Here is the fifth chapter in a series that will let you get to understand who I am a little better:
Chapter 5: The Businessman (2002-Present)
On the campaign trail, most people focus on the Naval Aviation part of my resume, but I am very proud of my business experience outside of the Navy as well. I put my business acumen and experiences into two main buckets: Real Estate and my time at Raytheon. From renovating low-income housing to giving Top Secret briefings in the Pentagon (I still hold the highest level security clearances), these are the experiences that have molded me into an astute businessman who values capitalism and competition.
While flying jets was my childhood dream, my passion in adulthood has been real estate. In real estate, if you do things correctly, you know you’ve made money at the time of the purchase. I love working with the professionals in the business, from agents to mortgage brokers to insurance agents, because they know the value of hard work and they know that nothing good comes for free. You need to hustle to be successful in the real estate world.
In my real estate dealings, I have focused on buying lower value properties that needed repair (average prices of these homes was under $300,000), fixing them up, renting them out, and then selling the property after a few years. I’ve also done a few successful flips along the way. In all cases, managing the budget and the spending plan was absolutely critical. Over the last 15 years, I provided lower income families with quality homes at or below fair market rent. Throughout this period, I made money on every deal before, during, and after the recession. All said and done, I have owned 20 investment units. I have enjoyed the relationships with my tenants and being able to provide them with quality housing at an affordable price, and yes, I did make money on every deal.
On the Raytheon side, I have enjoyed a remarkable career. I was hired in 2009 as a mid-level manager charged with bringing in new business for the company. Over the course of the last 11 years and after doing business in nearly a dozen countries, I was promoted to a Vice President position in charge of developing new business and meeting the bookings goals for our $7 billion portfolio. In this role, I was accountable for $100’s of millions of business per year.
At Raytheon, I learned the intricacies of doing business with the Pentagon, the Presidential and Congressional Budget drills that lead up to the signing of the NDAA (the National Defense Authorization Act is the annual bill that ultimately funds the military thru Congress), and I further advanced my awareness of all national security issues domestically and abroad. Most importantly, I saw first hand where our DoD acquisition process is broken, where there are significant inefficiencies, and where there is a lot of room for improvement. This experience means I won’t have a steep learning curve learning about the acquisition world and military programs as a member of Congress. I have worked classified high-end technology deals with our allies in the Middle East, North America, Europe and Asia, and this experience allows me to understand not only the geo-politics of these regions, but the individual nations’ technology needs and buying constraints as well.
As a result of my time at Raytheon, I am also intimately aware of the state of affairs for our own military forces. I know the crippling effects of Obama’s Budget Control Act and Sequestration, and I know that as a nation, we are lagging behind China and Russia in technology and modernization efforts. These are real and serious handicaps we need to overcome, and it is absolutely critical that we provide a $750 billion budget to the DoD for the next several years.
As an executive in the company, I led large and medium size teams to massive competitive victories. Most importantly, I learned how to translate my leadership experience from the military to the fast-paced civilian world of business. I’ve learned how to inspire people from all walks of life, and I’ve advocated for all of my employees who have worked hard and who gotten results, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. In the end, we are all Americans doing the right thing for the right reasons!
The bottom line: I have been in the trenches as a businessman for nearly 2 decades and despite the Great Recession and Sequestration, I have managed to be successful in real estate and the aerospace and defense industry. I know the value of hard work and the importance of paying attention to financial realities such as budgets and profit/loss. More importantly, I know how hard it is to make money in California, and I know we need to stop punishing Americans for being successful! We should be proud of our successes! I am a first-generation American and the son of an immigrant, and through hard work and sacrifice, I have had a dream career in the military and a variety of opportunities in the business world. The United States is the only place in the world where stories like mine happen on a regular basis, and we need to work to keep it that way!