equipment. “One of our ideas had been a golf driving range,” Wirig says. “The problem with that was it’s very difficult to target the end user who’s going to come and hit balls at your driving range, whereas we know exactly where to go and who to call to find out if they need an EKG machine.”

Medical Solutions purchases new equipment directly from more than 50 manufacturers, but also buys used equipment from medical facilities throughout the country. The bulk of the company’s sales come from surgical tables, stress-testing systems, EKG machines and autoclaves, but they’re willing to buy whatever comes their way. “We may get a call to liquidate a metropolitan-area clinic,” Wirig says. “That equipment, which may be outdated for that particular owner, may be perfect for a rural clinic or hospital.”

Much has changed in the sixteen years since Wirig and Delgado opened up shop. Revenues have surpassed $2 million and, in 2007, the pair purchased a 12,000 sq. ft. commercial building in Maple Grove. One thing, however, hasn’t changed: the two of them are still the firm’s only employees, handling everything from sales to shipping. “We had some salespeople but they lacked incentive,” Wirig says. “We learned that bigger is not necessarily better.”

Medical Solutions is all that Wirig hoped it would be. Even so, he felt that something important in life was missing. “When we started the company, I put my guitar down,” he says. “I didn’t pick it up again for eight or nine years. One day, I finally sat down and listened to what my body and soul were telling me. I was missing playing the guitar and the way it helped me express my creative side. Once I started playing again and making music, it was so wonderful I didn’t want to stop.”

What Wirig also missed was the euphoria of performing for a live audience as he did in his college-age years. Feeling the itch to join a band, he turned to Craigslist and quickly connected with a group in need of a guitarist. For a couple of years, the band played soft rock and pop under the name Hard to Handle. Then, at Wirig’s urging, they morphed into an 80s rock tribute band called Hair Metal Mania with a setlist that includes greatest hits from Poison, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister and other rock legends.

Of course, the members had to look the part. Mix in a wig and Spandex, and balding, mild-mannered Dave Wirig was transformed into Davey Roxx, rock star. “When I put on that wig, Dave Wirig ceases to exist,” he says. “The only person present is Davey Roxx, rock god.”

As Davey Roxx, Wirig goes all out to embody the rocker persona. “I was in theater in high school so I have a background in acting,” says Wirig, who also supplies backup vocals. “Playing the part is as much acting as it is guitar performance.”

The band’s biggest gig was headlining Turtle Lake Casino in Wisconsin last summer, but no matter where they perform Wirig marvels that the audience always buys the act. “What amazes me the most is that people listen with their eyes as much as they do with their ears,” he says. “When they see someone in rock star garb with a rock star persona, they have trouble distinguishing whether it’s a real rock star or just a medical equipment guy with a wig. That speaks to the authenticity of the show we put on.”

Indeed, Wirig doesn’t just view Davey Roxx as a fun alias, he’s fully committed to the identity, even speaking about him in the third person. “He is a perfectionist and wants to play and perform as authentically as possible,” he acknowledges. “Even though I’m 44, I’m still interested in getting better. If you’re not growing or gaining, you’re sliding. Putting in all that time and repetition to learn and perform the songs has definitely helped me be a more patient person in every aspect of my life.”

Wirig, who dreamed of being a rock star as a guitar-obsessed teenager, manages to keep his double life in perspective. “It’s a different gratification to sell a surgical table than it is to play your favorite song onstage,” he says. “They’re both equally wonderful and neither can replace the other. Then again, I don’t have women screaming my name when I sell a surgical table.”

BOB KROWECH

bob-krowech




DAY JOB:
Founder and CEO of Heat Recovery System Technology, Inc., a supplier of consulting services to the power and steam generation industry.
DOUBLE LIFE: Bodybuilding and powerlifting veteran who’s set numerous state, national and world powerlifting records.






