Most Las Vegas residents like living in Southern Nevada, but few make the leap of faith that Ron M. Portaro did in 1994. The business and development consultant gave up a "tenure-track, full time, full-benefits, kids-could-go-to-college-for free job" to keep his family in Las Vegas. He had no local job, so he commuted twice a month to the Cleveland and Toledo areas for two years to complete the consulting assignments that fed his young family. As the Ohio native discusses the dysfunctional family into which he was born and was raised, he also talks about forging his own path as an overachiever, about going to college at Penn State at Altoona on a mining engineering co-op program with Morton Salt, working six months out of the year in the salt mines and attending classes the other six months. After transferring to the University of Toledo, he formed his own painting business to pay his tuition and graduated in management in 1978 and earned his JD and MBA in 1981. His mentor at University of Toledo asked him to teach labor management. While teaching labor relations he also began representing athletes as a player agent in the National Football League and the United States Football League back in the day and the Canadian Football League. From there, he became associate director for the Northwest Ohio Center for Labor Management Cooperation at the University of Toledo and later with the Cleveland State Labor Management Center. It was with the latter that he learned the benefits of the BUILT-RITE model of business relations to promote cooperation between and among the building trades, contractors, and owners. In this interview, Portaro speaks to the BUILT-RITE model for cooperation, his 1993 move to Las Vegas and fortuitous meetings of Pastor Paul Goulet of the International Church of Las Vegas, City of Las Vegas councilman Arnie Adamsen, and Charlie Kajkowski of the Las Vegas Public Works Department. He reveals how these connections eventually not only shaped Portaro's life in Southern Nevada; they also enabled him to turn his life experiences, education, and skill set to benefit his church, his family, and his adopted community. The commitment Portaro made in 1994 to remain in Las Vegas has benefitted Southern Nevada tourists, residents, and business owners in countless ways we can appreciate only when we stop to think about how many people had to cooperate and communicate to make our large infrastructure projects come to fruition.
Portaro, Ron M. Interview, 2017 July 27. OH-03212. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
i AN INTERVIEW WITH RON M. PORTARO An Oral History Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2017 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editor: Stefani Evans Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Frances Smith Interviewers: Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Project Manager: Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the UNLV University Libraries. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea and the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Building Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iv PREFACE "It's almost like a Little League team, is what I tell people. We bring people together to work on a new project. They really don't know each over or have never worked together. I'm the coach. I'm the facilitator. I say, 'Okay, how are we going to do this?'" Most Las Vegas residents like living in Southern Nevada, but few make the leap of faith that Ron M. Portaro did in 1994. The business and development consultant gave up a "tenure-track, full time, full-benefits, kids-could-go-to-college-for free job" to keep his family in Las Vegas. He had no local job, so he commuted twice a month to the Cleveland and Toledo areas for two years to complete the consulting assignments that fed his young family. As the Ohio native discusses the dysfunctional family into which he was born and was raised, he also talks about forging his own path as an overachiever, about going to college at Penn State at v Altoona on a mining engineering co-op program with Morton Salt, working six months out of the year in the salt mines and attending classes the other six months. After transferring to the University of Toledo, he formed his own painting business to pay his tuition and graduated in management in 1978 and earned his JD and MBA in 1981. His mentor at University of Toledo asked him to teach labor management. While teaching labor relations he also began representing athletes as a player agent in the National Football League and the United States Football League back in the day and the Canadian Football League. From there, he became associate director for the Northwest Ohio Center for Labor Management Cooperation at the University of Toledo and later with the Cleveland State Labor Management Center. It was with