Interview with Mark Fine in two sessions, November 18 and December 2, 2014. In the first session, Fine begins by talking about his sons and their business interests, then discusses his own childhood growing up in Cleveland. Fine moved to Arizona as a teenager and attended the University of Arizona for college. After college, he moved to New York city, and describes his employment at Chemical Bank, and then at the investment firm Loeb, Rhoades. He was married and started a family in New York City, then moved to Las Vegas to assist in his in-laws' (the Greenspuns) business ventures, which included real estate development and Sun Outdoor Advertising. Fine talks about Las Vegas in the 1970s and building Green Valley and Summerlin, the "social engineering" aspects of developing a community and the importance of building incrementally. In Part II of the interview, Fine discusses his family history and raising his children in Las Vegas. He talks about the growth of the Jewish community and ph
Mark Fine was born in 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was raised with a strong Jewish identity. When Mark was in fourth grade, his parents moved the family to Shaker Heights, and again moved to Arizona during his senior of high school. Upon graduation, Mark enrolled at the University of Arizona and became a member of the ZBT fraternity; determined to graduate in four years, he finished in 1964 with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in real estate. Though never having been, Mark took his degree to New York City and established a career on Wall Street, first working for Chemical Bank. In 1969, Mark married Susan Greenspun, and soon after, the couple had their first child. By this time, Mark had taken a new position with Loeb, Rhoades and Company, and worked there for nearly five years in their corporate finance department. In 1973, Mark moved to Las Vegas to assist his father-in-law, Hank Greenpun, with his nonnewspaper business operations, largely under the auspices of American Nevada Corporation. Mark soon capitalized on this passion for real estate and community development, leading several integrated real estate projects to create the Green Valley area, the city's first large-scale master-planned community. Mark went on to launch a similar project in Summerlin, and at one point, he was leading the development of the country's two fastest selling planned communities (Green Valley and Summerlin). Ultimately, Mark became one of state's prominent real estate developers, and continues to lead significant projects positively impacting the city's growth and appeal. His fundamental goal has always been to create a sense of place, to develop thriving communities with generational stamina. His success in this endeavor is recognized, in part, with the naming of Mark L. Fine Elementary School. Over the years, Mark has also been an important member of the Jewish community, among the "second generation of pioneers," coming after those heavily involved with the hotels during the 1950s and 1960s. He served on the Temple Beth Sholom board of directors, and initiated events to bring older and younger generations of the Jewish community together in meaningful ways. Mark has five children?Alyson Marmur, Katie Erhman, Jeffrey Fine and Jonathan Fine and Nicole Ruvo Falcone?and is married to Gloria Fine.
Mark Fine oral history interview, 2014 November 18. OH-02184. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1pz54p1q
Standardized Rights Statement
AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK FINE An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach The Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries ?Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Stefani Evans ii The recorded Interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. 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 University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea 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 with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iii PREFACE Mark Fine was born in 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was raised with a strong Jewish identity. When Mark was in fourth grade, his parents moved the family to Shaker Heights, and again moved to Arizona during his senior of high school. Upon graduation, Mark enrolled at the University of Arizona and became a member of the ZBT fraternity; determined to graduate in four years, he finished in 1964 with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in real estate. Though never having been, Mark took his degree to New York City and established a career on Wall Street, first working for Chemical Bank. In 1969, Mark married Susan Greenspun, and soon after, the couple had their first child. By this time, Mark had taken a new position with Loeb, Rhoades and Company, and worked there for nearly five years in their corporate finance department. In 1973, Mark moved to Las