When Bob Krowech founded Eden Prairie-based Heat Recovery System Technology, Inc. (HRST) in 1999, he resolved to create an environment in which every employee felt valued, motivated and committed to the firm’s success. “A lot of corporations will say, ‘We’re all in this together,’” he says. “But what they really mean is, ‘If things go bad you’ll get laid off, and if things go good we’ll get rich.’ “I wanted HRST to be the antithesis of that mindset.”

The strategy worked. HRST, which provides consulting services and specially engineered products to the power and steam generation industry, was listed among INC. magazine’s fastest growing companies in both 2008 and 2009. The $10 million company has five satellite offices in the U.S., one in Switzerland, and also does business in Vietnam, Bangladesh and South America. “We do the overseas work primarily for the ‘adventure factor’ since there is plenty of work here in North America,” Krowech says.

Krowech is not only a business builder, he’s also a bodybuilder. He’s a two-time winner of the “Over 50” division of the Mr. Minnesota bodybuilding contest. While in his fifties, he also took first place in the “35 and over” category in three other state bodybuilding contests, edging out competitors who were young enough to be his children.

Krowech had been lifting weights for decades before deciding to compete. While his high school buddies in Roseau were playing hockey, he preferred hoisting dumbbells in the school gym. “I remember seeing the Charles Atlas comic book ads,” Krowech says. “When I saw it I knew I wanted to be that guy.” Except for a year of military service in Vietnam, he’s been lifting ever since.

At the age of 54, Krowech transitioned from bodybuilding, which values looking as good as possible, to powerlifting, which values lifting as much weight as possible. “In bodybuilding, I had achieved as much as my genetics would allow and the intense dieting regimen had a negative effect on my disposition,” he says. “A friend I was training with said, ‘Why don’t you do a powerlifting contest? Hardly anyone has a title in both bodybuilding and powerlifting.’ So there was a challenge for me.”

In no time, Krowech was setting state, national and world records in powerlifting competitions, including the national record in his weight class for deadlifting 611 pounds. Krowech performed this feat of superhuman strength, which involves picking up a loaded barbell from a bent-over position, lifting it with straight arms to a standing position and then slowly lowering the weight back to the ground, five years ago at the age of 63. What’s even more impressive is that he hoisted that record weight three years after being diagnosed with tonsil cancer, plummeting from 198 to 135 lbs. during six weeks of chemo and radiation that left him bedridden.

Krowech’s cancer diagnosis prompted some deep soul searching. Both his parents had also been diagnosed with cancer in the month of June; both of them died in the fall of the same year they were diagnosed. Face to face with his mortality, Krowech spent two days contemplating what he wanted to do with his life. “I came to the realization that I wanted to do exactly what I had been doing: running my business and weight training,” he says. “As the fall turned to winter, I began regaining strength, adding 15 lbs. a week to my deadlift. It was like being a teenager!”

A year after his diagnosis, Krowech was competing again. As he slowly gained weight, he set one record after another in weight classes he never dreamed he’d be competing in. “The lifts weren’t up to my standards but it was good to be back in the game,” he says.

Krowech is equally at home at the gym or in the office, which is noteworthy considering that the former is an individual pursuit while the latter is a total team effort. At HRST, he and his staff of 30 engineers are all paid the same salary and share equally in the profits at year’s end. In January 2012 every employee, including the administrative staff, received an average bonus check of $22,000. In December, the company became an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) so employees can buy company stock with pre-tax dollars. “When we get together for our semiannual meetings, the spirit of cooperation and enthusiasm actually brings tears to my eyes,” he says.

Although Krowech’s two worlds of business and weight training appear to have little in common, he sometimes doesn’t know where one begins and the other ends. “It’s hard to tell whether my level of ambition and work ethic are part of my natural makeup or if they developed from my time in the gym,” he says. “In other words, does my training habit make me feel that way or did I always feel that way and it spilled over into my training? I don’t know which.”

JOE THORNTON

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DAY JOB:
Senior director of branding for Stream Global Services, which operates call centers all over the world.
DOUBLE LIFE: Serves as a member of the Woodbury Police Reserves.