the latter that he learned the benefits of the BUILT-RITE model of business relations to promote cooperation between and among the building trades, contractors, and owners. In this interview, Portaro speaks to the BUILT-RITE model for cooperation, his 1993 move to Las Vegas and fortuitous meetings of Pastor Paul Goulet of the International Church of Las Vegas, City of Las Vegas councilman Arnie Adamsen, and Charlie Kajkowski of the Las Vegas Public Works Department. He reveals how these connections eventually not only shaped Portaro's life in Southern Nevada; they also enabled him to turn his life experiences, education, and skill set to benefit his church, his family, and his adopted community. The commitment Portaro made in 1994 to remain in Las Vegas has benefitted Southern Nevada tourists, residents, and business owners in countless ways we can appreciate only when we stop to think about how many people had to cooperate and communicate to make our large infrastructure projects come to fruition. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Ron M. Portaro July 27, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Preface…………………………………………………………………………………..………..iv One of five children born and raised in Ohio; parents' divorce and custody battle; father, stepmother, and stepsiblings; school achievement, Top 25 traveling singing group, baseball, and Dean Nicholas Citizenship Award; leaving home with brothers and father; Morton Salt Company, engineer trainee, "salt mining city" in Fairport Harbor Morton Salt Mine, and Penn State University at Altoona and baseball. University of Toledo, brother's wedding, and mother; P and S Painting, graduating in Management 1978; JD/MBA 1981, and teaching business law at University of Toledo…………………………………………………………………………………………1–15 Mother and second husband; labor relations, Jim Harbaugh, and 1986–1987 player agent in the National Football League, United States Football League, and Canadian Football League. University of Toledo Labor Management Center 1989–1990 northwest Ohio and Ford, General Motors, and Jeep. BUILT-RITE model for labor relations and toolbox meetings. Moving to Las Vegas 1993, Pastor Paul Goulet, International Church of Las Vegas, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and City of Las Vegas councilman Arnie Adamsen…………..………15–29 Charlie Kajkowski and fifteen acres BLM land for International Church 1994; move to Las Vegas and commute to Cleveland/Toledo for work; 1997 Charlie Kajkowski and facilitator for City of Las Vegas, contractor, and subcontractors; "partnering" like coaching Little League; water treatment by Royal Oaks Golf Course, NDOT project on Charleston Boulevard, and Main Street/Commerce project; stakeholder meetings, public outreach, and project team building; traffic control; International Church of Las Vegas, church administrator 2000–2004, "Whosoever Church" ……………………………………………………………………………...………29–42 Las Vegas 2020 Master Plan Committee; UNLV President Leonard "Pat" Goodall and ratio of representation; Mayor Oscar Goodman and City of Las Vegas retreat 2004; 2006 communications assessment City of Las Vegas; Horse Interchange project on I-95; Historic Fifth Street School; wife Lynne.………………………………………………………………………......………42–51 vii 1 Good afternoon. It is July 27th, 2017. Claytee White and Stefani Evans are with Ron Portaro. Mr. Portaro, may I ask you to spell your first and last names, please? Yes. Ron, R-O-N. M, middle initial. Portaro, P, as in Paul, O-R-T-A-R-O. Thank you. Let's begin by perhaps you can tell us about your early life and what that was like growing up. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and I was the second child in a family of five from my father and my mother. My father's name was Richard Dennis Portaro Sr., and my mother's name was Joanne Ilges, I-L-G-E-S. They were married at a very young age. My brother Richard Jr. was born when my mother was fifteen; pregnant at fourteen. I called him Rick. He always was Rick to us. In his older age he became Richard, but he's still Rick to me. He was born, and then I came along two years later. Then my brother Rob came a year and eight months after that. My sister Robin came a year and a half or two after that. My brother Ryan—all R's, if you figured that out—came two years after that. By the time my mother was twenty-two years old, she had five children. So life for a very young family—my dad was seventeen, I believe, by the time my [older] brother was born—they were basically teenagers raising children. My dad had been going to school at Cathedral Latin High School, an all-boys school in Cleveland, and upon getting married and having a child, he decided that he better start working. My grandfather, Ross J. Portaro, was a hairdresser. He did women's hair in the City of Cleveland and was part of a family of beauticians—we called them beauticians back then. My grandfather's cousin, Joe Portaro, was a very well-known celebrity in the Cleveland area, because he was the first person ever to do live hair on television in Cleveland in the late fifties. 