Daytona Beach


It’s been a long, long time (OK….it’s been an eternity) since I last took the time to blog. I’m still not exactly sure if I’m going to keep this up, but here’s what has been going on lately.

The last few months have been nothing short of a HUGE TRANSITION. Just about everything I knew as “normal” one year ago has now changed. Here is the short list (in no particular order) – new job, new house, new city, new child, new church (sorta)…and on and one and on. I’m sure you will eventually hear about them all in one way or another. I’m tired just thinking about it, but I can tell you that I learned more about life in the last 6 months than I probably ever have before. God’s been faithful through it all and we are still loving life and enjoying every moment. At the advice of a good friend, I took the time to journal about this transition and I am going to share some of it with you, in the hope that it may inspire someone.

Let me know if you are still out there (leave me a comment)….and I will try to be more consistent with my posts. As I re-enter the blogasphere, I’m probably going to share a little less legal theory, a little more personal/family info and mix in a bunch of random thoughts about daily living and what I’m learning on this journey we call life.   

Striving for The Best!-mwr

I recently received an inquiry from a law school classmate that prompted a great discussion topic. The gist of the note was twofold – 1) how did you go from being an aspiring trial law student to an in-house contract lawyer and 2) how do you continue to stay passionate about your work. With permission, I thought the best way to respond was to use those questions as blog entries.

A little bit of history…While at the FSU College of Law, I was a member of the Mock Trial Team and fortunate to serve as president of the team my last year. We entered trial competitions and advocated against other law school students. It was a close nit group, a lot of work, a ton of fun and the best preparation for a career as a trial lawyer one could get while still in law school. After a few competitions, I just knew I was cut out for trial work! When it came time to enter the “real world,” I quickly found out that while many people sue, few actually go to trial. As a baby lawyer who wants to try cases, you either go to a government job handling criminal cases (state attorney/public defender) or carry a seasoned lawyers briefcase, learn the ropes, and pray you get a shot one day. Neither one of those options really appealed to me, so I began looking elsewhere.

I landed my current position right out of law school in a manner that most of the time doesn’t work…I sent in a blind resume to a company and hoped for the best. For a variety of reasons, I wanted to return home, but just knew that the legal market in Daytona Beach, FL would probably not allow that to happen. I can honestly say that many years of hard work, prayer and Divine Intervention landed me with a job I enjoy. While I had offers from traditional firms, many lawyers I spoke with wanted to get out of a firm and go in house, and there were few in house folks who wanted to go back to a firm. I figured I would skip the firm experience and land in a place where many hope to finish. My background synced up perfectly with an open position and 9 years later, here I am!

The boardroom is now my courtroom. Preparation for a successful negotiation is similar to how one would prepare to try a case – know the issues, know the parties and try to masterfully convince others to see a set of facts the was you view them.  While trail law and contract law seem to be polar opposites, there are many similarities – both sides have clients; both sides have different perspectives; both sides want successful outcomes.

Staying passionate about my work is a topic for the next post….that one could take a while.

Striving for The Best!-mwr

Juggling a full time job, family, lots of other commitments and very little spare time has taken its toll on my blogging availability. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers (no offense if you do this) who blogs a few sentences or random thoughts that pop in their head. I desire to post some thought provoking content that challenges us to think, reflect and achieve greatness. So, my revised goal for this site, at least for the time being, is to post one meaningful entry per week. I am going to resist the urge to post a bunch and attempt to save the content for weeks when my schedule gets the best of me. Your participation, in the form of suggestions, comments, quotes, etc., is helpful as this web based process ebbs and flows. I value your active involvement more than you know.

 

As I pen this entry, I am somewhere between a very cold Indianapolis and a hopefully warm and sunny Florida. I’m returning from a fantastic legal conference called TRAC – The Racing Attorney Conference. I have had the pleasure of being a panelist at this great event for the past two years and have found it to be a very useful experience. This year about a hundred lawyers and industry experts gathered in the infield of the Brickyard to discuss the topics that we face daily in the motorsports industry. While the newfound knowledge was great, making personal connections and contacts is the highlight for me. Too often I negotiate deals with my counterparts across the country and never get to meet them face to face or learn about them past the particulars of a deal.

 

Establishing personal relationships are the most effective way to do business. Negotiations, contracts and general business go much smoother when you can sit across the table or on a call with someone who is more than just “the other side.” I pushed myself to meet new people during my time in Indy in an effort to be working with a friend the next time I am fortunate enough to negotiate a deal. We talked about business and the law some, but I was genuinely more interested in their background, family, and other interests. I also renewed relationships with my friends from many wonderful companies involved in this small world we call “the motorsports industry”. No matter what your industry, profession or current situation, go out of your way to make strategic acquaintances. These friendships will never be wasted time and may just make your job more enjoyable down the road.