Vegas to assist his father-in-law, Hank Greenpun, with his non-newspaper business operations, largely under the auspices of American Nevada Corporation. Mark soon capitalized on this passion for real estate and community development, leading several integrated real estate projects to create the Green Valley area, the city's first large-scale master-planned community. Mark went on to launch a similar project in Summerlin, and at one iv point, he was leading the development of the country's two fastest selling planned communities (Green Valley and Summerlin). Ultimately, Mark became one of state's prominent real estate developers, and continues to lead significant projects positively impacting the city's growth and appeal. His fundamental goal has always been to create a sense of place, to develop thriving communities with generational stamina. His success in this endeavor is recognized, in part, with the naming of Mark L. Fine Elementary School. Over the years, Mark has also been an important member of the Jewish community, among the "second generation of pioneers," coming after those heavily involved with the hotels during the 1950s and 1960s. He served on the Temple Beth Sholom board of directors, and initiated events to bring older and younger generations of the Jewish community together in meaningful ways. Mark has five children?Alyson Marmur, Katie Erhman, Jeffrey Fine and Jonathan Fine, and Nicole Ruvo Falcone?and is married to Gloria Fine. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interviews with Mark Fine on November 18, 2014 and December 2, 2014 by Barbara Tabach in Las Vegas, Nevada Preface iv-v SESSION 1 Talks about his son's local business endeavors, in food and beverage industry. Discusses upbringing in Ohio, within primarily Jewish community; family moving to Phoenix during senior year of high school. Describes adjusting to new culture in Arizona, being without a significant Jewish community; hunting culture. Father transferred again; family moves to Tucson to start last semester of high school; starts at University of Arizona after graduation.. .1 -8 Reflects upon getting serious about college, motivations; majoring in real estate. Talks about involvement with ZBT fraternity; Jewish community at college generally. Talks about post-graduation determination; moving to New York City; landing a job with large bank, Chemical Bank. Talks about meeting and courting his first wife, Susan; marrying soon after 9-18 Describes getting new job with investment banking firm's real estate department; settles in and transitions to corporate finance department; Jewish social network in New York City. Talks about relationship with father-in-law, Hank Greenspan; family moving to Las Vegas; helping with Hank's non-newspaper business ventures; Hanks's entrepreneurial competition with Don Reynolds. Reflects on general challenges of running a family businesses 19-26 Recalls what city was like when arriving in 1973; dominance of gaming; lack of community, though a desire for a sense of community amongst population. Talks about developing Summerlin and Green Valley; financing these projects; finding new development partners and eventually becoming sole developer. Describes impact of city's sixth grade centers program on Green Valley's appeal, lack of bussing within that area 27-31 Describes various "social engineering" programs to grow Green Valley's sense of community and appeal, like Little League, Green Valley Athletic Club; sculpture displays; park system. Comments on impact the opening of Mirage Hotel and Casino had on city; divorcing wife Susan. Talks about managing Summerlin's development and its incredible success. Mentions developers that came before him, including Molasky family, Pardee Homes, Hal Ober 32-38 Reflects upon his drive for development, creating thriving communities. Talks about other development projects, including Queensridge, Mountain Edge, high-rise. Considers evolution of city's essence over the years; his efforts to create a place to attract talented individuals, keep families, a community outside of gaming industry. Mentions influence of Mack and Thomas families on city's development, as well as Larry Cantarelli, Tony Marnell 39-45 vi SESSION 2 Delves into family history; father's side who emigrated from Russia; grandfather creating a life in Boston as a merchant; lineage of rabbis. Describes experiences with anti-Semitism; differences in living in Midwest versus Southwest. Talks about commitment to raising children Jewish; the process and significance of a bar/bat mitzvah 46-51 Talks about Temple Beth Sholom; joining when moved to city; leadership changes over the years; challenges posed to rabbis with congregational relations. Describes explosion of congregations over the years. Mentions pioneers within local Jewish community during time of mob, influence within gaming industry; building Jewish infrastructure over the years. Talks about Jewish philanthropic culture; building