2 He had a television show called Joe Portaro's House of Hair Fashion, or whatever it was. The RAND Corporation was their sponsor. So my grandfather got in the business. His cousin Joe was in the business; he was the famous one. You can even look him up. You'll probably still find him somewhere on the Internet. So when my grandfather got in business, my father, by default of having to go out and work, decided, guess what I am going to do? I am going to get in the business. So my father became a hairdresser, and I might say he became a very good hairdresser. He won awards in hair shows in Chicago. He would bring home trophies for styling and all kinds of things. My dad's two brothers also then decided that they were going to become hairdressers. So they opened up a business in a local suburb of Cleveland called Ross Portaro and Sons Hair Salons. Not anymore, but probably for forty years, since the sixties, even into the late nineties, the name Portaro in the City of Cleveland was very well associated with the hair business, from the television show and, of course, that generation of people grew up and were watching people do hair. So that's kind of a little bit of a family history. Up until, oh, maybe ten years ago, when I would visit back to Cleveland, I would run into people and they would hear my name. "Is that with the hair?" Yes, it was. So that was the background professionally for my father. My mother obviously stayed home. I was the second born and then Rob was born third. Robin Ann was born fourth, and brother Ryan was born fifth. We lived in the Cleveland area. We lived in an up-and-down duplex—we lived in the upstairs; my grandparents lived downstairs—on West Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio. I went to St. Ignatius kindergarten. Then my dad and mom moved us out to a suburb called Mayfield Heights, which is about 3 twenty to twenty-five miles east of Cleveland. We moved into Mayfield Heights off of Mayfield Road, and we went to school at Saint Francis [of Assisi School], a Catholic school. I went there, my older brother Rick went there, and I think Rob may have gone there for first grade, because Rob was a year behind me; Rick was two years ahead of me. My parents, being quite young and just maybe not as knowledgeable in the art of marriage, struggled with all those kids and not making it work. Of course, not being able to understand it all, [when I was] at the age of eight or nine they divorced. They divorced when you were eight or nine? Yes, my age. So we had to move from what was the marital home to an apartment just nearby. I think I started kindergarten in one place; finished it at another place in Mayfield. I started it in the West Side in Cleveland; I'm pretty sure I finished it in Mayfield Heights. Then first grade was Saint Francis. Second grade was Saint Francis. We moved from an apartment where we lived with my mother and five kids. [She became] a single mom. It was not the easiest row to hoe, but she managed. I was in third grade when we moved from the apartments. I went to Saint Paschal [Baylon] School in third grade, and we lived in a house across the street in Richmond Heights. So we went from West Side to Mayfield Heights house, Mayfield Heights apartment, and then the Richmond Heights house that we rented. In third grade going into fourth grade, my father remarried. [My parents] went through a lengthy custody battle, much of which I don't even want to talk about. It was not healthy for anybody in the family. So my dad and his new wife won custody of us from our mother. All five of you? Yes. So going into fourth grade, we moved then to a town called Chesterland, and in fourth grade 4 I went to Chester Elementary School. So now we're all together—father, stepmother; her name is Judy—and we had this new life. Unfortunately, because of what happens in divorce and relationships between spouses who don't do well together, we didn't see our mother after a lot of, I would say, animosity between my father and my mother and the new stepmother. My mother had visitation, but we wouldn't go with her because of things that we believed about her that we were told. And so we lost touch with our mother for probably nine years. But we had this new family and a stepmother. So we lived in Chesterland, fourth grade. Fifth grade we moved to Mentor, Ohio, and I went to Hopkins Elementary School in fifth grade and in sixth grade. I went two years in one elementary school. So that was early, going through family dysfunction. If you were to look in the dictionary under family dysfunctions, our family's picture would be next to that, and I'm sure we join many, believe me. CLAYTEE: Yes. It's a crowded