Meet Sam

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

As a resident of Oregon for over 40 years, I’ve watched mind-boggling change in every aspect of my Central Oregon region and 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.”

Here’s why I’m running for governor: it’s my view that the people of Oregon should not be asked to endure continued progressive far-left leadership…and due to some unique personal attributes and life-experience, I find myself highly qualified, not just to be governor but to actually DO what is necessary to 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 dozens of mostly blue 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 down-and-dirty construction work, for the last 30 years I’ve been a CEO and job producer, the author of a best-selling business book, a professional business turn-around specialist, and an international philanthropist.

The striking commonality between getting one’s hands dirty in mechanical work, and repairing a struggling business as a CEO, 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….

I was a 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 make in order to create efficiency and calm; to avoid 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. On my own and year after year, I kept my head down, surviving from day-to-day. Finally, at the age of 50, late one night 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.

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

Here’s more detail: I’ve been majority owner of the Centratel for 33 years (my business partner of 17 years is Sam Kirkaldie). We employ forty eight, and by a variety of hard metrics, our answering service ranks #1 in its industry category. (See www.centratel.com.)

And with my 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 seven years, using my business management formula, my field-specialist associate Josh Fonger has worked with over 500 business owners nationwide to repair, guide and assist in the success of their individual companies. Our success rate is near 100%. (www.workthesystem.com)

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

On November 3rd, 2017, I married Diana Bybee, native of eastern Kentucky (a region, like Oregon, hammered into the ground by federal and state regulations and taxes…). Now relocated to Oregon, Diana will join me in campaigning…and you’ll meet Justy, our beagle/Kentucky Walker coon hound pal.

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

My second book, The Systems Mindset: Managing the Machinery of Your Life, published in 2016, is in bookstores 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 text or audio download on the website.)

Sam and his dog
Sam and Justy

I’ve spent my life working in the trenches of the real world, and I’ve 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….

At 68 years of age I am in a great financial position to retire, yet my health is top-tier and my energy remains super-high. It’s clear there is much more to accomplish.

I’ve began flirting with politics in 2010, ultimately running for U.S. Senate in 2016 where I narrowly lost in the Primary race. After that humbling experience, it took me a while to decide what path to take next, to perhaps simply continue in my business and non-profit work. But by the Spring of 2017, having watched the victory of Donald Trump and a national grass-roots movement that is surging back toward American fundamentals, I realized that I had an assortment of personal and professional attributes that would lend themselves well to the governorship of Oregon.

These attributes range from a working-man background in dozens of industries, to various white collar management jobs, to a technical education in forestry, to a talent for operating and repairing ailing businesses and organizations, to international business endeavors, to the personal experience of struggling to make ends meet while raising two children on my own.

Mine is a far-flung background where the common elements of success included working hard, learning from mistakes, never giving up, and keeping a smile on my face. Now, as a CEO and business owner, I “get” President Trump and his passionate inner drive to do-what-must-be done, no matter the obstacles.

It’s the CEO’s down-and-dirty task to get the job done no matter the obstacles, while always playing by the rules and thoughtfully depending on the advice of trusted associates, collaborators and employees.

Sam and Diana
Sam and Diana

And, in doing the right thing and being business-smart, success hinges on treating people well so they will want to give 100% and will stick around for the long-term. I have a half dozen employees at our answering service business who have been with the company for an average of over twenty years. They have devoted the core of their careers to Centratel.

I take special pride in mentoring my management staff, most of them much younger than me, ranging in age from their late twenties to mid-forties.

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

So now I have entered this candidacy for governor because the hardworking families of our state deserve leadership that best represents their on-the-ground needs; specifically, a candidate who embraces a pro-life, pro-small business, pro-jobs, school choice, controlled immigration, balanced budget, and limited-government/free market platform; a business-oriented political outsider who will 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 far too many years.

I am especially 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, non-management and sheer operational bungling. (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.

And I’m disappointed that in this political cycle there are still Republican candidates who don’t support President Trump and his vision of economic growth and government reform. Therefore, as an early endorser and continued supporter of our President’s national agenda, it makes sense for me to assertively foster those concepts right here in Oregon.

I am so appreciative of your support, and am incredibly optimistic about Oregon’s future! I hope you are too!