Stories from the Center of the Universe
Bill Jones, aka BBQ Bill, joins Paul and Kevin on the podcast and they covered a variety of subjects. Bill grew up on a farm in Shortpump “before it was Shortpump”. They talked about Bill’s childhood, softball, his career and being a BBQ cook and judge. He finished by talking about his wife Mary and their son Lee.
Virgil Gray and Paul served together in the Virginia Army National Guard. They talked about how Virgil grew up in two very different places, various experiences they had in the Guard and jobs he had after he retired from the National Guard. Virgil finished by telling Paul about being really retired, his wife Becky, their kids and their five grandchildren.
Theron Potter Bell IV, aka T Bell, and Paul have known each other since 8th grade when Paul started at St. Christopher’s. They talked a lot about baseball and about two tragedies in T Bell’s life and how he made it through them. They also talked about his family and some changes he has made in his life over the last few months.
Mary Crutchfield has led a “varied” life. Mary is from Trenton, New Jersey, but from about age eight until twenty-one, she was living all over the world. Her parents were missionaries and Mary and her family lived in Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines. Paul and Mary discussed her life abroad including her education and the fact that she had Malaria seventeen times! Mary moved back to the United States when she was twenty-one and she talked with Paul about her re-integration to life back in the states. She told him how she was lucky to have so many people help her including her aunt which led her to settling in Virginia. Mary is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and opened her business Leva Psychiatry about five years ago. She and Paul discussed mental health in general, the way she treats her clients and the crisis calls that were rampant during Covid-19. They finished the episode by Paul asking Mary some questions about mental health and with her telling him a little more about her family.
The podcast went on the road (with a special guest) to Charlottesville, Va. this week to talk to Margie Howell. Margie grew up on a dairy and beef farm in Bedford County, Va. near the area that is now best known for Smith Mountain Lake. She had typhoid fever when she was 10 and admittedly said was lucky to have survived. She attended Mary Washington and UVA and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She met husband Nat Howell at a conference and that would start them on an adventure neither expected. Nathaniel Howell would start a career with the Foreign Service that would eventually lead to a call from President Reagan to be the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait from 1987- 1991. Nat was the ambassador during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. During Nat’s twenty-six year foreign service career, Margie raised their two boys Chip and Edward, completed a masters degree and was a college professor. Paul said at the end that Margie had lived a fascinating life! They finished by talking about her family and how she is working on establishing an endowment in Nat’s name at the University of Virginia where he taught for 22+ years.
Rob Owens has known the occasional cohost Kevin Flippen for 30 years and also knows Paul from working together. Rob and Kevin met playing pick up basketball and now share a passion for the game of golf. Rob grew up in northern Virginia and played the three major sports. They discussed the positions he played in high school and how he almost tried out for the Hampton University basketball team. They talked about his dad who was a 20+ year veteran of the DC Metro Police Department and Rob’s love for travel. Rob also took voice classes and dabbled with the idea of using his voice to make a living. He described his love of jazz and told us how he met his wife, Darlene. They ended by Rob apologizing to Paul for an incident at the original wiffle golf tournament.
Skyler Allen joins the podcast via a connection with Kenny Wingle (Episode 79). Skyler grew up in Hanover County and said his Mom’s side of the family has deep roots in Hanover. He played lots of sports growing up, but he knew at an early age that football was his passion, his best sport and that he wanted to play in college. He went to Atlee his freshman year and then went to Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA) where he started for three years and earned multiple all state honors on both sides of the line. Paul and Skyler talked about his overall experience at FUMA especially one that he was afforded as an officer his senior year. They discussed where he wanted to play college football, why it didn’t work out and how he ended up playing at Ohio University. Despite a fluke injury he suffered while he was playing in the Independence Bowl, he became a priority free agent for the NFL’s Detroit Lions. After that, tryouts in the NFL, CFL and even a call from Italy, he was at peace with his football career coming to an end. They also talked about his favorite NFL team and his new obsession … golf. They finished by talking about Skyler’s wife, Abby, and their children, Cooper and Peyton.
George and James Monroe
Paul and Kevin welcome back George Monroe to the podcast. George (Episode 170) joined the first time to tell his story and returns to tell the story of his family history. Paul started with a question of when George started to understand and question his family’s history. George said he was young, but that the subject was not discussed very often amongst the adults. Over time, George has become the griot for his family and he will probably pass that on to one of his kids who has the same curiosity and interest as his dad. George, Paul and Kevin discussed interviews, articles and speeches that George has been a part of as well as what he hopes to accomplish in the next six to twelve months. They also talked about some modern day topics and they wrapped up with Paul inviting George back and George thanking Paul and Kevin for the platform to tell his family’s story.
Tim Lilly is a veteran, has a strong faith, loves his family and is in the first phase of retirement. Tim grew up in rural southern West Virginia and then moved to the Huntington area for junior high and high school. He had a great and adventurous time as a kid leaving the house in the morning and coming home when it got dark. Tim told Paul that he decided to walk into a recruiters office one day. That started a 20+ year military career with ten in the United States Navy (followed in his dad’s footsteps) and twelve in the Army National Guard where he and Paul met. They chatted about serving together and about their mutual respect for each other. Tim told Paul about a couple other jobs he had after retiring from the military and how he just retired in December of 2022. Tim finished by telling Paul about his wife Cindy, their two sons Craig and Scott, their great wives and he and Cindy’s grandkids.
This is Al Lester’s second time on the podcast. He was on Episode #32 with his friend and the Occasional Co-Host, Kevin Flippen. Al was born in Miami and grew up in a military household in Georgia. He had a unique experience through 8th grade while living on the base and then his family moved into town when his dad left the military. Al was a stand out athlete in all three sports, but football became his focus and colleges were recruiting him quickly after his junior season was complete. He decided to attend the Virginia Military Institute and he discussed his experiences at VMI. He told Paul and Kevin about his football career there as well as how he was treated as a “Rat” while being an athlete. The three went on to discuss his advice that he gives to his athletic daughters, the upcoming NFL playoffs and they finished by talking about his family. He’s been married to his wife Melanie for twenty years and they have two daughters, Ava and Maddie.
U.S. Marine, Author, FBI Agent, Podcaster and Father … a few of the roles Robin Dreeke has had in his life. Robin grew up as an only child in Carmel, NY. He told Paul that it was a home with low economic status and some addiction, but one that had a lot of love. Robin said he became self-reliant when he started working the summer before middle school. He had fun growing up and told Paul that he enjoyed the “adventure of it”. He discussed never thinking of himself as a victim and how he believes in the dichotomy of life. After high school, he attended a year of prep for the U.S. Naval Academy and then he went to the USNA. Robin then went in to the United States Marine Corps and he and Paul talked about how to become a better leader. After the USMC, Robin became an FBI Agent and was in NY when 9/11 occurred. They discussed podcasting as well as his three books, what he’s working on now and how being a father has been his biggest influence. Robin finished by talking about his wife of 30 years, his son who is a U.S. Marine and his daughter who is a nurse.
Matt Green has done a little bit of walking in his life … Matt Green grew up just outside Ashland, VA and had fun growing up exploring, collecting baseball cards, putting lego sets together and playing wiffle ball. After graduating high school, Matt attended the University of Virginia and earned an engineering degree. Matt worked in northern Virginia and then moved to New York. Matt enjoyed walking and around 2008, he started thinking about walking a little further … across the United States! A couple of years later, Matt quit his job and did just that by starting in Rockaway Beach, NY and finishing in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Matt has continued walking by covering approximately 98% of New York, New York and when he moved back to Virginia during the pandemic, he walked all of Ashland. Paul and Matt discussed some of the lessons he’s learned from walking, how he feels fortunate and lucky and that he has no regrets over the last thirteen years since he started this journey.
Erik Kleinsmith is a former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer and private contractor who has testified in front of Congress. Erik knows Pete A. Turner (Episode 185) and he and Paul started by talking about his career in the United States Army and serving overseas. Erik grew up in Plymouth, Michigan and said it was an idyllic setting for him and his two brothers to grow up in. He told Paul about his mom and dad and especially talked about how involved his Dad was and how they lost him way too early. Erik spoke about what his dad built in their backyard that attracted so many neighborhood kids for so long, his Mom would sometimes have to ask them to leave! Paul and Erik discussed his career in the private intelligence arena and how it led to him testifying in front of the U.S. Congress. They talked about 9/11 and how if certain intelligence hadn’t been quashed, it could have made a possible difference. Paul asked Erik about his involvement with Case Breakers and Erik told Paul how they work on and solve some of the most famous cold cases ever.
Guy Crittenden is a nationally known artist and professional photographer who lives in Richmond, Virginia. Guy grew up in Gloucester, VA on the Ware River. Growing up, the Ware River was the playground for Guy, his family and his friends. Guy said his grandfather was part of the folklore of Gloucester and taught him everything he ever learned about hunting and fishing. When Guy wasn’t in the outdoors, he was playing sports and he excelled at football. This led to Guy playing football at William & Mary for legendary coach Jimmy Laycock. Guy also knew at a young age that he had a passion for art and that he was good at it as well. After W&M, he attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and then worked in advertising until he opened his own business in 1994. Guy has since become a commissioned and award winning artist and relies a great deal on his life experiences for his artistic inspiration. Guy said he is a “Sportsman who chose to paint”. Guy finished by talking about his wife Melanie, their three daughters and being a grandfather.
Former NFL player and Washington Commanders Ring of Fame member, Ken Harvey, joins the podcast. Ken Harvey comes to the podcast via a connection with Jock Jones (Episodes 148 & 175) because they played in the NFL together. Paul started off by talking to Ken about his book, Stepping Stones, and growing up in Texas. Ken talked candidly about dropping out of high school, going back and then moving on to college. He had a very successful senior year in college and was drafted 12th in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He discussed his football path and how faith, finding his focus and motivation and hard work all played a part in his journey. Ken also told Paul about teammates that helped him along the way and how one of them, Terry Crews, became a good friend and the illustrator for one of Ken’s children’s books. They finished by talking about his wife and their sons.
Rob Dull (aka Silent Rob)
Rob Dull, aka “Silent Rob” & “the Scribe” is on the other side of the microphone for an entire episode. Rob usually helps Paul with the Stories podcast, but he is the one getting interviewed by Paul and Kevin this time. Rob talked about living where Henry Clay was born and then moving to and growing up in Ashland. Paul and Rob talked about the guys they grew up with, some of the games and sports they played and they told Kevin what midnight football was. Rob talked about going to Collegiate and working at Kings Dominion during high school and college. They discussed his various jobs including a couple of stories from his time with the U.S. Park Police. The three of them talked about playing basketball for the Rampage and Rob talked about his parents and his parents-in-law and how lucky he was to have them all in his life. They finished with Rob talking about his wife Chris and their three kids, Jack, Riley and Julia.
Greg Burton comes to the podcast via a connection with Ross Luck (Episode #172). Greg grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and said his life was pretty much within eight blocks of his house. He walked to school & church, played little league, visited his grandparents and went to see his dad at work in those eight blocks. Greg played sports in high school, but knew he had a passion for and wanted to cover sports for a living. He chose to go to the University of Delaware and it was a great decision because he got immediate opportunities and exposure in his course of study. After graduating, the job hunt started and Greg first started working back home in Delaware. After about a year, he got hired by a television station in Idaho. He jumped at the opportunity and had an amazing time because of the job and the life experiences that Idaho gave him. In 1998, he decided to leave Idaho and took a job at CBS Channel 6 in Richmond. In Richmond, he worked for Channel 6, had his own sports talk radio show and in 2011, he started as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Center for Sport Leadership program. He is now a full-time graduate level professor at VCU at the Center for Sport Leadership, which is a top 10 program in the country. We finished the podcast with Greg talking about his son Trevor who is ten years old.
Sue Watson, a Center of the Universe icon, joins the podcast to talk to Paul and Rob. Sue was born and grew up in Wilson, N.C and has great memories of her childhood and family, especially going on horse rides with her Dad. Sue started dancing when she was three years old and her love for dance and all things theatrical has continued through out her life. After high school, Sue attended Duke University and never missed a basketball game. After Duke, she moved away from NC for a year, but then went to rival University of North Carolina for her masters degree. This would turn out to be a life changing decision because while taking her last class for her degree, she met Ritchie Watson. Ritchie courted Sue (some of it long distance) and they were married on June 21, 1969. Ritchie got a job at Randolph-Macon College and they moved to Ashland in 1970. Sue talked about their first house and train experience as well as how they ended up in their current house where they’ve been since 1974. They also discussed the Ashland Variety Show, Ashland’s Untold Stories, her time on the Hanover School Board (first woman and longest serving member ever) and her family’s trips to Topsail Beach. They talked about her and Ritchie’s daughters, Susan and Jane Forbes, and their families, which includes five wonderful grandchildren.
Pete A Turner
Pete A. Turner joins Paul via a connection with Jeff Bloch, aka Speedy Cop (Episode 173). Pete is from and lives in California. He told Paul about his adoptive dad growing up as well as just finding his biological father which has led him to having a whole new family. Pete talked about his interest in a musical instrument he got while growing up and his time in high school. After going to college, Pete tried to get a job in radio and television and he just couldn’t get hired. At 24 years of age, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was in Counter Intelligence, essentially a spy for the U.S. Army. Pete and Paul discussed his career in the military as well as his time as a U.S. Government contractor and federal employee. Pete also hosts a podcast (Break It Down Show) and has had some great guests join him. They finished by discussing how he got started and when Paul asked him about some of his favorite episodes, he had a great response.
Audra Becker and Paul used to work together and she admitted that for a while, she was 50/50 on doing the podcast and telling her story. She joins us from Arizona where she was born and raised though she has a lot of family in Pittsburgh. She and Paul discussed how she never knew about daylight savings time until she moved to the Midwest for a while and she also told him what it was like growing up in Arizona. When she was younger, she participated in synchronized swimming and she told Paul about the interesting concoction they put in their hair for performances. They talked about high school and how she and her siblings were encouraged to go to college. She attended Arizona State University and talked about her early ideas of the businesses she wanted to start. Paul asked her why people visit or want to live in Arizona and she had a long list of reasons. In 2020, Audra was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Audra told Paul her story from how she discovered it, to her primary doctor’s misdiagnoses and getting the call that confirmed her worst fear. She continued by telling Paul about all that she has learned, her treatments and her incredible support system. They finished by talking about her husband Chad and their son Easton. She stated that she would not have made it through the last two years with out Chad.
Stacie Straus and Acie Wyatt
Stacie Straus and Acie Wyatt are the first twins to be on the podcast. They are from Ashland and Stacie is still in the area. Acie lives in Charlotte, NC. Paul asked a couple of questions about being twins and then they discussed what sports they each played when they were kids. They then talked about playing sports at Patrick Henry High School (PHHS). Stacie played softball & volleyball and Acie played soccer and football. They talked to Paul about their fondest memories of growing up in Ashland and of playing sports at PHHS. They also discussed how their Mom got them involved in other activities such as music, scouts and church. Acie and Stacie both went to Hampton University where Stacie played softball and Acie played football. Paul asked them about how they ended up at Hampton and also if they knew what they wanted to do after school. They finished by talking about their jobs and their families.