category. There's a whole book on it. But nonetheless, my parents being very young and struggling, split up, divorce, remarriage, and custody battle: here we are, living in Mentor. Actually, fifth grade through high school we lived in the same city with my father and my stepmother. So that's early. Junior high was Memorial Junior High School. I was always the stellar student in the family ever since growing up. Just something that I was good at, school. I think school became for me that outlet; when you don't have family things going so well, you go to school. You do well, there are a lot of accolades to be received, and a lot of positive strokes to receive, and that kind of did it for me. It helped me, from my standpoint, manage those years of my life because I was always pretty much straight A's, maybe a B. My brothers, not so much. But, here again, 5 we're talking about what I went through and my perspectives. Life in junior high was more of [the same]. We played baseball, Little League. My older brother played; I played; my brother Rob played, and so that was kind of our thing in terms of sports. Into junior high, I became a student council member and president of the student council in ninth grade. I had a good junior high experience. I played eighth-grade football. I got run over a lot. I was not the largest guy around. Ninth grade I went out for football and since they merged all the junior highs together, you had the best guys from all the junior highs coming together. After about two or three weeks of just getting beat up, I said, "This isn't for me; I'm going to stick with baseball." So I did. I played baseball as a junior varsity player in tenth grade and a varsity player in eleventh and twelfth grade. Things in the second marriage with my dad changed, because my dad then had with his second wife [my half-] brother, Steven, who is ten years my junior, and [my half-] sister, Jennifer, who is, I think, maybe fourteen years my junior. When things started not going well in the second marriage, it became a very difficult time as a young man growing up in a second very, very type of a dysfunctional home. Long story short, we struggled through high school in terms of relationships in the family. There's no need to get into any particulars as to who or how or what. But my brother left for college. He was two years ahead of me. So by my junior year he had gone off to the University of Toledo, my brother Rick. In my junior year I was playing baseball. I also had become, as a sophomore, part of a group called The Top 25. It was a high school singing group, where you wore outfits, and the boys and the girls would have partners, and you'd sing together all the popular songs of the day. We would have boxes that we'd sit on 6 and ladders we'd stand on. I was in the choir. I played string bass in the orchestra in tenth grade, and they asked me to play string bass for this pop singing group in tenth grade, which I did. I was in it, but [only] as a bass player until the choir director said, "Can you sing?" I said, "Well, I don't know." He says, "Get over here." So he brought me over to the piano and he says, "You're singing; forget the bass." And I became a singer, then, for eleventh and twelfth grades as part of the group. Like I said, we had outfits and we had ties and blazers. Did you go to competitions? I went to competitions with our choral group and the choir. But with The Top 25, we were a singing group that sang functions for parties and events, when there was a [bill] to pass the school levy, our choir director took a song and he redid the words, "Vote for the levy," and we would sing in the mall. They would line us up. We had the opportunity to sing for Bob Hope at an honorarium in town someone gave him. Also probably one of the highlights of our singing group—my girlfriend was in it, too, so that was kind of cool—in my senior year we went to Washington, D.C. and we sang on the steps of the Capitol of the United States and we sang at a luncheon provided for—you remember Don Shula? He was coach of the Baltimore Colts and then of the undefeated Miami Dolphins. The year the Dolphins went undefeated, our senator, Bill Stanton, threw a lunch gathering in honor of Shula and the winning season. We sang at that luncheon and Coach Shula went up and down and he shook every one of our hands. Talk about a highlight for a young man, or for any person, to shake the hands of an undefeated winning coach. Don Shula—his sister taught at our high school—so he was from the area. So high school was baseball and singing for me and, of course, grades. I did well enough in high school. I took math and science honors programs, took the physics, trigonometry. Believe 7 it or not, back in the day I took Latin for two years. It helped me understand root words and all that. It was okay. When I graduated from high school one of the