Introduction

 

A little bit about who I am…

Well by now I hope you understand that I love making beer for a living. If you didn’t know that, then you must have skipped everything in between to get here, or you simply found your way here by accident… In any event, I’m glad you’re here, and I hope by the time you get done reading the following, you will know who I am and why we make the beer that we do… Have Fun!!!

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The early years…

I was born in Kansas City, Kansas on December 16, 1961. I was left-handed from the time I started using tools to feed myself, and no amount of trying to convert me was going to change that; so eventually my parents gave up and left me eat with the hand I had chosen. My mom tells me that I never learned to crawl, and that I apparently one day I just stood up and started running. (I think I was trouble from the outset???) When I was five, my parents, along with my brother and myself, moved to a new suburb of Kansas City (corn fields all around me, and a new high school just across the street). We were joined shortly thereafter by the arrival of my new baby sister. When I was going from the 3rd to the 4th grades, my parents changed our last name from Piasecky to that of Paski. I believe it had something to do with being easier to pronounce, spell, remember, and etc. Later that year, I broke my left foot in four places when I was in the 4th grade on Easter Sunday by jumping off of the roof of our ranch style home. My brother and I had been playing Frisbee when it landed on the roof, so I used the TV antenna to climb up and get it. However, once I was up there and had thrown him down the Frisbee, my wonderful brother convinced me to take the easy way down and just jump. I think that was probably the last time I ever did anything the easy way…

As a way to pad my allowance, I would grow green beans in the lot behind our house during the summer months and have my mom take me to the local banks on Fridays to sell them to anyone who wanted some fresh picked green beans. (it’s hard to turn down a kid when you’ve got money in your hand…) Anyway, I wasn’t a total money fiend when I was growing up, I was also a big football junky, and was preparing myself to be a big football player someday; then we moved…

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The move to Georgia…

At the age of 13, my dad got an opportunity to advance his career, so on a blistering hot day (July 13th) in the summer of 1973 we set out on our move to Georgia. (Little did I know that I was on my way to the land of heat and humidity…) We arrived without even having a home yet, so we ended up staying in a hotel for a month until our new house that was being built in the country (about 13 miles outside of Athens) was completed. (Talk about never wanting to stay in a hotel again…) Moving to a new school and making new friends was really hard for me, especially since I had been one of those shall I dare to say “popular” guys back in Kansas. Well that didn’t last long, and by the end of my 7th grade I had been voted to be the Treasurer for next years student council! (Oh boy, I get to play with money, money, and more money…) By this time I had come to realize that I was very glad for having moved from Kansas, and that it was a tremendous character builder for me to start all over from scratch…

Also, somewhere along the way I had grown tired of football and had started playing golf. Golf is one of those sports that really teaches you alot about being patient with yourself, and I must say that it was a difficult virtue for me to learn. However, besides not having a tremendous amount of patience, I did manage to improve rather quickly and was asked by the high school team to join them when I was just in the 8th grade. The coach realized that I could be an asset to the team, but one is only allowed four years of eligibility; so he figured out a way for me to go to all of the golf matches and play – I just couldn’t count any of my scores. (Pretty neat for an 8th grader playing with the big boys!)

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High School…

From the time I entered high school, and until the time I graduated, I was ready to be out of school… Being bored most of the time (not being stimulated mentally) I was always finding trouble, and nobody really new what to do with me. Some of my more devoted teachers would give me extra work to do, that was until they got bogged down with trying to grade it along with their regular assignments, and then they would just give up. When I was a junior (boy what a year of awakening) I got to leave school early (missed the last period) everyday, because I had a job. Well I used that opportunity to go play golf until it got dark, and then I went to work for about 4-6 hours every evening at a window manufacturing company my dad had ventured into. It seems that about a year after our move, my dad got tired of corporate politics and bought a window business with our neighbor. The neighbor lasted about a year…

After work I would go across the street the B&L Warehouse (local nightclub) to have a few drinks, see/hear some bands/music, go home, and do it all over again the next day. This life in the fast lane soon earned me a reputation of being a so called “bad boy”, but my grades had gone from B/C’s to that of A/B’s. (Go figure???) Anyway, in the spring of my junior year I found myself in a race with one of my best friends for the seat of student council President. I was just fine with running for the Treasurer position again, but then enough people convinced me to run against David. After talking with David and coming to the conclusion that it might be a fun race if we ran against one another. Well I lost, not by much though, and it really was interesting to see how the whole school split apart and took sides between the two of us. Yes, David is still a very good friend who lives in Atlanta, Georgia if you are wondering…