As the senior director of branding for Eagan-based Stream Global Services, which provides business process outsourcing (BPO) services primarily for Fortune 1000 clients, Joe Thornton, 48, manages message development and strategic communications for the company, which has more than 50 service centers and 33,000 employees in 23 countries.

Thornton, a former news anchor and news director at KDLH TV, the CBS affiliate in Duluth, assumed his current position in December 2011 after a five-year stint at St. Paul-based Lawson Software, where he was Director of Media Relations with responsibility for the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

After spending the day delivering a uniform branding message to media personnel and industry analysts, Thornton turns his attention to upholding the integrity of a very different brand. For two or three weekend night shifts a month, he dons the uniform of the Woodbury Police Reserves, an all-volunteer team whose members function as uniformed officers representing the department. “I take this work very seriously because there’s a responsibility that comes with putting on that uniform and representing the police department,” Thornton says. “There’s a big difference between what reserve officers do and what sworn officers do, but to the community we’re cops. We wear essentially the same uniform and drive in marked squad cars.”

Reserve officers do not have authority to arrest or detain suspects, but they do assist with general patrol and hands-on activities such as transporting prisoners to jail, drunks to detox, and domestic violence victims to shelters; patrolling parks; performing crime scene security; providing crowd and traffic management at community events; and assisting with response to natural disasters. “Transporting a prisoner or taking someone to detox can take a police officer off the street for an hour or two,” Thornton says. “If we can perform that function, the sworn officer can stay on the street to stop drunk drivers, respond to medical emergencies and catch more bad guys.”

Serving in a law enforcement capacity had never been on Thornton’s radar until the summer day in 2010 when he picked up the phone and found himself speaking to Mark Buratczuk, who led the reserves at the time. Buratczuk had seen an e-mail Thornton had sent on behalf of his family thanking all of the offices for the work they do. When Buratczuk suggested that Thornton consider joining the reserves, Thornton laughed. “I told him I was in my mid-forties and a PR guy by trade,” Thornton recalls. “I said he probably wanted someone who was younger and eager to become a cop. Buratczuk said, ‘No, we try to balance our program with people who are civically minded and have an appreciation for what law enforcement professionals do.’” As the conversation continued and Thornton learned more about the program, he saw it as an exciting opportunity.

Given that reserve officers drive squad cars, carry Tasers and represent the Woodbury Police Department, the application process included an extensive background check, psychiatric evaluation and rigorous interview process. After getting accepted, Thornton was trained in police procedures, self-defense and how to respond to different scenarios in real-life settings. That training is ongoing. In addition to monthly meetings that feature training on everything from radio protocol to how to manage vehicle impounds properly, reserves are welcome to attend ongoing police officer trainings as well. “We’re constantly trying to keep our skills fresh and crisp because we have to be able to quickly change our mindset from being in our day job to performing functions that represent the police department,” says Thornton, who now co-leads the 15-member reserves.

Working with and alongside sworn officers has deepened Thornton’s respect for what people in public safety do on a daily basis. “My appreciation for police officers has been multiplied many times over,” he says. “There are exceptional people doing exceptional work out there. The importance of their work becomes even more evident when you get a first-hand look at what goes on in the middle of the night in a Twin Cities suburb.”

Although the two worlds Thornton inhabits are vastly different, two words—rapid response—link them together. “I was recently at a seminar conducted by two retired police officers who happened to be a husband-and-wife team,” he says. “Afterwards, I suggested to them that their training would be really good for the corporate world if it was adapted slightly. They smiled and said, ‘A lot of our work is done in corporate training because we take concepts of police work—readiness, quick thinking, resolving conflicts and reacting to changing circumstances—and apply them in a business setting.’ It was phenomenal training.”

Serving as a reserve officer has not only benefited Thronton’s career, it’s helped him become a better father. “It gives my two sons a chance to see dad in a uniform helping out in the community,” he says. “If that helps instill in them that we all have a responsibility to do something to help others, that’s the golden nugget.”

