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,

Brandin’s Year-in-Review 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope this letter finds all of you well. I managed to find time over the course of several late nights to gather my address book, but ended up having to wait until after the holidays to sit down and write. Lots go through my head when I do this and rushing the letter won’t do any good for your enjoyment. I would hate to have the worst happen, losing touch with those I grew up with or made a difference to me.

2011 was a year in transition for me, after graduating from the College of Business at CSU Long Beach the prior spring. Throughout the year, there was a lot of traveling to and from the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Dallas, and Portland, attending conferences and meeting with prospective business partners and tech start-ups regarding my next step.

After three and a half years, I departed my full-time involvement with PeacePartners Inc., in Long Beach. While the staff was much loved for its atmosphere and attitude, many knew that it was a matter of time before I was going to move on to bigger and better things. It was this time last year I had announced to many colleagues and friends that I was planning to move on, possibly even relocate, in search of my next move. I was grateful to have started here as an intern back in 2008 while I was working for the CSU Chancellor, and two years later, becoming full-time staff. I am thankful for the chance I had to be with them, especially considering how hard it is for students to find opportunities while in college. They have been greatly missed and I hope to remain good friends with everyone.

On a related note, after a five-year run, it was time for me to depart from my managing duties with athletics for the rowing team at CSULB (Beach Crew). It was a hard decision to make but everyone gave me their best wishes as I departed from the everyday duties. The response was overwhelming, going beyond the CSULB campus, throughout many western collegiate institutions. I have to say that in the past five years I was involved more off the water than actually in a boat. I met so many people from around the country. I am glad that there is a sense of respect for the institution up and down the state. I am honored to have been the voice for the team for all of those years. Today, Matthew Dalton has taken over my duties as the General Manager of Rowing. We talk on a weekly basis, sometimes even daily. I have retained my involvement with the Beach Crew Alumni Association as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors, not to fully abandon my relationship from my roots. Sometimes I miss Long Beach and the chance to travel around the country.

Unrelated to rowing, a former professor of mine from the CSULB College of Business keeps inviting me back to teach a seminar to students during the spring semesters. The topic changes from introducing students new kinds of information systems beyond the classroom, informing students about current changes in the industry, and defining applications for mobile devices. The grant I helped obtain from Boeing is still going strong, which obtains testing equipment and funds a course for students seeking careers in mobile device applications.

As of September 2011, I have moved out into a place of my own residing on the north end of Lake Mission Viejo in South Orange County. Views of Modjeska and Santiago Peaks can be seen from the backyard since we’re in the foothills. I live with two former rowers from Orange Coast College, one I have known since middle school.

In October, out of the blue, I received a phone call from a company about five miles from my home, inviting me on board to their team of 12. The company, RockLive, was founded in 2010 by two brothers and has already released two major mobile applications for iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad. RockLive has very good connections with other companies, including Apple, Twitter, Facebook, EA, and several celebrities. I have to say I never saw myself working for a game company. There are hard 10-12 hour days to be worked, and I’m usually on-call when I’m not working, but I think the commitment will pay off soon. We’ve already been featured in major news sources, including a feature with me in it on Bloomberg West. Maybe a year from now we’ll be all over the news.

I can write pages about this past year, but I think this sums up a year in transition, getting back to the things that mattered, and fulfilling my desires in life. I wish all of you the best, good health, and prosperity this year.

Best Regards,