awards I got was the Dean Nicholas Citizenship Award, which was given to a well-rounded outstanding student engaged in this and that. That was 1973. Dean Nicholas had died in service in the Vietnam War, and they had started this memorial award in his honor for an outstanding student. I was very fortunate to receive that. So did you get the first one? No, I don't know if it was the first one or not. I don't recall at the moment. I suppose it's in the archives somewhere. It was an honor to receive it. During the course of junior high and high school, I got Outstanding Dean's List, stuff like that, but that's part and parcel, I think, of just having good grades and being involved in your school activities. So that took us through junior high and high school. Family life got worse and worse and worse. Actually, I ran away from home. Mr. Straight-A Student, singing in The Top 25. My older brother and I ran away from home in my sophomore year. He went with me. That lasted about six or seven hours until our father found us and said, "You either come here or you can go to the detention center." Back in the day that's what happened. So we came back. Eleventh or twelfth grade—I can't remember—I took off again and ended up staying at a friend's house for four days. Then I went back with the same ultimatum. So senior year I decided, I'm eighteen. And when I turned eighteen in January of my senior year, I told my dad it was time for me to go and he can't make me stay. He basically asked me, he said, "Listen, I want to see you graduate under my roof. I want to see you go to your senior prom under my roof. And if things don't get better around here, if you'll wait until after 8 you graduate and you go, if things don't get better, I'm going with you." He's going to run away from home with you? So I graduated in June and I think at the end of June or July, my dad and my two brothers and I left. We moved out. What about your sister? My sister and the half-brother and half-sister stayed with the stepmother. But the sister stayed. The sister stayed. Unfortunately, in retrospect...My dad would admit it was the biggest mistake of his life. He had every right to have her come, but she did not. Again, we as children or young people are just having to deal with whatever's coming our way. So this was round two of family strife. What happened was, because of the animosity between my father and stepmother, my sister, my half-sister and my half-brother, we didn't have a relationship anymore. I haven't probably seen my full sister in forty years. That's a function of parents misbehaving and not recognizing the need to put the children first. If anybody would walk into my office or ask me my advice, I would say, "Sit down. I would like to talk to you about your children and how you need to treat them and put what their needs are way ahead of yours and yours. Right. So did you go away to college? I then went to a mining engineering co-op program with Morton Salt, where you work six months out of the year and make some money, and then you go to college for six months. I worked in the salt mines as an engineer trainee part-time—well, actually six months full-time right out of high school, engineer trainee. I'd work up in the offices drafting and they'd teach me to draft and do things. Then I went down into the mines with an engineer. I remember his name was Jerry. He was from Yugoslavia. I don't know why I remember that. We would go down. And 9 down in the salt mines in Fairport Harbor Morton Salt Mine in the Cleveland area, by where I lived, there would be catacombs of salt being mined twenty feet high by forty feet wide, these caverns. They are two thousand feet down below the earth and below Lake Erie. Lake Erie is only a hundred and ten feet deep, a hundred and twenty feet. So there was a whole mining rock salt operation underneath the ground for Morton Salt Company, and I'm sure there were other salt companies. So I was an engineer trainee. So I'd probably go down into the mines once a week. We would measure the distance from the center point of a cross section. We'd drop a plumb. We would put it on a surveying instrument. I would drive the truck down, get up on the lift, and I'd pull the chain a hundred and eighty feet and mark where the next intersection is going to be. So these intersections were a hundred and eighty feet apart? Yes. We'd stretch that chain a hundred and eighty feet, and he'd go back and forth, and he'd flash his light this way. He would put an eye bolt on it and then we'd hang the plumb and he'd look through his telescope for the eye. And if it was this way, I'd have to knock it this or that way. About a hundred pounds of salt fell on my head one time because I was . . . I had a helmet on. Very interesting exposure to a different culture of miners. Coal miners are probably now salt miners; it's very, very interesting. There