involvement from younger generations 52-58 Describes passion for building community, physically and emotionally; programs he initiated to bring older and younger Jewish generations together. Talks about divisiveness within Jewish community; challenges for Jewish Federation; lack of Jewish senior center, living community; difficulties fundraising. Emphasizes importance of solid Jewish programming, over just facilities; providing options on both east and west sides of town 59-63 Discusses people's fascination with Las Vegas; rich living history; children going to school with Frank Rosenthal's children; transition from domination of organized crime to corporations, especially Howard Hughes. Talks about the importance of city gaining reputation for legitimate financing, site for investment; period of over-investment; decrease of investment in building Jewish community as city grew 64-67 Reflects upon Las Vegas' future; challenges to engage current young Jews in community, to encourage investment, passion in Jewish life. Mentions daughters, their families, education; impact of childhood trip to Israel 68-72 Index 73-74 vii Today is November 18, 2014. I'm sitting with Mark Fine. I'm going to ask you to spell your name first. We're sitting in your offices at 650 South Main. That's correct. The old Ice House. It's the site of the old Ice House, which was one of these Las Vegas landmarks that we demolished. Then a new building was built here and I think it was originally a restaurant. But the name Ice House is iconic, so the location is iconic. Through a series of things, my son, who runs his business out here, bought the building during the recession and we've converted it from what was a restaurant into our offices and his corporate offices. We have a full kitchen in the back; he's heavily involved in the food and beverage business. Hopefully you'll be interviewing him. That would be great. When you do the next generation. [Laughing] We'll work our way through that. Work your way through that. Both my sons are very active in Las Vegas. But there was a kitchen here, and he operates his Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Jamba Juice and various other operations in Las Vegas. Which son is that who has all of those? Jeffrey. He's got the two franchise businesses; I think he's got like twenty-five Jamba Juices and eighteen Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs. He has a bunch of restaurants. Two are called The Daily Kitchen; one is open and one is going to be opening in month. They're health food restaurants. We have four other restaurants that are not necessarily health food restaurants. One's a lobster roll restaurant?one is in the Planet Hollywood and one is in The Venetian?and this week, he's opening one in Bethesda, Maryland. He's going to start going national with it. It's been very well 1 received and he's getting a lot of national attention. The other company is called I Love Burgers. In between, he has an ownership in some casino companies. I say good for him. It sounds like he's followed in his father's entrepreneurial footsteps. He is developing into a good businessman and a good corporate person, very involved in the community and very thoughtful. My other son is a not partner with him, but he's also in the food and beverage business. He's got two components. One is more bar oriented. What's is this son's name? His name is Jonathan, and he's got a place in Planet Hollywood, the Miracle Mile, called the PBR Rock Bar. Very, very popular; very successful. He's got a place in the Venetian called the Rockhouse, which is another kind of bar food/entertainment-type thing. Then he's got, believe it or not, a surveillance company that he's been doing for the last fourteen years. He started with the surveillance company and then evolved into other things. The good news is they both love what they do. Against my recommendations that food and beverage was not a good place to be, they're heavily, heavily involved. You see the influence I've had on my children. Well, I guess we're going to find out, the entrepreneurial spirit. Let's go back... Let's go back to your roots. Where were you born and raised? I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, back in 1946. I'll be sixty-nine years this February. I went to elementary school; I started in Cleveland and my parents moved to Shaker Heights when I was in fourth grade. Shaker Heights was a wonderful community, a wonderful suburb of Cleveland with a wonderful school system and tree-lined streets. It's just really one of those ideal places to live. We were not necessarily on the right side of the tracks, but we weren't on the wrong side?there's 2 no wrong side of the tracks in Shaker Heights. We had a very nice traditional house in a nice traditional neighborhood right across from an elementary school, Lomond Elementary School, where I went. So I just had to walk across the street to school. They had a big park