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Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

A Highlander Returns – By Kelly Queijo


A Highlander Returns – By Kelly Queijo

Kelly Queijo honors me with the following story about my recent trip back to Radford University.  You can also view this story: A Highlander Returns at her own Blog – TableForOne.Biz. /1

A Highlander Returns – By Kelly Queijo

“Walking across Radford University’s campus on the second day of the Entrepreneurial Summit, I had the chance to talk with Brian Patrick Cork (RU ’84), keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur, and judge for the annual Elevator Pitch Competition. Athletic, charming, clad in a dark T-shirt and jeans on the first really cold day of October, he reflected on what it meant to set foot on RU’s campus after 24 years.

“I’m always proud to be a Highlander. A lot has happened since graduation. Everything I am doing today had a fundamental start there. This is where I started being a real human being.”

Cork acknowledges his four years at Radford as a political science major as formative years. In his keynote address he shared stories about the numerous and colorful events of his youth as an undergrad that put him on the path to becoming an entrepreneur. He spoke with passion and ease about his zest for life and learning.

The opportunity to return to campus and give something back to community that helped shape him into who he is today meant a great deal and judging the Elevator Pitch Competition turned out to be as exciting for him as participating was for the students. He saw it as his turn to see potential in students and offer direction.

Anthonia Anamege, second place winner, impressed him with her desire to establish the Bookworm Foundation, a nonprofit organization to help the children of Nigeria learn to read.

“I’m a son of a military officer, I’m a patriot, I’m a world citizen. Who knows what’s going to happen when she puts books in a child’s hands. Here’s the key, she’s going to reward us. Years from now we’re going to hear bout her. That’s the glory in this.”

Nicholas Morgan, founder of AcousTek Industries, won first place for his pitch to develop a technology that can be used in the field as an remote land mine detonation device. Convinced his technology would work, he had what Cork says it takes to succeed:

“It takes panache and a level of moxie–that DNA–that charisma to do what we want to do–which is change the world – that’s what entrepreneurs want. I had the opportunity to be part of that launching point. I would not have missed it for the world.”

Brian Patrick Cork is the Cultural Architect at brian cork Human Capital | Executive – Global Search and Recruiting and Business Coaching. He blogs at the aptly named: Unsinkable Brian Cork.”

I am, once again, inspired.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


1/ It’s starting to look like Kelly will be collaborating with me on the first of my books.


Going Back and Leaning Forward, Part I


When Radford University asked me to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2nd annual Entrepreneurial Summit, I had to stop and consider what this meant – or, might mean to me.

Going back.

Providing you know me (possibly including [understanding] my history), or at least follow this Blog, you understand that I was forever changed by many of my experiences at Radford.

Obviously, this does not make me unique amongst college graduates. However, I am self aware enough to understand that my particular path to, through, and beyond college is extremely unique (and, this is why many of you bother to read this Blog, and are in my life).

So…  I arrived on campus in 1980, and “got out” in 1984.  Through an astonishing sequence of events (but, lets allow also for continuity) most of my experiences established, and set into motion, my business philosophy, and general approach in terms of how my multiple companies have and, and shall, affect the lives of everyone within my sphere of influence.

For example, consider two previous Blog posts entitled:  “Why Ayn Rand was a Visionary”, and “Ayn Rand and Me” that will certainly help set the stage for this post.

Off we go.

After getting acquainted over the telephone, Dr. Clelland and I decided to entitle my talk: “Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, and them Corporate Fellas: The Laws of Natural selection”.  Many of you will recognize some of my published work (LINK/1 – and, certainly a consistent theory around whom actually is an entrepreneur – and, perhaps those that can’t (shouldn’t?) be.

I have loads of opinions – and, more stories with which to give them life.

So…  I traveled (back) to Radford, curious about changes within, and around, the University itself; and, what it would feel like to be there again. The last time I had visited Radford was on a rescue mission involving my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon (never mind the details) back in 1988.

I had a lot of adventures, trials and tribulations while at Radford.  I was in student government; a varsity athlete (Cross Country); I fell in love at that place – and, had my heart broken – all setting the stage for a particular world view, and go-forward focus.