Nikhil Brahmbhatt and Paul know each other from working at the same company in the past and they talked about how they first met. Nikhil was born in Kalol, India and grew up in Ahmedabad and was the youngest of four children. Nikhil was a very good student and told Paul about a special skill that helped him a lot in school. While in school, he played cricket, attended cultural activities where he honed his dancing ability. Paul and Nikhil talked about cricket … the rules, the game, famous cricket players and the Cricket World Championships which started in 1975. Nikhil attended an engineering university in India and then went on to get his MBA as well as a CFA certification. Then in 1998, he moved to the United States and has lived in Georgia, Florida and now Virginia. Nikhil told Paul about attending college in the U.S. and some jobs he has had while here. They also discussed the caste system of India and finished by talking about Nikihl’s wife, Sejal and their son, Yug.
Zach Gilman Turns 21
This episode is a celebration of Paul’s son Zach turning 21! Paul, his wife Lisa and their daughters, Lindsay and Melissa went to Blacksburg, Va. to visit Zach on his birthday weekend. Paul, Lisa and Zach started chatting and had lots of laughs about early and favorite memories from the time he was a toddler until his high school years. Lisa spoke about how being pregnant with Zach was pretty easy until the last 24 hours when he had a couple of surprises in store for his parents. Zach talked about his two younger sisters (Lindsay and Melissa) and he talked about his four grandparents. They next talked about his college journey from applying, to where he was accepted and how he ended up at Virginia Tech. Paul asked Zach what the plan after college was and Zach said the main thing was getting a J-O-B. He also put his parents on alert about a possible scenario that may happen in the next 6-7 years. Melissa joined the conversation and had a great story about her, Lindsay and Zach when they were on a family vacation. That reminded Zach of one other story that involved a vacation and a coconut, but he deferred to his Dad to tell the story. They ended the episode by wishing Zach a Happy Birthday!
Mac’s Service Center - Mac McManus
Downtown Ashland Association Series … Mac McManus was born in Fredericksburg, raised in Woodbridge and later moved south to the greater Richmond area for work. His parents knew at an early age that he was good at tinkering with and fixing things. He had a job with Chevrolet during and after high school and was fortunate to be sent to to the GM Training Center at age 16. By age 17 he achieved his GM certification (Automotive Service Excellence). After time with Chevrolet and a brief stint with Ford, he now has Mac’s Service Center in Ashland. Mac told Paul how he found his way to Ashland and how they have a second location in Zion Crossroads. Mac stressed the keys to their success including a warranty that is unheard of in the industry. They discussed the effects of the pandemic on the business, why Mac loves Ashland and what is in store for the next 5-10 years.
William Perkins Flippen joins the podcast via William Kevin Flippen, the occasional co-host and his son. William was born in Buckingham County, but grew up in Richmond, Virginia. William was #8 out of thirteen kids and their first house in Richmond only had an outside bathroom. William said being a kid in Richmond was fun as they had a lot of open areas to play in and he used that to hone his skills at the game of Marbles. William started working at twelve and he talked to Paul and Kevin about some of the jobs he had as kid and an adult. He also talked about how he met his wife Nettie and about his first meeting with her family. He talked frankly about losing a child and then joyfully about he and Nettie adopting their daughter Denise first in 1968 and then Kevin in 1969. He talked about how much he loved his three grandsons … the three B’s … Brody, Briggs and Beau. Kevin asked his Dad what he would tell their kids and he offered some sage advice. He finished by saying “The good Lord has blessed me all my life” and he told one last story from his childhood.
MH Studios - Michelle Hollender
Michelle Hollander joins the podcast as part of the Downtown Ashland Association Series. Michelle is from Ashland and she and Paul reminisced about sledding on Goddin’s Hill when they were kids in different decades. Michelle decided to be an artist/muralist when she was 34 years old. They discussed her path leading up to that time and what movie she was watching with her kids that inspired her to make a change. She talked to Paul about her first job and also a few examples of projects she has completed since she started her business. Michelle said she likes to do her work in Ashland and Hanover because she likes to work where she lives - she is proud of where she lives. Michelle can be found on instagram (michelle.hollender) or through her website @ michellehollender.com.
Dave Klisz met Silent Rob about twenty-five years ago and joins Paul and Rob on the podcast. Dave was born in California, but moved around quite a bit early on due to his dad’s job with General Electric. They settled in Virginia and Dave grew up in nearby Chesterfield and did BMX, skateboarding and played a lot of soccer growing up. Dave played travel soccer and his senior year in high school, he was captain for the soccer team as well as the place kicker for the football team at Manchester HS. Dave went to James Madison and told Paul why it was the best four years and two summers of his life. Dave majored in Sociology, minored in Criminal Justice and had an internship that would be a foreshadowing to what he would do the last ten years of his career. Dave’s career was in law enforcement and he talked to Paul about where he worked and he also had a couple stories to tell. Paul then asked Dave why would anyone want to run more than 2-3 miles? Dave is a long distance runner .. and we mean long distance! Dave has run 38 marathons, some of them being ultra marathons. They finished by talking about Dave’s own podcast and about his wife Monica and daughter Lucy.
Red Vein Escape - Kitty Barnes
Red Vein is the latest addition to the Downtown Ashland Association Series on the podcast. Kitty Barnes is a co-owner of Red Vein and moved to the Richmond area from Maryland about sixteen years ago. She discussed Dark Immersive Art as well how they got the business started. She talked about all the things that the Red Vein Army does .. the Escape Room, the Haunted House (at the Hanover Vegetable Farm) and the Ashland Haunted History Tours. She told Paul what day to day business is like and how October is definitely their busiest month. They finished by talking about her favorite scare, what the future holds for Red Vein and how to find them on social media.
Donnie Morris and Jock Jones
On this episode, we have two repeat guests who are here together, know each other well, but haven’t seen each other in about twenty years. Donnie Morris (Episode #138) and Jock Jones (Episode #148) played football at Patrick Henry and Lee-Davis (now Mechanicsville) High Schools respectively and at the same time. They played against each other and their senior year they were the two best players in the state of Virginia. They reminisced about the rivalry between their two schools in all sports as well as the infamous Tomato Bowl match ups. Kevin had a list of rapid fire questions that he posed to both gentlemen and Paul added a couple as well. Kevin even had an epiphany about when he played youth football during the episode! Jock and Donnie gave some advice to kids playing today, talked about the NFL and what changes they would make to football as it is played today. They finished by exchanging cell phone numbers and agreed to see each other soon.
Your Path Counseling Center - Eddie Martinez-Cunion
Eddie Martinez-Cunion joins the podcast via the Ashland Downtown Association to talk about her business, Your Path Counseling Center. Eddie says she is a military brat, but she calls Maryland home. As a youngster, she was an avid reader and that has continued into adulthood. Eddie worked as a counselor and then decided to start her own business. She told Paul why she picked Ashland and they discussed her business’ objectives, the types of therapy used and how treatment goals vary from person to person. She encouraged people to reach out to her or any of the many resources that are available including the new nationwide 988 line. They finished by talking about her family, what will make her happy when she retires and the train effect in the Center of the Universe.
Jeff Bloch, aka SpeedyCop, comes to the podcast via a connection with John Watts (Episode #50). Jeff grew up in New Jersey and New York and was the 2nd of nine kids. Jeff and his family did a mission trip to China when he was a teenager and they did some interesting smuggling while they were there. As Paul and Jeff were talking, Jeff relayed that he knew two things early in life - he was going to be in law enforcement and he loved cars. Jeff is nearing the end of a long career with the United States Park Police. He relayed a bit about the agency’s history, some interesting stories from his career and some of the famous people he has met over the years. Jeff is SpeedyCop (speedycop.com) and when he’s not working, he dreams up, builds, shows off and races his vehicle creations. Jeff is about to retire from the USPP and he told Paul that he will have a unique way of getting to work as he does SpeedyCop full time. They finished by talking about Jeff’s siblings, parents and his wife Jamie whom he called the love of his life and his rock.
Paul, Rob and Ross Luck have been friends since childhood. Ross grew up just outside the Ashland limits and growing up, he spent time going to Kings Dominion (later worked there) and the Hanover Country Club. He told Paul and Rob about playing a lot of sports growing up including a story about a little league baseball match up versus Paul. Ross said he had a couple hobbies growing up one which was a game he played with Rob when they were 10-11 years old. Ross played basketball and football in high school at Patrick Henry and he and Paul talked about some of his teammates. Ross attended the University of Richmond and told the stories of some of the great Spider basketball upsets as well a story or two about being in a fraternity at UofR. Ross majored in Business and after he and his dad Jack (Episode 139) talked, Ross joined the family business at Luck Motor Company in Ashland and has been there thirty-two plus years. We finished the podcast with Ross telling us about his family and we discussed playing 35+ Rec Basketball together and all the unique nicknames we had on the team.
Kevin Mills, Part 2
Kevin Mills is back for Part 2. Paul and Kevin finished the story about Kevin being diagnosed with a tumor. Kevin went into detail about finding out about the tumor, the surgery and the first thing he said when he woke up. They talked about him going to college at VCU, what he majored in, sitting for the LSAT, but having a change of heart about what he wanted to do for a career. He is twenty-three (23) years into his career as a Richmond City Police Officer. He has been in patrol, special drug and gun units and has been a detective and K-9 handler. Kevin talked to Paul about many of these assignments and how overall, he has enjoyed his career. He told Paul a few stories including one where a guy, who was much larger than Kevin, tried to take his weapon. They talked about what is was like having a dog for a partner and Kevin’s narcotics dog, Sarik. They finished by discussing his fondest memories so far as an law enforcement officer, what his plans are after retirement and his family, especially his kids Peyton and Erin.
George Monroe knows Paul and Kevin from when they worked at the Bakery. George lives in Hanover, but grew up in Albemarle and Charlottesville. While in Albemarle, he grew up on a farm where he said he learned the value of hard work. He then moved to Charlottesville and later went to Charlottesville High School where he played football and ran Track. He also told a funny story about how he almost played Lacrosse. He went to Lynchburg College to run Track and he discussed that things were going well until an incident occurred and he ended up leaving Lynchburg. George then went into the United States Marine Corps and after that, he came home to Charlottesville. He later moved to Richmond where he attended Virginia Union and received some help from a legendary coach at VUU. Through the next couple of years, he got his degree, became a single dad and got the job at the Bakery. They finished by talking about some history that George has done research into as well as him coming back to discuss his genealogy which he has traced back to the late 1700’s.
The Boogie Woogie Man
Jimmy “The Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant joins Paul and Kevin on the podcast and he started off with a bang! Jimmy was born in Tullahoma, TN and just turned 80 years old a couple of weeks ago. Before he could remember, his family moved to Hammond, IN where his father took a job as a millwright at a Ford plant. Jimmy’s career in professional wrestling has taken him all over, but he has called Virginia home for the last thirty-one years. Jimmy played baseball and football growing up, but also started lifting weights and spending a lot of time in health clubs/gyms. Jimmy talked with Paul and Kevin about his training, mentors, jobs, raising a family and his wrestling bouts over the years. Jimmy discussed how he re-invented himself throughout his career and how he was the first to come out for a match to music. Jimmy talked about his wife Angel, how they met and their blended family. He finished by inviting all SFCOTU listeners to come meet him at Boogie’s Wresting Camp and Hall of Fame in Shawsville, VA any Sunday at noon.
Dani Derricott is from Ashland, went to Patrick Henry and told Paul and Kevin the story about “the trail” as an alternate way to get to school. As a younger kid, Dani talked about how they played all day and he was always playing sports against the older kids which made him tougher and better at the same time. He had a major change in his life at 10 years old and was playing basketball and football. He later had to make a choice and he decided to focus on football. The 1994 Patrick Henry football team is still the only state football champion from Hanover County and Dani was instrumental as the QB and as a DB for that team. Several big schools were interested in Dani, but Dani didn’t have the grades. After a year in the Fork Union Post Grad school, Dani went to Marshall University where he was a standout player and was inducted into the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. He played with (and against in practice) one of the greatest NFL receivers of all time at Marshall. Dani had a very successful six year career in the Canadien Football League and was on two Grey Cup (championship) teams. Dani finished by saying how grateful he was for everything in his life and talked about his future plans and his children.
Kevin Mills, Part 1
Kevin Mills and Paul know each other from their time in the National Guard together. Kevin grew up in Ashland (Paul did know his older brother) and he told Paul he did all the normal running around a kid would do, but also mixed in a lot of motorcycle riding. Kevin’s dad was former military and his brother was in the military when he graduated high school. Kevin decided he would do the same and he and Paul talked about his unique recruitment process, what he wanted to do and what he ended up doing. After his active duty time came to an end, he went to college and joined the National Guard. He had to leave the Guard due to a medical diagnosis - a brain tumor. Kevin ended Part 1 by telling Paul the type of doctor (not what you would expect) that discovered the tumor and the story of the diagnosis and the treatment.
Tony Tran comes to the podcast through Mike DiMaggio who he went to school with and Paul knows Mike via a family connection. Tony and Paul talked about many things, but started with an amazing survival story for Tony and his family. Tony is from Vietnam and he and his family had to escape during the fall of Saigon. They discussed the memories he had before they left and the amazing journey they went on to get to the United States. Tony gave deep reverence to his parents and the way he and his siblings were raised. He told Paul about the culture change of coming to the USA and about growing up in the Chicago suburbs. Tony went to the University of Illinois and he and Paul talked about jobs he had and his career in software engineering. Tony dropped a couple of his keys to success during this part of their conversation. He told Paul what he has done and what he enjoys doing in his retirement which includes spending time in Barcelona, Spain. The way Tony talked about Barcelona, Paul declared that a visit there is now on his bucket list!
Buck Sessoms, Part 2
In Part 2 of the podcast with Buck Sessoms, Paul and and Buck talked about his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Buck told Paul the differences between deployments and some of the stories of what he and his fellow troops did while overseas. Buck then discussed one of his next assignments which was becoming a pilot for HMX-1. This is better known to most as being a pilot for the President of the United States and flying one of the “Marine One” helicopters. They talked about the rest of his time in the USMC, the subject of PTSD, what he would now tell his sixteen year old self and what he is currently doing for work. They finished by talking about some of his favorite SFCOTU podcasts, golf and his wife, Jackie and their daughter, Amanda.
Buck Sessoms, Part 1
Buck Sessoms and Paul graduated from St. Christopher’s together and share a common bond in that they both served in the United States Military. In Part 1 of this podcast, Buck tells Paul how he got his name and they talked about his fondest memories of St. Christopher’s. They talked about him attending VMI, the brutal first year as a “rat” and how he lacked motivation and was on some form of probation most of his first two and a half years there. Buck said he found the motivation and new levels of desire and maturity in his last two years at VMI and mentioned that his education at St. Chris was a key to his latter college success. Buck joined the United States Marine Corps in 1992 and they discussed his USMC career and how he first served as an enlisted Infantryman and later became a helicopter pilot and an officer. Part 2 will be released Thursday.
Dr. David Jones
Dr. David Jones and Paul haven’t talked in quite some time, but they went to St. Christopher’s together and graduated in 1987. David, who Paul said is one of the nicest guys he has known, grew up on the north side of Richmond and later in the Midlothian area. David, who is one of six siblings, played tennis at St. Christopher’s and was a captain his senior year. David knew early on that he wanted to be a doctor. His dad and other family members were doctors and he and two of his siblings became doctors. Paul and David talked about his schooling which included being a “Cameron Crazy” at Duke during his undergrad years. They discussed how his residency was great, but was also a culture shock. They finished by talking about how David ended up in Atlanta, what has kept him there and his husband, Michael.