in the back. Everyday we'd be out in the park. Your mom could ring a bell when it was dinnertime and you could hear the bell and it was time to come home. You don't see that too much in Las Vegas. No. I'm sure that everybody didn't live right next to the elementary school where it could be that convenient. But that's where I lived. As I got older I went to Byron Junior High School in Shaker Heights. Typically, I would take the rapid transit. In Shaker Heights they built a rapid transit. The history of the rapid transit was to bring?it went downtown. The idea was that the help who worked in the houses could take the rapid transit to work and walk to the houses. Did you have help in your house? We had help in our house. The rapid transit was built in the twenties to serve a purpose. Whether or not it functioned that way in the fifties and sixties when I was growing up, I couldn't tell you. It became more of a means of transportation for the children that lived there. We could walk down to the rapid transit. I could take it down to a place called Shaker Square, just switch, and then take it up to Byron Junior High School and I'd be dropped off practically next to the junior high school. It was a wonderful means of transportation and those wonderful days when, as junior high school kids, you could walk to rapid transit, get on, take it and walk to school. You were safe. You felt safe. In this environment, it's very unusual and you have to feel awfully safe or you have to make sure your kids are trained to walk in groups and things like that. The world's changed. 3 The world's change. Maybe back in the East there are neighborhoods where it hasn't changed much and kids can still do those things. So I went to Byron Junior High School. There were two junior high schools in Cleveland; one was Byron and one was Woodbury. But there was one high school and that was Shaker Heights High School. Here again, it was one of schools that operated like the private school. If you looked at the kids, where they went to college every year, it was kind of like looking at a private school format; there were Harvards and Yales and Ohio State University. Ninety-nine percent of the kids went to college. Since I wasn't one of those kids going to Harvard?this is kind of levity?in my senior year, my parents decided to move to Arizona. In your senior year? My senior year. I actually started my senior year in Cleveland at Shaker Heights. My dad, through misfortune, lost his business a few years earlier and started working for a company that was Arizona-based, in real estate sales. At some point in time they said, "Hey, you can do much better in Arizona." So he moved us to Phoenix, Arizona in October of 1963. I spent about a month of my first semester of senior year at Shaker Heights. We drove in a little Ford Falcon, four of us, a convertible, and stopped along the way. I looked at it a little bit like an adventure. I think some kids would be devastated. I had a lot of friends back there and I was in clubs and had a very active life. But going to Arizona I thought, well, you can ride your horse to school. I mean who knew what Arizona was like, right? It sounded like a good adventure. Where in Arizona were you destined? Phoenix. There were no horses and people didn't ride their horses to school. You had this vision like, oh, we're in the West. I came from a primarily Jewish neighborhood in Cleveland. In Shaker Heights, if there 4 was a Jewish holiday, 90 percent of the kids were gone. I got bar mitzvahed at Temple Emanu El. I did confirmation. I was active in my temple. I had a dual social life because I had my friends from my temple and I had my friends from my high school. It was a very full life. I mean, it was a Jewish life, called Shaker Heights, with the temples and the people. You became aware of it obviously when you started Sunday school, but you really become aware of it when you start to get bar mitzvahed. On weekends there would literally be a bar mitzvah reception on Friday night, on Saturday afternoon, on Saturday night. There were so many Jewish kids that it was just very hard to find a place...so we could go to two to four bar mitzvah receptions on a weekend. It's like, well, we thought everybody did that. Was the tradition in Shaker Heights to have the big parties or were they kept a little smaller? They were big. It wasn't like you see today, ridiculous how people spend money. There were deejays and records and things like that. Shaker Heights was a community of a lot of wealthy people, across the spectrum. It was middle class to very upper middle class. But there'd be just parties all the time. You just thought it was part of your life. It did prevent a lot of us from ever excelling in athletics because we always had a conflict between having to go study for bar mitzvah or playing any kind of athletics because you can't do both; they were both in the afternoons. So now you know why there's no great Jewish