The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Dad’s are forever


Brian Patrick Cork: lifting up Col. Clifford D. Cork, USAF, Ret. I’m thinking about you and your own harrowing B-52 adventure, Dad. I love and miss you every day.

“ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN, Maine (AP) – Flying low over snowy terrain on a Cold War training mission, Lt. Col. Dan Bulli’s massive B-52 bomber hit turbulence that shook the plane so violently that he couldn’t read the gauges. Pulling…”.

for additional perspective read: the face of my father.

that’s it… I’m lifting up my Dad.

we must needs all be remembered.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork



old things seem New to me


So… I grew up in a military family. Ha! It’s painfully and juxtapositionally obvious, but also perplexing to most in my path. My Dad retired from the United States Air Force as a full Colonel. Many of my memories around Dad and his own measure of success – not to mention his influence over me are often detailed in this Blog. By reference, and an apparent favorite: do not miss your Chance to blow it.

However, I cam face-to-face with a relevant application of his example and influence from long ago just yesterday.

Setting the stage…

Early on, living the life of a scion of the Officer’s Club, I was exposed to the cream of the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command, and learned what those gallant men and women meant when they lived and died by the credo: “Peace is our Profession”. without realizing it at the time I came to appreciate experience, expertise and the chain-of-command. I witnessed first-hand, the synergy employed and enjoyed by gray-haird General’s mixing daily with fresh-faced 2nd Lieutenants, all firm in the belief their lives and contributions made a vital difference to one another, and the sanctity of our Constitution.

This means it never occurred to me that age, in-of-itself, was relevant. Only performance; and, all of it driven by courtesy and respect, and the call to action around a shred purpose. None were judged by anything but their ability to command and take commands that resulted, daily, in an efficient process that enabled them all to put their very lives into one another’s hands, without a second thought.

For example, I’ve never looked at an older man and saw weakness or lack of relevance. I saw only the likely potential of wisdom based upon one experience or another.

On the other hand, it’s never occurred to me to look at young people, as relative as that term has to be, and saw a lack of potential or ability.

Mind you… I’ve had my own adventures, hinted to in this Blog as well, but understood by only a few. But, my most recognized contributions have come through my duties as a Dad – and, that of a business man, that others approach for advice, guidance and stewardship.

And, for the first time in my business life, Friday in fact, I came face-to-face with a small team of burgeoning entrepreneurs, still in college, that invaded my offices – with the intention of enforcing accountability.


I’m in the midst of acquiring another startup that I’m convinced has a product that is a marketing-oriented game-changer. These soon-to-be-graduates are currently customers of the company. They are not pleased with the progress of their unique project. Our people say there is “scope-creep”. The customer says there is poor communication and missed deadlines. I want customer satisfaction and, thusly, affirmation of my investment.

Time will tell all.

But, in any event, at the large table in my board room, I found myself with three hearty and ferocious businessmen that, by age alone, qualified them to be my children. Although their graduation from college is imminent, with less than two months to go, they seemed small to me. And, they were naive, to be sure. But, eager and passionate, more importantly. And, they were irate over what to them was a lack of accountability on the part of the company. That is something that I’m unaccustomed too. My own ventures to date have been the example and hall-marks of accountability and service. So, I started the meeting open-minded. I coach soccer teams that are now at the U14 and U16 age bracket (and, they were all once at the U11 bracket). But, this was different. The first thought was mental arithmetic. I had started my own business at nineteen, also while in college (with the help of my Grandad’s money). I sold that business a week after graduation. So, I could, at many levels, relate to these young men.

But, I was biased. I knew it right away. Not defensive because they were displeased with a company I was involved with. No… I was actually age-biased.

I liked them well enough. I put them into the hands of a Project Manager that I’m mentoring myself, and even bought the entire lot lunch. We committed to deadlines and will work, with intent and a will, to see those critical deadlines met – all based upon collaboration.

But, this is me now. I’ll be fifty in October. I know I’m fitter than most. I’m always being sized-up by representatives of every generation; and, this group was no exception. I could do fifty pull-ups (I have the bar across the doorway of my office) with them hanging onto my back. And, that is how I viewed the entire matter… I’ll sling that crew over my should and see them to success. But, along the way I have to recognize that I’m going to be seeing more people that are younger than me, than older – and, my role in the business community is going to evolve, but possibly in ways I might not have considered before now.

So, every turn creates another opportunity to learn. But, also a challenge to be that example I experienced and have tried to live by daily, sitting at the feet of men that strode like giants around the world and taught me compassion, respect and accountability.

I’ll pause here and admit that I was sorely tested, a few times, to admonish them with a firm: “Stop interrupting each other”, and, “Please stop chewing on my business card”. But, they were, from their own perspective, probably working with an “old dude” with a big reputation for the first time in their emerging professional lives.

