I grew up in Coeur d'Alene Idaho, paid for my own Skiing at Silver Mountain and observed many contrasts of ideological values of race and religion, ecological wonders, environmental disasters from mining and extremes of business ethics.
I practiced more piano- and cello-playing than baseball.
From 14 to 16 years of age I worked hard to keep the other members of Dr. Stone, a 5-piece band performing (all near or just past their teenage years).
I retired from my professional music career to focus on academic studies, to race and repair bicycles, and to think about more serious career options.
During University of Washington studies I worked as a U.S. Forest Service engineering in the St. Joe National Forest area under the excellent management of the person now acting as chief executive for the whole U.S. Forest Service.
At McMahon hall, a graduate dormitory, I earned a promotion to student food service supervisor while still a freshman and one of the youngest staffmembers on the team.
Later I worked as butler and live-in housekeeper for affluent professors; they allowed me to entertain and frighten a dinner guest, the curator of the Seattle Art Museum, when greeting him at the door on Halloween night in black tie and fangs.
In 1976 I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Washington in Seattle.
The undergraduate work included 2 years of pre-med; my emphasis shifted as I did not wish to become a licensed drug dealer and alternative medicine was still strongly challenged by the American Medical Association.
While at the business school my high Machiavellian score earned selection for a negotiation exercise with extreme time constraints and a background introduction which sounded like an Israeli and Palestinian on either side of the table.
My result scored highly but fell short of the highest score which came from agreeing on a cooperative solution with my opponent.
I've never fogotten how to try to achieve the perfect score.
From 1976 to 1980 I worked for KPMG, Peat Marwick in Seattle primarily in audit but also with some taxation, business advisory, marketing and consulting roles.
Major clients included Westin Hotel Corporation, Battelle Pacific Northwest Labs, Leckenby Company, Chem Central, Reichold Chemicals and Kaman Corporation.
The work allowed me to develop an affection for sewage treatment plants through Environmental Protection Agency audits and consulting projects.
I chose Peat Marwick because of their connection with a New Zealand accounting office.
I passed the C.P.A. exam in two sittings, completing the exam in 1977.
I completed the C.M.A. exam successfully in the first sitting in 1978.
In one of the several letters sent to the New Zealand Consulate office in San Francisco I boldly stated that:
"New Zealand would benefit from my working in New Zealand" (granting permanent resident status to allow me to work for the intended two-year period).
The immigration officer, who possibly did not share Rob Muldoon's affection for accountants, wrote in the margin "will it?".
The comment regularly prods me to fulfill my promise to New Zealand.
During this time I also served on the planning team for the King County regional energy planning project, served as a board member to organise the Solwest '80 international solar energy conference in Vancouver and served as a board member on the Western Washington Solar Energy Society.
I also completed the United States Department of Energy Masterconserver training and completed energy audits of over 50 residences.
In 1980 I transferred to the Auckland office of KPMG, initially for 2 years, prompted by:
a picture of Mount Cook on the cover of the New Zealand Accountant's journal first seen in the University of Washington Business school library in 1974,
my exposure to nuclear waste storage facilities in Richland, Washington and throughout the United States while working on the Battelle audit,
an interest in experiencing living in a different country which carried little responsibility for world influence or international military policy.
At the Nambassa festival in January, 1981 while presenting a discussion about nuclear energy, I introduced myself as a "C.P.A." David Lange, recently returned from Australia and concerned with labour views about multinationals, heard "C.I.A." from the rim of the ampitheatre and charged in to fight for the microphone.
I now agree with his passion and find the arrogance inherent in American accents offensive.
In 1983 I completed courses to earn membership in the New Zealand society of Accountants as an A.C.A.
In 1982 I served on the Auckland Regional Council Energy Planning Subcommittee.
Jeanette Fitzsimmons acted as a fellow committee member, Bill Brander now of EECA, served as administrator and Barry Curtis, chair, complimented me on my technical knowledge of the issues discussed.
During this time I provided accounting and business management services to Pacific Energy Design, and Solar Specialties Limited.
For five years I milked a goat tethered at the Michael Park Rudolph Steiner School.
This Saanen doe averaged 3 litres per day, no kidding.
I turned most of the production into naturally processed yoghurt and cottage cheese curdled with the help of fresh-squeezed lemons from the back yard.
I invested in the Cashmere Gold partnership to gain access to breeding and market information and was very disappointed with the unsustainable rise and subsequent fall of the goat product markets.