athletes. Yes. My husband reminds me of that all the time. I stayed on and these were my friends and I went to confirmation, which is kind of a period of time for two years after your bar mitzvah when you kept up with that social life. It was a very full life and a lot of it had to do with my religion. It was based on religion. I wasn't a religious person, but we had little clubs at school. I was in an AZA. It was back and forth, but everything seemed to be Jewish-related. I'm not a religious person, but those were the things...people you had in common 5 with. So when I moved to Arizona, there were not so many Jewish kids. Instead of being the majority, we're like so much in the minority. Was there a particular suburb or town in the Phoenix area you moved? I lived right in the middle of town. I went to Central High School. It was a very small town. We're talking about 1963. Phoenix was maybe a quarter of the size of what Las Vegas is today. Maybe it was a half a million people. It's grown quickly, too. You can drive thirty, forty miles and you're still in Phoenix today. If you go out to Cardinal Stadium or you go out places in Scottsdale, it's ridiculous. I mean, Scottsdale Road was the end of the world if you know Phoenix at all. Yes, I do. But those days Scottsdale Road was the end of the world. We used to go up on Camelback Mountain and that's where we'd park. You know the parking days. Sure I do, yes. [Laughing] I do have some memories of that. I wouldn't say the level of intimacy. But if you wanted any level of privacy, Camelback Mountain was the place. That was the place to go, huh? The place to go. There was no housing and there were places to park and nobody bothered you. But you fall in line as far as that's concerned and you have a much broader base of kids. It's much less formal in terms of?kids could wear shorts to school and T-shirts. In Shaker Heights we couldn't wear jeans and you had to wear a collared shirt. So in 1963 you could actually wear shorts even in Arizona. They didn't have the strict dress 6 codes. But when you start school in September, October, November, it's still a hundred degrees. I found that the weekend activity wasn't necessarily getting together; it was more the guys were going hunting. Who knew about hunting? It was something that?nobody gave us a gun to teach us how to shoot. They were getting lotteries to be able to shoot deer. I didn't know what any of that meant. You started gravitating a little bit back to your Jewish community, which I wouldn't say they stayed together, but I think there was a certain collegiality from that point of view. Some of my friends were Jewish and some of them weren't Jewish, and it was a much more eclectic group of people than I was ever used to. It was a looser society than I was used to. I never heard of a boondock. Have you ever heard of boondock where they take a keg of beer out in the desert and? No, I have no idea. ?everybody goes drinking and things like that. It was called a boondock? A boondock. I think so. I may have that term wrong. About a month and a half or two months into my semester at Central High School, my father's company said, "Well, we really need you in Tucson." So he moved to Tucson, I finished the semester in Phoenix, and then I started Rincon High School in Tucson, Arizona for the second semester, which was 1964. Here again, that was even more west in terms of the Jewish population shrinking, and shrinking in terms of the people that perhaps I was used to hanging out with. I was in a much more broader type of [community]?which was good. I don't think it's bad because that's the way the world is. But sometimes you can become very provincial living in a place like Cleveland. Yes. 7 I adjusted and I made friends and had relations. That was my second semester of my senior year and that was my graduating class. It was not something where I was bonded to anybody. So I really never had a graduating class. But I finished at Rincon. I did fine. My dream of going to Ohio State...after being in Arizona for nine months, I said, "Why would I want to go to Ohio State when it's cold and miserable when I can go to the University of Arizona, which is beautiful?" So I ended up enrolling in University of Arizona in 1964 and I spent four years going to school there. I majored in real estate. I lived a little bit at home, a little bit in a fraternity house. My parents moved back to Phoenix during my sophomore or junior year. So I was living in either the fraternity house or apartments and did not have a great first two years academically. Whatever the upheavals in my life, I wasn't as focused as I should have been. But there's an old saying, "There's nothing like a hanging in the morning to make a man concentrate the night before." When I realized that I was on a path to never graduate college, I went to the?what do they call when they have your senior check? I found out that in two years I had managed to accomplish about 