It’s also the place where I met Dean Bonnie Hulburt and Professor Nick Pappas. It’s also where my Mother was a force of nature in many of my friend’s lives; and, a place where my Grandad visited – and, amazingly, intersected with Pappas; setting into motion… well… everything.

Dr. Clelland picked me up at the Roanoke Airport.  We hit it off during the drive to Radford proper, both sharing a passion for business, and how (why?) it works. NOTE: Belinda, my assistant, had warned him weeks in advance – I rarely where a suit.  Jeans are the uniform. But, (to the immense relief of my staff) I had enough respect, and a sense of gravitas around the event, not to where khaki shorts.

Just so you know, I never had much of an opportunity to walk around the campus as I had planned.  As soon as we dropped my kit off at my hotel, Dr. Clelland took a cellular call with the news that the scheduled chairman for the Collegiate Entrepreneurial Elevator Pitch Contest was going to have a problem making the event.

Dr. Clelland ended his call, and looked up at me.  As soon as he filled me in, I volunteered to step in, and be part of the panel.

I was not sure, at that moment, if Dr. Clelland, was pleased, relieved, or concerned. So, I naturally assumed that latter, hitched up my drawers (because they are quite baggy these days) and started thinking how I might adjust my talk to accommodate or include this opportunity.  I love to wing stuff.  It suits my (please feel free to fill in the blank: _________________) nature.

We drove through town and found a place for a quick lunch.  I decided to fill in some blanks for Dr. Clelland.  I shared with him the story of my first two business exploits while at Radford – selling moonshine, and starting and selling a moving company.  I felt this was important because I had an ever-changing train of thought percolating in my head.

My instincts were kicking in, and I was getting a “vibe”.

Details will follow within the verbose body of this Blog post – and, other parts to follow.  But, I am confident that Dr. Clelland was affected by my adventures less than he was possibly intrigued.  I did ask him if I should give Dean Gilbert a heads-up around the moonshine part.  She was only settling into her newly appointed position as head of the Business College, and had just established a level of accreditation that will most certainly raise the bar throughout the Commonwealth state.  She is on a roll.  The Entrepreneurial Summit could be rather important to the University – and, certainly to the Business College. Next is a symposium around Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged sponsored by BB&T Bank.

Dr. Gilbert was delightful.  An instant inspiration.  She did bat an eye when I ran the moonshine story by her. However, I don’t recall her growing pale. She was instantly raised in my estimation and she reminded me a bit of (now retired) Dean Bonnie Hulburt.  As we parted for the afternoon, she squared her shoulders; offered me a rueful laugh and an assumingly firm handshake – maintaining that she was delighted I was part of the program.

Thomas Jefferson and Ayn Rand surely must appreciate her. /2

The best part.

The original plan was for me to visit briefly with Dean Gilbert, and then drop in to visit with several business classes, and spend time with students; tell my story; and, answer some questions.

We did that.  And, this will always be my favorite part of the trip.

More later with “Going Back and Leaning Forward, Part II”.

So far, so good.  I think I made a good impression.

Read Dorm Room BuzzEntrepreneurial Summit Wrap Up by Chris Pund. And, don’t neglect Kelly Queijo’s article for Anne Clelland’s Handshake 2.0“Brian Patrick Cork: A man with a Plan”.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


1/ “Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, and them Corporate Fellas”– August 2007.
2/ “Being Jeffersonian, Part I” – February 2007; and, of course so many other things I care about.

NOTE: Brian also has a business Blog that fascinates world leaders and decision-makers alike (but, few others).  It can be viewed and relished at:


What Not


I truly am sensitive to the fact that so many of you are on pins and needles around my recent adventures at my alma mater Radford University and the Entrepreneurial Summit.

…Perhaps soon.

Hey Steve…  This was my belated answer to your question.  But, the West hasn’t collapsed just yet (except for Colorado).  So, it seems as though I’ve still managed to get in before the deadline, or whatever. 

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


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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