ANITA JANSSEN

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DAY JOB:
Founding principal of 542 Global Foods, LLC, a producer and provider of food products.
DOUBLE LIFE: World-class cutting horse champion.




Anita Janssen had grown restless. After 15 years of running Maxxum, Inc., an IT data and equipment disposal firm she had launched in her hometown of Rush City, her entrepreneurial itch needed scratching. She was also yearning to do work that fit who she was at her core. “As I matured in my career, so did my social agenda,” she says. “I had been raised on a farm, I still live on a farm, and even though I’m very corporate when I’m out and about, I have always felt a strong commitment to the ‘feeding the world’ part of agriculture.”

When an opportunity to get into the ag industry presented itself, Janssen, 44, jumped ship. She sold her stake in Maxxum in December and joined forces with two partners to launch 542 Global Foods, LLC, a producer and provider of food products for overseas markets and immigrant populations in the U.S. The new company, which grows animals on a large scale for the Asian market, is negotiating with a group of investors who want to set up high-quality commercial hog production in Thailand. “We’re taking a global approach in a way that’s respectful to the earth, the communities and the people we serve and the animals that ultimately become the protein sources,” says Janssen, who handles the business management and development side of the company.

When she’s not riding herd on identifying underserved global food markets, you might find Janssen riding a cutting horse amidst a herd of cattle. Cutting is an equestrian event where a horse and rider are judged on their ability to separate a single animal away from a cattle herd and keep it isolated for a short period of time. While Janssen is modest about her prowess in the sport, she competes at a local, regional and national level and has won a number of competitions and year-end awards.

Janssen, who owned a horse during her high school years and got back into recreational riding in 1998, discovered cutting in 2001 and was instantly hooked. Five years later, through mutual friends, she met Bob Janssen, owner of Janssen Performance Horses, one of two full-time cutting horse trainers in the state. In 2008, she married him. The couple now own 25 show-caliber cutting horses and prospects, as well as 100 head of cattle. “A cutting horse is a highly trained athlete,” Janssen notes. “You can’t just take a horse out of your pasture and go do it. They go through two full years of training before they even get to a show.”

Given Janssen’s personality, she considers cutting the ideal sport for high achievers. “As a businessperson and entrepreneur, I have an active mind and tend to be wound fairly tight,” she explains. “Riding a cutter is a great way to escape. It’s a very physical activity, but also an intense mental activity. And I love learning. I’m never going to get to the point where there’s nothing more I can learn from this.”

Janssen has benefitted so much from cutting that she teamed up with Twin Cities business coach and entrepreneur Sue Hawkes in January 2012 to conduct corporate leadership training using cutting horses. “Cutting appeals to a lot of high-level businesspeople because it’s a huge adrenaline rush,” Janssen says. “Because it’s fast and very adrenaline-inducing, it attracts people who typically run pretty hard anyways. It feeds their competitive nature.”

Ultimately, cutting horses are more than just a sport or an adrenaline rush to Janssen. In one memorable moment, a cutting horse changed her life and the way she runs her business. “Whenever I walked into the stall of my third cutter, he would turn around and put his head in the corner,” she recalls. “The first two cutters I bought had done the same thing. I got frustrated and asked my trainer, ‘Why is it that I can’t get a horse that likes me and wants to hang out with me?’ He looked at me, said, ‘What if it’s not the horse?’ and turned around and walked away. It was an awesome light-bulb moment.”

What Janssen realized in that moment went far beyond her relationship with a horse. “That question taught me in an instant a whole lot about interacting with people, whether they’re employees, clients or vendors,” she says. “I’ve always been focused on the next task at hand and wasn’t taking time to be in the moment. I’d rush into that horse’s stall, halter in hand, and be ready to halter him up, take him out of the stall and go to work. I never spent any time developing a relationship with him. So when my trainer said, ‘What if it’s not the horse?’ I started asking myself, ‘What could I do differently to make sure I’m as approachable as I need to be to be a good leader?’ I now joke with people that the reason I got into cutting is that horses are cheaper than therapy!”

