Dewey’s Last Ride

13 Apr

I am saddened to report that Dewey passed away yesterday after a brief bout with canine cancer. In Dewey’s twelve years as Thatch Caye’s island dog and ostensible mascot, he played the role of protector and friend. He was also our best guest relations manager.

Hundreds of visitors have come to know and love Dewey over the years. He introduced himself by barking loudly at every arriving boat and wished guests a fond farewell in the same way. Dewey was one of a kind. He often made his presence known at mealtime and, judging by his weight, was successful in getting a little extra food from time to time. For the many of you in possession of a “Chilln’ with Dewey” T-shirt, you now own a real collector’s item. Wear it proudly.

Dewey was rescued as a pup from an uninhabited island in the Tobacco Range and made Thatch Caye his domain. To our knowledge, he only left it twice, both during hurricane evacuations. In a sense the island was more his than it is ours. It was his one true home.

We have known many dogs. Dewey was a good one. He possessed a set of virtues that we should all hope to emulate – loyalty, bravery, and friendliness. He was a good-looking dog that worked hard, but also knew how to relax and have a good time. Thatch Caye will never be the same without him. He will be missed.

So, join us in celebrating a dog’s life well lived. We may grieve, but our sorrow will cement our recollections of Dewey in our memories forever. Make yourself your favorite tropical cocktail and raise a glass to a good dog. Adios, Dewey!

Hanging out with Marshall and Dewey in May 2016

A Simple Country Lawyer

24 Sep

Several years ago at Kalypso, George came to me with a big concern and we agreed to take affirmative actions to increase the diversity of our team. After years of recruiting at Rice and UT we just had too many incredibly accomplished people from top tier universities.

Our first goal was to bring in an Aggie.

After using a New York attorney for a couple of years, I loved the idea of being represented by a simple country lawyer – maybe an Atticus Finch or a Matlock. But we got Ben. He is our Elle Woods. There is much more to him than just good looks and an “aw shucks” persona.

He is a true professional. He gets us. He is one of us. He keeps us out of trouble, and he has never lost a case – no matter how badly we might have screwed up.

Ben is a real family man. In addition to the four women in his house, he has what you might call an unusually extensive extended family. If he is not returning your call, there is a good chance that he is at his half-sister’s third cousin’s boyfriend’s little sister’s sixth grade graduation.

When he is working, he is a legal all-star. Congratulations to Ben on a legendary career as our lawyer, our friend, and a core part of this incredible cast of characters with character. We love you and you will be missed.

Melinda Keller for a Lifetime

16 Sep

Kalypso KARMA 2020 was in late August and we honored a number of people with Lifetime Awards. I was asked to say a few words about my friend, Melinda Keller. She was there from almost the very beginning of the firm and has always been there for me. Here is what I had to say:

“Melinda walked into my life 36 years ago this month when we were both freshman in college. It has been quite an adventure ever since. She has been right by my side through personal tragedy and professional triumph. If not for Melinda there would be no Stelos Alliance, no Housley Principled Leadership Program, and our memories of Kalypso KARMAs past would be very different. I could tell you stories of bull fights, bikini contests, bad camping trips, a bad trip of the other kind, and many tales of youthful indiscretion, but time constraints and the overt threat of mutually assured destruction prevent me from going into detail.

What I can say is that my life has been enormously enhanced by her friendship – and all of us at Kalypso owe her a debt of gratitude for her contributions to our success and the culture we cherish so much. She is the epitome of a Kalypsonian – an incredible work ethic, a valuable set of skills, a state school attitude about life that doesn’t take things too seriously, and, most importantly, something a little weird that makes her a character with character.

Melinda, thank you from me and all of the people of Kalypso past and present. You are our rock and I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than you. One thing you can’t make more of is old friends. I love you with all of my heart and I always will.”

My Personal Mission

6 Sep

It is week two of the Housley Principled Leadership Program and the students are drafting their personal mission statements. Many of us struggle to articulate our purpose and are subject to being bounced around by things that happen to us in life. A strong mission grounded in values provides us a guidepost in difficult times. Here is my current personal mission statement:

“My purpose in life is to help extraordinary young leaders reach their potential.

I wish to lead by example by adhering to a strong set of core values while pursuing ventures and adventures that create opportunities for others. I value hard work, the pursuit of knowledge, civic responsibility, financial prudence, entrepreneurship, adventure, exploration, laughter, friendship, and fun.

I want to be an influential and selfless person of consequence that leaves a positive legacy of enhancing the lives of all those that come into my orbit. Unless I am snow skiing or hiking, I prefer to do all these things somewhere hot.”

My Lowas

26 Aug

My Lowas

“The most alive is the wildest.” – HDT

After eight years, six continents, and hundreds and hundreds of miles, my hiking boots finally gave up the ghost.

The death of my Lowas was a little like losing a close friend. We’ve had so many memorable adventures. We hiked the Inca Trail, stalked lions in Botswana, tiptoed knife-edge ridge lines in Hawaii, walked on the Zuidersee Works, traipsed through Australia, climbed mountains in Korea, dangled off the south rim of Big Bend at sunset, almost died in a freak summer storm in the Alps, and tread dozens of wild places across the United States.

Thinking back fondly on these expeditions and the people I shared them with allows me to relive those experiences in my mind: the secret bottle of cabernet stashed in the bottom of my pack, picking fruit off the tree for a meal, catching salmon by the boatload, the lone little goat with a bell around its neck encountered high up on a ridgeline, finally making it to the summit, and too many amazing sunsets to count. There were laughs and tears as well: trying to start a fire with no matches, running out of water, a curious skunk, a cocktail party in the African bush, a collapsed tent or two, being charged by a Kodiak bear, rain, wind, snow, more than a few bumps, bruises and blisters, and one severely broken ankle.

My old Lowas took me to the wild places. They were my passport to nature and took me away from the over-civilized people that populate my day-to-day life. My boots took me to the mountains where I drew my strength and satisfied myself that there was meaning to be found in the woods. Who can look at wonderful nature and not be prompted to wonder more? There are answers on the mountaintop.

My grief will abate. I’ve already begun to get to know a new pair of Lowa hikers. The relationship is still stiff and uncomfortable, but I am committed to making it work. Over time, I expect the bond to grow and for our relationship to become easy and supple. There is no telling what adventures await us just over that yonder hill. There are many, many more miles to go.


A timely quote for you to consider. It’s as if he were right here with us today.

“Short-sighted men, who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things.” – Teddy Roosevelt

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