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Speaking and Training

I served my entire professional career as a state and federal prosecutor. As a state prosecutor for the first five years, I started with crimes such as speeding, theft and drunk driving, but within a short time, my cases changed to more serious crimes such as burglaries, robberies, crimes involving the abuse and neglect of children, and many violent crimes including murder.


Some of my most rewarding assignments, as well as some of the most heartbreaking, involved working directly with kids “in the system” for a variety of crimes often influenced by the poor choices of adults in their lives (but sometimes the result of their own life choices despite positive adult influences and many opportunities.) Many of these poor choices, by adults and juveniles, were related to some form of substance abuse. As a result of these experiences, I helped form and run the first full-time drug prosecution unit in Idaho history.


In 1987 I was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Idaho where I supervised the Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force – a group of agents, analysts and prosecutors who investigated and prosecuted high-level drug trafficking organizations including Los Angeles street gangs, drug cartels, methamphetamine manufacturers, and international drug smugglers and money launderers. Some of these cases involved decades of investigation working with state, federal and foreign law enforcement agencies in pursuit of evidence and witnesses across the United States and foreign countries such as Hong Kong, Thailand, Fiji, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, and various locations in Europe. Because of the nature of my caseload, I was also a sworn Special Deputy United States Marshall for most of my career.


In 1995, I served as Special Counsel to the Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys in Washington D.C. where my primary assignments involved domestic terrorism, violent crime, juvenile justice, and narcotics.


As a result of my career experiences, I had the opportunity to teach in many places that included the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, numerous state and regional law enforcement conferences, and five international organized crime seminars where I worked with prosecutors, judges, and police officers from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, and Croatia.


During this same time, I was also a passionate drug educator and speaker for schools, businesses, churches, law enforcement agencies, prevention groups, and other youth and parent organizations. One of my proudest personal and career achievements was the organization and implementation of the statewide "Enough is Enough” anti-drug campaign which produced community coalitions in every area of Idaho.


In 2011, after realizing that three decades of experience provided me with a unique opportunity to prevent much of the pain inflicted upon children, families, and communities because of substance abuse, I left government service in order to devote all of my time as a keynote speaker and trainer at local, state, regional and national conferences relating to drug policy, law enforcement, youth leadership, drug prevention, corporate training, and maintaining safe communities. I am particularly focused on national policies that impact youth substance abuse. 


My speaking style combines real-life experiences as a federal drug prosecutor, working with kids, and my love of the outdoors. After life-long exposure to the darkest aspects of society, and the realization that these experiences affected my ability to appreciate some of life’s simplest pleasures, a growing interest in nature and wildlife photography led to my rediscovery of everything that is wonderful in life -- a world full of amazing people, beautiful landscapes, fascinating creatures, and boundless opportunities and adventures. Consequently, at the end of every presentation, I use stories and images to illustrate the dramatic difference that choices bring – either the darkness of a toxic and dangerous drug culture or a life filled with beauty, joy, children, families, friendships, safe communities, and healthy brains and bodies.


KEYNOTES AND OTHER PRESENTATIONS


The following keynote presentations have been developed for a wide variety of audiences and can be adapted to fit the needs of any group. All of my presentations are designed to be extremely positive and informative, providing the latest information, research, and unique perspectives on how this information can be effectively used and communicated to others.


Keynotes are typically given at the beginning or end of conferences, although they are also appropriate during conference lunches and award banquets. Here are titles and descriptions for three of the most requested conference keynotes:


REDISCOVERING JOY


After serving almost 30 years in law enforcement, and seeing the darkest aspects of the human condition as a federal drug prosecutor, a passion for nature photography gave me an opportunity to re-discover everything that is wonderful in life – a world full of amazing people, beautiful landscapes, fascinating creatures, and boundless opportunities and adventures.


Through real-life experiences and award-winning photography, this presentation provides a vivid contrast between choices that bring misery and pain and a life filled with a sense of wonder and awe for the world around us. In essence, this is my own personal experience in finding "joy in the journey.” It is designed to help people navigate the weighty challenges of managing careers while maintaining a healthy balance in the rest of their lives. The end result is a powerful and unique message of hope and inspiration.


Background for this presentation:


Children view the world through eyes of wonder and awe. Their lives are full of new experiences and many adventures, and imagination constantly fuels their thoughts and actions. As adults, we often lose this sense of wonder as our attention is focused on education, work, financial obligations, and raising a family.


Over time, the cumulative weight of life’s responsibilities can negatively influence our interest in (and time) to quietly enjoy a sunset, absorb the bouquet of fragrances coming from a flower garden, or hear the symphony of sounds produced deep in a forest. In the hustle and bustle of life, it is sometimes difficult to fully appreciate the way children are experiencing the world in all its glory. In seeking the successes of life, we often fail to find “joy in the journey.” I found myself in this situation after 20 years of working on a federal drug task force.


Up to that point in my life, my wife and I experienced the blessings found in a blur of family activities – ballgames, school activities, church, Scouts, camping, hiking, birthdays, holidays, and the occasional vacation. But as our children left home to attend college and raise families of their own, I found myself working longer hours and enjoying life less. Although my legal career was exciting and challenging, the investigation of large-scale drug trafficking organizations put me in direct contact with some of the darkest aspects of the human condition – greed, addiction, violence, conspiracies, abuse and neglect of children, and the loss of dignity, health, freedom, and even life itself.


