Bob Bird

PHOTO – ON IT’S WAY

A mediocre four years at AVHS led me to immediately enter six months active duty with the National Guard never to live in the Lancaster area again. I attended Brigham Young University in Utah where I gained an appreciation for motorcycle riding, living on a tight budget, diverse friendships and skiing as a BYU, city & county ski instructor and, despite many distractions, eventually received a BS in Administration.

Graduation, and an honorable discharge from the Army Reserve, allowed me to unsuccessfully attempt to make a living off the mountain as a ski instructor and off the sea delivering yachts along the Mexican and U.S. coasts. However, when I finally accepted there was minimum financial future in these endeavors, I went to work for Bank of America in San Diego. I was soon assigned to their international division, because I had no responsibilities nor obligations, where I spent 15 years, off & on, working overseas and having the opportunity to reside in Panama, Philippines, London and Hong Kong with stops in Miami and San Francisco. During my BofA career, I was a lending officer, systems administrator, asset sales manager, and operations administrator, but primarily worked at various times in the operational risk management field with global responsibilities for internal audit, internal & external fraud investigations, bank robberies, and physical security.

In 1998, I gladly accepted a “golden parachute” from a “new” Bank of America and, after a six month sabbatical, became an independent consultant, liquidated our California assets, and relocated to Las Vegas. I spent a few years consulting for Fortune 500 companies before refocusing my energy towards instructing operational risk management techniques on a part-time basis while actually enjoying life, good health, and my family the majority of the time.

I married Florence Kellogg, a former flight attendant, in 1975 and, together, we have enjoyed living and traveling the world. We have two great children – Alina age 25 and Aaron age 24, who were both born in the Philippines, remain single, and now live near us in Las Vegas. Hobbies seem to change with the ages and currently include travel, swimming, hiking, and reading, although I continue to ski during the winters and long for more days of scuba diving.

I have few actual memories of AVHS, although who could ever forget Mrs. Pickus or Mr. Ballard . . . two of my favorites! High school and living in Lancaster are in the distant past, although I occasionally smile remembering riding my converted 12-speed bicycle, cruising / dating in the 1953 Plymouth, and even working at Safeway. I have managed to stay in-touch with a few close high school friends, which is a good thing, although some of these same friends probably better remember (or want to forget) a Salt Lake City skiing adventure during our college days! I’m thankful not to be a teenager today because being a “kid” seems to be too difficult and stressful, and I’m glad our two children survived their high school years.

As to my immediate future, I’ll continue consulting as it keeps me active and allows ongoing interaction with interesting and diverse people. My wife & I also will continue to balance traveling adventures and camping in our 20ft motor home as long as the money holds-out!

Outstanding accomplishments are hard to identify, as there always seems to have been strategic happenings beyond my control that allowed my family and I to reside and travel overseas. These experiences provided us opportunities to enjoy and learn about different cultures and people, plus we’ve retained friendships around the world. However, a recent accomplishment was being selected to do volunteer work at the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City where I was assigned, with a team of seven skiers, to prepare, groom and observe the alpine ski races. It was 14, 12-hour days, of physical and mental labor rewarded with ski lift rides in the dark, unforgettable sun rises, a high level of security, and great skiing coupled with being allowed to work closely with ski professionals and athletes from around the world.