Cherud Wilkerson comes to the podcast courtesy of knowing occasional co-host Kevin. Cherud is from Long Island and he grew up going to different schools. He played football and wrestled in high school and even played against a famous Bengal QB. Football was his main sport and it got him looks from various colleges and he ended up playing at Va State. Cherud was in US Navy for eleven years. He started as enlisted and left as an officer. Cherud then told Paul and Kevin about his Covid-19 story. At the very beginning of Covid-19, Cherud got sick and he went to the hospital, back home and then back to hospital. He was in the hospital for twenty-one days. He said his good physical shape, mental fortitude and faith in God is what got him through. Cherud beat Covid-19 and that earned him a nickname from the hospital staff. They discussed how his battle with Covid-19 has changed him and they finished by talking about his family.
Rob Stiles, possibly the first guest with three first names, joins Paul and Silent (?) Rob on the podcast. Paul and the two Rob’s all grew up in Ashland and have known each other since they were kids. Rob lived a couple places in town, but spent most of his time on Caroline St. near the Randolph-Macon campus which became his “playground” growing up. Paul and Rob first talked about his dad. Rob described his dad as a great man, a simple man, a local fixture around town (especially as a runner) and one who taught Rob and his sisters the Golden Rule. They talked about his friends growing up and how they still keep in touch. They discussed sports at different times from the state of recreation sports to professional sports. Rob attended Hanover Academy and then attended Liberty Middle and Patrick Henry HS. After attending Hanover Academy, Rob and Paul discussed the culture shock of Liberty and going to public school. They talked about Rob’s college journey and his career. They finished by talking about Rob’s wife Sharon and their sons George and Ethan and Rob added the “how we met” story for him and Sharon.
Edouard “Edy” Asmar works with Paul and this episode took two tries due to a bad storm which cut out communications the first time they tried to chat. Edy was born in Washington, DC and says he is “a DC guy through and through”. He has a great deal of exposure to different cultures mostly due to travel opportunities because of his mom’s work. He lived in Ecuador for the first 3-4 years of his life and continued to travel with her throughout his childhood. He and Paul discussed his favorite place he visited as well as his favorite thing to visit in certain countries. They discussed Edy’s view on academics, his likes and dislikes and how some kids didn’t like the fact that he didn’t study for standardized tests - which he did extremely well on. He only applied to Stanford and Cambridge for college. He ended up attending Stanford, but told an interesting story about the application process at Cambridge. They finished by talking about his mom and dad and his girlfriend, JJ.
Magnus Nordenman joins the podcast courtesy of former guest, John Watts (Episode #50). Magnus is from Sweden and lived there until he was 18 when he came to the United States to go to The Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. He told Paul about previous visits to Virginia, but it was a different and very unique reason that led him to VMI. They talked about his experience at VMI and how it is a grind more than a sprint. They also discussed what he studied and after a short stint doing humanitarian work, how he ended up in another Lexington (University of Kentucky) to get his masters. Magnus is an author and he and Paul talked about his book which Magnus knows quite a bit about due to his dad’s profession. They also discussed the current war between Ukraine and Russia and then finished by talking about Magnus’ family (wife Rita, daughter Kate and son Bengt) and Star Wars.
Dave Tribble knows Paul’s dad Larry (Ep. #9) and he joins Paul on the podcast. Dave is from the Richmond area and after his U.S. Army service was completed, he and his wife settled in Hanover, Virginia. Dave talked about growing up, a long list of jobs he held as a young man and a car accident that changed his life. Dave is a United States Army Veteran and he and Paul talked extensively about his time in Vietnam. Dave came home in 1970 and had a hard time finding and keeping a job. His father-in-law got him an apprentice position in the electrical field and that led to a lifelong career with Dave eventually owning his own company. Paul and Dave talked about his likes and dislikes of running a company, why he likes central Virginia and he also told Paul about a “lawyer” joke that he told Larry a while back. They finished by talking about his family and his favorite hobby. Dave’s wife is Betty and they have three sons (Kevin, Dave Jr. and Cory) and he and Betty have nine grandchildren. He and Paul then talked about golf … how much he loves it, some good stories and the life lessons it teaches you. This episode was recorded not too long after Memorial Day. In memory and deep appreciation of Dave's friends lost too soon and for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
David Chappell knows Paul’s parents Brenda (Ep. #46) and Larry (Ep. #9) and he joins Paul for this episode. David moved around a bit due to his Dad’s job as a Methodist minister, but his family settled in Ashland and that is where he grew up. David told Paul that he was just an okay student and about a series of events that changed his attitude towards school … which in turn changed his life. After graduating Patrick Henry HS, David said he couldn’t get in to any colleges and said it was only because of his dad’s new job as a professor at Randolph-Macon that he got in there. Between doing very well at RMC and a job with one of Hanover’s most famous people, David decided to go to law school and become a lawyer. He is currently an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney and they discussed the path that has him prosecuting rather than defending people who are charged with crimes. David spent some time talking about the effect that Covid-19 has had on his life and his continuing battle with the virus. He also told Paul about his early love for professional wrestling and how that has led to a life long passion for the sport. That passion has seen him and business partner develop a website that has led to the two of them getting a very unique accolade for what David refers to as a “labor of love.”
National Champion and National Player of the Year Buzz Anthony joins Paul on the podcast. Paul first told Buzz a story about when he attended the NCAA Elite 8 game this year and Buzz in turn told Paul what his given name is and why he is called Buzz. Buzz is from Annapolis, Md., his parents (Belinda and Don - they have other names as well) were both athletes and his two main sports growing up were soccer and basketball. Paul gave Buzz some choices and asked him which was his favorite thing to do on the basketball court. Buzz answered and then spoke about the way he always trained for the next level, his respect for the game and what his purpose is every time he steps on the court. The discussed Buzz’s recruitment process and the reasons he chose RMC. One of the main reasons was Coach Josh Merkel (Episode 154.) They talked about Buzz’s RMC career as a player, a leader and how he holds a distinction that has never been accomplished in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Buzz reminisced about the 2022 ODAC and National Championships and he told Paul where his future may lead him. They finished by talking about his wife Becca, their journey and an upcoming milestone for the both of them.
Josh Merkel is the head coach of the Men’s RMC Basketball team who are the current Division III National Champions. We connected with Josh through Pedro Arruza (Episode 99) and he joins us to talk about his journey and RMC basketball. Josh is from Walkersville, MD, is the oldest of nine kids and he grew up on a farm. He spoke about his mom and dad and learning about having a passion for life from his mom and hard work from his dad. Josh knew at about age 15 that he wanted to coach basketball. He played college basketball at D3 Salisbury and told Paul how many NCAA tournaments he made as a player and as a coach. Josh and Paul discussed where he coached, who he learned from and some of his fondest memories from high school through being a head coach today. Josh talked a lot about this year‘s RMC basketball team. He spoke about national player of the year, Buzz Anthony, and their relationship. He also told Paul how he has the best forward in D3 in Miles Mallory and about some of the other impact players that brought home RMC‘s first ever national championship. Josh talked about the Randolph Macon community, the town of Ashland and his family. He shared how awesome his wife Morgan is and how they have found a rhythm managing careers and their three young sons. He finished by telling a great story about his oldest son Mason and how Mason did a little coaching at the ODAC tournament one year.
Ellen Zavian joins the podcast because she knows and works with Andrew Ting (Episode 40). Ellen is from Maywood, NJ and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. Ellen went to the University of Maryland and then to American University where she earned her law degree. She was friends with several UMD football players and interned at the NFL Player’s Association while studying at American. She had intended on a career in International Law, but ended up in Sports Law and was the first female attorney/agent in the NFL. She represented many NFL players including a Super Bowl MVP. She has also represented many other professional athletes and was on a committee to get break dancing in the 2024 Olympics. She currently teaches various classes in the Business and Law schools at George Washington University. They finished by talking about how her family has a business in New York and about her husband and son.
Paul has Matt Williams on this episode due to a connection Matt has with Boomer Muth (Episode 77). Matt and Boomer are in a band together (Acoustic Underground) and Paul and Matt talked about music and Matt being a bass guitarist. Matt was born in Delaware and grew up in Wilmington and Cincinnati, Ohio. He played baseball growing up, was a baseball fan and he got to attend many Phillies and Reds games in his youth. He made his way to Virginia when he attended the College of William and Mary. After college, Matt got a job in advertising in Philadelphia. After a couple of years, he moved down to Richmond and took a job with The Martin Agency. He discussed his journey at Martin which ended up with him being the CEO for his last five years of his tenure. He told the story of two very famous and successful advertising campaigns for one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. as well as the ups and downs of being the CEO of a company. Paul and Matt finished by talking about what he is doing now and about his wife Betsy and their two sons, Patrick and Ethan.
Chris Rutherford is a friend of occasional co-host Kevin and joins Paul and Kevin for this episode. Chris was born in Richmond, moved to Philadelphia with his mom when he was one and then came back to Richmond in 5th grade. Chris has fond memories of Philly because of sports, the snow, the community pool and mainly because of family. They discussed Chris’ favorite pro sports teams and there is one outlier that was a surprise. Chris’ time in Philly also was his introduction to music which has since played a huge and integral part in his life. He’s been singing in bands for 25+ years and he talked to Paul and Kevin about the process of writing songs. They discussed how he worked as a welder which included working on parts of nuclear subs and having a piece on display in Richmond. The three of them talked about Chris’ family, wife Ginger, daughters Lexi and Kaley and son Sammy. They finished by discussing Chris’ fondest memories of Kevin which included an unintentional insult and a couple of different times on the golf course.
Paul takes the podcast mobile for Episode 150 and interviewed Bobby Malone at the Rivah. Bobby grew up in Chesterfield and rode motorbikes and played sports growing up. He said he wasn’t big on school, but it allowed him to play sports and he explained why football was his favorite. Bobby also told Paul about a crazy injury he suffered playing baseball. After high school, Bobby had a successful career at Reynolds Metals and then decided to leave and go into real estate. Bobby has been coming to the Rivah for almost thirty years. He and Paul talked about the Rivah, why Bobby loves it so much and Bobby even told Paul a couple of examples of the interesting wildlife that he has seen over the years. They discussed crabbing, fishing and how Bobby gardens oysters … some of which Paul gets to eat! Bobby told Paul some of the secrets about crabbing and fishing on the Rappahannock and dropped a couple of life lessons during the episode as well. Finally, they talked about Bobby’s wife, Carolyn, and their blended family which includes seven grandchildren.
Andy Smith was Paul’s 8th grade English teacher and basketball coach. Andy grew up in the lower east side of Manhattan, but came south for his education at Johns Hopkins, UNC and VCU. He played soccer all four years at JHU and also played a less well known sport his first year. That move south eventually led him to settle in the Richmond area and start a forty-eight year career in education as a teacher, coach and administrator at St. Christopher’s. Paul and Andy talked about his approach to teaching as well as the concept of single sex education. Andy is about to retire and they discussed his future plans to continue and develop his dedication to being of service to his fellow man. He also said he’s got one purchase he is going to make that will help him fulfill a goal his parents got him started on over sixty years ago. They finished by talking about fond memories that Andy had of a student and peers as well as Andy dropping a pearl of wisdom for future teachers.
Jock Jones joins the podcast through a friendship with Tim Sutton (Episode #130). Jock is from Hanover County and is a well known athlete in Hanover from his days playing at Mechanicsville High School. Jock told Paul about a very rough beginning to his life and how he got his unique first name and why. Jock talked to Paul about growing up playing sports, riding his bike quite a ways to school and playing in the rural areas of Hanover. Jock remembers telling people he would play in the NFL as early as eight or nine years old. Jock was a star running back in high school and went on to play college at Virginia Tech where he played RB his first year and then converted to linebacker his last 3 years. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns and played for them and the Cardinals until an injury cut his career short. His second year at Cleveland, he told Paul who his head coach and defensive coordinator were. They are considered two of the best coaches of all time, one in the NFL and one in college. Paul and Jock finished up by talking about his family.
Colin Thompson is a professional football player and plays Tight End for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. He comes to the podcast via Mike DiMaggio who is a friend of Colin’s and a relative of Paul’s. Paul and Colin discussed playing football in college where he played for Florida one year and then finished @ Temple. Colin said the best thing that came from his time at Florida was his then girlfriend, now wife, Sydney. They then talked about everything NFL from his training regimen through out the year to why he loves the game. Colin talked about players in the NFL and they discussed his opinion on Tim Tebow in particular. Paul also asked Colin to tell the story of how he scored a touchdown against Paul’s favorite team the Buccaneers. They finished by talking about Sydney and the rest of Colin’s family and the interesting conversations they used to have around the dinner table when he was growing up.
COL(R) William Coffin
Bill Coffin and Paul served together in the Army National Guard. Bill is from Boston area and one of the first things they discussed was how big a fan Bill is of the Boston professional teams. They agreed that after some lean years, Bill and other Boston fans have had a great run the last twenty years! Bill and Paul talked about his Army journey which started when he enlisted right out of high school. He did very well on the ASVAB and that led to an unexpected and unique opportunity. From active duty, Bill went to the National Guard and he and Paul shared some stories of their time together which included an overseas deployment. They also discussed some of Bill’s fondest memories during his 30+ year career in the United States Army. He and Paul finished by talking about his wife Rebecca and his children Rachel and Billy.
Jeff Uerz comes to the podcast via Paul’s father-in-law Al Draper. Jeff is from upstate New York and grew up hunting, fishing and trapping. Jeff told Paul that this led him to having a particular type of transportation before he even had a car. He also told Paul about a particular skill that he and his high school classmates were required to have before they were allowed to graduate. Jeff knew pretty early that he wanted to work as a state Game Warden. He looked for jobs across the United States and Virginia was the first agency to call. Jeff worked for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for twenty-seven years, rose through the ranks and was appointed Chief of Law Enforcement at the very young age of thirty-five. Jeff was in that role for fifteen years, retired at age fifty and has been serving people in a different way ever since. Jeff, through his church, serves those in need of food, shelter and compassion and loves to cook for various church events. Jeff finished by taking about his family, wife Maureen and kids, Jennifer and Christopher.
Andre Buckner, a.k.a. Buck, is from and grew up in the historic Berkeley town area of Ashland, Virginia. Buck played all the sports growing up and he and Paul reminisced about playing Little League basketball together. They talked about their great coach who has been on the podcast as well (Episode 9). After high school, Buck enlisted and spent six years of active duty in the United States Navy. After he came back home, he spent another 4 1/2 years in the active reserve. Football became Buck’s main sport and Paul, Kevin and Buck discussed his football journey. This started when he played for the Ashland Vikings and culminated with tryouts with the Falcons, Panthers and the Jets. Buck has been a coach for 25 plus years and continues to pass on his football and basketball knowledge to this day. They finished by discussing what type of work Buck does and his family.