 

Striving for The Best!-mwr

Continuing a glimpse into SPEEDWEEKS, I have wrapped a few days into this post. Friday started with a bang, as the crunch was on to complete deals for the Bud Shootout activities. The biggest was a sampling contract that we literally had 3 days to draft, negotiate and execute before the benefits were began Sat morning. Signatures we exchanged late Friday and our on site camping guests were pleased, as it provided them with a sampling of Old Spice shower products for the upcoming days. During the madness of the day, I snuck away with my family for a few minutes to visit the Budweiser Clydesdales. My new friend, Hans, travels with the horses and their Dalmatian, Barley, 320 days per year. It was neat to be so close to these amazing animals….Mackenzie especially liked going into the stalls with this huge horses!

 

Next up, the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday. Great weather greeted us and the night concluded with a fantastic finish on the track. The ARCA race before the main event was well attended, but, as expected, was a bit of a demolition derby. I did not have any responsibilities during the day, so Amanda and I attended most of the race, but had to watch the finish from home, due to a couple of sick little girls. We spotted Jared from Subway, along with some RoushFenway racing folks during the race. The Shootout is the first change to see some of the change for the upcoming season and this year was no exception. Getting used to all the driver, number, sponsor and team changes will take some time, but here are a few of the most notable – Tony Stewart in the #14; Mark Martin in the #5; Casey Mears in the #07; Clint Bowyer in the #33; Joey Lagano in the #20; Bobby Labonte in the #96….and on and on and on…

 

Sunday was reserved for church and watching the Daytona 500 qualifying on TV. It’s great to see EGR driver Martin Truex, Jr. in the #1 on the pole, but also thrilling to see Daytona Beach resident, Mark Martin, on the outside pole. Looks like we are in for some surprises and new faces during the upcoming season!

 

Monday and Tuesday were pretty quiet on the track, but it seemed that the last minute deals and ticket sales were non-stop. A few track visits, combined with meeting on projects and contract completion for the weekend were the main highlights…Nothing too exciting there, but tons of work for sure. Wednesday will bring the start of a flurry of activity culminating with The Great American Race on Sunday!

 

Striving for The Best! -mwr

I never thought mentioning a celebrity or two would attract so many hits. Yesterday, this blog had the most single day hits in its short history. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I have some good posts coming, so stay tuned in 2009. Much of the next few months you will read about my experiences and involvement with the mammoth event in Daytona Beach we call “SPEEDWEEKS.”  Life will be fun, fast and furious. So, get in, buckle up and enjoy the ride. In the mean time, here are a few pics of my “friends,” Trisha Yearwood (2008), Richard Petty (2006 in WA) and current Steeler (former Jaguar) Byron Leftwich (2004).

Have an awesome day today and make the most out of what is before you!!

 

 

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr

I am asked often “What do you do every day?” Here’s a glimpse of a semi-completed project I have been working on daily for over 2 years. There is not enough room on this site to bore you with all the details (including numerous ups and downs) of how we progressed to this stage, but I’ve profiled the Daytona Live! project in Daytona Beach a few times on this blog – here and here and here. With construction now “vertical,” everyone on the outside is beginning to see the fruits of our labor.

 

The office building, which will be the new world headquarters for International Speedway Corporation, NASCAR and Grand Am, is under construction and changing the landscape of W. International Speedway Blvd in Daytona Beach.  I snapped a few quick pics this morning so you could see the building a few months into construction. When complete, it will be 185,000 square feet spread out over 8 stories.

The other construction project I have been involved with on the fringe is our new church in Ormond Beach. Troy has dedicated his blog to progress on that project, so click on this link if you want to see the progress there too.

  

There are other aspects of my work that I will blog about in future posts, but there is a look into a project that has consumed the better part of 2 years!

 

Striving for the Best! -mwr

While flipping through the channels last night (since the Rays were clobbering the Red Sox), I stumbled across a very cool documentary on Christian Hosoi, called “Rising Son.” Not sure why I stayed with it, but I am glad I did. Hosoi was an icon when I was growing up in the late 80’s & early 90’s and was on equal footing with Tony Hawk. Hosoi literally brought skateboarding to the forefront and lived the life of a rock star.

Hosoi Hammerhead

Hosoi Hammerhead

 

I was never a skater, but even in Florida everyone knew Christian Hosoi, his numerous endorsements (including Jimmy’Z), the Hammerhead skateboard design and the legendary skateboard tricks.  
 
He had everything any person would ever want, but the fast paced life and drugs that followed nearly destroyed him. Hosoi skipped the first X-games (the one that made Tony Hawk a very rich man and international icon) and soon after, his life completely unraveled. Hosoi was arrested on drug charges and sentenced to federal prison in 2001. At his lowest point, Christian accepted Jesus as his savior. If you want to read a detailed version of his life’s story, check this out.
 
He is now out of prison, started a new skateboard company and is on staff as a pastor at The Sanctuary Church in Huntington Beach, CA. Great story of a guy who has overcome and is doing everything he can to make a difference in the world now.

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