It was 5:36am.
My publishing team and I were on our way to the Los Angeles office from Utah.We stopped at Starbucks on Tropicana Ave across from Charlie Fritas park in Las Vegas for breakfast and coffee. Michael, my new hire publishing coordinator, was sitting in the passenger seat of my Jeep Wrangler.
“Hey, Tommy. Do you see that?” Michael exclaimed.
“No, what is it Michael? I can barely see in the morning… You know this.” I said groggily, fully expecting Michael to point out something mundane as he usually does.
“Yeah…Well, Tommy I think that may be a Las Vegas Raider running at Charlie Fritas park. He is moving.” Michael said vehemently.
Michael and I have always been football aficionados. We were avid attendees of SEC football games and today still remain die-hard Las Vegas Raider fans. As we watched what we thought to be a Las Vegas raider running; we grew increasingly excited at the chance of meeting someone such as Asmar Bilal, Divine Deablo, and Bryan Edwards.
“Lets pull into the parking lot over by that end of Charlie Fritas park and try to get a closer look as he runs by. We can at least say hi or take a picture if he does not stop.” I added.
Michael agreed and we started the car and drove towards the parking lot where we could cut him off for conversation. The time read 5:44am before we slammed the car doors shut and headed towards the field. When we saw this mysterious man again; he had picked up his pace as he ran around the corner of the park by the furthest end of the field. As he was about 300 yards away from us he began to slow down and raise his hands as though crossing a finish line.
“Perfect.” I said. “At least we can strike up a conversation as he is walking by.”
When he was about 25 yards away I found myself at a loss for words. So, I said the first thing to come to mind that would entice conversation.
“Best time for a morning run!” I yelled.
“I could not agree more.” He replied with a smile.
Sensing a friendly and welcoming personality. I decided to be direct.
“What is your name? Are you a Raider?” I asked.
“I am Gerry and no…I wish!” He replied with a laugh.
“Then Gerry, why are you training this early and running with a vigorous pace?” I said with the intention of catching him off guard, so he would reveal more information about himself to us.
Gerry tilted his head back slightly and intensely looked at Michael and I. It was clear that he was assessing us by examining the surrounding area as well as our clothes, hands, and physique.
“I am usually up early training.” Gerry replied then followed with a brief pause.
“What’s your name? I’m assuming you are a reporter or scout?” Gerry added.
Michael chimed in: “We’re reporters for the Los Angeles Tribune… We just wanted to know if you were a Raider”
“I am not, but I was a decent athlete back in the day.” Gerry said with a faint laugh.
“So what do you do?” I replied back almost instantly.
“I started my entrepreneurial journey about a year ago. I focus on tech and marketing solutions for clients.” Gerry remarked.
“But what about the pandemic… Why would you start a business venture in the midst of a pandemic? It seems like the worst time to take a risk…” Michael retorted.
“Yes you can look at it that way, but I knew what I had in me to succeed. I believe it is Peter Marshall’s quote that says: oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”
Both Michael and I felt a calling and sense of inspiration to learn more about Gerry’s story. We suggested exchanging information in order to conduct an interview and offered a coverage feature in the Los Angeles Tribune. Gerry agreed and after the interaction, Michael engaged in a series of search queries to unpack who Gerry actually is.
As it turned out, Gerry had an ESPN article that mentioned multiple division 1 football scholarship offers and roster pictures for a division 3 school in Waterville, Maine. The following week, we called Gerry and conducted an interview.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: Hello Gerry. This is Michael and Tommy from the Los Angeles Tribune.
Gerry: Hello, I’m grateful that your team took notice of me. I have been doing these workouts for nearly a year now and it feels a bit like serendipity that someone began to take notice of what I was doing.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: Yes, we felt a calling to cover your story. How are you?
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: Are you all set for the interview?
Gerry: Yes. We can begin.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: So we have to ask you something. What school did you go to?
Gerry: I went to a school in Maine called Colby College. It is a small liberal arts school.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: Did you have any interest in other schools? Why did you go with that school?
Gerry: You must have looked me up! So I never loved football, but I was decent enough to receive a few division 1 offers. I loved the training and comradery aspect of it, but ultimately when I started to get injuries; I knew it was not sustainable long term. I ultimately decided to go to a division 3 school where I could pursue multiple passions and get a great education.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: Do you plan on continuing your education?
Gerry: Yes, I plan on getting my MBA.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: So, what exactly do you do?
Gerry: The best way to describe what I do is provide marketing and technology solutions to those that need it. I have worked with CPA’s, small business owners, realtors, consultants, and the list continues. Essentially, these types of people are in need of marketing distribution to raise awareness on who they are and what they are doing or they need a website, an app, or a script to help automate a business process.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: You mentioned you left your corporate job a year ago. Can you tell us more about that?
Gerry: I have always had an entrepreneurial personality. I was the type of kid who was snow shoveling people’s driveways on snow days and doing the cliche entrepreneurial things (lemonade stands, comic books, etc) on weekends whenever I had time. I would also consider myself to be an empathetic person, so these kinds of things came natural to me when I had to create a business out of it and sell.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: Interesting. What was the hardest part of your journey so far?
Gerry: The initial step. When I first started the process of leaving my company, it was scary. I had to keep repeating to myself that I believed in my ability and I could do it. Additionally, it was hard to leave my old company as I genuinely loved the people, culture, and what I was doing.
Los Angeles Tribune Editorial Team: Do you have anything else to share?
Gerry: Yeah, when I first started this process. I thought to myself: it would be cool from an outside perspective to see what the journey was like. Although I am not even close to where I want to be, I thought documenting the journey would be something people would want to know more about. As a result, I avidly journaled and took notes on the highs, lows, and everything in-between.
However, I wanted to have something worth reading, so I kept delaying releasing it. After about a year of traversing through this jungle otherwise known as entrepreneurship. I think I am ready to begin thinking about a release date.
Regardless, what I have done so far is journal and document, subtly, through one of my social channels (@nvulestudios). I want to be authentic and not one of those guys embellishing this career path because this world is the furthest thing from sunshine and roses. There is a lot of uncertainty.