SCOTT KADRLIK

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DAY JOB:
Managing Partner with the CPA firm of Meuwissen, Flygare, Kadrlik & Associates, P.A.
DOUBLE LIFE: Stand-up comedian.








Thirty years ago, the night before Scott Kadrlik took his CPA exam, he laid awake all night thinking about the test. But he also imagined himself performing stand-up on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” He passed the test the next day, but kept his comedy aspirations to himself for the next 23 years.

In the meantime, Kadrlik, 53, forged a successful and rewarding career as a CPA. In 1991, he became a managing partner in Eden Prairie-based Meuwissen, Flygare, Kadrlik & Associates, P.A., a 15-person full-service CPA firm offering audit, accounting, tax and consulting services. Kardlik also is a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), one of only 5,000 CPAs in the U.S. to have earned that designation.

Kadrlik’s comedy dream lay dormant until the summer of 2004, when he heard a radio interview with local comedy legend Louie Anderson. Anderson announced he was staging a contest for aspiring comedians and that the winner would open for him at Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis on New Year’s Eve. Kadrlik’s inner jokester snapped to attention. Knowing that six months wasn’t enough time to adequately prepare, Kardlik set his sights on the following year’s contest. Determined to learn both the business and art of stand-up comedy, he began attending humor-oriented workshops and seminars. “They all said the same thing: ‘You can’t learn about comedy from a class. Get three minutes of material and find an open microphone,’” Kardlik says.

I’ve known I was going to be a CPA ever since my mom bronzed my first pair of wingtips.

Encouraged, Kadrlik spent months crafting a solid three minutes of “wacky accounting humor.” When fall rolled around, he was ready. Unfortunately, Anderson scrubbed the contest. Crushed, Kadrlik felt adrift. He had his three minutes but didn’t know what to do with it. Then one day, shortly before Christmas, he opened the newspaper. In an article about all the open mic comedy nights in town, he read that first-timers were guaranteed to get onstage at Acme Comedy Co. in the Warehouse District. “I told my wife we were going down to Acme on Monday so I could perform stand-up comedy,” Kadrlik says. “She thought I was nuts. She had no clue that this was one of my dreams. Nobody did. But she came along, as did my two daughters and one of my best friends and his wife. They all wanted to see a train wreck.”

That Monday, as he waited to go onstage at Acme, Kadrlik savored the moment even as he worried about blanking out on stage. “I just hoped that I’d remember my name when I got up there,” he recalls. “I had practiced and practiced and it all ended up going as smoothly as I hoped it would. Looking back, it really wasn’t a very good three-minute bit, but people laughed in all the right spots and that’s all that matters.”

Hooked, Kadrlik signed up for a workshop with local comedy veterans Scott Hansen and Dave Mordahl, where he studied the mechanics of joke writing. He continued to study the craft and hone his act. Five years after being bitten by the comedy bug, he achieved his original goal: opening for Louie Anderson. Right before going onstage at Edinborough Golf Course in Brooklyn Park, Kadrlik spent some time with Anderson talking about comedy. “Louie asked me if I was nervous,” Kadrlik recalls. “I said, ‘No, I’m not nervous.’ He said, ‘Well, you should be.’ At which point I was instantly nervous. Then I walked downstairs to perform and completely forgot everything I was going to say. I didn’t even remember my name. Fortunately, it was a momentary panic. As soon as I heard my name announced, I was ready to go and had a great set.”

The best part about playing Monopoly with people from Minnesota is that they’ll buy their first house and then spend the rest of the game finishing the basement.

Kadrlik has gone on to open for Anderson several times, including a show at the Louie Anderson Theater at Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. After performing at all the comedy clubs around the Twin Cities as well as a number of accounting conferences and corporate events, he now has nearly 30 minutes of material at his command. “Ultimately, I want to put together a corporate hour that I can carry around and perform for large companies, because that’s where the money is in this business,” he says.