I decided in my senior year that the life in the fast lane should slow down a bit, partly to test a social theory, and partly because…well I think I was concerned about my reputation… Anyway, my grades returned to their standard B/C’s and some A’s, my reputation as being a bad person went away some, and I just couldn’t wait to graduate. Where I went to school, seniors could check out at 1:00 if they had a job, and since I’d already taken a course I needed the year before, and I somehow managed to schedule study hall during 4th period; I checked out of school most everyday at 11:30 am and went and played golf all afternoon. From there I would go to work in the evenings for 4-6 hours, and I would occasionally wonder across the street for a drink or two, but I was almost always going over there to check out the bands and their music. That was until David’s older brother Mac and I convinced my dad that his life would be a whole lot easier if he had one of those new fangled computers so that he could enter the window sizes and it would then spit out the resulting cut sizes for the various components of what goes into making a window… In the winter/spring of 1980 my dad bought a dumb box (TRS-80) that again changed my life forever…

Once we were done working every night, Mac and I would order pizza and teach ourselves how to program in simple basic. In the beginning we developed these little routines using our names, well one time my name came back with a period in it; thus a nickname was born… Mac started calling me TdotROY, which eventually evolved into the pronunciation of TEEROY. Anyway, it wasn’t long before we had developed a program that actually did what we originally said the dumb box would do in the first place. This made my dad’s life easier, not to mention our own by having the correct size of things to start with… Now you get the as to idea why we sold the idea to him in the first place!!!

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College…

I applied to three colleges (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Air Force Academy, and Georgia Institute of Technology) to go to after I graduated. I had, through a friend, former Senator Sam Nunn write a letter on my behalf to recommend me to the Academy, I got accepted, but something told me that I just wasn’t cadet material (something about not following orders very well I believe…), and bailed on the acceptance. I didn’t make it into MIT, but I did manage to get into GaTech in Atlanta. I started right after graduation and spent three quarters trying to figure out why I was studying Computer Engineering, especially when alot of my friends were Architecture students. (Those guys keep weird hours, and I guess so do too…)

Anyway, during this time I was driving back home every weekend to work on Saturdays to help pay for my tuition/expenses, which helped to further muddy my career objective picture. After three quarters at Tech, I moved back home and eventually into the upstairs warehouse of where I worked in Athens, and started going to night school at the University of Georgia. (GO DOGS!!!) I basically worked as a carpenter in my dad’s ever expanding business during the day, while going to school at night. Somewhere in there I started my own construction business remodeling HUD homes. (talk about dirty work!) This was partly because my dad and I didn’t quite see eye-to-eye on things, and partly because we could get twice as much business if we had two companies submitting the bids. After three more quarters of this routine, I got some government loans, worked as a lab assistant in the physics department, and quit earning REAL dollars altogether… I simply decided that if I was going to go to school that it would be okay if I was poor for a while in order to get a good education.(another character building act I suppose…)

I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I just picked the hardest thing that I thought the university had to offer. I chose Physics… (What kind of sick guy am I anyway???) After making this brilliant choice, I found that physics is one of those fundamental sciences that all other sciences are basically built from, and that physicist’s use mathematics as a form of communication; just like an artist uses their brush and paint. This was alot of hard work, and I didn’t exactly fit in as your stereotypical physics student. I’d show up to class wearing, what was new back then – a walkman, a lab coat, a couple of dangling earrings, and sunglasses… You see, I hadn’t forgotten about music, and in the early 80’s Athens was ground zero for the alternative music scene. Bands like the B-52’s, Love Tractor, Pylon, the Method Actors, and yes not to be left out, REM – my favorite band of all time, were just in their embryonic stages of forming what is considered today mainstream modern rock music… Every night after the bars would close, you could go to someone’s house on Barber and/or Boulevard Street’s and find a party with strangers learning how to play instruments with one another, and the following week they would be performing live as a band at the 40 Watt club. It was just totally awesome, and to be part of that piece of history is something that I’ll always remember!!!

