I have had friends and family that knew exactly what they wanted to be from as early in their lives as they can remember. I can tell you that was not me. Looking back on my earlier years, Engineer, Attorney, and Banker were among the career paths that I thought I would follow based on my understanding and love for math and science. Mortgage lending was not on my radar until I was wrapping up my sophomore year at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York- a quaint village in Upstate New York, not much different from the various towns in which I grew up throughout my childhood. As many of my classmates were heading to Wall Street for internships, in the spring of 2003 I got my real first taste of the mortgage world through an internship with a small correspondent mortgage lender based out of Syracuse, NY. The company happened to be owned by an attorney and an alumni of Colgate; this gentlemen became the first mentor (of a handful) in the mortgage world that opened up the possibility of making a career in helping family, friends and others obtain the goal of homeownership. Having moved several times around New York State during my childhood- starting in Plattsburgh with stops in the Utica for two years and Albany for five, I considered Baldwinsville ý small village on the northwest side of Syracuse my hometown, where I spent the majority of my formative years. A new school, new friends, new town AND a new home were among experiences that came along with these moves, but also set the base for my interest in the real estate industry. Although I was not integrally involved in the house hunting at those times, that process began to intrigue me more as I grew older. I can empathize with our clients about the stressors and some of the unknowns of what takes place when uprooting a family and making that move. Providing mortgage solutions and a process that is unique to Guaranteed Rate relieves some of the unnecessary stress of the home-buying process. As I alluded to earlier, there were no mortgage banking majors at any schools and towards the end of my college career, I continued to believe that banking or the law (as a Political Science major) were to be my chosen career paths. Although there were no specific majors, the liberal arts education that I obtained provided tools in critical thinking and problem solving which I see as the most integral part of a successful mortgage professional. That one summer internship at the small correspondent lender turned into working full time during winter breaks, and a few more summers. This opportunity allowed me to start as an accounting intern, but then be able to shadow different departments within the company, such as processing, underwriting, post-closing, and even helped with the title company that was jointly owned at the time. I was able to gain tremendous perspective and a well-rounded baseline of the mortgage industry, including being an assistant to an originator after my regular duties were completed. I cannot thank the other key mentors in my career trajectory including a family member who took me under his wing and paved the way for my first ýrealý job after school and eventually becoming a junior partner of his. I have had other mentors along the way in the form of bosses, colleagues and partners that continue to push me to learn more and to improve the way we do business in the ever-changing mortgage world. I have worked for the largest mortgage companies (including banks) as well as independent lenders; I have never seen the strength, capabilities and synergies created anywhere that compares to what Guaranteed Rate has to offer. We are truly lucky to have a company invested in their employees and providing the tools and resources needed to be successful. Upon graduating from Colgate in 2005, I packed everything that I could in my car and began my trek to Sarasota, Florida. I can say with all honesty that I have never looked back and love the decisions that I have made for my career and new hometown- Sarasota. Being home to the #1 Beach in the United States- Siesta Key beach- and some of the best golf courses, I cannot think of a better place. Now being here for more than a decade, Sarasota has become the place where I have lived the longest and have grown to love as my own. I continue to reside in Sarasota with my wife- Christen- with whom we are expecting our first child July 2016. We currently stay busy with our love for travel, enjoying the great food and restaurants that our town has to offer and spending time with our friends and family (including our current ýfur-soný, a dachshund mix rescue).