Brandin’s Year-in-Review 2012

Happy New Year!

Can I get this out before February. Nope!

Hello close friends, family, and neighbors. I hope all of you are well. A lot of my life is being consumed by what I love (and hesitate) to do, but what matters is that the next set of stairs is higher than the next. I feel that sitting down to write this is most of the personal time I get nowadays, but that’s what remains important. So here it goes…

The year started off on a new excursion in February to Las Vegas for a conference. I last stepped foot in this city when I was 12. I finally saw Old Town Fremont Street for the first time in my life. You would see a lot of this area in movies. Since the entire area has been revamped to be more of a tourist destination, it’s hard to picture it, but it’s all there. During that same time I took my very first round-trip-in-a-day flight to and from San Jose for my Annual Meeting of the Shareholders with Apple Inc. I should get used to this!

My sister got married August 25. My brother-in-law, Daniel, gave me a giant mug last Christmas (2011) with a picture of him being crazy and stating, “Be My Groomsman!” I think the entire wedding party came to a consensus describing the occasion as, “Finally!” The two have known each other since they were in elementary school.

In October, my one-year anniversary with RockLive Inc. surpassed and have since then been awarded stock in the company. We’re working on some pretty big things. I wish I could spread it all out for you, but rules are rules. We did, however, provide service to a billboard in Times Square, New York, during New Years Eve.

While I was up in the San Francisco Bay Area attending Apple Inc.’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced that its head office was moving from Mission Viejo to Newport Beach, right on the Balboa Peninsula. Scheduling this move right around my sister’s wedding, my life got very crazy, having to move a household and prepare with the wedding party at the same time. Their new office is on Balboa Boulevard and Fifteenth Street, second floor of the Paddle Power shop. The move was completed in September. The Mission Viejo office is still there, but it’s turned into a warehouse for the new t-shirt division, which I don’t have much to do with. One big shift that I’ve been dealing with is adapting to our staff overseas, who work a day ahead of us in most areas. A 10-hour day turns into 15 as soon as I get home and have to get on a conference call at midnight.

Since then, the “ex-rower’s consortium” has also moved. Us former oarsmen have a new home in Huntington Harbor, up on the hill where Warner Avenue ends at Pacific Coast Highway. This brought us back much closer to friends, but still keeping us somewhat distant from our parents (we still love all of you!).

My spare time (really?) continues to be involved with the CSU Long Beach Foundation’s Beach Crew Alumni Fund (BCA) and serving as a non-voting member of the board as the Director of Outreach. We ended the year with $10,000 in the bank with only 64 charter members across the world. Almost all of the money went into equipment in 2012. Their goal for 2013 is to double the amount raised as well as membership. The board developed a 5-year strategic plan for the team, which looks promising. It’s gained a lot of attention, including the President of the university, Dr. F. King Alexander, who stated that continued alumni support is key to gaining additional support from the university itself. With all that said, it feels good to finally be a part of something where it’s not just one person trying to get something done. I’m honored to see that the university admires what I brought to the table to stake down the playing field for more than 50 years of athletes who passed through here, especially for a group that started with nothing. I’ll end by stating something from Stu Gibson, the President of UC Irvine’s “Friends of Rowing” Foundation. Someone asked him at a regatta, “Why do we work our butts off doing all of this?” The answer was simple, “Because it makes you feel good,” and I can confirm that it does.

In March, I did something that I thought I’d be doing when I’m much older. But the right things happened at the right time. If you ever want to put your mark on something for generations to come, I found that the unknown man of wisdom said, “Good things take time, but great things happen all at once.” After confirming partial support of this decision from the BCA Board of Control, I immediately got to business with the Freshmen Coach, Jeffrey Vreeland, on the delivery of a new race-worthy 8-man (plus coxswain) rowing shell, one manufactured in Germany (or at least a German company) from Bootsweft Empacher. While the transaction was in my responsibility, the boat had to be transferred from Columbus, Ohio, to Gainesville, Georgia, then to its final destination in Alamitos Bay of Long Beach. A good friend of mine, James Long-Lerno, who is the coach at USC, took the honor of towing it for the long haul from Gainesville to Long Beach. The boat arrived in June. On November 10, there was a big dedication ceremony to celebrate its arrival. It was surreal. I actually did not name the boat. Something was spontaneously mentioned across the “Internets” by another trusting friend, Matthew Dalton, and “KillaGrams” is what it was named. The BCA Fund purchased a new set (and a half) of oars to go with it. The day couldn’t get better until at last-minute the BCA Board announced that the team’s co-founder, Dr. Ludwig Spolyar, currently retired in Lake Tahoe, was going to attend the ceremony. Dr. Spolyar last set foot in Long Beach in the late 1950’s. The guy was literally in tears to see how far things have come. I am blessed to have such great friends. The boat is truly dedicated to the friends and family that I’ve known from the past. I am looking forward to all of the racing “KG” is going to fight through as it travels throughout the country, and yes, she’s insured, for the years to come. I could care less if it wins or not because, to me, seeing the guys have a great time in this important time of their lives is good enough in my book. Later, it will pay off.

The campus taped the entire ceremony and it’s available online. Just look up the phrase “Killagrams” on YouTube (spell it right and use quotes!). It will also be available in the University Archives, Room 300 of the CSULB Library.

On a related note, here’s something that’s intriguing. Newport Harbor High School’s (NHHS) Class of 2004 is up for their 10-year reunion next year. For some odd reason there’s a good number of people from my class that are getting back in touch left and right, mostly to pick my brain about “this cool ‘app’ idea,” or, “I don’t know how to do this. What would you do?” Unfortunately I don’t have much time for extra projects. I’m trying to have a life that isn’t consumed by a career and rowing off the water. I was starting to think that I was actually more popular in high school than I originally thought. But then I figured it out. It was Volume 72, of The Galleon, the school’s yearbook, which I was one of two Editor-In-Chief’s. Without going into great detail, let’s just say the Editor’s Opening and Closing, written almost 10 years ago, are now being read once again by the 437 graduates. Perhaps I should call up the school to run the reunion. More on this in another year I guess.

I’m looking forward to a week-long vacation at the end of February. I have not had a non-business-related trip since December 2009.

I hope the best, as always, for all of you in this new year. Time does not fly when you see what you have done. Try it. Stay Gold.


Best Regards,