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84 Birthday Candles

This month, I will blow out 84 birthday candles.

Through nearly eight and half decades in this beautiful world, I offer a ‘lookback’ on a productive, fun and rewarding run.

The Early Years

In 1940, I was born into a very poor family. Dad ran a small milking farm and mother worked at a small country grocery store in exchange for bartered goods so our family could eat; I slept on a cot placed in the outside porch and my kind sister JoAnn would slip outside and cover me with a quilt so I would not get bitterly cold. Our little farm was in Duvall, Washington and winters were cold and wet. In 1950, a gallon of gas cost $0.27 a gallon and a hamburger cost 12 cents (the average American family spent a little more than $800 annually on food).

Despite modest economic resources, my parents were kind, joyful and faithful while also having tremendous values and work habits; I had a good upbringing and was allowed to play sports where I excelled throughout my teenage years. This led to performing for the high school varsity tennis team where I earned a collegiate scholarship to attend Seattle Pacific University. Boosted by academic scholarships from the local Rotary Club and FFA, my undergrad years were followed by studying in seminary in Scotland.

The Career Years

Before co-founding Express Employment Professionals in 1983, I was a personnel consultant (1965) and vice president (1975) at ACME Personnel Services. As Co-founder, CEO, and Board Member of Express Employment Professionals, we set a goal to build the top franchised staffing company in the world based out of headquarters in Oklahoma City.

Adjacent to this journey, I joined Jarold Callahan in launching Express Ranches and worked with my son, Bob, Jr. in sports, music and regionally located Express offices. Of course, it has been a tremendous privilege to serve on many nonprofit boards (e.g., National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum), trade association boards (e.g.,  International Franchise Association) and national boards serving our great country (e.g., chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City). 

Today and Tomorrow

 At 84, I feel contented, mainly because I have placed my trust in God and surrounded myself with loyal family members, talented leaders, dedicated colleagues and beautiful friends.

I surmise the most important thing in life for people who’ve reached eight decades is to cherish relationships with family, friends and colleagues listed above, count their blessings for health and well-being, and find joy and fulfillment in everyday activities. Treasuring a life well-lived, ensuring those around me genuinely know of my love and appreciation, and leaving a positive impact on the world would rank as important activities this year.

As I blow out 84 candles on May 14, I ‘make a wish’ for you to a) dream big; b) achieve those dreams; and c) have the same kind of blessed life I’ve enjoyed. May God bless you in your personal, business and community endeavors.

1 Comment

2 days ago

Happy Birthday Bob, I miss seeing you and hearing you speak. You are an inspiration to me. God Bless

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