JACK PAUL & CHRIS HUGHES, CRAFT TALKS at WVRC on March 3rd
PP ED GAULD gave the Invocation “As we gather here today as members of Rotary, we pray that we are ever mindful of opportunities to render our service to fellow citizens and to our community. Keeping in mind always the enduring values of life, exerting our efforts in those areas and on those things upon which future generations can build with confidence. Let us continue to strive to make a better world”. A good selection, ED Thanks. NEVIN SENKAN led us in the Pledge, and then The Four Way Test. RICK BROUS provided a lively lead to our singing of God Bless America.
We had no visiting Rotarians, but there were a couple of the usual Guests. PEGGY came with her helper, and SUNNY was of course with LENNY. Actually, SUNNY was introduced by DAVID FRIEDMAN as his Grandfather’s daughter which is correct, I guess. President GORDON reminded us of the upcoming District Conference, which will be in Indian Wells at the Hyatt Grand Champion from 12 to 15 May. It’s always an interesting gathering, and so please think about going, OK? ED JACKSON came forward to explain his recent attendance at PETS which is preparation for becoming President next July. Attendance is compulsory, and he found it to be very helpful in making his plans, etc. JOHN HEIDT spoke briefly about the next opportunity to serve the homeless. This is the Daybreak group, and our turn will come on April 21st, when we will once again prepare and serve them dinner.
You will recall that former member AL BELLANCA passed away recently. His Memorial Service will be on Tuesday, March 15th at 3 pm, at Los Angeles Country Club. Be sure to indicate your attendance to ANN SAMSON by this coming Monday, the 7th of March.
Membership Chairman PP MIKE NEWMAN briefly introduced both our Craft Talkers today. Both were sponsored by PP STEVE SCHERER, who was Membership Chair at the time. MIKE introduced a new idea, when he suggested at the end of their talks that we all shake their hands a nice idea, certainly.
JACK PAUL began by stating that life is a series of experiences, and he wants to convey some of those to us. He was born in LA, and grew up in Boyle Heights, a relatively poor neighborhood. Most of the residents were either Jewish or Hispanic, and this was in the early days of the Depression the thirties, that is. His father had a small millinery store, but at this time women started going to beauty parlors, thus not buying hats. Both his father and mother had five siblings and they were all in the chicken business. Their first store became Zacky Farms, which was later sold to Foster Farms.
His family moved to the Los Feliz area, and he became a box boy at the local market. He was paid 25 cents an hour, and doing whatever was required. At one point, the Manager told him he would have to be let go the Union required that all employees belong, and it cost $2.00 a month in dues. After some discussion, he did join the Union, and his next paycheck was for $2.25 an hour! He went to Fairfax High, which was then in the Western League, along with University High, for instance. As an aside, he will be giving at least two 1 hour lectures at UniHi to their engineering students, starting next week.
He enrolled at UCLA, and loved it. He did so well that he qualified for Stanford Law School, accelerated, and finished the three year course in just two years. He moved on to Harvard Law for two years of graduate study, preparing to be a tax lawyer. During this time he was also in the Air ROTC program. After passing his exams, he was called to active duty at the Air Material Command in Dayton, Ohio. This was the world of Government Contracts a total career change, of course. He was surrounded by 22 general officers, many colonels, and he was of course a 2nd lieutenant. He felt it was a great experience for the two years he was there.
When he returned as a civilian, it was tough getting started, since he had no clients. He came up with the idea of teaching a course in Contract Law but UCLA Law wasn’t interested. It occurred to him that he might offer the idea to Engineering at UCLA, and they bought it. This in turn began to provide clients for his own practice, of course. He got married, moved to the Palisades, and started a family. His going rate at this point was $35.00 an hour. He was approached by a big engineering firm, who not only offered him $165.00 an hour, but wrote him a check for the first year for $16,500 to start with.
He has three children. His youngest son, Jim, is also an attorney, and is with Raytheon in Boston. His middle child all three went to Berkeley is also an attorney, in labor law. His oldest, a daughter, has provided him with three grandchildren you may recall he brought one of them to the meeting last week she is a freshman at UCLA.
His law practice has taken him pretty much all over the world, but he now specializes in training personnel at large firms about contracts, emphasizing cost control. His passion, it turns out, is teaching, and so he loves what he is doing. He had an aside about CPA’s, but I won’t try to capture it.
Q&A What is the connection between Accounting and Law? It is very important really, a crucial area. Who are Bob and Billy Zacky? They, along with his older brother Al, founded Zacky Farms, with 2,400 employees, and sold out to Foster Farms. Their entire operation was totally integrated, from eggs to harvesting. And of course none of them ever went to college they were just great guys! What are you going to talk about at Unihi regarding engineering? I will try to stimulate their horizons engineering is their ticket to prosperity. Have you seen the recent articles in the LA Times about Corruption? Yes, it is a very serious problem, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but right here in the US. The short answer is that you must have workable controls. Last question, what are your hobbies? I like to play golf, we travel, and we play bridge.
CHRISTOPHER HUGHES was up next, and he had a tough act to follow. Chris is 31, and has a younger brother, who is 21. Chris moved to LA after being discharged from the Marine Corps. His assignment in the Marines was in demolition, but he did not see combat. While still in high school, he thought about becoming a Priest. He tried several kinds of athletics, mainly football and track. During that time, he had a major problem with a cyst on his pancreas, and after a rate operation he was told that his athletic career was over, period. He didn’t accept this caution, and helped his team with state titles in football twice after that.
Getting into the Marines was tough, and he finally got a waiver they were concerned at his previous medical record, but he pointed out that this was what he wanted more than anything in his life and they agreed. After the Marines, he got his bachelors at American Intercontinental University. This was followed by an MBA in Management, and he is now proceeding toward a doctorate. He finished his BA with a 3.92 GPA, and a 4.0 for his MBA. He also worked for the National Veterans Administration for four years while in school, and he particularly enjoyed helping others with their problems. In looking at a compilation of combat deaths, he came across a Captain whom he had known. His letter to the family provided him with a wonderful feeling of helping them.
He began work for an insurance company as Director of Marketing. After two years there, he was out of work for seven months, and is now the Office Manager of a Real Estate Property Management firm. Since joining Rotary he decided he needed his Real Estate Sales license, which he now has. He has also just taken the Broker’s license exam. At this point, he harked back to his early days playing football. He failed a test, and despite the coach saying that was it, insisted on taking it again, and passed. So the coach decided to keep him on the team because he had the biggest heart of anyone playing. This helped the team to win in 1996 and 1998. The best part about being in Property Management is working with the client. He has been at this for almost three years, and enjoys it.
Q&A What position did you play in football? Linebacker and I loved it. What was your motivation for considering the Priesthood? I guess it was the opportunity to serve. Starting at age 12, he was helping neighbors with their chores, and it’s all about serving the public. Somebody with a daughter asked how old he was, and when he said 31, they said that’s too old laughter, here. Between your BA and the MBA program, and that 3.92, were you slacking off a bit? Again, laughter. Actually, I learned that nobody was perfect. He contends that one professor deducted .08 from his GPA just because he turned everything in exactly on time! Where is your Mother today? She is in the east, but I’m moving her out here very shortly.
And all this was followed by the line-up for handshaking, which was well deserved.