Submitted by Kurt Parks

Q:  What was your primary career and what did you love about it?

A:  My career primarily spanned environments in manufacturing, software development, sales and education. What I loved most was the passionate accomplishments of the groups I supported and lead, and in being a team member. It was the mixture of the people and goals, working together and accomplishing difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible tasks. It was the planning and preparation that set the project(s) up for efficient and effective progress. It was the team that created the plan and then put it into action. It was the pursuit, usually against formidable obstacles, and the opportunity for sharing of a successful effort.

Q:  When you retired, did you feel ‘finished’ or, for you, was there still something left to do?

A:  While I am not employed, I do not consider myself retired. There is, in fact, much left to do. My goals? Opportunities to be involved in K-12 educational endeavors focused on student engagement reflected in reduced dropout, civic engagement, improved graduation rates, and hope in every student’s eyes. Every student is important and there ARE good things going on and that can be done in education. It is crucial that we be about these things: for each of the students and their future, be it college or career; for our future, to have students who are ready to transition into the workforce or continue their education; and without hesitance, for the economy and security of the United States. 

Q:  What inspires you and why?

A:  I am inspired by a problem, perceived or real, that causes people to have “obstacles to their performance.” My basic belief is that people (employees, students, teachers, etcetera) have a desire to put forth their best effort and the obstacles to that performance, are many – from the location of a wastebasket, to inadequate training, to a dictator in their life, to administrative processes and procedures, or the lack thereof, to a system (manufacturing, services or education) that is depressing by its nature. Why do these obstacles inspire me? Because they are removable, if that is a desired outcome, and I love to see obstacles removed and excellence achieved.

Q:  How does your unique set of experiences make a difference for the community in your work now?

A:  There are many areas, in your areas of expertise, that need your help. Find them, be responsible and honorable, and with persistence, enjoy the challenge. Because no one was born with the knowledge and experience you have, take what you have learned and look for opportunities to help and pass it on to others.

Q:  What’s your advice for boomers who are about to launch their own “second act”?

A:  There are many areas, in your areas of expertise, that need your help. Find them, be responsible and honorable, and with persistence, enjoy the challenge. Because no one was born with the knowledge and experience you have, take what you have learned and look for opportunities to help and pass it on to others.