I graduated in June of 1984 after spending 16 continuous quarters in school, and earning about 60 more hours than I needed to graduate to boot; but at least I got a more well rounded education from those extra hours… Now what does a young person do with a BS in Physics, that has operated their own remodeling business, and has no plans of going to graduate school do for a job??? Look REAL hard for a job, because there weren’t any… I spent about nine months doing miscellaneous carpentry work for my dad’s company while looking for a real job, and basically became very frustrated. Then one day in March of 1985, a good friend of mine – Randy and his friend said they were moving to Los Angeles, California, and they wanted to know if I was interested in going with them. I thought, well I was just finishing a job where I had been spending about 22 hours a day trying to get it completed before the students came back from spring break, my grandparents used to live between Los Angeles and San Diego during the winter months (they’re farmers in Iowa and avoid the cold during the winter months), and I was living in a huge rut; so I figured a little change would do me some good. Besides, I had never been out to California, and I thought it would be an interesting place to see. About three days before we were going to leave, I decided to hell with it all, and that I would move too… Only I didn’t want to move to LA, I wanted to move somewhere that if I had to work as a carpenter I wouldn’t sweat so much; so I chose some place like San Francisco from looking on a map and got as far as San Jose. I truly believe that this would have not have ever been possible, had it not been for my move from Kansas to Georgia when I was younger…

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The move to California…

After spending some time at my grandparents house in Sun City, and helping Randy get him and his friend settled in Hollywood, I made the trip north to San Jose. Just before I left, my mom realized that I wasn’t coming back and suggested that I call someone she met on a cruise a few years back that my grandparents had put together for their daughters. Now get a load of this… It seems that Renee was my mom’s sister’s husband’s brother’s wife, or more simply put, my aunt in law. I spent about four months staying with Howard and Renee when I first arrived in San Jose basically doing odd jobs around their house, while at the same time looking for a job pertaining to my degree. Hey, I figured I was in the heart of Silicon Valley looking for a job pertaining to my degree, and if I couldn’t find one here, I felt that there was pretty much no hope for my old diploma… Anyway, I was finally presented with three offers (one from Lockheed in Sunnyvale, one from Fermi National Labs in Chicago, and the last one from Sperry Space Systems Division in Phoenix) in the same week around the end of June of 1985. You can probably figure out which one I accepted…

Working for Lockheed was initially a real learning experience. I mean with satellites, grave-shift parties at 7:00 am, clearances, a need to know/those who don’t, launches, and windowless rooms, it was the mid-80’s and Uncle Ronnie’s defense dollars were bursting the pipelines feeding us engineers in the heart of Silicon Valley; who wouldn’t have had a good time??? After about four years of working on various projects, I had gotten involved with the new operating system being installed for us to operate the satellites. This software was behind schedule, over budget, and full of bugs. (Sound like any company you might have heard before???) Being the type of person who likes to make things work when they shouldn’t, or even prevent them from breaking in the first place, I got involved with the engineers from IBMand Litton who were responsible for debugging and fixing the code. I eventually was lured away from Lockheed and went to work for Litton for three years before starting my own consulting business (back to selling green beans at the bank again…) in June of 1991.

Basically, I got a subcontract in conjunction with Unisys and Storm Integration for a couple of years to help in the development of a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) training simulator for the Air Force in Colorado Springs. With my physics background, I got to write all of the geek code pertaining to actuators (i.e., reaction wheels, solar arrays, electro-magnets, and etc.) on board the vehicle. This was technically very challenging, and I’m glad I got to the opportunity to work on the project. However, one day I walked into the office and was told to clear out by the end of the day because funding had been stopped on the project. (Wow, talk about an eye opener!!!)

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Now…

I had done the California wine thing with a few friends when I worked at Lockheed, and had managed to developed somewhat of a reasonably sophisticated palate before I really got to know what GOOD beer was all about. I was really lucky when I received a home brew kit from Renee’s son on Christmas of 1991 and at that time I didn’t know it was going to change my life… I began brewing beer off and on, and since I liked to cook, it was sort of a natural progression for me into the art of brewing. I had been having people tell me that I should be opening a brewpub and I kept telling them that I was just a poor engineer and didn’t have a $1,000,000 to open one up… However, I was fortunate enough to be around with the openings of Gordon-Biersch in Palo Alto, the Tied-House in Mountain View, Front Street and Seabright in Santa Cruz in the late 80’s, but never REALLY thought about doing it for myself… Where was I going to get the money???

From here, this story continues in About Us on our brewing company’s home page.

I hope you enjoyed learning about who I am…

Take care, and remember that your personality – more than anything else – determines whether or not you are liked by others!

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