Meet Sam

Sam (center) and his Forest Service survey crew, Siskiyou National Forest, May 10, 1976. Two days later his daughter, Jennifer, was born.

Updated January 8, 2020

As a resident of Oregon for over four decades, I’ve watched mind-boggling change in every aspect of my Central Oregon region and of course throughout the rest of our beautiful state.

And it’s clear to me that many of these changes have not been for the better.

One might say, “Sam has a firm grasp of the obvious.

The people of Oregon should not be asked to endure continued “Ruling Class” leadership…and due to some unique personal attributes and some down-and-dirty life experiences, I find myself qualified to help reverse the downward economic and social trajectory of this great state.

I’m a CEO. I fix and build.

Born and raised in a poverty-stricken rural region of far upstate New York, my early l background is small-town working class. At the age of eleven I began work in door-to-door sales and by my mid-thirties had held scores of blue and white collar jobs. Along the way I gained a technical degree in forestry and surveying. But although my heart has a warm spot for chainsaws, heavy equipment, and hard-core construction management work, for the last 36 years I’ve been a CEO and job producer, the author of a best-selling business book, a professional business turnaround specialist, and an international philanthropist.

The striking commonality between getting one’s hands dirty in mechanical work and in repairing a struggling business is the personal satisfaction one gets in creating actual real-world improvement.

The flip side? There is nothing worse than working long and hard and not see things get better. This is the case for way too many Oregonians.

I was the single custodial parent of my two children from the time they were in elementary school up through their college years. In that time I built my business in Bend, learning the hard way that there are certain moves one must take in order to create efficiency and calm; to eliminate chaos. For a decade and a half I worked 80-100 hour work-weeks in my telephone answering service business, Centratel, learning in a very difficult way how to keep a business afloat and a family together. Through all those tough years I never asked for, nor benefited, from any kind of government handout. I paid all my bills. I paid all my taxes. On my own, year after year, I kept my head down, surviving day-to-day. Finally, at the age of 50 and on the brink of bankruptcy, I struck upon an organizational formula that really worked. That “mini-enlightenment” occurred in 1999 and I have been operating with this simple real-world methodology every since, both in my professional life and in my personal life. In 2008 I wrote a book about this methodology, a business bestseller, it’s now in its third edition with the fourth edition to be released this Fall.

Sam and daughter Jennifer, grandkids
Sam and daughter Jennifer, grandkids

I’ve been majority owner of Centratel for 36 years (my business partner of 20 years is Sam Kirkaldie). In Bend, we directly employ sixty full-time staff, and by a variety of hard metrics, and with 1,000 answering service competitors nationally, Centratel ranks #1 in the industry. (See www.centratel.com.)

And with my other business partner, Marcello Scacchetti, I share ownership of a small yet world-class online marketing company based both in Bend and in Mirandola, Italy. (www.pathwayone.com)

Another of my companies specializes in repairing broken small businesses. Over the last eight years, using my business management formula, my field-specialist associate and business partner Josh Fonger has worked with over 1,000  business owners nationwide to guide and assist in the rescue of their individual companies. Our success rate is 100%. (www.workthesystem.com)

Since 2006, I’ve operated a small 501C3 non-profit in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan (www.kashmirfamily.org) . We work with back-country villages, mostly with small ad-hoc schools that were devastated by the earthquake of October 2005. It’s a dangerous place; the poverty level is incredibly high; the political environment chaotic and scary.

On November 3rd, 2017, I married Diana Bybee, native of eastern Kentucky. Like my home county in upstate New York, and much of Oregon, McCreary County, KY has been hammered into the ground by federal and state regulations and taxes as well as offshoring. McCreary County, KY is rated by the federal government as the poorest county in the America. (There are over 3,100 counties in the United States.)

Both of us have seen poverty up-close. To a degree, we’ve both lived it…

But Diana is a multi-degreed professional in the juvenile-justice and substance abuse recovery fields. She has much to offer and works closely with me in politics.

I am the author of three books: One is Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less. Published in 2008 and now in its third edition, it’s a business book best-seller with one and a half million copies downloaded. It provides a blueprint for success for owners of small and medium-sized businesses and is the basis of my consulting business, described above . (See www.workthesystem.com. Find the book in bookstores and online or you can download it for free in text or audio from the website.)