Matt Pulisic grew up in Long Island, NY and had a great time growing up in a small neighborhood playing all the sports. Matt’s father immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia (now Croatia) and met his mom at a dance in NY City. Family was a very important part of Matt’s life growing up - large family gatherings and lots of good food, mostly from his Italian mother’s side! Matt’s best sport was soccer and it brought him south to Randolph-Macon College where he had an interesting recruiting weekend trip. Paul and Matt talked about RMC from the culture change he experienced upon arriving to how he is still involved to this day. They also discussed Matt’s education, career choice and turning his career and passion into becoming an entrepreneur. They also talked about how Matt and brothers still maintain a unique connection to their dad’s place of birth. Matt finished by talking about his wife Jen and their four children, Thomas, Joe, William and Allison.
Matt Goff joins the podcast courtesy of Paul working with his sister. Matt is from northern Virginia and played all sports growing up and then mainly focused on football, wrestling and soccer in high school. He faced another podcast guest several times during their high school careers (hint - episode #133.) Matt went to JMU where he played football and majored in Sports Management. This led to internships with the NCAA, the Detroit Lions and jobs at American University, the U.S. Naval Academy and currently at Virginia Tech where he is a Major Gift Fund Raiser. Paul and Kevin talked to Matt about what a typical work week is like and what skills you need to do the job. They discussed Enter Sandman, why VT has an advantage over UVA in their football rivalry towards the end. Matt also gave some sage advice to young people about a lost skill that is needed for most of today’s jobs. They also discussed the effects that the transfer portal and the new name, image, likeness issue has had on the athletes and college sports. They ended with Matt talking about his wife Chelsea, kids Camden and Kinsley (+ one due in August) and why they love Blacksburg.
Robert Pratt was born in NY, but moved to Richmond at a very young age. Robert played all sports growing up and he particularly loved baseball as a kid. He even had a future Supreme Court Justice as his little league baseball coach one year. He went to St. Christopher’s for high school where he excelled in football and went on to play college football at UNC. Paul and Robert reminisced about St. Christopher’s and he told Paul what it was like to play college football in the early 1970’s. Robert was drafted in 1974 by the Baltimore Colts and played for the Colts from 1974-1981 and the Seattle Seahawks from 1982-1985. He played 170 NFL games (started 150). Robert is the owner of Sycamore Creek Golf Club and ended by telling Paul about his family. Robert is married to Jane and they have three kids (Beau, Liz and Caroline) and four grand children.
Luqman Jabber is a former college basketball player, coach and National Champion. Luqman played at Virginia State, but transferred to Virginia Union where he played for Hall of Fame coach Dave Robbins and won a national championship his senior year. He played professionally overseas, coached in the ABA and also returned to his alma mater to coach. Luqman now runs his own player development business. He talked to Paul about his basketball journey and where he went his junior year in high school to travel and play basketball. He talked about his Muslim faith and the famous person’s funeral that his grandfather organized and oversaw. Luqman also spoke to Paul about his wife Delores and their five kids.
Jack Luck is an Ashland icon and he joins Paul along with his oldest son, Ross. Jack talked about growing up on a farm in Ashland which is now part of the I-95 interchange. Jack told Paul about how he and his brother went to Randolph-Macon Academy and how he got a nickname that even Ross had never heard before. They discussed his time at Randolph-Macon College where he played football, was inducted in to the RMC Athletic Hall of Fame and his consistent support of the college. Ross talked about the family business, Luck Motor Company, as well as what it was like growing up with Jack as his dad. Jack also talked about his wife Shearer, their four kids and their seven grandchildren.
Paul and Rob have known Donnie Morris since the early 1980’s. Donnie is a former Virginia State Football Player of the Year and he tells Paul and Kevin about his football journey with some great stories along the way. Paul told a story about an encounter he had with Donnie on the middle school football field and will be the first to admit that Donnie won the day. The three of them talked about Donnie’s four daughters and the early influence his elders had on him, especially his grandmother. They discussed his love for music whether it involves playing, teaching, writing or being the Minister of Music at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Hanover. They finished by chatting about his family and the over 35 basketball league they all played in … a decade or more ago!
The Whistle Stop Theatre Company (Louise Keeton)
Louise Keeton joined us to talk about her non-profit, The Whistle Stop Theatre Company. Along with their educational goals, they also produce family entertainment by local artists of all genres. Check them out at [https://whistlestoptheatre.weebly.com](https://whistlestoptheatre.weebly.com) to learn more.
Marcus Williams joins the podcast mainly via Kevin, but Marcus, Paul and Kevin have all worked at the same RVA based company. Marcus’ parents were both born in Indiana, but he grew up in Glasgow, KY. His dad wanted a better place to raise his family and his dad was a benefactor of affirmative action and got a job in Glasgow. Marcus talked about his big brother being his best friend and their adventures growing up. Basketball and football were both important growing up. He was recruited for both sports and he decided to play football at Vanderbilt. He talked about one particular play where he faced off against a future 14 season NFL player. The podcast ended with Marcus talking about his family, wife Annie, daughter Mya and his son Tyson, aka T-Money.
Liz Phillips is a former colleague of Paul’s. Liz and Paul talked about her early years in South Bend, Indiana and Liz gave some insight into what South Bend is famous for besides Notre Dame. She talked about her big family, a move to Florida in the middle of high school and how she had to become an adult when she was a teenager due to her Mom getting sick. Liz and Paul had a great chat about her daughter Alina who is thirteen. Liz told Paul what her unusual craving was while she was pregnant and details about the party that occurred at the hospital before Alina was born. They ended by talking about Liz and Alina’s next adventure - where they’ll move to and what Liz wants to build and develop when they get there.
Growing Up in Ashland (1970s and 80s)
Duke, Rob and Paul have known each other almost 50 years. On this unique episode, we discussed growing up in Ashland in the 1970s and 80s. We had fun reminiscing and recording stories from our childhood. We hope you will enjoy it as well.
Nick Shedd is the head of Strength and Conditioning for the Houston Astros and comes to the podcast via a connection through Kevin Flippen. Paul, Kevin and Nick discussed him growing up in Northern Virginia, playing football in college and his education including currently pursuing his PhD. Nick’s career has taken him many different places and has allowed him to work with military personnel and athletes of all levels and sports as well. They talked about his current job with the Astros organization and Nick fielded some rapid fire questions from Paul and Kevin. They finished by talking about his wife Jackie and their dog Cusco.
Ali Gustavson and Sidney Campbell - American Bald Eagle Foundation
Ali Gustavson and Sidney Campbell join the podcast via Paul knowing Ali’s dad, Gary. Ali and Sidney both work for the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines, Alaska. They discussed each of their backgrounds and how they found their way to the ABEF. Paul talked to Sidney and Ali about their roles at the ABEF and what a normal work day looks like for the two of them. They talked about the mission of the ABEF, what it’s like to live in Alaska and the effect the pandemic on them personally and on the ABEF. They finished by telling Paul all the ways that people can support the American Bald Eagle Foundation. To learn more or to donate, visit baldeagles.org. (pictured R to L - Ali, Sidney and Hans the Eurasian Eagle Owl)
Amber Klingman joins the podcast because she and Paul have a mutual acquaintance, Jennifer Stevens (Episode #101). Amber grew up just outside of New Orleans and in a small town in Georgia. Amber had a pretty normal childhood until her sophomore year in high school when she got pregnant. She talks to Paul about her story and the incredible support she received from her child’s two grandmothers. She talked about her kids, the heartbreaking experience of losing one and what the other two are doing now to keep her busy. She finished by talking about her work and her relationship with Jennifer.
Tim Sutton - A Better Understanding
Tim Sutton is a thirty plus year law enforcement professional who was born and raised in Hanover County, Virginia. Paul and Tim discussed his childhood, his first jobs and what led him to enter the law enforcement profession. At one point during his career with the Hanover Sheriff’s Office, Tim was put in charge of a program called Project Life Saver. This has led Tim to become a subject matter expert on Autism and Alzheimer’s. Tim and Paul talk about the groups he has taught and the some of the cases that he has worked on during his career. They finished by talking about Tim’s podcast (A New Perspective) and about his kids (Caleb, Emily and Nicole).
Ahmad Hawkins is from the Newport News/Hampton area of Virginia and was a football teammate with Dwight Vick (Episode 122) for a year at Hampton HS. Ahmad was highly recruited at three different positions (WR, CB and RB) depending on the locality of the school. Ahmad stayed in state and played football at UVA. The picture above is Ahmad making the game winning catch versus VT the last time that UVA beat VT in Blacksburg (1998). When he made that catch, he couldn’t hear the crowd and was thinking about something unrelated to football. Paul, Kevin and Ahmad finished by discussing his post playing career and his family.
Austin Wilson is childhood friends with Nick Clark (Episode 120) and Alec Eberle (Episode 107). Like Nick and Alec, Austin played football, but a medical issue in his junior year of high school stopped him from playing anymore. With a push from his dad and after watching Jerry Maguire, Austin decided to become a sports agent when he was only sixteen years old. He has continued down that path and represents players and coaches on the college and professional levels of football. Austin and Paul finished by talking about the coaching vacancies at UVA and VT and his family.
Coach Richard Kemper
Coach Dick Kemper joins the podcast and this episode is a trip down memory lane for Paul. Coach Kemper coached Paul in football and basketball in high School at St. Christopher’s in Richmond. Coach Kemper grew up in Alexandria, but came to St. Christopher’s soon after starting his career. He spent 40+ years as a coach, athletic director and an educator at St. Christopher’s. Paul and Coach Kemper reminisced about St. Chris sports and the Coach talked about his various philosophies when it comes to coaching and life. They talked about his three kids and five grandkids and how he is looking forward to a time when he can stop raking leaves and go to the beach.
CW3 Rich Brown
In Part 5 of our Honoring the Military Series, Rich Brown (USMC) joins us. Rich was born in Knoxville, TN, but moved around a bit due to his Dad’s job. Growing up, Rich did martial arts and spent a lot of time with the best grandparents a guy could have! Paul and Rich talked about Rich’s family lineage and then why he chose to join the United States Marine Corps. They discussed his 23 year USMC career which included some travel and September 11th. Rich then chatted with Paul about his life post USMC and how he started his own podcast in 2015. They finished by talking about his wife and four kids.
SSgt Stuart Wiley
Stuart Wiley is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force and continues our series honoring members of our U.S.Military. Stuart grew up in Fluvanna County, Va. and when Paul asked him about growing up, he said it was all about baseball from tee ball through playing travel and for high school. They talked about what he did after high school and why he decided to join the USAF. Stuart did admit that he really didn’t have any idea what he was getting into! They ended by discussing his career and where he went which included a tour in Korea where he discovered his love for Korean Barbecue.
Dr Richard Sander
Dr. Richard Sander joins the podcast today via a connection with former VCU Basketball player Rodney Ashby (Episode #115). Dr. Sander is from Cincinnati and Paul, Kevin and Richard talked about his childhood and then playing sports in high school. This led to playing football and basketball in college where he also participated in ROTC. Richard discussed his time in the U.S. Army and his career path afterwards which led him to VCU. Richard was the Athletic Director at VCU for twenty plus years. They talked about his fondest memories and his proudest moment at VCU. Richard finished up by talking about raising money for a charity related to one of his grandkids and about his family.
Captain Jeff Davila, USN, Retired
Jeff Davila come to the podcast via a connection with Jeff Burke (Episode #7). Jeff grew up in Richmond, Va. He played a lot of sports growing up and he was a three sport athlete in high school. After graduating from high school, Jeff attended the United States Naval Academy where he majored in Math. Jeff went to fight training school, learned how to fly jets and became a Naval Aviator. Paul and Jeff discussed his various assignments in the U.S. Navy and finished by talking about his wife and four children.
Dwight Vick was born in North Carolina, but grew up in the Newport News/Hampton area of Virginia. Dwight, Paul and Kevin talked about his great “old school” childhood and how it became clear that football would be an important part of his life. Dwight was always a big guy and played at Hampton HS for a legendary coach. He was heavily recruited by colleges and ended up playing at Virginia Tech. The guys discussed his fondest memories at VT which included meeting his wife. They finished by discussing his business, his podcasts, how he loves movies and his family.
BG James Zollar
Paul and retired Brigadier General James Zollar know each other from serving together in the Virginia Army National Guard. James was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and lived on both sides of the Windy City. He was in ROTC in high school which he originally thought would lead him to the Marine Corps. Instead, James enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in various capacities during an almost thirty-seven year career. James finished the podcast by talking about his wife and his kids. Happy Veterans Day to all of our veterans out there!
Nick Clarke comes to the podcast via two paths. Paul’s son Zach and Nick’s brother Colby are good friends and Nick is business partners with Alec Eberle (Episode #107). Nick was born in Fairfax, Va., but came to Hanover County at a young age. He played all kinds of sports growing up, but football became his passion. Paul and Nick talked about his football journey from recreation to playing at Old Dominion University. Nick told a lot of stories and they had a special discussion about the 2018 ODU/VT game. They finished by talking about Nick’s business and his family.
Chuck Hawkins - US Coast Guard
Chuck Hawkins and Paul have known each other since they were kids and Chuck was even taught by Paul’s mom Brenda (Episode 46) in kindergarten. Chuck grew up in eastern Hanover, but went to Patrick Henry because his parents taught there. Chuck spoke of his admiration for his parents and also about his dad’s sports accomplishments. Paul and Chuck talked about his time in college and how after school and a few different jobs, he decided to enter military service with the United States Coast Guard. Chuck led a distinguished career that spanned twenty-six years. Paul and Chuck finished by talking about that career and his kids.
Ken Oxendine is a former Va Tech and NFL player who grew up in Chester, Virginia. Ken and Paul talked about his youth and growing up in the “big house” with lots of family. They discussed his recruiting process, how he decided on VT and how recruiting is different for today’s athletes. They talked about his non-profit and some of the charity work he is involved with through the non-profit. They finished by talking about his wife Mei-Ling and their two daughters, Ivy and Willow.
Laura Colombell Marshall
Laura Collombell Marshall knows Paul from being in school together at UVA. She talked to Paul about growing up in different places because of her dad’s job and she landed in Northern VA for high school. Laura attended UVA where she ran track and then went to the University of Richmond for law school. Paul and Laura discussed her professional career including one of her more memorable cases and it’s impact. Laura also talked about her parents, her four sisters and finished by talking about her husband Curtis and their five children.
Foodio - Jamie Grant
Part 7 of a 7 part series on small businesses in Ashland, VA (each business is part of the Downtown Ashland Association). Jamie Grant is bringing a unique business to Ashland. Jamie described it as a non-traditional farmer’s market while also offering food education and food preparation tips. Jamie has a background in the food industry from helping her dad at his business in Tappahannock to being a food blogger and being a BBQ judge. Jamie knows Ashland because she finished her degree at RMC and is now employed at the college. Paul, Kevin and Jamie discussed their favorite seafood and BBQ and what the future may hold for FoodiO in Ashland. Jamie ended by talking about her mom and dad’s families and her wife, Lachelle.
Rodney Ashby is the sixth VCU basketball player to be on the podcast! Rodney talks with Paul and Kevin about his unlikely basketball journey and how he ended up being a part of the VCU family. He referred to this as the “Ramily” and he discussed the culture and the special life long connections of the program and the school itself. He talked about his business and how he also does broadcasting as well. Rodney, Paul and Kevin finished up by discussing golf and then Rodney talked about his kids.