are big Euclid trucks down there [in the salt mines]. There are conveyor belts, rock crushers and the whole thing. It's a little salt mining city going on underneath Lake Erie and it was very, very interesting. I probably didn't appreciate it as much then as I do now. We'd drive golf carts around. I wore the helmet with a light on it; that's how you saw. You've never seen, until you get back through all the caverns in the mines, pitch black. Turn your light off, nothing, absolutely nothing. They had an elevator probably about half the size of this room. The guys 10 would get in. It would take them down. I'd go down with all the miners. It was just whatever trip. Okay, let's do this. We'd go back up at the end of our time down there. So that was a very exciting. So anyhow, I worked that for six months and then I went to Penn State University at the Altoona Campus in Pennsylvania to study engineering, because I was math and science in high school and it seemed like, okay, that's...So I did that. I was walking by the baseball field during the fall one Saturday morning. There were a bunch of guys out there throwing the ball around and starting to get warmed up. I asked, "What's going on?" One of the coaches said, "Well, we're having tryouts." "What for?" "We have a fall baseball team here." I said, "Well, who can play?" He goes, "Are you a student here?" I go, "Yes, I am." He goes, "You have a glove and cleats? You can try out." I ran back to my dorm, got my glove and my cleats, and I tried out for the baseball team and I made the team. It was just like, okay! While I went to Penn State I was on a very small grant, but I had to work also part-time. In high school I had painted with an older guy that was doing painting and he asked me if I wanted to help him. Maybe he was in college at the time. So I became somewhat of a pretty good painter in high school. So in addition to the salt mine work? No, not at the same time. The salt mine work was for six months. It was full-time for six months. The co-op program was six months work, six months school; six months work, six months school. It was designed to be a five-year program. This was sponsored by Morton Salt? Yes. Well, they paid me to be the engineer trainee and that's how I paid for college. Yes, my 11 tuition expense money came out of my pocket, because they paid me to be an engineer trainee for the six months. That's how I afforded college. That's the only way I could afford it. My parents...forget that. So baseball was actually during your school six months. Yes. Yes, for the fall of 1974. So I lived in the dorm in the summer. I started in June, July and August. Then in September I got a house with four other guys and lived in a house fall semester, fall quarter, whatever it was. They had scholarship players on the team. But in four games into the season in college I had sat the bench the whole time. We were one-and-three; something like that, not doing so well. I went into the coach's office and I said, "Coach, can I talk to you?" He goes, "What do you want, Portaro?" I said, "Well, Coach, we're one-and-three and I think I can help the team." He goes, "Oh, you do, do you?" I go, "Yes, I think so." So next game, my name was in the lineup and I got a hit in two times up and a sacrifice, and I played the rest of the season. Lesson being, if you didn't ask, you don't get. It was glorious. I played various positions. I pinch-ran, and I pinch-hit. It didn't matter to me; I was playing. He'd always let me throw batting practice because I pitched in high school in addition to other things. He would never let me pitch in a real game because I wasn't very fast, but I have good junk. But the last game of the season we were out of pitchers because we played a double-header. He threw me in the second inning; we were down six to two, and we ended up winning the game and I held them scoreless. So I have an undefeated college pitching history. I told that to my sons. They don't have nothing on me yet. That's great. Yes. So that was college. At the end of my first year at Penn State I realized they're not going to 12 give me a scholarship to play ball coming back. And you know what? I really didn't like engineering. It wasn't my thing. I like people. I like doing stuff. I had a painting business and I painted part-time while I was in school, too, at Penn State and found some odd jobs. So I transferred to the University of Toledo, where my brother was going. He was married at the time. While I was at Penn State he got married. He had reunited with our mother, which became a whole chapter of stuff because he invited her to the wedding. We did not think very highly of her at the time because we still have these memories that were placed in our heads back then about who she was or wasn't. And all of a sudden, "How could you do that?" We kind of worked through it and we