Q. Please give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. Rescue Training Institute specializes in on-site life-saving training and sales of life saving equipment. We’re located in the greater Sacramento area. Our training is available at our client’s location or in our Folsom classroom. We’ve been in business for over 31 years and have trained over tens of thousands to safely assist the sick and injured. Our instructors are EMTs or paramedics that were hand selected because of their communication skills and they’re just really fun people to learn from.
Our company is also a distributor for many of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) manufacturers and provide AED program management services as well.
Q. Please provide a brief description about yourself (it should include a brief educational, work and/or or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I was privileged to serve for 30 years in the local fire service agencies and retired as a captain/paramedic from Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Protection District in 2011. I am the founder and president of Rescue Training Institute which we began in 1990. Most importantly, I am the husband of my wonderful wife, Cynthia. And I am a proud father and grandfather.
Q. What inspired you to start this business or get into this industry? Or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. As a paramedic I saw firsthand the effectiveness of bystander CPR in saving someone’s life. When an individual loses consciousness in a sudden cardiac arrest event, time is of the essence and a five- or ten-minute response time from the fire department is many times too late.
RTI was founded when bringing life-saving courses to the client was a new concept. So often as a firefighter, I was asked if we would be able to train CPR & First Aid in our local community. Those requests demonstrated the need, and RTI was birthed to meet that need.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs/business owners?
A. First would be that you need to have a passion for what you are planning to do. Second would be that you are an expert, or become the expert at what you were going to do. Third, whatever you do, always do it with integrity. Doing what is right, even when it’s not convenient, easy, or the cheapest way to accomplish something, will be the firm foundation you need to ensure success.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur/business owner?
A. First would be a work ethic where you’re willing to put in the effort for as long as it takes to be successful.
Second would be resilience, the ability to continue pushing forward through any challenge or adversity.
Last would be wisdom. You need to either educate yourself in what needs to be done within your business, or hire someone to fill that gap for you. Most important here is knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. Without a doubt I attribute my success to my wife. Without her encouragement, understanding, and patience, there is no doubt I would have never succeeded in building this company.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. U.S. Marines are trained to improvise, adapt, and overcome all obstacles in all situations. They possess the willingness and the determination to fight and to keep fighting until victory is assured. If you have long-range vision and long-range goals, you will need to improvise when you meet adversity, adapt when the path in front of you changes, and overcome every single obstacle no matter what it is.
Q. Where you see your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. In the short term of five years, I see us as having multiple locations for RTI sponsored classes throughout the central valley. And in 10 years I see more franchises and a larger distribution of the AEDs throughout the country.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. I think company that I admire most is Apple. They didn’t follow the lead, they forged an incredibly new path in a very different direction and continued to persevere in a society dominated by the IBM’s of the world.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
A. The greatest asset that our company possesses are our employees. Without employees that represent our company with professionalism and integrity, we would’ve not been successful at all.
Q. What motivates you?
A. I have an intrinsic motivation that was developed by watching others throughout my life. Seeing others achieve demonstrated to me that I could achieve my dreams as well. My extrinsic motivator is a roster of employees that depend upon this company to provide for themselves and their families.
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
A. I find that the best ideas that we identify are derived from an awareness of science, trends, and regulatory requirements within our industry. Knowledge and situational awareness are essential to birth new ideas.
Q. How do you define success?
A. In my opinion, success is defined as your ability to enjoy the things that matter in life outside of where you work. You need to have a mindset that you are working to live, not living to work. I think the moments that define me the most are when my wife and I are enjoying time with our children and grandchildren.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. A successful customer base is achieved by developing personal relationships. Personal relationships are developed when you invest your time in others.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. I think the most satisfying moments in our business is when our students inform us about when they were able to save the life of someone else because of the time they spent with us. We never get tired of hearing those stories.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A. The major difference between an entrepreneur and an employee is that an entrepreneur decides their own financial direction and destiny. Those who work for someone else will ensure those benefits for their employer.
Q. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
A. Having the opportunity to operate this business for the last 31 years has been an incredible blessing to our family. It has met the financial needs every year along the way. We’ve seen God‘s hand bless our family, and many other families as well.
Q. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
A. The word fear is difficult to define. The emotion of fear is even more difficult for me to relate to. Fear is an unbridled negative emotion. I spent 30 years fighting fire and saving lives, and I learned to fear nothing. However, I did have the greatest respect of danger, and strived to ensure the safety of my crew. Proverbs 9:10 reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. In this since the word fear means awe and respect. In this sense, my great fear is only the Lord.
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. Anyone who starts company will have to sacrifice something. Those who desire to be a successful entrepreneur will need to do their own cost benefit analysis. The biggest investment will be your time. That means there will be less time for other things and other people in your life. My advice is to weigh the costs carefully.