Iron Horse Restaurant - Rusty Stone
Part 6 of a 7 part series on small businesses in Ashland, VA (each business is part of the Downtown Ashland Association). Rusty Stone became the owner of the Iron Horse Restaurant in 2019, but he has worked there for quite a while before buying the restaurant. Rusty bought the Iron Horse just before the Corona Virus Pandemic started and he discussed with Paul and Kevin the challenges that presented. He discussed his journey at the Iron Horse, the benefits of the restaurant being in the great town of Ashland and he finished by talking about is wife and three kids. Rusty is very excited for the future of the restaurant and said if you haven’t been yet, to please come as it will be worth the trip!
Steve Sands has interviewed some of the biggest names in sports. Paul and Kevin interview Steve in this episode via a connection with Ward Fasold (Episode #111) who knows Kevin. Steve talks about his time growing up in Washington, DC, how he went out west for college and how much he enjoyed working at WWBT which is the local NBC affiliate here in the Richmond area. He has worked for the Golf Channel for 20+ years and also works for NBC and has covered multiple Olympics. Steve finished by talking about a typical work week, some of his fondest/greatest memories and his wife Val and their three sons.
Homemades by Suzanne - Suzanne Wolstenholme & Kim Mills
Part 5 of a 7 part series on small businesses in Ashland, VA (each business is part of the Downtown Ashland Association). Homemades by Suzanne is an icon in Ashland and the surrounding area. Suzanne Wolstenholme and Kim Mills joined Paul and Kevin to discuss the restaurant and its past, present and future. Suzanne started the restaurant in 1984. She talked about how the core menu has remained the same over the years and then Kim talked about the new specials and the catering side of the business. They both talked about their families, how they love what they do and how great it is have the restaurant in Ashland.
Ward Fasold joins the podcast courtesy of guest host, Kevin Flippen. Ward grew up in Alexandria, VA and went to T.C. Williams (Remember the Titans fame!) He went to VCU, majored in Mass Communications and has been covering sports as a cameraman and as a producer for twenty-eight years. Ward talks with Paul and Kevin about winning an Emmy, Texas HS football and his twin boys.
Railside Law Group - John Working
Part 4 of a 7 part series on small businesses in Ashland, VA (each business is part of the Downtown Ashland Association). John Working and his partner started their law firm in Ashland in 2015. His wife has a business in town as well. John got to know Ashland originally when he attended RMC where he majored in English and played football. John’s dad was a football coach and before becoming a lawyer, John was an educator and a coach. John discussed with Paul and Kevin how he got into law and how he met Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. They also talked football and John finished by talking about his wife Jessica and their two daughters.
Bill Walker works with Paul and was born in New Jersey not too far from Philadelphia. Bill and Paul talk about growing up in NJ and collecting baseball cards and sports memorabilia. They also discussed Bill playing competitive poker, his love for all Philadelphia professional sports teams and entrepreneurship. Bill finished by talking about his family and he gave some personal finance advice to his unborn grandkids.
Carolyn Hemphill & Kelly Payne - Hanover Co Black Heritage Society
Part 3 of a 7 part series on small businesses in Ashland, VA (each business is part of the Downtown Ashland Association). Carolyn Hemphill and Kelly Payne join the podcast to talk about the Hanover County Black Heritage Society. Carolyn started the society in 1994 and Kelly, her daughter, is heavily involved as well. The mission of the society is to collect, research and exhibit historical items to show the contributions made by African Americans in Hanover County. Carolyn and Kelly finished by talking about their families and that they are always looking for members to join the Hanover County Black Heritage Society.
Alec Eberle was born in Tennessee and moved to Hanover County, Va. when he was in 6th grade. He attended Atlee HS where he was a standout on the football team. Alec was recruited by several big time Division 1 schools and played college football at Florida State University. He tells Paul about his football journey from 6th grade to trying out for the NFL to now where he helps train and guide today’s young offensive and defensive linemen. He ended by talking about his parents and his two sisters.
Dawn Beninghove - Companion Extraordinaire
Part 2 of a 7 part series on small businesses in Ashland, VA (each business is part of the Downtown Ashland Association). Dawn Beninghove started her nursing career forty years ago and started her own business in Ashland in 2003. Dawn is from Florida, but said she is an “Ashlander” because she and her family have lived here for 36 years. Dawn talked about her wonderful team at Companion Extraordinaire and all the services that they provide. Located in the heart of Ashland on England Street, Dawn and her staff work tirelessly to help people in need. Being on a podcast was nothing new to Dawn as she has her own where she talks about a variety of subjects that are germane to her clients. Dawn talked about her family as well as the wonderful extended Ashland family including the great folks at the Downtown Ashland Association.
Paul Cormier grew up all over Virginia, but he spent his teen years in the Center of the Universe. Paul and Kevin talked with Paul C. about his work life from high school into adulthood, his musical tastes past and present and his many, many tattoos. They also discussed with Paul C. the world of professional wrestling and how he’s been a fan since he was a boy. They finished by talking about what he’s doing now and his family.
Chris Ray - COTU Brewery
Part 1 of a 7 part series on small businesses in Ashland, VA (each business is part of the Downtown Ashland Association). Chris Ray is a former Major League Baseball player and he and his brother opened the Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Ashland in 2011. Paul and Kevin talked to Chris about his baseball career and they also discussed the COTU Brewery and how it came to be a reality. Chris spoke about how he started brewing at home and as a hobby and how that has developed over the years. Now, Chris, his brother, Phil and their families share their great craft brews with everyone and they have a great time doing it! Chris ended by talking about his wife Alice and their two kids, Ginny and Thomas.
Shawn Gallagher has led an interesting life. Shawn grew up in Colorado and North Carolina and set state and national records as a high school baseball player. He was recruited to play in college and was also drafted to play professional baseball. Shawn decided on and discussed with Paul his journey in professional baseball and then his transition out of baseball and into college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He talked about his professional life when he worked in the White House and his involvement in the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in S Korea. Shawn also talked about his life in the recreation and travel softball world. He is married to Marisa and they have a daughter named Makayla who is playing college softball at Florida International University.
Tina Ramirez for Congress
Tina Ramirez joins the podcast courtesy of Jennifer Stevens (Episode #101). Tina grew up in Powhatan, Va. until she was 8 and then she and her family moved to California. Her dad’s family was from California and she attended middle and high school while there. Tina said she was church kid growing up and participated in a lot of service oriented activities. She continued this service oriented life as an adult. She studied International Human Rights and has worked in Washington, D.C. and in over thirty countries. She has spent most of her professional career defending human rights and founded her own company in 2013. Tina entered the political arena and ran for the Republican nomination for Virginia District 7 (U.S. House of Representatives) in 2020. Even though she didn’t win, Tina ran a strong campaign and is running again in the 2022 election. Tina and Paul discussed stories from her time overseas and they also touched on Tina’s stance on various political issues. One they discussed is Critical Race Theory being taught in Virginia public schools. She is against this and stated that is essentially a reversal of Martin Luther King’s message. Paul and Tina finished by talking about her parents, her three siblings (all whom she admires) and most importantly, her 6 year old daughter Abigail.
Jennifer Stevens was born and raised in New Orleans and has fond memories of growing up there. She stated that she came up in the criminal justice system because her dad was a judge and her mom worked in a District Attorney’s office. Jennifer had a fun time in high school and also did so well that she was able to skip her junior year. At sixteen, Jennifer emancipated herself from her parents. She said the process was extensive and she worked three jobs to prove that she could support herself. After high school, she went to community college and did an internship at a prison. She then got married and a business opportunity with her then husband brought them to Richmond, Virginia. Jennifer discussed the business and all the ups and downs that came with owning your own business. During this time, Jennifer got divorced and became a single parent to Triston and Chance. She later talked about her husband Jay, their daughter Harlee, how she found Christianity and she ended by offering some sage advice to SFTCOTU listeners.
The Top 10 according to the Superfan and the Scribe
The Superfan (Roger Lee), the Scribe (Rob Dull) and the Occasional Co-host (Kevin Flippen) look back at the first 100 episodes (Episode 0 + 1-99) with Host, Paul Gilman. If you're looking for a decently quick way to learn the top 10 episodes according to the Superfan and the Scribe, this is your episode. We can't believe we've done 100 episodes. Thanks to Daniel, Katy, Rob, Kevin, Roger and our guests for doing their part to make this a fun and worthwhile endeavor.
Pedro Arruza is the Head Football Coach at Randolph-Macon College. Pedro was born in Spain and lived in England and Mexico before settling in West Palm Beach, Florida. He convinced his mom to let him play football in 7th grade and he was hooked. Paul asked Pedro why football became a career and Pedro stated it was the impact that his coaches had on him that paved his path to being an educator and a coach. Coach Arruza was a stand out in high school and received many offers to play football at the college level. After visiting Wheaton College, he knew it was the place for him. He was a 4 year starter there and earned several All-American honors while playing at Wheaton. After graduating, Pedro was an assistant coach at the high school and college level and then was hired as the RMC Head Coach in 2004 at the very young age of 30. Pedro discussed with Paul and Kevin his recruiting philosophy, his journey to faith, his passions and how much he loves Ashland. He talked about how the culture and mindset of RMC Football has changed since he arrived and how much he loves his players. Pedro talked about his family starting with how blessed he is to have married his wife Kara. They have three children, Owen (19), Elle (17) and Will (14).
Lyndee Cabo used to work with Paul and has wanted to be on the podcast since we first started. Lyndee stated she is from Virginia, but told Paul that she moved around a lot due to her dad being in the U.S. Navy. She moved around the states and also spent some time in Japan which she loved. Lyndee spent the most time in Virginia, went to high school in Chesapeake and said she was a handful for her parents. She talked about her dad and described him as a “bad ass” for what he did (EOD) in the Navy. She also talked about the rest of her family … her mom, her sister (whom she has always idolized) and her brother who is ten years younger than her. After high school, Lyndee took a different route than her friends and did some traveling and didn’t go to college until she was 23 years old. She attended VCU and graduated with a BFA in Interior Design. Lyndee worked for a tile distribution company and now has her own interior design company. Lyndee said interior design is like “interior architecture” and she really likes the puzzle aspect of her job as well as putting herself in other’s peoples shoes and helping them figure out what do with their residential or commercial space. She wrapped up by talking about the future in regards to her company and family. We chatted about her husband, Matt, who is seventeen inches taller than Lyndee and their daughter Gwendolyn.
Caroline joins Paul this evening. Paul and Caroline work together and she also works with Andrew Ting (Episode #40). Caroline was born in NC, but grew up in Beaufort, SC. She talked to Paul about all the things she and her friends did and how she now realizes how incredible her childhood/teen years were because of where she grew up. Caroline talked about the first vehicle she had and how she went to Duke University where she met her husband, Alex. She spoke about her dad, Steve, and the interesting business he used to have. That interest skipped a generation and now her five year old daughter, Eliza, has expressed the same interest. She also discussed how she and Alex have restored an 1840s house in Washington, DC and how both her siblings now live in DC as well. Paul also talked with Caroline about her time on a nationally televised baking show, Nailed It. Caroline ended by talking about her whole big wonderful family … parents, husband and kids, siblings, closest cousin and her great aunt.
Today, Paul is talking to Jeremy Moulder. Jeremy is from Pensacola, FL where he grew up fishing, going to the beach and learning woodworking with his grandfather. He played football in high school which was the same school that Emmitt Smith attended. After high school, Jeremy tried junior college while he was also getting trained as a fireman and EMT. Jeremy decided that JUCO was not for him and coming from a family of patriots, Jeremy joined the U.S. Army. He was going for the infantry, but the Army said no, you’re going to be a Combat Medic. He attended basic and then spent time at Fort Sam Houston, Fort Lewis and Fort Benning. Jeremy did two tours in Afghanistan and talked about the different missions they were asked to perform while there. After leaving the Army, Jeremy has now, with the help of a business partner and his wife, started a business called USA Flag Works. Jeremy makes incredible wooden USA flags and can personalize them for his clients. Jeremy ended by talking about his wife Madelyn who is his rock and their son Jake. Madelyn joined him on the podcast for a couple of minutes and they talked about Jake and how he plays travel ice hockey.
TJ Gwynn was born in Chapel Hill, NC and grew up in Burlington, NC which is in Alamance County. Basketball was the only organized sport he played until he got to middle school. He started in recreation and then started playing AAU when he was 10 years old. In high school, TJ also played football and track, but he said that was mainly so he could hang out with his friends. He did mention that it didn’t hurt to get out of school early as well! Basketball was TJ’s focus though and at 6’4” in 9th grade, he was making an immediate impact on the court. TJ said he was skinny, but tough due to his older brothers Brandon and Jamaal. He started to get noticed by colleges in 9th grade when his high school won the state championship and TJ was named the tournament MVP. TJ got a lot of interest and offers, but decided to take his talent to Virginia Commonwealth University. At VCU, TJ had a very good career, but learned that college basketball was a business. Amazingly, and TJ believes he is the only college player to experience this, he had three head coaches during his time at VCU. He discussed with Paul and Kevin the ups and downs of that experience. TJ ended by talking about his family.
Downtown Ashland Association
Joining the podcast is Maggie Longest who is the Director of the Downtown Ashland Association (DAA). Paul and Maggie discuss the role of the DAA and how the organization brings local businesses, citizens and the town government together. They talk about the history of Ashland, the present and future opportunities for businesses in Ashland and the relationships with major stake holders such as Randolph-Macon College. Maggie also spoke about the events they promote including Train Day which is attended by about 10,000 people. Paul also had Maggie talk about her life. Maggie hails from Blacksburg, Va. and went to Virginia Tech for her undergraduate degree in Agriculture Economics. She worked in Washington DC as a lobbyist and in a senator’s office. She then decided to go to graduate school at NC State and worked in the NC governor’s office after getting her Master’s degree. She met her husband in NC who was from Hanover and they decided to move back to Virginia. They have a 5 year old daughter Linda who is high energy, creative and empathetic and is looking forward to starting kindergarten this fall.
Joining the podcast is Phil Stinnie. Phil is a former VCU basketball player and was connected to Paul through another VCU player, Lionel Bacon (Episode 81.) Phil talked about the bond that is formed by VCU players and how Lionel is his “little brother.” Phil is from Charlottesville, Virginia and he discussed how his Mom had him when she was only 14 years old. He was an only child, but they had a large extended family and he was like a little brother to his aunts and uncles. His mom was tough, but had lots of love to give and this helped Phil go down the right path of life. He discussed not really playing sports growing up and how he got a late start playing basketball. He did not play AAU and college interest in Phil happened because of the hard work of his high school coach. VCU eventually won out because Phil said it felt like home. He discussed his most memorable moment at VCU, getting drafted by the NY Knicks and his basketball career after VCU. We ended by talking about his family. He has two sons who both played college football. Brian is a Medical Device Representative and Aaron is still playing football in the NFL … currently for the 2021 Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Phil gives credit for Brian and Aaron’s success to his wife!
Jay Strath joins the podcast thanks to a connection with guest host Kevin Flippen … they married into the same family! Paul, Kevin and Jay started off by talking about Jay growing up on a farm in eastern Henrico. Jay said he worked on the farm a lot with his dad. He said there was only one reason that his dad let him out of that work and that was sports. Jay discussed with Paul and Kevin the change in culture in youth sports and how it has effected the kids, the coaches and the parents. Jay believes you can see the difference today even in the professional ranks, specifically the NBA. Jay talked about his sports experience growing up and how one catch in a football game got some really big name programs interested in him. Jay spoke about how he decided to attend UVA and some of the famous players he got to be around and play with during his UVA career. Jay finished up by talking about his sons Evan and Gavin, his daughter Taylor and being a dad. He answered the end of the podcast question from Kevin and had a final message which was, “Be good to your neighbor!”
