President and CEO,  Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire

Company address: 651 Yolanda Ave., Santa Rosa 95404

Phone: 707-523-0550

Website: www.gire.com

Staff: 270

Residence: Santa Rosa

Professional background: 27 years with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, retiring as the elected Sheriff-Coroner in 1997. Since retirement, have worked as a management consultant and in the title insurance and mortgage industries.

Education: Sacramento State College, numerous law enforcement management courses, graduate FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Course, POST Law Enforcement Executive Certificate

Age: 61

What do you see as the essential role of a leader in the current environment? The necessity to remain optimistic, adaptive and focused. Be constantly questioning how and why your organization conducts its business.

What are the biggest changes you've seen in your industry? A substantially greater demand for our mission of job training and placement services for people with employment barriers, coupled with an increase in shoppers at our thrift retail stores.

What advice would you give to young emerging leaders? Be driven, collaborative and ethical. Do something you enjoy, and be passionate about what you do. Self-satisfaction is a far greater reward than money.

What's the best advice for weathering today's economic environment? Stay flexible and look for opportunities to move your business in different directions. There are many opportunities for success in this environment if we constantly ask ourselves how our businesses can do things differently and more efficiently.

How do you think your business will change in the next five years? The demands on our core services of job training and placement will increase, government contract funding will decrease and many of our programs will be in jeopardy. We will be required to continually explore new and creative ways to fund the services we provide.

What is a decision you wish you hadn't made? What did you learn from it? Entering into a business relationship in vineyard management based on the romance of the business and not following my instincts. I knew nothing about the technical aspects of the business and ignored the warning signs of a partnership destined for failure. Fortunately I recognized my error in time to get out with my reputation and most of my finances intact. Lesson: Trust your instincts!

What is your most memorable business experience? Leading organizations, such as the Sheriff’s Department and Goodwill, in providing increased transparency, adding to improved credibility and higher visibility within the community.

What is your greatest business success? Increasing financial efficiencies. Cost containment while at the Sheriff’s Department allowed for expansion of services while staying under our annual budget. At Goodwill, financial scrutiny has led to stability and growth.

What was your toughest business decision? While I have been extremely fortunate to be able to experience other employment opportunities, in particular my job with Goodwill, making the decision to retire as sheriff for health reasons and give up a career that I truly loved was the most difficult business decision I have made.

What would your friends be surprised to find out about you? I’m actually an introvert and shy away from the spotlight.

First job: Mowing lawns and picking prunes to pay for the bats I broke at Rincon Valley Little League

Most admired businessperson outside the company: My late father, who taught me responsibility, integrity, moral obligation and determination

Current reading: Intellectual: “Uncharitable; How Restraints on Non-Profits Undermine Their Potential,” by Dan Pallotta; Recreational: “Terminal Freeze,” by Lincoln Child

Most want to meet: Those in our community who give back and improve our quality of life through their generosity of time, expertise and financial contributions

Stress relievers: Golf, although it’s also sometimes a stress inducer, and reading

Favorite activities outside work: RV’ing and driving my 1964 GTO convertible