My own daughter, Haley Anne’s visage was flashing before my eyes. So to, were the eager faces of the students at Radford University, Georgia State and MIT, where I get to lecture from time-to-time came to mind. I’ll add my plans around “brian’s BEANS” as well. And, so that stage continues to be set, and my experiences are new and levied by other new things – including newer people and opportunities.

And, all these younger people are going to hold me accountable.

I’l have it no other way as they teach me and make me better and fitter to represent and reflect every talent God can squeeze into, and out of, me. This is where the Heterodox finds itself.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork




My eldest daughter, Haley Anne (She prefers that I call her “Haley” – but, I won’t. I gave her that middle name for her Nana – my own Mother, Barbara Anne) is twelve.

She is gorgeous, bright, witty – and, the world sings around her.  She is also a formidable Defender, and a Captain on her Football (Soccer) team.

I am proud of her. I trust her judgement; and, I am becoming more and more impressed with her insightfulness. We both LOVE music.

We share iTunes

But, Haley Anne is pushing the envelope with her Mother (that would be Joanne).

Joanne is stubborn in her own right.  Spirited and willful.

But, I dare not draw that comparison (Well…  Not openly any way) when they find themselves at odds.

Perhaps I will write about the Mother and Daughter thing another time. But, at least for today, Haley Anne is my “Daddy’s Girl”, and it’s just fun to be amazed and delighted with her (except she can be a real pig – especially when it comes to her room and leaving dishes every where).

Having said that… She and her Mother went a few rounds this afternoon. While listening to Haley Anne attempt to make her case (an important part of growing – right?), I was struck by the realization that she really was twelve – on the verge of being a teenager, and many an adventure just around the corner.

And, it was then I remembered one of my own first (and likely most dangerous) adventures that made me want to just hug her the rest of the day.

Off we go…

By the time I was twelve, I was much more than the typical handful.  I had already been winning national AAU championships as an age group runner and pentathlete. I had started my first business (lawn care and fence painting /1).  And, learned that I was indestructible by jumping off a three story radio tower using silk sheets from Mrs. Burton’s bed for a home made parachute /2.

I was a pretty good kid – just like Haley Anne. But, we were moving every two years because Dad was a career Air Force Officer.  Dad was being transferred from Offutt Air Force Base (we lived in Papillion) Nebraska to Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson Arizona. I think he was making Lieutenant Colonel (he retired as a full Colonel.  He had a star (General) coming, but declined it when we knew Mom was not going to make it /3). Mom and Dad thought I needed more stability. So, they enrolled me in a prestigious Military School in Massachusetts. It took me less than a week to sort out that I had an “issue with authority” (according to the commandant).  So, I left.

It took me about ten days to hitch hike pretty much across the country. I slept in a few cars; one rail car; under one bridge; two trees; and, one lawn chair (next to a Holiday Inn pool).

It was tons of fun. I talked to a lot of people; made a friend or two.

Apparently it took the school two days to realize I was missing; and, another two days to track Mom and Dad down.

I hit Tucson just three days after my family had moved in.  The Lieutenant Colonel that commanded the Air Police met me at the main gate and grimly escorted me (with a squad no doubt for effect) to our base quarters – lights flashing.

Mom was waiting for me in the front doorway. My younger brother Greg was apparently down the street playing with some kids we had known from a previous duty post. I pulled myself out of the jeep and stood on the sidewalk contemplating Mom – and, of course, trying to conjure up some witicism.

But, my stomach growled.  You could hear it a mile away.

Mom burst into tears, and drew back into the house.

I found her on the brown sofa that had been part of my life for – well- twelve years /4. She wasn’t crying. She was just shaking her head. I sat next to her. I could not say I was sorry (I see that in Haley Anne). I really just wanted to tell her all about the trip. I wanted to remind her about the stories her own great Nana Lenci had shared with me about Mom and her high diving; and crawling out of windows; stealing a bike; pretending to be a boy and getting a grocery delivery job…

But, instead, I just put my head on her shoulder. She put her hand on my knee and sort of squeezed it (I just know she wanted to ask me about under wear). After a few minutes she stood up and asked me if I wanted a sandwich.

“And soup” I added.

She nodded.

Then Dad came through the door.

One day I will Blog about when I was seventeen and my Dad told me I did not have the discipline to attend the United States Naval Academy (I had an appointment – but, he was right), and how I informed my Dad I did not need his help with college. What happened at, during, and after Radford University, makes all of this other story sublime.

I hope Joanne reads this story.  One day I suspect Haley Anne will too. I don’t necessarily want Haley Anne and her sister Emma Jo to follow my footsteps. But, I do have their backs (and, that of their own Mom). And, I know great adventure, life and love lie ahead.

“Borrowed Time” by John Lennon. And, Huckleberry Finn my favorite (id)iot.

2/ I write about this in an earlier Blog Post – “Happy Birthday Mom”.

3/ See “My Mom: Story 5 – Pain and Strength”.

4/ Those that serve in the Military work hard; often sacrifice everything – but don’t make much money.


What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell

photos by John Campbell


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