David Thach (pronounced Tot) joins the podcast because of his relationship with Paul. Dave has been Paul’s barber for over a decade. Dave grew up in Maryland, but has called the Richmond area home for about fourteen years. Dave’s parents are Cambodian, but Dave considers himself Vietnamese. Dave spoke in Vietnamese and even taught Paul and Kevin a word or two in Vietnamese during the podcast. Dave gave his parents a great deal of credit for his work ethic which he is in turn passing on to his sons. Dave has a barber shop in Hanover County and he stated he has a lot of loyal customers. Dave, Paul and Kevin talked a lot of sports. Dave is a huge sports fan and is a Washington Football Team (he still calls them the Redskins) fan as well as an Orioles fan. Dave stated that Sports Center is the only thing on the TVs in his barber shop. Dave also spoke about becoming a barber and his brothers influence on that career choice. His philosophy on the art of being a barber is to “keep it simple.” Dave talked about his wife Carrie (she’s not a sports fan), how they met and their two sons, Connor (12) and Carter (9).
Frederick James Koch
Joining us from Australia is Frederick James ‘Jimmy’ Koch. Jimmy and Paul were connected through John Watts who was the guest on Episode 50 of the podcast. Jimmy is a professional actor, musician and dancer. Jimmy was born in Sydney, but currently lives in Melbourne. Jimmy tells us about growing up in the “bush” of Australia. He recalls one particular encounter with a deadly brown snake during a game of hide and seek with his friends. He talks about how he has traveled to some incredible places especially one amazing trip to Africa where he did a documentary on the Maasai people. Jimmy also discusses how his love for the arts started at a young age and how he and his cousins would recreate Michael Jackson videos at family gatherings. He talked about his family including his dad who is a well known singer and how he inherited his stage presence from his dad. Jimmy touches on his career, his journey as an artist and the difference between the arts. He talks about his films and some pretty famous costars including his latest film Nightwalk with Mickey Rourke. He ends by discussing the pandemic in Australia and his love for various types of martial arts.
Mila Liakhovitser comes to the podcast by virtue of working together with Paul. Mila was born and raised in New York City, and though she was born on Long Island and lived for a brief time in Queens, she is a Bronx girl through and through! She is also a long suffering NY Jets fan. From the beginning, Mila was recognized as very intelligent and gifted. She attended math camps after school for most of her childhood and then went to a math and science high school. She attended what she referred to as "nerd camps" and took her first SAT when she was 12. She later had a super score of 2380 out of 2400 with an 800 on the math portion. She got accepted to several great academic schools and all the hard work paid off when she decided to go to Duke University. She told Paul about the culture shock and differences between NY City and Durham, NC. Mila double majored in Math and Philosophy with a minor in Economics. Mila told Paul about the incredible relationship she had with her grandfather. From her grandfather's birth in 1924 to her family's Jewish and Russian history, Mila discusses how she believes fate saved her grandfather from being killed by the Nazi's. She discussed how he went in the Russian Air Force when he was 16 and came home at 21 and then became an engineer. She discusses the interesting decision that her grandparents had to make when they immigrated. She finishes by talking about her Mom, all her mom’s accomplishments and the calming force her mom has been in her life.
Andrew Slater joins us for the podcast today. Andrew is the Head Baseball Coach at The Collegiate School. Paul and Andrew have known each other since they were both at St. Christopher’s though Paul is a few years older. Andrew attended St. Christopher’s through 6th grade and then went to Collegiate where he graduated in 1996. Andrew talks about getting a football scholarship to the University of Richmond where he also played baseball. He tells us how his life changed when he suffered a back injury at the end of his freshman year. He left UofR and headed to Auburn University where his brother Tom was a baseball coach. Andrew played baseball for two years at Auburn and spent a third year there as a student assistant coach and he said this is when he really developed a passion for coaching. He then went onto coach baseball at VMI and then Western Kentucky. In 2008, Andrew and his wife Samantha decided it was time to move back to Virginia and that’s when he started at Collegiate. Paul and Andrew also discussed how Andrew believes it is important that kids play multiple sports when they are growing up. They discussed his baseball journey as a player and a coach and how Collegiate won a State Championship in 2016. Andrew talked about his other duties at Collegiate (he’s busy,) his dad’s work ethic and 1 on 1 basketball games with his big brother. Andrew finished by talking about Samantha and their three boys … Will (16), Jake (13) and Sam (11.)
Trip Chalkley is the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Hanover County, Virginia. Trip has known Paul since he was a kid through Paul’s dad Larry. Both Larry and Trip went to the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond and worked together in Hanover County. Trip talks about growing up in Richmond, attending John Marshall High School and how he almost didn’t go back for his second year of law school. Trip talks about his father and how he and his sister learned later in life that he was a WW2 hero. Paul, guest host Kevin Flippen and Trip discussed Trip’s 45 year law career as both a defense attorney and as a prosecutor and the difference between the two. Trip also talked about some memorable cases, playing billiards, his favorite meal and his love of reading and golf. Trip finishes the podcast by talking about his family and his future as the Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Lynne Hughes joins us this week. Lynne , with the help of others, runs Comfort Zone Camps. CZC is a camp for people who are grieving. It started out for kids and has now expanded in many ways. Lynne has personal experience with the grieving process. Lynne, who has 3 brothers, lost her Mom when she was 9 and her dad when she was 12. She lived at various places until she graduated high school and then she attended Michigan State University. Lynne discusses how a lot of different jobs and experiences set her on the path to finding Comfort Zone Camps. Because she lost her parents at an early age, Lynne believed that God thought she was special. She always wondered what his plans were for her and CZC became her purpose in life. Lynne talks about the ups and downs before, during and after she founded CZC. Lynne is married to Kelly and they have two kids. Evan just graduated from Virginia Tech and their daughter Jaime just finished her freshman year at VA Tech.
On this episode, we have Kevin Flippen who is a previous guest (Episode 32 with Al Lester) and now doubles as an occasional guest host. Kevin aka Flip, and Paul have been friends for over 28 years. Kevin talks about a myriad of subjects including being adopted by awesome parents and all things sports from being a long suffering Padres fan to wiffle golf. Kevin also discusses the tragic death of his sister Denise and ends with a chat about his wife Angel and their three boys, Brody, Briggs and Beau.
This week we welcome Chase Miffleton. Chase grew up in Powhatan and played baseball and also competed in cross country and track. Chase gets his running genes from his grandma who has run quite a few marathons. After graduating high school, Chase attended Va Tech. Influenced by a family member, Chase applied for and got a unique job on campus as an equipment manager for the Hokie Football team. After receiving partial scholarship money his first three years, he was selected by the program to receive a full scholarship his senior year. Only one senior is selected each year to win this scholarship. During his time at Va Tech, Chase interned twice with the Washington Football Team at their training camp in Richmond. This was special to Chase as he grew up a Washington fan. After graduation from Va Tech, Chase was hired as a full time equipment manager by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though Washington is still his favorite team, Chase has nothing but high praise for the Steeler organization from Mr. Rooney to Coach Tomlin to the players. Chase is engaged to his fiancé Stephanie and they are moving back to Virginia and getting married in 2022. Pictured L-R is Chase with Alex Smith, the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
This week’s story is told by Ilona Levine. Ilona was born and raised in the Moldovan part of the Soviet Union. When Ilona was 13 years old, the Soviet Union collapsed and she witnessed her native Moldova begin its journey to becoming a sovereign nation. Ilona grew up in an apartment and usually climbed the 15 flights of stairs rather than take the elevator due to the unreliable supply of electricity. Ilona was a classical ballet dancer and was also a teacher during her teen years. At times, she would teach as many as 150 students. Ilona attended Moldovan Law School at the age of seventeen. She essentially skipped the step of getting a bachelor’s degree because she tested so high on the law school entrance exam. When Ilona immigrated to the U.S.A. at nineteen, she had not quite finished law school. She was told that she would need a bachelor’s degree before she could finish law school in the U.S. Ilona attained her undergrad degree in two and a half years. Ilona is currently the General Counsel at Internet Society, a non-profit focused on growing and strengthening the internet across the globe.
DJ Oso Fresh
Bobby Alirezai, AKA DJ Oso Fresh, fled his native Tehran as a child when the Shah of Iran was exiled in 1979. In this conversation, he tells us about his story of moving to America, having to learn English from scratch, and the passions he has found joy in, including breakdancing, graffiti art, and DJing. He is the brother in law of Tim Clark, whom we interviewed on this podcast in episode 69.
Lionel Bacon is our guest this week. He is a former VCU basketball player and the youngest of twelve children. Lionel discusses his childhood and growing up in the Beecher Terrace neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. He told us how he got to VCU (an amazing mom, God and the ability to play basketball). Lionel talked about his journey and how it has led him to a life of helping others. From his 20 years at the YMCA to his current position at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, Lionel is dedicated to helping people, especially kids. He told us about why he started competing in Spartan Races in 2018 and made it to the world championships the following year! We finished with Lionel telling us about his wife Christy and their three boys, as well as a very emotional chat about his dad.
Kevin T. Eastman is the former assistant coach and VP for Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Clippers. He also served as head coach and assistant coach in the college ranks, and was on Doc Rivers' coaching staff with the Boston Celtics for over a decade. He is now a semi-retired motivational speaker for sports teams and businesses. Pictured: Kevin Garnett, Kevin Eastman, Doc Rivers
Kenny Wingle is a stand-up comedian and producer of the upcoming ROFL Comedy Series in Richmond VA. Kenny is a Detroit native, born to a Native American mother and Polish father. He has been a stand up comedian for years, and has produced comedy shows featuring the likes of Whitney Cummings. He is producing Richmond's Open For Laughs (ROFL) Comedy Series which you can enjoy at Atlas 42 (4032 Cox Rd Ste A, Glen Allen, VA) over the coming weeks and months (Apr 23, May 14, May 28, Jun 18 and Jul 30). This conversation features guest host Kevin Flippen, friend of the podcast and youth baseball coaching partner to Kenny. Pictured (left to right): Kevin, Kenny, Paul
Cla Meredith is a former MLB pitcher who played for the Red Sox, Padres, and Orioles. This episode he tells us about his Richmond roots, the origin of his name, and his athletic career, including some thoughts on teammates like Greg Maddux and Trevor Hoffman, and coaches such as Bruce Bochy. He now serves as a firefighter for Henrico County.
Boomer Muth is a musician, entrepreneur, and soon-to-be father, and this episode we heard his story. At the tender age of 5, Boomer learned the truth about Santa in a way that will bring a tear to your eye and put hairs on your chest. In the 8th grade, he was a star Mathlete, and carries a love for math and music to this day. An entrepreneur, he is the co-founder of a successful point-of-sale financing company called West Creek Financial. West Creek makes it easier for people to afford things they need, and has helped elevate RVA on the startup map. He is also lead singer and guitarist for the band Acoustic Underground, and tells us about chasing the rockstar dream and getting to open for bands like the Strokes. Not one to avoid tough topics, Boomer also reflected on his experience with divorce, and offered his perspective on mental health, including the impact COVID-19 has had on it.
Travis Herman is a brewmaster and co-founder of Scofflaw Brewery, an Atlanta based brewery founded in 2015. Scofflaw experienced phenomenal growth, clocking in one of the fastest first-year expansions in craft-brewing history. Travis tells us about his origins, how he earned his wings as a brew master, meeting Rachel Ray, and what it takes to get a batch right and build a business. Read more about Scofflaw at https://scofflawbeer.com/
DuBois Miller is an author and former correctional educator of 32 years. He grew up in Lynchburg VA, going to segregated schools and living in a house without electricity, but experiencing great cultural enrichment on the buzzing McKinley Street. He documents his coming of age in the 50s in his book "Ten on Tin," for which there is a sequel called "Three More on Tin." DuBois spoke with us about his perspective on segregation, integration, and race in America having lived through decades of social upheaval. We also talked about how he got into the field of correctional education, and what it was like teaching inmates throughout Virginia's prisons. We are also joined by his son Ed Miller, also the guest of our 12th episode.
Justin Addison is a US Army Veteran, Jets fan, and Executive Chef at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He enlisted on 9/11, and was later deployed to Fallujah, Iraq as a PsyOps specialist. We were also joined by Mohammed Saeed, who served as the interpreter for Justin's team during deployment. They formed a natural connection and were effective teammates in the field. They now consider each other brothers, and live minutes from each other in Williamsburg. This episode, we focus mainly on Justin's story, which does include some shared stories from their deployment. If you are curious about Mohammed's story, we spoke with him on [episode 54](https://scotupodcast.com/episode/54).
Caroline Slaughter is a voiceover actor, filmmaker, and podcaster. You have probably heard her before as the voice for brands like Subway, Ford, and Holiday Inn. She just launched a podcast on iHeartRadio called [Astray](https://www.iheart.com/podcast/1119-astray-78114211/), an exploration into how far people go for enlightenment. Caroline joined us to tell us about her story and how she got into podcasting, and even to graciously offer us some podcasting advice. You can find more about Caroline's extensive body of work at https://www.carolineslaughter.com.
Wali Rainer is a former NFL linebacker who played for the Cleveland Browns, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Detroit Lions. In our conversation, Wali told us about growing up in the inner city of West Charlotte, and how football was like therapy for him to vent his anger and pain. We talk about his college recruitment and playing at UVA - which he attended on condition that his older brother also be granted a scholarship and play with him. He teaches us about the dynamics and psychology of the linebacker position, and talks about things like why he couldn't go straight home after games. We hear about players that disrespected him and how he responded, coaches that he admired, those that he didn't, and how hard it is for players to both earn respect and stay in the NFL for an extended period. Now, he focuses heavily on his family and mentorship of young men - teaching them things like how to be men, or how to build a healthy identity that is not completely dependent on sports.
Coach Rolando Lamb
Rolando Lamb is a VCU Hall of Fame basketball player, Coach, pastor, and motivational speaker. In our conversation we discuss Rolando's upbringing in Portsmouth VA, the attention he received in high school as a result of being an athletic phenom, his career at VCU, getting drafted to the NBA, and how he has kept basketball in his life ever since. We hear about some of the characters he interacted with on and off the court, including teammate and former podcast guest Calvin Duncan. Calvin and Rolando were named one of the top 5 backcourts in the nation during their prime, and they remain loyal friends to this day. Finally, Rolando tells us about his work with Faith and Family church in Richmond, and his work as a motivational speaker.
Dr Brandon Nunnally
Brandon Nunnally is an Emergency Room Doctor. In our conversation we discuss Brandon's med school experience - the insane amount of work required, the misconceptions that people have, and the type of people that succeed. He went to Randolph-Macon college for undergrad, then UVA for med school, and University of Pittsburgh for residency. He also tells us about his role as an ER Doc, including the physically intensive 12-hour shifts, how crucial it is to stay professional and calm in chaotic and emotional environments, and all the awesome supporting staff roles that keep the ER running like a well oiled machine. Finally, we talk about what COVID has changed in the ER setting, and Brandon addresses a question he gets a lot - whether he has ever been pressured to list COVID as a cause of death for his patients.