After our last child left for college, I reached a turning point in my life with the realization that I needed a hobby, something that would help me focus my attention on more positive thoughts and experiences. My choice at the time was an inexpensive film camera. Although I initially lacked the skills necessary to successfully capture a beautiful image, the experience of looking through the lens of a camera allowed me to re-discover everything that is wonderful in life. Through the lens of a camera, I rediscovered joy.


This presentation is about balancing work life with the rest of your life.


The need to appreciate all of the beauty in nature will be covered in this session, providing attendees with additional incentive to protect and maintain public lands for the benefit of all.


When I tell this story through a presentation, I call it “Rediscovering Joy” because that is what it felt like to be a career federal prosecutor that. My story is about Rediscovering Joy. I think it is an unusual story and worth sharing, and it starts with thinking about what it was like to be a child growing up on a small farm in Emmett, Idaho.


SERVICE BASED LEADERSHIP


This is one of my favorite topics for adults and youth. It is designed for private and public since the principles apply to each. Customized versions of this presentation can meet the specific needs of your organization. A few examples:


Service Based Leadership - Training for Organizations and Corporations


Through years of public service as the lead prosecutor for a federal drug task force, and as a participant in many community-based organizations, I have witnessed a wide variety of leadership styles and the results they produce. In my experience, the most effective leaders are those who lead by example through an attitude of service. When leaders approach their responsibilities with a sense of service, people are inspired and motivated to do their best. Managers can get lost in timetables, deadlines, and performance standards that often push aside the most important aspects of effective leadership.


Service based leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set a of leadership practices that can be adopted by individuals, communities, and organizations.


This presentation will illustrate the qualities of great leaders, provide historic and current examples of effective leaders, and demonstrate how leaders can encourage, support, and enable others to reach their full potential through an attitude of service and mutual respect. The end result is individual, community, and organizational success.


Service Based Leadership - Training for Community Coalitions, Public Service Organizations and the Faith Community


Public service is often a labor of love. People are drawn to it by a desire to help others make healthy choices - creating healthy individuals, families, and communities. The work of public servants requires a great deal of leadership and service to fellow workers, youth, and the general public.


The concept of servant leadership is based upon the practice of leading by example – promoting organizational and community pride and unity through meaningful service, mutual respect, and concern for all members of the community. Significant and lasting change is possible when inspired leaders point the way, lead by example, and successfully motivate organization and community members to embrace healthy lifestyles and serve each other.


This presentation will cover the qualities of great leaders, provide historic and current examples of great public servants, and demonstrate how we can encourage and foster organization and community development through an attitude of service and kindness.


Service Based Leadership - Training for Youth


This topic is particularly valuable for youth leaders. The end goal is to inspire young people to make a difference in their families, schools and communities. Presentation titles include: Service Based Leadership: How Youth Leaders Can Make a Difference Service Based Leadership: Learning to Lead by Serving Others


WHY EDUCATION WORKS


History shows us that education works when the message is powerful, consistent, and sustained over time. In a world where some are calling for surrender to the drug culture, how do we use our time, talents, and education with a renewed sense of purpose and passion? What is the message to be shared and why is this work so important for the future of America?


As a backdrop for this presentation, I compare the current drug legalization movement with the way the tobacco industry destroyed lives through deceit and slick marketing. Using our history of prevention efforts in tobacco education, designated driver programs, seat belts, recycling and other successful educational campaigns, I remind participants how prevention and education efforts have saved countless lives. The end result is a renewed belief in the power and effectiveness of community drug education. In addition to being a good energizer for the beginning or ending of a conference, this presentation is also effective in restoring the public’s appreciation for drug education and motivating them to support these efforts. The ultimate message is that education works when we do enough of it.


Depending on the needs of the audience, this presentation includes the influence of popular culture on public attitudes towards substance abuse, and trains participants to recognize national and local trends of drug normalization and how to fight back through increased community education. My research includes the latest information on how books, magazines, television, movies, fashion, events, celebrities, music, social media, advertising, and even video games impact youth and adult attitudes regarding substance abuse.



WHERE THE WILD THINGS


Looking through a camera lens inspired me in ways that are difficult to describe. Instead of rushing through life, zooming by everything that is wonderful, I could now stop and enjoy the smile on a child’s face, the grace of a bird in flight, the majesty of a sunrise on granite peaks that protect a crystal-clear lake – and the wonder of stars.


Although I enjoy all kinds of photography, wildlife photography is my favorite. It is therapy for my soul.


Not everyone has the opportunity to travel to exotic places and capture images of grizzly bears slapping salmon from waterfalls. Even if you have that kind of opportunity, you must first develop the skills necessary to capture interesting animal behavior through the study of wildlife and using the principles of composition, exposure, shutter speed, and more. A good way of developing these skills is to shoot what is available to you on a consistent basis, and this kind of shooting can be fun.


“Where The Wild Things Are” is a life-affirming look at the world of wildlife photography and how to develop your photography skills beginning in your own back yard, your neighborhood, local parks and zoos, target-rich environments such as seashores and national parks, and ultimately the wilderness. The end result can be “wild.”



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