talewagger copyMy name is Gary Rodrigues. I’m just an ordinary guy who grew up in a factory town near Boston, Massachusetts with the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and rock and roll playing at full volume in the background. In a previous life I must’ve been an adventurer — or a pyrate — because I’ve always enjoyed exploring new worlds, and I’ve always enjoyed an intimacy with the sea.

The late-1960s was a period of tumult and change. It was a time of abundant hope and promise, too; and, with the race to the moon playing out in the background of my childhood, I dreamed more than anything else of becoming an astronaut and exploring other worlds.

Like many kids, however, life’s forces took me in a different direction.

Shortly after I started my first semester at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1975, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. When the semester was over I left school to help tend to a three-year old brother, while my mother underwent a radical mastectomy and then went on to receive follow-on treatment.

When her doctors said she was on a path to recovery — if there is such a thing — I enlisted in the United States Navy. I was selected Honor Man by my peers during recruit training, then I went on to receive more than 2,000 hours of training — the equivalent of 60 to 80 semester-hours of college credit — needed to earn certifications to operate and maintain nuclear reactors on both submarines and surface ships.

About halfway through my nuclear training, I was informed that cancer had struck my mother again; this time it was terminal. She — a mother of seven — passed away in 1978 at the age of forty-three. When I received my honorable discharge in 1980, I returned to Massachusetts and the house that was once my home.

I was twenty-two; it was time to pick up the pieces of my life. For the first year I enjoyed going to the beach and working as a handyman on Cape Cod, where I shucked oysters, painted houses, banged nails, and worked as a busboy and doorman at a local restaurant and nightclub to pay the freight.

In 1981, I joined a leading engineering firm as a technical writer and nuclear specialist. The company asked me to go to South Africa to work on a nuclear power plant project about a year and a half later. At only twenty-four years old I wasn’t quite ready for that kind of commitment, so I quit and took a job on Cape Cod as head of renovations for a hotel company that had five properties in its portfolio.

Whether by the grace of God or by Providence, I met the girl of my dreams in 1982. Two years later, my work in the hotel industry took us to the Caribbean, where I was sent to renovate and manage a small hotel on the then up and coming British island of Anguilla.

I didn’t know it then, and I wouldn’t know it for many more years, but my one-year experience at Domino College would prove to be one of the most important and rewarding experiences in my life.

In late-1985, we returned to the United States, where I restarted my professional career as a technical writer and training specialist the nuclear power and environmental industries.

In 1991, I was accepted into Pepperdine University’s Executive MBA program without an undergraduate degree. While continuing to work full-time during the day, I graduated from the Tier One-ranked program nineteen months later with a cumulative GPA of 3.77.

In the years since, my high levels of enthusiasm, imagination and performance have served as springboards for a career that has seen me launching and operating businesses and consulting practices focused on providing strategy-focused services in the insurance, healthcare and life sciences, and construction and environmental industries, and in the public sector.

Today, I’m a full-time management consultant, and a part-time writer, pyrate and explorer. My work, travels and travails have yet to take me to the moon, but they have taken me on many a great adventure, including a few that have me pinching myself to make sure they really happened and are true.

At least one of these adventures — my Anguilla story — is worth sharing, and that’s mostly what this website is about as a blog.

If you haven’t found your story, yet, find it!  In the meantime, I hope you’ll bookmark my website and come back every so often to enjoy some of my musings.



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