Tim Clark is the Chief Digital Officer at NASCAR. He is a Mechanicsville native, US Army veteran, and a great lover of sports. This episode, Tim talks to us about growing up on a farm, what it's like to drive a tank, how his first job out of college was to spearhead Circuit City's ecommerce efforts, and about his work at NASCAR. NASCAR had a big year in 2020 which involved a COVID-inspired pivot into e-sports and a high-profile ban of the Confederate flag, and Tim shares some of his thoughts on navigating it all.
Thoughts on Myanmar with Pete Silvester
Pete Silvester is a social scientist, entrepreneur, and proud Territorian who has traveled the world by virtue of a career in International Aid and Development. He has spent many years in SE Asia, and came on to give us his take on the events in Myanmar. Myanmar, formerly Burma, was under military rule for 50 years before it began its experiment with democracy in the early 2010s. As it reopened to the outside world, the international community looked on with enthusiasm, and financial aid and investments began to flow into the country. Pete jumped right into the mix, moving to Yangon to establish a company that served as both a startup incubator and a consultancy to help build an inclusive private sector in Myanmar. He and his family now live in Thailand. In our conversation, Pete tells us about the Territorian upbringing, his travel, the wanderlust that is shared by many in the international aid scene, and his perspective on Myanmar, the Rohingya, Aung San Suu Kyi, and of course the military coup that happened one week ago on February first.
Amanda Ripley is a journalist and author whose work has been featured in Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and others. She has written three books on psychological and cultural themes varying from how we respond to disaster to how we get addicted to conflict. Amanda talked with us about growing up in central NJ, the public vs private school experience, what it's like to be a journalist, and some of her extensive work, including her recent article entitled "The Mystery of Trust." In it she explores why the US Military is currently the only institution that seems to hold American's trust, and how other institutions (like our beloved Congress) can learn from them on this. Amanda Ripley: https://www.amandaripley.com/ The Mystery of Trust: https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/the-mystery-of-trust/
Dan Crain is the director of groups and mobilization at OneRace, an organization dedicated to addressing racism and racial division through faith, in Atlanta and beyond. In our conversation Dan tells us about his life, the path of his faith, his inspirations, and the work he is doing with OneRace. To find out more and to support Dan and OneRace, head to OneRaceMovement.com.
Garrison Coward is a proud Virginian and a former Republican candidate for the 2019 Virginia House of Delegates, a race which he lost narrowly. He is currently a Managing Director working in the investment banking space. In our conversation we talked about whether running a political campaign is actually like House of Cards, how to deal with political division, why local politics are undervalued and underemphasized, and Garrison's plans for the future. To quote an article he wrote, "I’m not a black Republican — I’m a commonsense conservative who happens to be black. No political party owns me."
Vincent Hill is a veteran, former police officer, author, and now a news anchor serving Tulsa, OK. He was born in Germany to a military family, grew up moving around a lot, then joined the military himself. He spent four years in the Nashville Police Department, and later spoke out in criticism of the police's narrative in Tennessee Titan quarterback Steve McNair's homicide. He ended up writing a book about it called Playbook to a Murder. In our conversation Vincent tells us about his upbringing, his police experience, his reaction to the social upheaval of 2020 from the perspective of a black former police officer, his unique and varied career path, and everything else.
Thomas Leachman has an affinity for doing things a little differently, be it from his days barefoot kicking on his college football team, to being one of the few proud UMBC fans courtside on the day of their fateful win over UVA. Thomas joined us to talk about growing up here in Ashland, his love of sports that led him to starting his own remarkable basketball event marketing company, and adventures in his current work as a relocation consultant, such as what to do when a moving container filled with expensive furniture goes down in the open ocean.
God Grew Tired of Us
"As one of the 27,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan”, John Dau has experienced challenges that most people could never imagine. As a young man, he fled his home during the Second Sudanese Civil War, spending much of his adolescence as a refugee fleeing hostile militias, fighting against extreme hunger and thirst, and leading thousands of young boys just like him across hundreds upon hundreds of miles in search of safety. Today, John Dau is a compelling motivational speaker whose life is defined by his uncompromised commitment to having a lasting impact on the future of his native country." \[1\] In our conversation, John recounts his incredible story for us, and his activities since, including founding the John Dau foundation, which provides crucial medical and nutritional services to the citizens of South Sudan. To get involved and donate, please visit [johndaufoundation.org](https://johndaufoundation.org/). \[1\] [https://johndaufoundation.org/](https://johndaufoundation.org/)
Darren McBurnett AKA McB is a former Navy SEAL and author of Uncommon Grit, a photography book documenting the famous and notoriously difficult Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. We had a great conversation covering McB's upbringing, his thoughts on BUD/S, some of his experiences in the SEAL Teams, and how his instagram has become a uniting refuge from the divisive norm. To find out more about him and to buy his book, check out dmcburnett.com.
Zachariah Hani Jambo
Zachariah Hani Jambo is currently a student at the African Leadership University in Kigali, Rwanda. He was born in Khartoum, Sudan, although he is of South Sudanese origin - specifically, of the Moru tribe. His family moved to Cairo, Egypt when he was just three, and he grew up there under tenuous circumstances - for example, he and his family had to avoid the Egyptian authorities until his father, a professor, was able to secure a registration with the UNHCR. He went on from Cairo to study at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa, and had a brief stint in Uganda before ending up in Kigali. This episode, Zach tells us about his life so far, his travels, adventures, and hopes for his future.
Belfast to Bama
Jamie Malaugh is a Northern Irishman from England who, in a serious culture change, ended up moving to Alabama as a teenager. He realized he was pretty good at math from a young age, and ended up getting his undergrad, master's, and PhD in Mathematics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham by the remarkable young age of 24. This episode we talk about all of that, his family, and his love for both Rugby and American Football.
The First 50 Lookback
This is a lookback on the first 50 episodes that we recorded and ideas for the future, along with some general conversation. Featuring Katy De Koning and Roger Lee.
This episode we have Cheron Smalls on the show to share her refreshingly positive perspectives on things. Having led a 20+ year career in HR, she talks about why good HR is crucial for people and companies, what she loves about her work, and some common misconceptions people have about HR. We also hear from her on what it’s like being an older mom, and how she navigates raising black children. Finally, Cheron stands out from the crowd with her optimistic and positive attitude surrounding the year 2020, an attitude we certainly welcomed.
Tim Malamphy is a pinball lover and statistics enthusiast who enjoys the thrill of casinos, horse races, and odds games. Tim is also a volunteer mentor at Richmond's Swansboro elementary school. This episode, we hear about Tim's life, some of his stories, including how he grew up with eccentric golfer John Daly, and more. Pictured: The Malamphy Family (L-R: Daniel, Tim, Wendy, Annie, and Brian)
Kyle Stephenson is a real estate entrepreneur and former football player for the University of Pennsylvania. This episode we talk about Kyle’s origins as a first generation Jamaican American, life in NJ, football, and how he got started with his first property that led to a 30 year career and a successful real estate company.
Mohammed Saeed served as an interpreter for the US Army for 7.5 years throughout the Iraq war. Born in Najaf, Iraq, Mohammed moved around the country during his upbringing, before eventually following his younger brother's lead in becoming a translator. After his years of service, he was able to leave for the United States in 2012, and became a citizen in 2018. He now happily lives and works as a salesman in Williamsburg VA. Mohammed talks to us about his journey, his perspective on Sunni and Shi'i sects, the Kurdish people, the war, Saddam Hussein, Judo (of which he is a black belt), and other elements of Iraqi culture and history.
Anna Auguste Wolf
When she was just a child, Anne Loeb and her family had to flee Nazi Germany, first to France, then to New York City in 1939 via the SS De Grasse. This conversation, Anne shared her experience of Germany in the 30s, her flight, including the elation of reaching American waters, and the adventures she and her family have had in the States ever since. She now lives in the Washington, DC area. We also have Senior Podcast Advisor Katy De Koning in on this one to interview Anne.
Steve Dunfee is a Green Beret, a 33-year Army Veteran, and now a law enforcement officer of 20+ years. This conversation, we discuss his Ashland origins, his path to the Army, and his journey through some of the most intense training the US Military has to offer. As a disclaimer, the stories Steve shares about Special Forces Assessment, Selection, and Q-Course are from decades ago, and should not be interpreted as an accurate representation of the current process.
A Creative Life
Courtney Ferrell is a speaker, writer, poet, (and as of this podcast, a singer) with boundless energy, infectious positivity, and an inspiring willingness to not take life too seriously. This conversation, we talked about many things, among them being her TED Talks on coming of age, motherhood, spontaneity, how to get out of a speeding ticket, the miracle of existence, and more. She is also starting a podcast with former guest Mason New (see his episode [here](https://podso1.io/episode/45)) that will be focused on joy. Joy is certainly a good word to describe Courtney, and to describe this conversation, and we are excited to share it with you.
Zen and the Art of Lawn Care
John Watts is an Australian-born veteran of both the Australian Army and Virginia Army National Guard, and he now works as a national security analyst and business consultant in Washington, DC. John joined us for an episode on to tell us about his life's journey so far in four poetically themed sections: "Horizons," "Serendipity," "Transitions," and finally "Wizards and Curtains".
Shawn Peterson is a native of Hanover, VA, now residing in Atlanta. This conversation, we talked about Shawn's hobby of composing and producing music, his career development and progress, reflections on leadership, and the joys of being a dad.
A Different Point of View
Davis Burnett knew early on that he wanted to be a police officer. He decided to leave his native California and join the Marine Corps just after high school, and eventually ended up joining the Montgomery Police Department as a police officer for 7 years. Davis shares his personal experience during that time and since, and the way his views on race and policing have evolved throughout the years.
Roger Lee is Pod So 1's #1 super fan. He's the only listener we know of to have listened through every minute of our podcast, an undertaking which Paul and I would hesitate to wish on anyone. We brought Roger on to tell us his story - A 2nd generation Korean American, he grew up in Colonial Heights, son to a dedicated entrepreneurial mother who owned and ran Won's Wig Shop in Petersburg, VA. In our conversation, he tells us about his mother's inspiring story, what it was like to be one of the only Korean families in the entire town, adventures meeting his wife and her family, and his love of all things football.
I ❤️ Ashland
Brenda Gilman, AKA Paul's mother, is a lifelong educator, first of Kindergarteners, then of college students (though what's the difference really). No stranger to hard work, she earned both her Master's and Ph.D. in education through night classes while raising her two kids. Brenda is also a natural creative, and has consistently practiced expression across a variety of visual arts her whole life. This episode, she tells us about all the above, as well as her love for her native Ashland Virginia. Pictured: Brenda Gilman, Larry Gilman
One Tough School
Mason New is a writer, teacher, business owner, and US Marine Corps veteran. As a kid, Mason was afforded an excellent education, attending a private boarding school and later studying at Washington and Lee University. However, feeling the call of service and yearning for more life experience, he made the unexpected decision of enlisting in the Marines in his senior year of college. His father, a major figure in his life, was diagnosed with liver cancer just after his enlistment, and made it to Mason's Parris Island graduation before passing away just a few weeks later. A lover of language, Mason earned his Master's in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, and went on to a 15 year teaching career before deciding to start his own e-learning focused company, NewVia. He writes excellent poems and blogs, and is hoping to write a novel someday. To tell us about all the above and quite a few things in between, here's Mason.
This special episode we have Amelia Lantz (AKA Daniel's mother) on to tell us about her Galveston, TX origins, meeting Daniel's dad, and her adventures in being an expat wife. Moving is hard; moving a family of six from Bolivia to England to Houston to Kuwait to Cairo is extremely hard, and it took a Herculean effort on her part to deal with the boxes and time zones and culture shock, all the while providing the Lantzes a stable home.
Chris Stout is a reputed engineer, architect, and leader in the Central VA tech scene. He joined us for an episode to talk about his origins, his time at Virginia Tech, starting his own company (with some advice for Daniel as he starts his own), his love of hunting, and how COVID has affected him and his family.
Aaron & Sarah
This week we've got a slightly different episode for you, featuring two guests we've already had on (Sarah Wall from [episode 17](https://podso1.io/episode/17) and Aaron Albrecht from [episode 27)](https://podso1.io/episode/27) to weigh in on different issues as we enter this intensely political season. We brought these two on because they are both politically involved, and are on opposite ends of the political spectrum - Aaron on the left, and Sarah on the right. We discuss cancel culture and the effect social media has on it, giant tech companies and their issues associated to labor, anti-trust, and privacy concerns, big government vs small government, US military spending, and what might happen this November. If you're thinking 'wow that sounds like a minefield,' you're probably right, but we went there anyway, and the result is an excellent example of how to thoughtfully discuss important political issues even when you disagree.
The Rat-Daddy Accountant
This week, Gray Lane is on to tell us about his experience at Virginia Military Institute - he got in touch with us after hearing Al Lester's episode (https://podso1.io/episode/32). We also talk about him growing up in VA, his career in private accounting, and more.
Andrew Ting is a Malaysian Chinese Canadian American jack-of-all-trades but still master of a few. Over the course of his life, he's had the titles of art textbook writer, website designer, street musician, orchestral cellist, business consultant, painter, novelist, Harvard-educated lawyer, and college professor, to name a few. In our conversation, Andrew speaks with us about his origins, why they made him good at relating to people, and how he manages to be such an accomplished generalist.
I Love Rowing
This week we’ve got Njeri Kershaw to tell us about her years of gymnastics as a kid, and her unexpected pivot into college rowing. We also hear about the importance of education as a theme in her family, and thoughts on her interracial marriage and race in America generally. We are rejoined by Ed Miller for the episode (you can check out the conversation with him in Episode 12).
Dale Fickett is the president and co-founder of RVA Works, a Richmond-based nonprofit that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools they need to start businesses. Dale was traveling Europe as a management consultant making bank, when he had an epiphany that ended up redirecting his career toward the non-profit world and eventually RVA Works. Dale tells us about said epiphany, and shares some data and success stories that RVA Works has been part of. We also discuss the effects COVID and tech-dominance are having on entrepreneurship, and whether optimisim is justified.
CSM Carl Holcomb
Over his 33-year Army National Guard career, Command Sergeant Major Carl Holcomb rose to become the State Command Sergeant Major, the highest ranking enlisted soldier in the Virginia National Guard, becoming the first black man to hold the position. He also spent 17 years as a correctional officer, and as you'll hear, had to de-escalate life-threatening situations for himself and the inmates. In. this conversation, Carl tells us stories from both careers, and we end with his thoughts on the current social climate.
We're Going to Mardi Gras
This week we have Anne Kiefer, who joined us to speak poetically on her beloved city of New Orleans, and how the its festive spirits have been sadly dampened by the pandemic. Anne also went through COVID-19 at the age of 75, which was doubly harrowing because her doctors were unsure how to treat the illness back in early spring. She of course survived, and is now a cheerful plasma donor. We are also joined by Anne's daughter Jennifer to add appreciated context and commentary. Pictured: Anne (L) and her daughter, Jennifer (R)
Pain With Purpose
Rachel Adcock is a survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and the author of the book "Pain with Purpose." Her experience with cancer, as well as a few other twists and turns, led her to write the book as an optimistic commentary on how difficult and painful situations in her life always ended up fulfilling a greater purpose. You can find the book "Pain with Purpose" on [Amazon](https://www.amazon.com/Pain-Purpose-Rachel-Adcock/dp/1797431072) for exactly $8.03, and all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Here's Rachel.
