More than Spouses...

Disney Hall Downtown Los Angeles
downtown los angeles

We are more than spouses or even co-founders, we are each other’s personal cheerleaders and each other’s biggest advocate.  Being a couple for twenty years it was pretty simple to identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we embrace our differences and leverage them accordingly as it relates to running our business.  Being married to your business is a challenge but we found out that if you give 100% to each other every day the business side just works itself out.  We always try our very best and then the next time we do it better.  We formed a relationship, then a marriage and now we are building a business together. 

New to my website but certainly not new to my business; introducing my wife, my co-creator and the only one I would take this journey with.  She cheers me on when I feel like I can't make it? She is a hustler at making my dreams come true. My #1 fan! 

Her name is Shell, not Michelle. Jesus help us all if we don't call her by her nickname. Because she is the loyalist person I have ever met, she is the best friend you have always dreamed about, she has a heart of gold and is the 1st person you call when you need help. She defies all the rules of what it means to average, she is exceptional, she puts "hipsters" to shame with her style, she is the love of my life, like of my whole life, I have loved no one more than her. Don't worry I won't keep her all to myself, because when you work with me, she comes with the package. You will love her from the moment you say hello. I promise.

I am so lucky to be doing something I love with someone I love!

Los Angeles River Garden
Down Town Los Angeles Low Rider

City of Hope: Hope Warriors

Hope Warriors Video

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When I got the call to photograph the City of Hope, Hope Warriors and share their stories, it was a no brainer. As I take a step back and think about why this project is so important to me, the best person to tell this story is my wife, Shell.

It’s Friday morning, it’s my first day off in a week, the sun isn’t even up … but I am.  It’s cold, rainy and I have an appointment on the other side of town in thirty minutes.  I really want to stay in my warm bed, reschedule for another time and go back to sleep.  But, the people I committed to meet, time has no patience for them and they are counting on me. OK, I’m up.

After the tedious drive along the Foothill Freeway, I arrive. I leave the heated seats of my warm car and walk through the irritating rain into the facility.  As I walk into the modest lobby, the room erupts with good mornings, thank you’s and applause. I am immediately welcomed and indulged by volunteers and nurses. 

I am whisked off to bullpen and directed to a bed, one by one staff approach and accommodate my every request: 

blanket – check

green tape –check

gummies – check

cookies – check

headphones – check

These nurses seem eager to overindulge me I guess this is as close to sleeping in as I will get today.  I suggest to the nurse, another warm blanket would do the trick – check.  I remind myself, I’m here, let’s get this done so I snuggle in sunglasses on, headphones secure as the rhythm of the machines lull me to a dull sleep…

My mind takes me back to 2010 and I am running through the massive City of Hope campus, every step, every stride, something hurts.   I have to hurry, football is on, I have stuff I have to do.  I try and distract my brain from this “intolerable” discomfort by surveying the landscape, the vibrant gardens, the trees adorned with love notes, the expanse of the this self-sustained little city is impressive, now I am hungry. I rounded a corner and just past a decorative fountain off in the distance, looming high above everything was the main structure, at its base, the finish line.  I push through the pain in my knees and try my best to ignore the cold air as it burns inside my lungs, look at me I’m such a do-gooder. 
The home stretch, cold beer, Advil, football game, here I come. I hear faint cheers, probably for me, because I am so awesome. The next thirty seconds rocked me to my core and changed my world forever. As I slowed my run to a jog - ok my jog to a walk, my attention was drawn overhead.  Patients, their families and friends, nurses and volunteers were pressed against the windows of the main building.  Standing side by side, some holding flowers, some handwritten signs, others hold onto IV stands, all of them cheer me along.  Hanging from those IV stands is the reason I am here … the only thing I feel are my warm tears running down my face onto my purple shirt.

The quiet of the machines wake me, it shuts off after it took what it needed from me. I take a sip of my third juice box – check, and a bite from my fourth cookie - check, I take off my sunglasses, stretching as I look over my shoulder at the IV stand, that little hanging bag filled with liquid gold – check.  .

In 2010 time stopped for me.  I lost my best friend, my sister, Kelly.  I wish I had time to sit at the foot of her bed again, I would give anything to massage her feet, I wish I had time to watch her sleep, or smell her smell, or hold her hand.  But time wasn’t on her side, time had no patience for her.  I know Kelly is watching me, cheering me on, holding flowers and a handmade sign not as I run, but as I lay here surrounded by Hope Warriors who will stop at nothing to get donors … they count on people like me and you for this bag as it gives time to someone who needs it.

Tournament of Roses 2017

Here’s to a new year, a new business, a clean slate, a new start in every sense of the word.  I have always felt that there is a reason and a purpose for everything and 2017 has started with a purpose. There is no better place to celebrate a new start than at the Pasadena Rose Parade.  Photographing the parade seemed like a dream, but everything from the application, to the passes, to the parking fell easily into place for us. 
We sit here with a renewed sense of purpose, excited and motivated.  Maybe it was the imagination of the float designers, the selfless acts of the all the volunters, or the engineering wizards who somehow brought these ideas to life, we aren’t quite sure.  Standing at attention next to my wife, I marveled at the impossible precision of the Marine Corps Band just after the B2 Spirit crept up on us, I turned to Shell, she was captivated not by the floats but the people in the crowd.  The expression on the faces of everyone, from all walks of life was one of pride, contentment, wonder and joy, even if just for today.
We were charmed by the endless color, the smell of millions of roses, the marching bands synced in perfect time, all of our senses put to the test.  However, watching the collective physical reaction of the crowd as organ donors and their recipients made the right turn down Colorado hand in hand, forever holding hands as they walk life’s road really put 2017 into perspective, talk about a new start.
We hope our business is like this parade, always new to someone, always fresh and inspirational and like these brilliant engineering masterpieces of creativity, our hope is to progress at a pace bringing smiles to the faces of many and may this company be around for 128 years too.