At KPMG, Auckland, my audit clients included:
Company and the group audit for Mogal Corporation, now trading as Owens Transport companies,
Wix Manufacturing entities which now trade as Gud Filters,
Winstone Samsung in Karioi, Spaceline Homes and Winstone Afforestation,
Most company audits for the Paxus Information Technology group owned by NZI,
Mineral Resources (Jack Barbarich requested my removal after he forced me to ask one telephoned question for the geologist: "How may tonnes in a cubic metre of auriferic gravel"). They were researching resources at Martha Hill at the time and held a large number of licenses reporting resource estimates in different units.
New Zealand Forest Products Companies which became Benchmark Building Supplies and Pinex
Burns Philp Companies and New Zealand holding company.
In 1989 I finished working for KPMG to:
temporarily work as the financial controller of Benchmark Building Supplies (I did not want to apply for the permanent position),
continue helping establish the house doctor home energy project supported by the Ministry of Energy,
support the activities of the principals of Group Energy Consultants and the Insultech Group,
invest in a wholesaler and retailer of organic and macrobiotic food products,
extend the life of this entity one year, then managed it through receivership but did not roll it over into a viable trading entity as intended, due to the protests of the original owner.
design, develop, test, build and use a 135kg loose fill insulation blowing machine which outperformed existing 400kg machines. My machine hung on the back of a Hiace van, replacing the usual 5 tonne truck. I made the casting patterns myself for the blower and other cast aluminium components on the machine.
sell and install insulation and energy conservation systems for Action Insulation and the Insultech Group
expand the bicycle rental business I started as a small family operation in 1983 (which helped launch Richard Oddy's New Zealand Pedaltours) into Adventure Cycles as a retail entity in 1993.
During the water crisis of 1996 I prepared submissions and presented them to the Parliamentary Select Committee.
I heard the Committee grill Watercare during a portion of their testimony and thought they would be receptive to my suggestions.
During my testimony the following day they grilled me just as aggressively; Sandra Lee was absent on the day I presented.
I believe the only result of my suggestions was a Watercare advertising campaign I estimate at $250,000 to tell the public to not use rainwater as it was dangerous.
Unfortunately, by testifying, implementation of my water management suggestions reduced from what would have occurred had I done nothing.
I believe the same suggestions could greatly reduce sewage infrastructure limitations apparent on Auckland's North Shore.
My five-year staffmember who started with us when at Kings College helped confirm this opinion.
After helping set up Adventure Cycles while at the University of Auckland he went to work for Watercare, occupying a desk next to the Waikato pipeline team.
After moving up through a number of responsible positions he is now in London applying his Master's degree in Civil Engineering.
About this time I served 2 day-hire bicycle rental customers staying at the hotel now trading as the Stamford Plaza.
They look suspiciously like C.I.A. operatives and were very economical with details when filling out their rental contract.
After my firm prompting they presented a business card from a New York law firm.
Recognising the name on the card from newspaper clippings sent by my father, I asked if they were in New Zealand to investigate the transfer of employee superannuation funds from the Bunker Hill Company, mine operators and former owners of the Silverhorn Ski area.
The funds were transferred into City Realties in New Zealand.
They confirmed my suggestion and we continued a nice, open discussion about:
audit work as a C.P.A.,
the Bunker Hill Company,
the bag house, very likely well-built by the Leckenby Company which stayed unrepaired after a fire,
the extraction of lead dust at nighttime via the nonfunctioning baghouse,
the health-damaging effects of lead dust when inhaled,
the unremovable arsenic-laden sludge deposited in beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene at the outlet of the Coeur d'Alene River which flows through the mining district,
Coeur d'Alene mining interest's investments in the Martha mine in Waihi and
the illiquidity of the superannuation fund assets parked in New Zealand.
On 2 February,1998, upon reading a short article in the Herald, submitted some gentle suggestions to Mercury Energy about load management.
4 faxes followed up to 14 February 2002, any one of which could have avoided the 2 cable failures.
As the cable failures harmed my business and Mercury presented no viable solutions I invested my own resources to pinpoint locations of four faults in their cables and report the locations to Mercury.
At a KPMG alumni function, one of my former assistants, now a key finance executive at Mercury said "there was no way to anticipate the failure".
It reminded me of his popularity as a good Kiwi bloke and why I preferred to not have him work on my audits.
I currently spend over 80 hours per week on the premises of Adventure Cycles, which also houses Bicycle Studio, a registered Charitable Trust.
The objectives of these entities include providing skill development opportunities and career counselling for young people and recent immigrants to New Zealand.
The activities provide positive benefits for the health of our customers and the New Zealand economy.
As a consumer of vegetarian, organically grown food, I am not interested in lunches paid for by the New Zealand government.
I am also not interested in investing time which does not produce a high return for New Zealand.
I look forward to continuing to fulfill my promise to provide benefits to New Zealand.