Hammer and Hockey
Mark Hammerstrom (AKA Hammer) spent the first 18 years of his life in Metro Chicago with Summer trips to Florida to spend time with his grandparents. His grandparents happened to be friends with the charismatic and longtime manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda. As you'll hear, Mark has fond memories of Coach Lasorda. After high school, Mark went from the Chicago area to Georgia Southern University, causing a certain degree of culture shock. After college, one of his first jobs was working for the cleverly named Bankers' Bank in Atlanta. As a massive lover of sports, Mark has always been a hockey fan. Amazingly, he started playing in his forties and loves every minute on the ice. Mark and his wife drove 8+ hours from Atlanta to hang out with Paul and his wife. During that visit, we had a chance sit down and record this conversation.
My Sailor Dad
Ross H Mackenzie is a helicopter pilot, published author and a retired Navy man. He also happens to be Paul's brother-in-law. During his 20 year US Navy career, he interdicted drug shipments in the Caribbean and cruised in the Persian Gulf as a Seahawk (SH-60) helicopter pilot. His published works include Brief Points: An Almanac for Parents and Friends of U.S. Navy Midshipmen, My Sailor Dad, and My Soldier Dad. My Sailor Dad and My Soldier Dad are part of the Patriot Kids book series and the Hero Kids Project aimed at helping service-member families understand military service and all that comes with it. To learn more, please visit: herokidsbookproject.org. He is married to his wife of 25 years, Elizabeth (Buffy) Gilman Mackenzie. They have two wonderful teenage sons, Stuart (19) and Cameron (16). Pictured (from L-R) are Buffy, Cameron, Stuart and Ross along with their puppy, Mira.
Al Lester and Kevin Flippen met through a mutual friend, but they deeply connected through their love of all things golf, which they discovered on a very rainy day a few years ago. While we plan to have both Al and Kevin on individually to hear their personal stories, We want to release their shared story because it includes their desire to start a golf-oriented podcast. We thought we could help.
Fades for Faith
Kody Miller has lived the kind of challenging life most can't imagine. Kody was born to parents that struggled with heroin addictions, and became a mother and wife at the age of 16. She divorced at age 19, and went on to develop an addiction of her own. She ended up using for the next 14 years, which sadly resulted in the loss of custody of her son during his high school years. She has been clean for the last 3 years, is working the steps and involved with NA, and her son is now back in her life. Now a Master Barber, Kody has turned her attention to those in need with her non-profit, [Fades for Faith](https://fadesforfaith.org). Fades for Faith provides haircuts and scholarships for disadvantaged young men in the foster care system. You can read more and donate at https://fadesforfaith.org.
The C Stands for Calvin, Christian and Champion
Calvin Duncan has lived an awesome and blessed life. From humble beginnings in Linden, NJ to basketball stardom at Oak Hill Academy and Virginia Commonwealth University to becoming a youth minister and eventually the Pastor and founder of Faith and Family Church in Richmond, VA, Calvin has positively impacted a lot of people. Join us to hear his inspirational story, why he walked away from a second-round NBA draft pick, and his thoughts on our country's history and what we can do to get to a better place.
Surfing in Morocco
This week we have my (Daniel's) dear sister Ariel Lantz on the show. A lover of travel & adventure, Ariel spent two years in Casablanca, Morocco as a Fulbright Scholar, then returned to the United States for a master's in Montessori Education. She now teaches middle school out in Seattle. In our conversation, Ariel shares her perspectives on Moroccan / Middle-Eastern culture, and how it compares to the rest of the world. We also get into the Montessori method and its history, and how she's had to adapt as an educator to the COVID-induced new normal. Finally, I'd like to wish Ariel a BIG happy early birthday (July 14th).
Old Time Religion
Aaron Albrecht is an activist, thinker, and accomplished Old Time Missouri Fiddler. This episode, Aaron gives us the lowdown on his love for the deep tradition of old time music, an appropriately named precursor to bluegrass, folk, and country that goes back centuries. Ever the activist, Aaron also tells us how he led a forum on drone warfare while in college that culminated with a Keynote speech by Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff, COL (R) Lawrence Wilkerson, a prominent critic of the Iraq war and drone programs. Finally, if you are a purchaser of Amazon products, you'll be interested to hear about the year he spent working at an Amazon warehouse. Intro/Outro Song: "Down in Little Egypt" - Aaron Albrecht (fiddle), Sean Barth (banjo), Calvin Woodring (harmonica), Blake Korte (guitar)
This week we had on the accomplished restaurateur, Joe Carroll, the mind behind several Williamsburg Brooklyn mainstays, including BBQ joint Fette Sau, and the St Anselm Steakhouse. In this conversation (featuring guest host Katy De Koning), we hear from Joe on his pivot from a music career to the restaurant world, and on the creativity with which he approached restaurant concepts, which has resulted in an impressive empire that now spans cities and states. Joe also reflected on how he handles setbacks and failures, discussed the new normal with COVID-19 in the restaurant industry, and even had some thoughts on the future of meat.
This week we had Craig Grimes (who should probably be a stand up comedian) come on to reminisce with Paul on their 'Salt and Pepper' basketball games, share his experiences growing up as the 12th of 13 grandchildren, and explain how life can fit into Winnie the Pooh characters. We recorded our conversation with Craig before the death of George Floyd, so we had him come back on to give us his follow up thoughts on America's relationship with race toward the end.
Living the Dream, Surviving the Reality
This week we have Chris Young on to talk about growing up in small town Mississippi, and the string of accolades he has since collected, including being the 3x winner of the 'Yes Mississippi' Award, the third-ranked high school football player in the state of Mississippi, and the highest ever rated athlete to sign with Vanderbilt, where he played with Jay Cutler, among others. The first part of this episode was recorded before the death of George Floyd, so we had Chris come back on along with his wife Lauren for an addendum to share their thoughts on the current moment.
Mia Blansett is an ER Nurse who transferred to a hospital in Northern New Jersey to work 12 hour days on the COVID front lines. She's a self-described spitfire with plenty of opinions on the pandemic situation, and has great takes on what it's like on the ground.
The Merry Middlebury Pranksters
This is the story of the Middlebury Pranksters, an Ultimate frisbee team that left their home in Vermont's wintry north on a quest for the 2019 Division III National Title. Giving us the rundown are the 2019 team captains: Alex Forde (The Eloquent), Asher Lantz (The Thinker), and Dylan Salzman (The Commander), who share the ins and outs of their journey, including injuries, rivalries, game-saving plays, mid-tournament food-poisoning, and above all, the hard work the team put in on and off the field. If you are new to the sport of ultimate, don't worry - the rules of the game are explained as we go. Pictured: 2019 Seniors, left to right: Asher Lantz, Alex Forde, Eli Wolfgang, Dylan Salzman
Their Game, My Truth
Our guest this week is LaToya Robinson, who came on to tell us about becoming a young mother, and how she rose to the occasion to provide the best life for her daughter. She also shares her experience as a black woman in corporate America and her insights on playing the "game" . On top of her job as a manager for a successful financial services company, Toya is also a top-ranked realtor in the city of Atlanta, so if you are looking for a home, you know who to call! Lots of wisdom and perspective to be gained from this conversation. Follow Toya on Instagram at @toya\_\_the\_\_realtor
This week we've got William Still on to talk on growing up in small town GA at the time of the Atlanta Child Murders, then later moving to DC and working various jobs on Capitol Hill (including as a researcher at NRSC and the press assistant to Phil Gramm's campaign). He also tells us about going to law school at night with 2 kids and a full time lobbying job, and his experience of being in DC for 9/11.
Twice Winter Ranger
First Lieutenant Jack Stockhausen is not one for taking the easy road. At 25 years old, he bears the distinction of being a West Point alumnus and U.S. Army Ranger, with a deployment under his belt. Jack comes on to talk about his time at the Academy, and how, upon failing Ranger School in the final week, he decided to do what few others do - go back and start the grueling course all over again. We are also joined by Jack's dad Mike, who came on back in our first episode.
May the Fourth Be With You
Alexandra Santiago Aguilar, a self-described "Salvado-Rican," grew up in Long Island, NY, and after decades of focusing on her career, found love in her 40s and decided to pursue motherhood. Alex shares her journey with IVF, and her plans to blog about her experience as a new mother for the sake of other women in her situation. We also hear from Alex on how her pursuit of an MBA played into her corporate success, and why she has a huge poster of Darth Vader in her office.
Sarah Wall 2048
Sarah Wall has a more diverse career than most Millennials out there. From Democratic campaigns to Republican campaigns; from political think tanks to the food service industry; from nonprofits to a global financial company. We catch Sarah mid-journey, and she shares some wisdom from her breadth of experience, including her thoughts on the non profit world vs the corporate world, what she wishes was different about Baltimore, and the roundabout path she took to finding her political stance.
Revolutions & Revelations
Yannis Katsaros was born in Athens, Greece as the eldest of three. When he was five years old, his family moved to Cairo, Egypt, where he was raised through high school. In tenth grade, Yannis was evacuated from Cairo due to the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and returned four months later, after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. This episode, Yannis talks about his memories of the Arab Spring, and reflects on where life has taken him in the decade since.
Wooden Shoes Any Other Podcast
This episode, we are joined by newlyweds Katy and Niels de Koning. Katy, our senior podcast advisor, fills us in on her background, from losing her Miami home during Hurricane Andrew to chasing the dream of living in NYC. Niels, who was Virginia-born and Netherlands-raised, breaks down American misconceptions about the Netherlands and Dutch history, and reveals the truth about wooden shoes. Finally, we hear about how their story started with a super-like on Tinder, and culminated in a completely unexpected proposal on a misty day in Montreal.
Why did the Epidemiologist Cross the Road?
Dr. Kiarri Kershaw is a social epidemiologist whose research focuses on how social environments impact health, particularly cardiovascular health. This episode, we hear about Kiarri's motivations in becoming an epidemiologist, her perspective on the pandemic we find ourselves in, and her research on how race, segregation, and various social factors can influence cardiovascular health. Joining us to help out with the interview is Kiarri's younger sister, Njeri Kershaw. Pictured: Kiarri (left), Njeri (Middle), and their mom (right)
A Versatile Contributor
Tony Szymendera is the Varsity Baseball coach and Head of Upper School for St Christophers Boys School in Richmond. In our conversation, Tony shares his thoughts about St Christophers' ongoing journey of adapting to distance learning, and the challenges and opportunities it presents. He also talks about his path to becoming an educator and coach, and imparts some wisdom from his 25 years of coaching baseball. Finally, Tony shared his memories of Tad DuPriest and Brad Parrish, dear friends to each other and alumni of St Christophers, both of whom tragically passed away a year apart, and far before their time. Tad's Friends and Family later started Tad's Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to honoring his life and serving children. To read more about what they do and donate, visit https://tadskids.org.
Ed Miller is the co-founder and President of [Marijuana Justice](https://www.marijuanajustice.org), a new non-profit that advocates for equitable legalization and raises awareness of the history of cannabis criminalization. On top of his presidential duties, he has a day job as Director of Analytics at a fast-growing fintech startup. Ed is also a former high school math teacher and counselor for teens, couples, and groups, and is drawn to the power of connection and relationships.
A Vegan and a Hunter Walk Into a Bar
Andrew Mauck is a soon-to-be father, former football player, and hunter. This episode, Andrew tells us about his football career and how it was cut short by concussions, and he breaks down some common misconceptions about hunting and hunters. We also hear the story of how he almost died during a job interview (he got the job).
Richie Crabbe is a musician, barbecue enthusiast, former home-brewer, and father of two. This episode, Richie tells us about his upbringing in small-town Virginia, his band Stagg Creek (catch them at Hanover Country Club), and his adventures custom-building a sheet metal barbecue grill big enough to feed 1000 people.
Three Generations Gilman
Brigadier General (Ret) Larry Gilman, father to Paul, is a US Army and Virginia Army National Guard combat veteran of the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Shield/Storm (Saudi Arabia/Iraq). He served with Regular Army engineer units and several national guard engineer units over his 35 year career (3 Active, 9 USAR and 23 VaARNG) with honor and distinction. As a civilian lawyer, he also served as a private practice attorney, the town attorney of Ashland, VA and retired as a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge. He currently enjoys traveling, spending time with his grandkids, and giving back to the community. Also joining us is Paul's son Zach, currently a senior in high school.
Jim Pecsok is a third year medical student and a happy-go-lucky lover of adventure. With this interview, Jim re-enters the spotlight for the first time since his dramatic 63rd place finish at US Tennis Nationals in 2014, after which he decided life in the public eye was 'just too much.' This episode, we hear from Jim about medical school, what being a doctor means to him, and how he turns ill-fated camping trips into fond memories.
Why We Are Doing This
This episode, we (Daniel & Paul) discuss the purpose of Pod So 1 and the importance of storytelling, meaningful conversation, and being present in an increasingly distracted world.
CAPT(Ret.) Gene Burke
Gene Burke is a retired Navy Captain and helicopter pilot with over 20 years of experience flying the MH-53, AKA the "Sea Dragon." This episode, we hear about his origins, his memorable encounters as a helicopter pilot, and his love of the Chicago Cubs. A proud father of three, Gene now happily occupies an empty nest with his wife Joan.
Dimitry Droujinsky (pt. 2)
Our conversation continues with FBI Spycatcher Dimitry Droujinsky as he recalls his memories of Kuwait, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall, his upbringings in Palestine, and his experiences in fatherhood.
Dimitry Droujinsky (pt 1)
Dimitry N. Droujinsky, aka 'Good Old Dimitry,' is a Palestinian-born Russian, U.S. Marine, retired FBI agent, and subject of a 2016 Smithsonian Magazine article on undercover counterintelligence investigations. Over his 30-year FBI tenure from the 60s to the 90s, Droujinsky posed as a KGB agent or other foreign national in order to lure and catch spies and terrorists. He is a speaker of nine languages, a lover of coffee and fine cigars, and a hero to our country.
Tom Greco is a masterful Italian-American storyteller and former debate champion. In our conversation, Tom recounts the story of his grandfather, nicknamed "Granite", who defected from Mussolini's Army during the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, and found his way to New York City to start a new life.
No Tank You
COL Bryan Coleman is a 30-year Virginia Army National Guard veteran. In this episode, we discuss Bryan's life and career, including his beginnings in Upstate New York, his deployment to Bosnia just before 9/11, and his reflections on leading and being led.
CSM Mike Stockhausen (pt 2)
Our conversation with Mike Stockhausen continues as we discuss his work in the Cyber guard, take a detour on football, and learn more about his life and family.
CSM Mike Stockhausen (pt 1)
Command Sergeant Major Mike Stockhausen is a decorated US Army and Virginia Army National Guard combat veteran of Operation Just Cause (Panama), Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield (Kuwait/Iraq), and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). Over his thirty-year career, he served in the 75th Ranger Regiment of the US Army and several units in the Virginia Army National Guard with distinction. He currently teaches Leadership classes at Benedictine College Preparatory in Richmond, VA.