1Where It All Began

The Power of a Single Decision

As I packed my bags on the morning of May 26, 1975, I had no idea that a summer opportunity would change the direction of my life forever, nor did I know this single decision would affect the lives of thousands of people that I would meet in the future. A high school buddy of mine, Richard Svetlecic, had convinced me to give up summer baseball, which was a big deal to me at the time, with the promise of making $2,000 working for the Southwestern Publishing Company, now known as Southwestern Advantage.

Richard had worked with the company the previous summer and already had something I did not have—wheels. That's right, a car! A car purchased with the money he made last summer while I played baseball. With college staring me straight in the face, the thought of buying my own car was the number‐one reason that I finally decided to accept the position.

Preparing to leave on my journey, I replayed the conversation with Richard from two weeks earlier, as I sat down with my parents, to sell them on the idea. After all, Richard may have convinced me, but I now had to persuade my mom and dad.

Needless to say, it was not an easy sale.

George and Shirley Cummings were full of questions, concerns, and, of course, some very serious doubts. Today, as the father of five children, all of whom share my adventurous and relentless spirit, I fully understand all of my parents' concerns.

Some of the questions that they were asking me were easy to ...

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