Expressing his inner comedian has paid dividends in Kadrlik’s accounting career as well. “Doing comedy has freed me from being the stereotype of being an accountant in other people’s eyes,” he says. “Now everybody that introduces me to someone else says, ‘He’s a CPA but he’s also a comedian,’ which endears you to people, because everybody loves comedy.”

Kadrlik’s comedy career is gaining momentum but don’t expect him to give up his pencils and spreadsheets any time soon. “Comedy is strictly on the side,” he says. “Being a CPA is what I’ve worked for all my life and I really enjoy the accounting business. Besides, some of the funniest people I know are accountants, largely because no one else will hang out with us.”

My exercise routine has fallen off over the years. I used to run, lift weights and bike. But now for exercise, I just fill the tub with water, pull the plug and fight the current.


CHRISTOPHER CROWHURST

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DAY JOB:
CTO and partner at Marketing Architects, a direct-response advertising agency and product development company.
DOUBLE LIFE: Founder of Qajaq Rolls, a company dedicated to passing on the Inuit art of Greenland-style kayak rolling.




Christopher Crowhurst, is on a roll. As partner and CTO of Marketing Architects, Inc., a direct-response advertising agency, he not only runs the company’s data centers and handles software development for client-facing applications, he oversees direct-to-consumer fulfillment and logistics. That’s right, the Hopkins agency also develops and markets its own products, including Stuffies stuffed animals and the HurryCane, an innovative walking stick.

What really has Crowhurst rolling is the business he started two years ago to disseminate information about kayaking, a lifelong obsession. His first product was a guidebook on how to roll your kayak. For non-kayakers, that means how to get right-side up when you turn upside down.

Crowhurst, 43, a native of England, named his company Qajaq Rolls because “qajaq” is the way that Inuits (Eskimos) in Greenland spell “kayak.” “Greenland kayak rolls are steeped in the history of the Inuit people, whose very survival depended upon their ability to roll up and recover while hunting,” he says. “The Inuit had about 30 different ways to do it and I documented 25 of them in a waterproof book and companion DVD.”

Crowhurst is so passionate about kayak rolling that he helped train over 150 people to roll in local lakes last year at no cost. “I developed my skills from people who had been immersed in the Inuit culture who wanted to share them with me,” he says. “I’m just passing them forward to the kayaking community.”

DAN SULLIVAN

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DAY JOB:
Consultant to superDimension, a producer of medical devices.
DOUBLE LIFE: Charter member of the Hoppers, the first civilian formation team of MiG fighter jet trainers.








When Dan Sullivan, 57, was named CEO of Plymouth-based superDimension in 2006, he took revenues at the medical device company from less than $1 million to $30 million by 2012. “We pioneered a revolutionary new market for the diagnosis and early treatment of lung cancer,” says Sullivan, who has continued to consult for the company after it was sold to Dublin, Ireland-based Covidien in May 2012. “By catching it early, the ten-year survival rate goes from 15 percent to 90 percent.”

It’s not surprising that Sullivan got superDimension flying high. He’s used to flying high himself as part of the Hoppers, a group of nearly a dozen flying enthusiasts who stage air shows in four MiG fighter jet trainers. The Hoppers were trained by a former F-15 instructor in how to fly formation to Air Force standards. “Flying a jet in formation is the most intense concentration you can possibly imagine,” says Sullivan, who owns three military jets. “The Hoppers are my second family. We literally trust our lives to each other. It’s a bond so deep, you can’t break it and you can’t describe it.”

The Hoppers make a special effort to connect with and inspire kids. “When a kid comes up to us at an air show with their eyes lit up, we love it,” Sullivan says. “Our goal is for kids to gain an appreciation of what these jets are all about and to walk away thinking, ‘I could do that too.’”

RALPH BASHIOUM

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DAY JOB: Plastic surgeon at Bashioum Cosmetic Surgery Center
DOUBLE LIFE: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.





Ralph Bashioum might be the only plastic surgeon who can give you a facelift or tummy tuck after writing the source code for your paperless office. Bashioum, whose plastic surgery practice has the perfect Internet domain name of nipntuck.com, is also a systems engineer and programmer who wrote his own EMR (electronic medial records) application.

