Our story starts quite a while ago. Both of us born in Santa Barbara, California, we sometimes wonder whether our strollers passed each other as our mothers were shopping, or some other casual passing as small children with no idea of what the future might hold. It is fun to think about, but although we were in the same middle school, we didn’t officially meet until halfway through high school. I was the drum major for the band, and Kathy a tall flag girl. Sounds a bit dorky now. Oh well. We all began somewhere.
We were married in 1981 at the ages of 18 and 19. We had big dreams and we were in a hurry get started. Thankfully our dreams were the same dreams back then, and we continue to share the same dreams today. At its core the dream has always been the classic American dream – a house with a white picket fence, a couple kids, a dog. It was only a matter of time before the dream became reality.
Out daughter, Jennifer, was born in February of 1985, in the same hospital as her mother, with the same doctor even. Our son, Kenny, was born in July of 1987, in Lancaster. He was the only one of us not a native of Santa Barbara, and he has never let us forget it. Kathy stayed at home all throughout their childhood, a decision that was not often easy, but one that we have always been thankful we made.
During those early years I worked for the electric utility, first as a meter reader, then progressed up to journeyman lineman, something I will always be very proud of. During this time I took classes when I could, mostly computer classes. When the opportunity presented itself I combined my field experience with my computer experience and began writing software.
When the kids got a bit older and didn’t need mom around all the time, Kathy decided she wanted to try business ownership. Growing up we were always hanging around the local music store, so we decided to open one up in our local town – Main Street Music. Our children would be able to help in the store, and hopefully many more of the kids in the area would hang around as well. I helped when I could, but this was Kathy’s store. It was everything we hoped it would be, but unfortunately Napster started at about the same time as Kathy opened up, and kids stopped buying music.
Our wonderful little store had to close, but luckily we had already started an online music store of our own – MainStreetMusic.com. Our site was one of the very first to sell legal downloadable music, several years before iTunes even. This worked really well. So well in fact that Walmart decided to get into the business, and bought our music distributor, leaving us with no source of music. So just as we were about to skyrocket we ended up closing.
Being so involved in the local music scene Kathy’s next business was as a band manager and record label – Arcada Records. Hey, if you can’t distribute other people’s music then why not produce your own. Five young guys Kathy met in the store started a band called Alkai Diggins, and they were good! So when the time was right she offered to manage them. The music was hard rock, and it was fun. Kathy got to know many local and regional bands, but Alkai Diggins was special. When the guys decided to stop playing there was just no reason for Kathy to continue either. These five guys are now men with families of their own. They are all still dear friends of ours and we will always be proud of them.
I am grateful to have had steady employment throughout these days of entrepreneurship, because the entrepreneurship wasn’t over. Both Kathy and I had the bug, and we needed to try again. This time using our knowledge of online business from mainstreetmusic.com we decided to put that to work building and hosting websites for others – Ovaleye Web Solutions was born. This was fairly successful, but with the likes of GoDaddy continually lowering their prices there just wasn’t much margin. During this time Jennifer partnered with us. Jennifer took the business into a slightly different direction – Ovaleye TV, a live online video event production company. This was quite a challenge for all of us, and very interesting.
Then something entirely different happened. The most wonderful of things. Kathy and I became grandparents. While Jennifer decided she wanted to focus on being a mom, effectively putting a halt to Ovaleye TV, there could never have been a better reason. We have two grandchildren now, both boys. Kelly James was born in 2010, and Wyatt Lee was born in 2014. The old story they say about grandchildren is true. You get to enjoy them, and spoil them, and then send them home for their parents to take care of. Being a grandparent is the ultimate payment for all the time and effort you spent raising your own kids. It’s great.
So we’re up to today. Again Kathy and I wanted to find a new business to start. This time though completely together. A full time husband and wife team. After 20 years at a company that allowed me to support my family I needed a change, so I “retired”. Or quit. Whichever you like. The absolute best thing I have ever done in my career. There really comes a time when enough is enough. Life is too short, and happiness is too important. Now Kathy and I work together full time. We have become a husband and wife real estate team. We hope that all the experience we have gained at our other ventures will channel right into this endeavor, and this time we’re going without a net.
Oh what an adventure life is. We have been so blessed, and we are so thankful for our adventure. Everyday is a new experience, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.