Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interview with Eric Overton - "CEOs of Seattle" documentary

Eric Overton - "CEOs of Seattle" documentary project.

Feb 3, 2009--Interview with Eric Overton.

Eric is a great guy.  He is so enthusiastic.  His company, Sparling, is the nation's largest specialty engineering firm.  Eric was gracious to come over to our Redmond studios to be interviewed about his secrets to success.  Eric talked about his emphasis on values and culture and growing good people.   It was very inspiring to hear how much integrity and character are integral to success in today's business world.

Memories of Eileen Mintz

I first met Eileen Mintz last summer. I was making a documentary film about the Chefs of Seattle and Joe Kennedy said, "You have to interview Eileen for your movie!" So I gave Eileen a call and she was so nice to agree to be interviewed. Eileen came over to my video studio in Bellevue one afternoon. She was so beautiful and enthusiastic and instantly special to me. The best way to describe the moment is do you know how if you are at a party and someone really special like a Brad Pitt or Clark Gable or John Wayne or Marilyn Monroe enters the room? Well that is how this experience was for me. Eileen lit up the room. She was a celebrity to me. She had a glow about her. We went into the studio and started our interview. We talked about her career and how she became a food critic. She talked about the good old days and how she just loved chefs. She talked about how she tried so hard to help the Chefs of Seattle become the Rock Stars of today. Eileen had such a remarkable enthusiasm for life that it made me look at my own enthusiasm scale. On a scale of one to ten she was definitely a ten. I learned that day about the days when Eileen worked in the hotel industry and how she got into the PR business and also how much she loved chefs. I learned so much about the history of the Seattle area that day, too. Over the course of time, Eileen and I talked a little about her bout with Cancer, but you really had to pull it out of her. She loved life so much. She told me how much she loved her family, and how blessed she felt, that she had led a "wonderful" life. We kept in touch via email over the next few months. As we completed the documentary "Chefs of Seattle" I sent her a DVD for her review. She said she liked it a lot. I can tell you that she was a huge part of the positive feelings from the movie. Last fall Eileen invited me to a dinner opening event down in Tacoma. I had to bow out at the last minute because one of my clients had passed away and I needed to make a video for their family. Eileen emailed me back that she really, uniquely, understood. The other day I received an email from a friend that Eileen had gone, and it really made me sad and mad. I didn't hear about it until her memorial had already happened. I wished I could have honored her. The past few days I have told myself that I wished I had an opportunity to know Eileen better. But I feel grateful that I had a chance to spend one afternoon, one on one with her, listening to her laugh and the joy of her stories talking about the good old days in Seattle when chefs weren't rock stars yet, where a young woman named Eileen helped make a difference in so many lives. This morning I watched her video interview once again and I laughed and felt great to have been blessed to have met, even for just a moment, Eileen Mintz.

RJ's Birthday Party - Super Bowl Party

RJ's Birthday Party at Paul Ortega's Super Bowl Party

Feb 1, 2009--RJ's Birthday Party at Paula Ortega's Super Bowl party

It was looking like it would be the worst birthday of all time.

No phone calls.

No cards.

No presents.

No cake.

No hugs.

Then I got a call from Paula.  She said "Where are you, RJ?"

Now I knew there were lots of reasons for the situation.  Kids out of town.  Kids working.  Once you hit fifty things are different.  

"Birthdays are for kids"  I told myself.

Well I decided to go to the Super Bowl party over at Paula's house.

It turned out to be a really fun, cool day.   Paula and Gracie and Kim and everyone over there were very generous, kind, and hospitable to me.  

I really had a good time.  Then Pittsburgh won the game.

Relay for Life - Bellevue - Kickoff Party - Lincoln Square Cinemas

Jan 31, 2009--Relay for Life Kickoff Party--Lincoln Square Cinemas

I was invited to the kickoff party by the most enthusiastic person I have ever met, Mary Martin from the American Cancer Society.   Our Inventive Productions team had created a short fundraising video for the event and I wanted to see how it looked on the big screens of the beautiful Lincoln Square Cinemas in Bellevue, WA.  

I showed up a little early on Saturday morning and was totally impressed by the incredible warm hospitality and generosity of everyone I met at the event.  There were lots of young people and a few old people, but everyone had the same reason for being there.  We all want to try to help stop cancer.  I cannot stress how remarkable these people at this event were.  These kids were so fun and happy and inspiring because they all were there for no reason but to try to help others.   

Because of technical problems with the video projector, they couldn't get our video up on the bigscreen but I did not care, because I ran into Linda Linderman, a long time friend.  

Linda is a remarkable person.  She the wife of one of the most important person I have ever met in my life.  I first met Rob Linderman in 2001 when I took the job as Project Director at the Resort at Seaside located in Seaside, Oregon.  Rob was the Resort Manager.  I had never met Rob before, but everyone told me that he was the greatest resort manager in the world.  It didn't take me long to find this out.  Rob Linderman was this giant, tall man, who went out of his way every day to go around and try to make you smile and give you a bear hug.  How many people do you know whose total mission is to make you smile and give you a bear hug?  There is only one Rob Linderman.  Unfortunately we lost Rob to cancer and I miss those smiles and bear hugs every day.  I wish I could remember to emulate Rob every day.  I wish everyone could emulate Rob every day.  The world would be a better place I know.   

It was great talking with Linda Linderman at this event.  She is such a beautiful, fantastic person.  Linda has been a true inspiration to so many people.  Last year she led a team at the Relay for Life that raised the most money for cancer for the Bellevue event.   Linda is always so kind and happy and helpful to others.  Linda told me how excited she was about the possibility of becoming a grandparent any day now.  She was so energized by the possibility, the unbelievable miracle of becoming a grandparent, she had a glow about her.   

I guess the emotion grabbed me that day, because before I knew it I had volunteered to start an Inventive Productions team for this year's Relay for Life, and I volunteered to be the team captain, and I pledged that our team would raise $10,000 during this Relay.

I thought of my Dad who had died of cancer back almost twenty years ago.  I remember when he went from a big guy like me down to 67 pounds, where I drove three hours each week to visit him during his fight.   I thought of my Mom in Oregon who had fought and beat lung cancer only two years ago.  I thought of my uncle Doug who is fighting and beating cancer down in San Diego.  I thought of my good friend Dave Divelbiss who had lost his bout with cancer last year.  I thought of my good friend Darrell Cross who had lost his bout with cancer five years ago.  I thought of my friend Del Broome who was fighting cancer down in Bend, Oregon right now.  I thought of my friend Connie Peare who had fought and lost her bout with Cancer three years ago.  I also thought of my hero John Wayne and how he fought cancer for over ten year when I was a kid.

As you can tell, I guess I am passionate about this cancer thing and I hope that someday they will find a cure.  I am totally impressed by the Relay for Life concept.  People walking and running around a track overnight, experiencing a group effort to raise money to kill this disease.  

I recommend you think about joining our Relay for Life team this year.  We are scheduled to do the relay this June in Bellevue.  Let me know if you would like to join the team.   If you can't make it, please do not hesitate to donate some money or to sponsor some funds for our team.  You can donate a flat amount, or per lap or whatever way you feel most comfortable.

Call me if you have any questions  425-284-1900.  Thanks.....RJ.