20 percent of my requirements to graduate, so I needed to create 80 percent in the last one and a half years. That's when I got serious and set out a path for myself and a goal because I knew I needed to graduate in four years; that was something I thought was important. I set on a path where I had a full schedule every semester, and a full semester every summer, and I graduated in four years. This discipline, how did you do that? There were a lot of things going on in the world at that time, in '64. A lot of things going on. My parents had a lot of upheaval. There was a lot up and down economically in my parents' lives. Between moving and between finances, I never had that comfort as to what was going on in my own life and I think that I had to get control of my own 8 life. Maybe that's where the motivation was. I was responsible for what was going to happen to me. Maybe I would have loved a safety net, that there was more stability in my own family, but...not that my parents had problems because they were married; they were never divorced. But there was just a lot of instability financially. I just set my mind. The key for me was that I had a path. I knew what I needed to do to graduate. I knew what I had to take. I had three semesters and two summers to get it done. I left the hardest for last, English and Humanities. I was dreading having to take English and Humanities because I knew those were my weakest subjects. But I got it all done, and I did it with a good grade point average. I went to my classes and I took notes. I realized that if you go to classes and take notes and you read your notes, everything that's going to be on the test was said in class. So you said you majored in real estate. I majored in real estate. How did you decide on that path? It's a little embarrassing. Number one, my dad was in the real estate business. So I had an interest in it. Real estate was not what it is today where everybody's in real estate. It was kind of one of these emerging things and it really wasn't everybody, "Oh, you've got to invest in real estate." In the sixties there wasn't even barely a major there; there was one teacher and there was a few courses. So between the fact that I had a latent interest because of my dad, and the fact it was the only major that didn't require a foreign language. I think real estate can be a foreign language to some people. Don't ask me why a foreign language was required, but that was the thing that made the difference. I had an interest in real estate and the fact that it was one of the few paths to a degree that didn't require a foreign language made it even better because after fearing Humanities and English, 9 foreign language was right behind it. So you're trying to eliminate all the obstacles. When I finally got on the right path, I graduated and that was the end of phase one of my life. I had a good social life. I belonged to a Jewish fraternity. Which fraternity? ZBT. In those days the Jews belonged to one fraternity; the non-Jews had other fraternities. It was very, very rare that another fraternity would even rush?if you were in a fraternity, they go through rush?a Jewish guy would be rushed by a non-Jewish house, and vice versa. The Phi Delts, the SAEs, the Sigma Chis, all the great fraternities?ZBT was one of the great fraternities on campus. But the Jews went to the Jewish houses, the non-Jews, if you had the pedigree, they went to one of those houses, and that's the way it was. There were three Jewish houses on the campus: ZBT, Tau Delta Phi and AEPi. It sounds like a lot to have three houses of Jewish. There were a lot of Jewish kids that went to Arizona, and most of them were from out of state. So anyway, they rushed me; I went to the ZBT house. I spent all four years as a ZBT, sometimes living in the house; sometimes living out of the house. It was a great house. We had great sports. We had great entertainment. We were supposedly one of these houses?I was not one of them; I brought down the average income level of the parents?but the image was that ZBTs had a lot of money and they drove fancy cars and they did all those kind of stuff. I wasn't part of that. We did have good parties. You liked hanging out there. It was fun. We had good parties and it was a good fraternity. If you're going to belong to a fraternity, it was a good brand. We held our own in our sports and we held our own in everything and that's good because you're representing, to a certain extent, your Jewish fraternity and the fact that the more 10 you emerge, the more it is. The Jews have never been known for their athleticism. [Laughing] Right. So we were the flip of that in the ZBT house. We were known more for our athleticism than for our brains because scholastically I don't know if we were the ever up top of where we should have been as far as that's concerned. So that was kind of my high school and college. I think that being Jewish was a very, very important part and