Company Name: AKU Enterprises, LLC
Title: CEO since 2014. I retired in 2014, as then as Vice President, Fluor Corp.
What was your first job?
Newspaper delivery, age 12 – Western PA (Pittsburgh Post Gazette), was awarded Pennsylvania Outstanding Newspaper boy 2 years in a row.
What are three things you use at work every day?
Prayer, try to listen instead of talk (50% success rate), saying "please" and "thank you."
What do you like to do in your free time?
My wife Kristy and I spend time with family (especially grandchildren); exercise (CBRC members); golf; dinner & wine tasting with friends; travel. I also fly fish and bird hunt with my 100 lb. Lab – Gauge.
What are three words that best describe you?
Honest, focused, committed.
What did you want to become as a kid?
An Engineer. Growing up on a farm, I was fascinated by machinery and how things worked. Unfortunately, as a 12 year old I took apart a tractor engine but could not put out back together without my Dad’s help. Not a good day.
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?
I have lived here at 3 different times, totaling over 30 years. I have also lived in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Idaho, and South Carolina and spent 6 months in the UK (near Sellafield).
What is your hometown?
A very small town - Harwick, PA (north of Pittsburgh).
What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas – because that is when our extended family gets together.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Regeneration (like Wolverine). I could recover from any injury or damage. As I have had several sports injury related surgeries (including recent shoulder replacement), regeneration would be nice to have. I could also help others by protecting them from certain hazards (known as taking a bullet for someone).
What was your first concert?
Iron Butterfly, Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, PA (years ago). The Civic Arena was also home to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. It was demolished in 2012 and replaced.
Do you live by any piece of advice or motto?
The short and long version: SHORT: Do what it takes (ethically). LONG: To have what you do not have, you must, successfully, do what you have not done.
What excites you most about the direction of the Tri-City Regional Chamber?
I appreciate the fact that the staff and board are strategic. There is great pressure on businesses to produce every quarter, resulting in a three month tactical window. Taking a strategic approach, we are able to adjust to external pressures and changes and take necessary action to continue to improve. We have done that in the past several years by divesting of long term functions and focusing on our core mission, as we strive to be “catalyst, convener and champion”. myTRI 2030 is a great example of a strategic approach that will bear fruit for years, not just the next three months.