Many years ago, after yet another of my job peregrinations either done or upon us (a constant state of affairs, I suppose), my wife, Andi, knowing that I had a dream of having a job announcement posted in the Wall Street Journal with one of those pointillist/dot rendered photos, created a full length column out of one sentence, entitled “Where in the World is Michael Shindler?” She even had a graphic designer, our young friend, Nate Azark, now of 12 Line Studio (and the designer of the Four Corners Advisors logo and website), create the dot rendered photo.
I think of this as it is relevant now: after nearly 18 months of post-Hard Rock operations of Four Corners Advisors from an Orlando base (and 4+ years at Hard Rock), I am relocating back to Chicago as our full-time base of operations. As of the writing of this “One Man’s Opinion,” I have not determined where I’ll office, but I will be crowding Andi out of our apartment a bit while we decide where life’s journey will take us. We have a good idea: with Carey (our daughter) and Matt (our son-in-law) expecting our first grandchild – a boy – in late January, it is certainly looking like we’ll be wintering in a warm climate, though this one will be situated in greater Phoenix, rather than Orlando. And, if nothing else, I have an affinity for the Arizona Cardinals, due to their prior incarnation in St. Louis when I was in law school there; of course, they don’t play in the winter -- ever.
Because change tends to make me reflective, and because this is my forum, I have a few hotel-related (?) thoughts to express.
First, Four Corners Advisors hit the ground running and defined its niche rather quickly this second time around. For the first time, I have an identified statement of purpose that seems to resonate in the marketplace. My clientele fits the description generally, and I find myself wondering why I spend $5000 twice a year to attend ALIS and the NYU Hospitality Conference. My clients are simply not there. You can see the Statement of Purpose here.
Second, I have gotten the opportunity to work more with my son, Adam, Managing Director of his own consultancy, Wilshire Hospitality, and we are pursuing a few principal development opportunities together. This simply could not have happened had we both been otherwise gainfully employed. I am learning how to make my cautious and considered approach a bit more aggressive. Development in the hotel space is not for the weak of heart.
Third, I have had the opportunity to work on behalf of clients with a number of hotel professionals with whose paths I likely never would have – nor had I heretofore – crossed. These include architects, interior designers, planners, consultants, lawyers, hotel management companies and brand representatives. After nearly 30 years in the hotel space, that I can meet new people who do not ask “Are you Adam’s Dad?” is exciting. My client base has been increasingly institutional in quality, meaning these things: they understand what they need; they appreciate the effort and the advice we provide; and they pay their bills timely. No consultant could ask for more.
I am so much looking forward to more and differing assignments, I have the energy and drive of someone much younger than I, and I have a grandson to look forward to meeting and for whom I hope to set an example as I did for my own children.
Fourth, there’s no place like home. Moving back to Chicago merely cements all the feelings I have about Chicago being “home,” as Orlando most clearly is not. There are some people and things I’ll miss about Orlando, and there are some that I decidedly won’t. Here they are:
I have written here before about the troubles in UNC’s Athletics Department and how proud I am that Chancellor Folt and AD Cunningham are dealing with them head on, protecting the University but acknowledging wrong-doing from before their tenures. This is about Chuck Pagano, NFL Coach, Cancer survivor and, apparently, all around good guy. I wonder why, however, he refused to cooperate with the internal investigation at UNC and why Roger Goodell has not suspended Coach Pagano (UNC Defensive Coordinator in 2007) or even called him onto the carpet for not cooperating, as he has so many for other college indiscretions (e.g., Terrelle Pryor) and for obstructing investigations (e.g., Tom Brady and others). I can no longer in good conscience cheer for the Indianapolis Colts; I never cheered for Roger Goodell.