“As my own boss, I could set the priority to be there while the boys were in their important years,” Bob explains. “My wife, Shelley, and I always made the time to participate in our sons’ lives, maybe to an excess on occasion. Not only did I attend all of their sporting events in grade school and high school, I even watched most of their basketball, football and baseball practices in high school. There is no substitution for showing up.”
From true mom-and-pop origins, with Shelley pitching in at the company wherever help was needed in the early days, Everest Properties has grown vigorously. Today, the company owns more than 5,500 apartment units and almost 1,000,000 square feet of self-storage and retail properties throughout the United States and provides meaningful work for 250 employees.
Despite the scale of the business, what hasn’t changed is Bob’s focus on what matters most to him and his family. “Profit is important in running a successful business, but it’s not always the driving factor. We run our organization so people can have interesting responsibilities and generate profits, while also having opportunities to spend time with their families, charities, and activities of importance to them outside of the work environment.”
Today, sons, Kevin '99 and Matt '03, work at Everest Properties, though Bob required them to work elsewhere after college. “I wanted them to have other experiences, including at least one job promotion, before they worked for me,” Bob recalls.
Kevin and Matt acknowledge that joining the family business has brought them closer together. “We spend more time together,” Matt notes. “It’s been a positive experience.” Kevin agrees. “We get to travel as a family more often, and do interesting things. Of course, we also get to learn from our father, and show him that we have embraced his values.”
Bob appreciates the role Chandler School played in educating his sons during their foundational years. “Chandler did a very good job of educating our sons and helping them grow up to be responsible young men, and that’s what a school needs to do,” Bob says. Shelley adds, “Kevin and Matt are very different, and Chandler challenged both of them. When it came to high school, they were very well prepared and the Chandler advantage came out.”
One story in particular reflects Chandler’s dedication to each child’s success. “Initially, Kevin had separation anxiety when we dropped him off at school,” Shelley remembers. “So, his first grade teacher, Mr. McCarty, offered to come by our house every morning to ride bikes to school together. Kevin got over the anxiety of starting the school day and Mr. McCarty showed us how much the Chandler teachers care about their students.”
Kevin and Matt, too, see lasting benefits from their Chandler days. “Chandler taught me not to be afraid to go try something new,” Kevin says. “My first job out of college was as a police officer with the LAPD. I learned a lot from the experience. If you want some excitement in life, think about walking through a dark building at night with a gun in your hand looking for a criminal. Throughout your academic and professional life, you will always learn something valuable when you challenge yourself.”
Matt shares that sentiment. “What I enjoyed about Chandler was the opportunity to do different things and to challenge myself. I can remember acting in the plays, playing multiple sports, and discovering Substance X with Mr. Korn. My classmates and I worked hard in the classrooms but enjoyed a variety of activities, including playing football together every day at recess for nine years! The opportunity to embrace new, varied challenges helped me throughout the years.”
“It’s a joy to see our boys become well-educated, responsible, caring, nice young men. It is even a special joy to see our two grandchildren start their life journeys,” Bob reflects. “Shelley and I continue to spend entirely too much time with our sons and their families, which started so many years ago at Chandler. But, can it really ever be too much? Maybe the most important thing we learned over the years is to participate with your kids, but also not to be too intense about school. Let your kids be kids and enjoy the journey together. It’s OK to have some fun!”