Why did you join Chi Phi? I wasn’t planning on joining a fraternity upon my arrival in Ann Arbor, but that quickly changed. Matt Carpenter and J.Mike Courage (who I attended Divine Child High School with in Dearborn) immediately got their hooks into me. They converted me from potential pledge to pledge class recruiter and the rest is history.
With whom do you stay in contact? I stay in contact with a bunch, so sorry in advance for any I forget. My closest relationships are with Carp, Jeremy Steslicki, and AJ Lytle. All 3 were groomsmen in my wedding and even though they have lived throughout the US we have managed to stay close and still see each other throughout the year and have group text chains about Michigan sports. I am a Michigan Football season ticket holder and tailgate right next to the stadium. Throughout the years it has been great to have so may former brothers stop by: Stoops, Tocco, Kais, Tomey, Overwater, Sipple, Little Ron, Maz, Sprague, The Courage Brothers, Dulas, and Mirkin to name a few.
Did you live in the house? Yes
If so, who were your room-mates? Tell us about a memorable time with them. My sophomore year I lived in the Alpha Room with President Matt Carpenter. While we have many stories, what I remember most about Carp was his hosting abilities. He always wanted to ensure everyone was having a good time and it is interesting to see how that has continued as we have gotten older. I also remember gaining some solid weight as Late-Night Specials and Pizza House deliveries were frequent. My junior year I was Alpha and lived by myself in the Landing. That year I remember painting the back stairs, refinishing the hardwood floors, and of course the infamous Stez/Aj bottle rocket-dumpster incident. Finally, my super-senior year I was the Chapter Advisor and lived in the Powder Room. This was an important time, because I was dating my current wife (Jennifer) while I lived in the house. I remember thinking that if me living in this house with all these shenanigans doesn’t scare her off, she must really like me.
Can you tell us about your career? My career actually began in Chi Phi almost 18 years ago. Jason Stoops had just gotten a part time job at Best Buy and suggested I apply. I was about to be Alpha the following year, so I figured, why not? Work for the summer, get a good deal on some sweet speakers for my room and then quit when the school year started. Well my part time job has now been an incredible career. I was fortunate to work my way up in the Ann Arbor Best Buy ultimately becoming the Sales Manager and hiring a handful of brothers. I then went on to become a General Manager in a couple locations, was a District Services Manager rolling out our Geek Squad Brand, and a Director of Magnolia Home Theater overseeing operations of our High-End Home Theater business for the North-East and Midwest. After having our daughter Ava, plane travel became old, so I transitioned to be the District Manager of Western Michigan and Northern Indiana. After 5 years of covering that area I recently returned home to be the District Manager in Metro-Detroit/Toledo area, the same district I started part time 18 years ago. Thanks Jason Stoops for encouraging me to get that part-time job. It turned out ok!
Geographically, where are you now, and where have you been since leaving Ann Arbor? Since coming to school in Ann Arbor in 1999 I have never left. I met my wife Jennifer, got married, had our daughter Ava, and now my daughter attends St. Francis School in Ann Arbor. We love to travel and will continue to do so, but there will always being something special about the Ann Arbor area and it feeling like HOME.
Why is it important to you that Chi Phi remains at 1530 Washtenaw for years to come? Recently I got caught in a bind. It was the Homecoming game this year and I was throwing a huge post-game tailgate, but unfortunately thunderstorms were in the forecast and securing an indoor venue close to the stadium was difficult. I thought…what the heck…maybe we can use Chi Phi? So, I drove to the house and asked the current brothers…”Hey I was Alpha here like 17 years ago…see I’m on that composite…do you think I can use the house tomorrow to throw a party?” Fortunately, I am now “old”, and our party was starting at like 4 and their party was starting at 11pm so it was no problem and they said yes! We had to clean up “a bit” prior, but all in all my family and friends HAD A BLAST and seemingly reverted to some of their college days. The night ended with them finally asking us to leave nicely as their party was starting and the “old people” were starting to embarrass them. Great party, great stories, great laughs, great friends, and that is why 1530 Washtenaw remains important to me.