My Appreciation for Joel Covington and my Vanderbilt Journey

My Appreciation for Joel Covington and my Vanderbilt Journey

The world lost a good man this week. I did not I stay in touch with Joel frequently after attending Vanderbilt Owen Business School in the early 1990s. I do, however, remember him well. Joel with a wry humorous wit, always had a comment when I’d see him in passing on my visits back to school. He seemed to be on the inside of a joke, that one was never sure if it was about you, but it didn’t matter, as he said it with a smile.   But most of all for me, Joel, who was Director of Admissions at the time, had the wisdom to look beyond a checkered undergraduate academic career, and understand a young aspiring business person who demonstrated his passion but little else. When others looked only at the black and white on paper, Joel met with me in person and consulted with Nick Whitcombe, my Cornell wrestling pal who was already at Vandy, and was able to see my potential and gave me a chance when it mattered. For this I am grateful.

“At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.” – Benjamin Franklin.  Joel, thanks for having the judgement to recognize my will would turn into something.

Here is a nice story remembering Joel in Vanderbilt News




Being Grateful

Being Grateful

Wishing everyone, who observes, a Happy Easter and Passover, and Happy Spring to everyone.  On this beautiful day in the mountains,


Grand Lake, CO sunrise in the mountains

Grand Lake, CO sunrise in the mountains


I am grateful for many things, here a just a few:

  • my life,
  • my wife Anitra,
  • my children, Skye, Cameron, Sierra and Talli
  • my family, brothers and sisters – Clay and Patrick Brooks, Rain, Amber & Teri Parks, Eva Sage, Star & Garrett
  • my Mom Penny
  • my Dad Luke and stepmother Mary Gordon
  • my Grandmothers, Dot Kalehoff and Ruth “Mimi” Wallin
  • my In-laws, John Carr & Janel Seymour
  • other in-laws -  Corinne & Michael O’Flynn, Francis Robinson, Colleen Carr
  • Nieces and nephews: Terra Sage Wallin, Alex, Samantha and Erika Robinson, Conor, Rory, Liam and Aiden O’Flynn
  • Uncle Edd, cousins Max, Rex and Alexis Kalehoff
  • Aunt Marge, cousins Jennifer, Madelyn and Kaley and in the memory of Ariel Ball.
  • Cousins Kim and Lisa
  • The LaCrosse family
  • Our 11 year old Beagle, Louie Loki Wallin
  • And all the other extended family
  • My friends… growing up in Hoboken, Boston, and mainly on Longboat Key,
    • Cornell and Vanderbilt
    • Indy, SKL, Napa, NWS, WSWA, eSkye, Lipman, YPO
  • My extended friends, acquaintances and online network (some of you I feel like I know you better than some family members… kind of strange)
  • My business partners and colleagues
  • All the teachers, coaches and adult leaders who have been there for my kids
  • All the people who helped me along the way in school, Scouts, business and life
  • My health
  • My family’s health
  • The opportunities I have had
  • The opportunities that continue to present themselves to me
  • The mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned
  • The chance to make a difference to others and leave the world a better place
  • The ability to choose who I will be each and every day


What are you grateful for today?


Last night while looking up at the stars on the deck, a mountain lion screamed over and over at Grand Lake, CO…  I wrote this to Anitra to memorialize the feeling in that moment:


Night Screams – March 30, 2013


The stars so bright in the mountain sky

A moment’s glimpse of ancient history

Amid the melting snow, a strange sound

Over and over, bone chilling screams

We go inside, seeking safety and warmth

The lion of the mountain, her voice so confident,

Rules the night.


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