something that helped me be connected, to round me out as a person. It was a difference making. How do you differentiate yourself? Well, you try and differentiate yourself in things you do. But I think part of being Jewish and part of the other things we did was all part of the differentiation process. When you grow up and when you do anything, you can either be in the crowd or you can differentiate yourself. Was it easier then to celebrate Jewish holidays because of that social environment in college or did you kind of skip that? Like I said, I wasn't the strictest. I didn't follow the Jewish holidays as strictly as I could have. At Yom Kippur we'd find a way to go to temple sometimes. Passover, I may be home. It wasn't like I went to Hillel and made the effort to actually participate where they make it easy for you to participate. We weren't really set up within the fraternity to celebrate all those holidays. We didn't celebrate Shabbat. Hillel was the place on campus if you really wanted to extend yourself and follow the traditions with Sukkkot, Simchat Torah and Rosh Hashanah. I never really got involved with Hillel. It probably wasn't cool. [Laughing] I'm sure. What was your strategy after graduation? What was next for you? My strategy was this. I had a very turbulent childhood through high school and college in terms of my whole financial stability and I felt that, while I love my parents, the best thing for me is to separate myself as far as I could from that instability; maybe I'll start my life, create my own level 11 of stability and not have interference. Does that make sense? Sure. In a nice way? [Laughing] You're trying to take ownership of your destiny. I had to own my destiny. So I said, where is the best place to start? I was never the most industrious guy until I hit that wall in college. I thought, you go along; you get along. I started getting some summer jobs and doing some things. You don't just wake up and do it. I got a job in the summer working with a friend whose dad owned this business. It wasn't easy. To go out and get a job scared the hell out of me. Every ad you see, hey, you need to have five years of experience. It's like, well, how do you get five years' experience if nobody wants to hire you? Right. So where would you go if you were going to start out and you wanted to have the least interference as possible living in Phoenix? I went to New York. I had a friend of mine who went to New York. I never really thought about it. New York City, I'm assuming. New York City. I never really thought about it. She got a job in a bank and she said, "Oh, if you're going to start over, you need to go to New York." I never even thought of New York. Dragging me to New York, that's pretty? Wow. Had you ever been to New York before? I had never been to New York. I graduated. I got in my car. I decided I'm going to New York. My parents said, "Well, how could you go to New York? What are you going to do?" They sort of wanted to kind of control where I went and maybe they felt that if I was successful in Phoenix it would help them be more stable. I don't know. But I couldn't be dragged down. Does that make 12 sense? I'm not trying to put them in a bad place, but I needed to be able to rise to whatever level I had potential. It wasn't going to happen in Phoenix, but maybe it would happen in New York. New York was the center of finance in those days. Right. That makes sense that way. You can be in New York?Warren Buffett made it in Omaha, right? Today you can do it from anywhere with computers and everything. But in those days, New York was the place. So I got in my car and I took a road trip for about a month and a half or two months. I started in Phoenix. I went down to Tucson. I went to L.A. I went to San Francisco, to Reno, Tahoe, Vegas, Denver, along the way visiting people that I knew, fraternity brothers, et cetera, so I always had a place to stay. I end up in Boston. My grandfather was in the clothing business. He set me up with two suits. [Laughing] I thought I was pretty cool; I had two suits, custom made. I drove into New York in September of 1968 without a job, with not very much money in my pocket, with two suits and a car. What kind of car? A Chevy Impala or something like that. It wasn't that cool, but it was a car. What I learned in New York was that it was more money to park my car than my rent was in college. So the car didn't last for long. But I went in and I knew some girls that lived on 86th Street and they let me sleep on the couch. I was a couch surfer, officially a couch surfer before there was a term couch surfer. Does this mean you're homeless? I could be considered homeless at that time. I was there. It's like, okay, so what do you do? One of the reasons I picked New York was, hey, you can go to New York; if you don't make it in New York, you can go to Chicago or 13 you can go...you can make your way back west. If you get back west, it's not a good sign. [Laughi