Richard is originally from North Carolina, and has lived in Oregon since 1992. He is a father, husband, and impromptu comedian. Working in the restaurant industry for nearly two decades, he learned what it takes to be a leader and team player. After college, he went into a finance career field where he was able to combine his pragmatic and soft skills. In this spotlight, he reflects on staying grounded, being dedicated, and looking on the brighter side of situations.
How Did you meet CSC?
I’ve been working most of my life, from high school though the end of college. I had always been working in restaurants to pay the bills but always keeping an eye out for more career oriented positions. After graduating college, I got a job working as a loan processor with Columbia Bank. After a year, I ended up looking for something else and stumbled upon a job posting for Charter School Capital. They wanted an entry-level financial analyst, and I said “Perfect” and applied. I never thought I would end up working in the charter school space, but it is a great challenge that I look forward to every day.
How would you describe Charter School Capital and your position?
We meet the financial needs of charter schools across the nation so that they can focus on educating their students and not their bank account. Depending on the day, I run and then crunch the numbers, on other days I crunch and then run the numbers. Big difference!
What brings you joy?
The family, for sure. The wifey, my baby, and my doggies. After that it is being in the outdoors.
When did you learn about this line of work? What called you to it?
From me, there wasn’t a major calling for social advocacy or anything, but I had a desire to do something that could impact youth in either my community or others. When I saw the position for charter school capital, this need seemed like it would be met, and thankfully it has. After being here for a few years I see the impact of my interactions with schools and what we at CSC provide schools. It is a great feeling knowing that a document I created and worked with a client on allows them to get approval for opening their doors on the first day. You really can’t beat that.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Anything in the medical field, I bounced around so many times. I thought I wanted to be a dentist, then I was like “Well, on second thought, bad breath and I don’t get along”. Then, I wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon — that was an aspiration all through high school; but I realized I only wanted it for the “doctor” money and should be more true to myself.
Over the years, what wisdom have you learned?
Be a good listener, sometimes things are hard and you have to fail to get better.
From your position, how do you impact charter schools?
I work with schools or their fiscal officers to discuss the difficult portions of their operations. A lot of times these schools are not in the best fiscal position and it is tough to talk about, or not something the schools can go into great detail about. Part of my role is to make the fiscal position of the school more relatable to everyone involved. I also get to show schools a path forward in an otherwise bleak situation. Getting schools to see a positive outcome in a current negative position is huge benefit of this role.
When a school has a path forward and a partner guiding them through the tough times, it gives them confidence in following through in their vision with the students.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
When I wake up, I’m always going out and seeing what the day’s going to bring. I take things day by day.
That was before my daughter was born, now it is my wife telling me to get up and go get her bottle ready. Fun times.
What’s something about you that might be surprising?
I used to do stand-up comedy, I’ve always been an upbeat, funny guy (self admittedly) so when my buddy moved to Hollywood and told me to come down and do stand-up at some venues, I went down there. It was a really fun eye-opening point in my life.
If you could create a New Class Subject, What would it be?
How to drive like a race car driver. I wish I would have learned this, because if I learned how to do this, I may not have tried doing it on my own and wrecking a car or two in the process.
What piece of advice would you give to recent graduates?
Raise your hand a lot (I mean really a lot) and listen more than talk. You will learn so much by taking on projects (this could be other team members or your own limits as it relates to time management). Listening to your co-workers from varying levels also gives you the career experience that can’t be learned in your day to day tasks. When listening, be active and present, don’t just do it to say you talked with someone.
In your view, what does the world need more of? Less of?
More positivity and open-mindedness. Less negativity.
What do you hope to see for the Future of Charter Schools?
That they are more accepted by the communities they serve and are not looked at as competition to the traditional public school system. The goal is to teach the future generations, not see who can teach the most kids.
What do you hope to see for the Future of CSC?
I hope to see Charter School Capital grow into a truly nationwide and potentially international company.
Want to share?
Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!