We know that everyone is anxious to meet our new president, so we sat down with him to ask a few of the questions that are certainly on everyone’s mind…
- What was your first job?
I delivered the Richmond County Daily Journal from sixth grade all the way through high school. I went through three or four bikes on that job. Over seven years I became an expert in dog behavior. I generally love dogs, though I remember thinking that if Hell doesn’t exist for our pets, what a shame that was for a certain Dachshund who lived in a carport at the top of Curtis Avenue.
- How would you describe your work style?
I’m very much a generalist. Like a lot of people, I enjoy variety and find a thrill in unique or creative perspectives. I tend to be skeptical of certainty, at least at first, and will sometimes argue either side of an issue. I enjoy collaboration; I like to joke around, to a point. Diagrams, illustrations and demonstrations really help me understand complex concepts, and I struggle without them. Routine is not my friend, and I have been fortunate to work with disciplined systems-oriented people in my career.
- Coke or Pepsi?
I rarely drink soft drinks anymore. Because I lived in Atlanta for twenty-seven years, I saw first-hand the remarkable philanthropy from the wealth created by The Coca-Cola Company’s success. Regardless, as president I pledge to accept gifts of appreciated stock in either company.
- Star Wars or Star Trek?
Never too much into either series but, forced to choose, I’ll go with Star Trek, the “Next Generation” version specifically because of the Borg. If you ever saw Bjorn Borg play tennis, you know the writers came up with the perfect name for those guys.
- What are you currently reading?
I have three or four Montreat histories in my bag. The most recent book I finished, cover to cover, was “How To Live: A Life of Montaigne” by Sarah Bakewell. A blog I frequently follow started an online book club, and I bought it on an impulse. But let’s be clear about this: you’re much more likely to catch me with “Bill Simmons: The Book of Basketball” than you are to find me with biographies of 16th philosophers. Much. More. Likely.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
One Thanksgiving I told my grandmother DuBose that I wished it could be Christmas Day already. She said, “Don’t wish your life away.”
- What is a fact that would probably surprise people to know about you?
People think I’m an extrovert, I think I’m an introvert, and I test right down the middle. (Apparently, the psychological term for that typology is “screwed up.”)
- What excites you about the future of Montreat?
First, it’s difficult for me to put into words how my own Montreat experience shaped and formed me. I want to do what I can to proclaim the importance of our ongoing ministry not only to the individuals fortunate enough to come here but to the whole Church. That said, the context of the Church Montreat originally served is obviously now wider, deeper, and more complex, but also more diverse in its opportunities for ministry. So we get to create exciting and enriching programs not just for the Church that is but also the Church that is to be. Who couldn’t get excited about that?
We’re excited about the direction and vision Richard brings to the mission of Montreat Conference Center. We look forward to the years ahead under his leadership.