My second book, The Systems Mindset: Managing the Machinery of Your Life, published in 2016, is in bookstores and online under the category of self-help/pop-psychology. It repeats the tenets of Work the System, but is aimed at job holders, stay-at-homes, students, and the retired: those who don’t own and operate a company. (See www.thesystemsmindset.com. The book is also available for free in text or audio download on the website.)

My third book, published in January 2019, is about Oregon politics. I’m very proud of it and think you’ll find it fascinating. Download it for free on this website.

Sam and his dog
Sam and Justy

I’ve spent my life working in the trenches of the real world, and learned that solutions to problems are usually simple. Truth is, I’ve found that many times a quick “no” is the very best simple solution…e.g. no to growth of government, no to breaking the law, no to wasting money, and on and on…

I began flirting with politics in 2010, ultimately running for U.S. Senate in 2016 where I narrowly lost in the Primary race.  Just before that loss, having watched fellow CEO Donald Trump present an exciting vision of a revitalized America, I “climbed on board” and publicly endorsed him in April of that year.  Now, four years later, I remain the single Oregon political figure who has publicly endorsed Donald Trump.

Go figure.

I completely “get” President Trump and his passionate inner drive to do-what-must-be done, no matter the obstacles. I have not wavered in my support.

Diana feels the same way.

It’s the successful CEO’s down-and-dirty task to get the job done no matter the obstacles, while always playing by the rules and carefully listening to the advice of trusted associates, collaborators, employees, and especially, customers.

Sam and Diana
Sam and Diana

And in doing the right thing and being business-smart, success really does hinge on treating employees with respect and paying them well so they will want to give 100% and will stick around for the long-term. At Centratel, I have a half dozen employees who have been with me for over twenty years each. Lannie, who just retired, was with me for thirty years. These wonderful staff members have devoted the core of their careers to Centratel and to me.

I take special pride in mentoring my management staff, most of them much younger than me, the majority of them ranging in age from their early twenties to late thirties.

Perhaps my greatest satisfaction is in seeing my employees and business partners grow personally, all the while able to support their families.

So in 2018 I filed as a candidate for governor because I knew the hardworking families of our state deserved leadership that best represented their on-the-ground needs; specifically, a candidate who embraced a pro-small business,  pro-life, pro-job, school choice, controlled immigration, balanced budget, and limited-government/free market platform; a business-oriented political outsider who would not be swayed by large corporate donors and who is not in the least bit intimidated by the Oregon progressive far-left faction which has dominated our state politics for way too many years.

I remain personally troubled by the enormous debt with which we Oregon citizens are burdened. And there are job-killing high taxes, over-regulation of small businesses, unfettered public-funded abortion, the PERS debacle, illegal immigration/sanctuary state policies, public sector union over-lording, pervasive rural poverty due to radical governmental strictures on our natural resources, and to that end, the escalating forest destruction by disease and wildfire due to state and federal policies of hands-off, bungling non-management. (Here, my background in forestry is a valuable attribute as I work toward “the great cleanup” that will be necessary to stop wildfires and revitalize the economies of Oregon’s 275 rural Oregon communities that have populations of 5,000 or less. This special “Oregon Project” has special personal meaning to me.)

The 2018 gubernatorial race? The short-story version is that I was in the statistical lead one month before the May 15th election day when two of my collaborating “establishment” primary opponents launched a million-dollar smear campaign of lies and innuendo to derail me into second place. Disappointing!  I describe this cautionary tale in detail  in my book Making Oregon Great Again, a handbook for any conservative running for major office in Oregon.

And I’m also disappointed that even in this booming-economy, Trump-dominated 2020 political cycle there are still potential Oregon Republican candidates who remain afraid to support President Trump and his vision of economic growth and government reform.

And BTW, we don’t have a Republican voter problem in Oregon. We have an Oregon Republican Party leadership problem. You can track this ongoing drama through my posts in the  NEWSROOM section of this website, and on our Making Reality Great Again Facebook Page which has over 90,000 subscribers.

We are SO appreciative of your support, and continue to be optimistic about Oregon’s future!

We hope you are too!

Please sign up on our mailing list on the front page of this site, and “Like” our Facebook page Making Reality Great Again.