had some understandings between my dad, my mother, and my brother. Now, understand: I hadn't seen her in nine years; she's coming to this wedding; I'm in the wedding party, and I'm the best man. So we go to my brother's wedding. We had arrangements because my youngest brother, Ryan, did not know that my stepmother was not his mother. So he was of the understanding that the second wife was his mother. He had forgotten about our mother-mother. So it created all these very difficult negotiations about the wedding because she's coming. My dad said, "Well, then I'm not." And my brother said, "Well, that's your choice." Well, of course, he did come. And they arranged for Ryan not to be told anything. "Is that an agreement?" "That will happen when it happens, but not here." Guess what? My aunt brought my brother Ryan over to my mother and introduced him to his mother at my brother's wedding. Suffice it to say, I'm out in the lobby getting something out there and all of a sudden I hear commotion, screaming, yelling. All the sudden the bride and the groom, out they go; they're gone, into the parking lot. That was my brother's wedding. Did they get married? 13 Oh, yes. They had gotten married. This was the reception. I'm sorry. They did get married. Good. They did get married. This was the reception where it all blew up. It's a wedding you'll never forget. Yes, it's a wedding to not remember, but you have to remember. So another chapter in the dysfunctional family of life. It's like, okay, whatever. So you deal with it. You just keep moving. We learned as children, just keep going forward because you can't... This guy here [points to a photograph]? Pastor Paul says, "When you're going through hell, keep going." "This too shall pass." Yes. So that's college. Then I went to University of Toledo, tried out for the baseball team. I was two cuts in and we had one more cut to go to make the team, and it's like, wait a second, I'm here four to six hours a day. This is higher-end baseball. I'm providing my own college education and paying for it. How am I going to go to school full-time and play baseball almost twenty-five, thirty hours a week? So I went to the coach and I was like, "Coach, I've got to quit. I've got to do this. This is why I'm here. I'm not going to play in the major leagues." So I quit trying out and then I— So you're paying for college? Yes. How do you afford it? I got into painting. You're talking about house painting? Yes, house painting, even buildings and things. I painted with a friend that I met in a group 14 called Young Life. It's a Christian organization that ministers to high school kids, and the girl that I was dating at the time dragged me to these meetings. I met these folks, and this one guy had painted a little bit. So we decided to paint. So we formed a little company, Portaro and Schaeffer, P and S Painting, and we painted all the Burger Kings and Long John Silvers in the City of Toledo for this group. We painted drive-in malls. We painted apartment complexes. If it moved, we'd paint it as long as we got paid for it. So that sustained me through college. I met my first wife, Carol, in college in Varsity Singers—again, another pop group where we had outfits and all that. We did the same thing as high school. I met her my sophomore year in singing group and we were married at the end of my junior year. And you changed your major from engineering? To management, yes. So how did you start your career? I graduated in management in '78. Then went to law school under what's called the JD/MBA program at the University of Toledo; you get your law degree and Master's in business at the same time. I became a graduate assistant to a gentleman who was a Ph.D. in the College of Business. I became his graduate assistant. Steven Spirn was his name—S-P-I-R-N, Steven with a V. We became pals as I became his graduate assistant. I even painted some of his house. He paid me. We became buddies and I liked what he was doing. He was a labor relations professor and his specialty was in labor management relations, labor negotiations, and so he invited me, well, right out of college. I graduated from law school in '81. As I was graduating the chairman of the Management Department of the College of Business, Jack Samonetti, said, "Would you like to teach for us when you get out of school?" "Oh, yes, teach, sure. Teach what, instructional 15 whatever...?" He goes, "No, assistant professor, tenure track." I said, "Oh." I hadn't thought of it. I'm thinking I'm going to go to law school and I went to law school and I'm going to practice law. They came to me and asked me if I wanted to teach, and they came in December because a professor that had been teaching business law got a judgeship, got elected judge, and so he took a three-year, four-year commitment to this judgeship in Defiance, Ohio. They needed somebody. So they