When Bashioum, 61, moved his practice from Golden Valley to Wayzata 17 years ago, he envisioned a paperless office but couldn’t find a reasonably affordable network administration solution. “So I started doing that work myself but found that the only way to do it safely and efficiently was to become educated and certified as a MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer),” he says.

Bashioum now spends 20 hours a week on network administration above and beyond the 40 hours he devotes to patients. “The skill has served me very well,” he says. “We’ve gone through four iterations of hardware and I’ve rebuilt the network each time.”

Looking forward to life after medicine, Bashioum plans on marketing his paperless office solution. Unlike big EMRs in hospitals that run on a database, Bashioum’s application runs on a simple Microsoft Office program and scales very quickly. “I like the problem solving in programming,” he says. “Unlike medicine problem solving, there’s an exactness to it. It’s a nice avocation and a real joy.”

TABATHA ERCK

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DAY JOB:
CEO of Chiropractic Care of Minnesota, Inc., which has a chiropractic network with 1600 providers.
DOUBLE LIFE: Performance driving at racetracks.






As CEO of Shoreview-based Chiropractic Care of Minnesota, Inc., Tabatha Erck, 44, oversees the nonprofit company’s flagship product, ChircoCare, a chiropractic network with 1,600 providers. ChiroCare is hired by insurance providers to perform many of the same functions that insurance companies do, but with an exclusive focus on chiropractic benefits, practitioners, and clinics. After launching a new acupuncture network called AcuNet on December 1, Erck has shifted into overdrive to get the new network up to speed.

Shifting and speed are right in Erck’s wheelhouse. Erck, who joined the BMW Car Club of America eight years ago, trains with professional drivers at the Dakota County Technical College on their driving track in Rosemount and at Brainerd International Raceway, reaching speeds of up to 140 mph. In her first session, she had to navigate through a slalom course of orange cones. “The first couple of times I hit every single cone,” she says. “Within an hour, I was able to go through at 60 miles per hour without touching the cones, but moving them because I was that close.”

A passionate advocate for car safety, Erck volunteers for the Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving program, teaching teens how to drive at the Dakota County Track. “We teach them everything about driving, from adjusting their mirrors to handling their vehicles on icy roads,” she says. “That is five times more rewarding than anything else I do.”

WARD BREHM

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DAY JOB: Founder and chairman of The Brehm Group, Inc., a Twin Cities estate and insurance planning firm.
DOUBLE LIFE: Nationally recognized leader in African humanitarian efforts.






Ward Brehm, 61, founder of the Brehm Group, a Minneapolis-based boutique estate and insurance planning firm that caters to generationally affluent families, attributes his business success to a simple, straightforward philosophy: “Rather than chase transactions, we build long-term and trusted relationships.”

That innate sense for what matters most guided Brehm to accept his pastor’s invitation in 1993 to visit Africa. “I’ve never been the same,” says Brehm, who toured remote areas of northwest Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania on that initial trip and since has visited every country in Sub-Saharan Africa. “I saw people living in absolute squalor and children dying from fully preventable diseases. It just broke my heart. When a woman loses a baby because she can’t get to the hospital due to muddy ruts in the road, her pain and screams of anguish are exactly the same as they would be for our wives and mothers. But nobody hears her. I’m trying to do whatever I can to act as an advocate and be a voice for these people.”

That may be the understatement of the millennium. Brehm has visited Africa 35 times, was appointed chairman of the United States African Development Foundation (ASADF) in 2004 by President Bush, was awarded the Presidential Citizenship Medal in an Oval Office ceremony and delivered the keynote address at the 2008 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC. He is the author of two books on his experiences in Africa, Life Through a Different Lens and White Man Walking.






ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA

Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier

To order your copy of Through God’s Eyes, go to GodsEyesOrder.com OR order from Amazon at GodsEyesAmazon.com OR for an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here for more information about Through God’s Eyes.
Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.




Want to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 40-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER






Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.



SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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