When Bill Poston decides on a direction, he is unwavering. Never satisfied with 2nd place or 2nd best, Poston has had a career that is focused like a laser, and he and his wife Richele have enjoyed the adventure. An adventure that has ultimately brought them to Cordillera Ranch.
Bill Poston, the son of a school teacher and a heavy equipment salesman while growing up in Pearland, Texas, began very early on to show those around him that he likes to move fast. He begins, “I graduated high school in 3 years. I was ready to move as fast as I could. I just wanted to get out of Pearland to begin seeing what the world had to offer. I went to Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) because they offered me an academic scholarship. If I had gone 4 years, I would have likely been valedictorian, but I didn’t, and again I graduated early. I majored in Finance, and again, I didn’t really have a plan for that, but rather, I was just ready to get out and see what was next. I had worked full time through college, was President of my fraternity, and when I graduated in ’88, it was the middle of the oil bust and the S&L crisis. My objective was to get a job in a corporate finance department or the banking industry, but those jobs were gone at that time. Magnum PI was on TV, and because I worked in the hotel business while I was in school, I got a job in Hawaii as the Assistant General Manager of a resort.”
Poston continues, “It was a very fortunate situation for me because the hotel that I went to had 5 different connections with me in terms of the staff. The GM had worked with me at a hotel in Austin, so it all just worked out well. I moved there just to wait out the recession while surfing and having fun.” And while Poston may have been just biding his time, fate introduced him to Richele, which transformed his life.
Richele begins, “I was born and raised in Hawaii. People in Hawaii never move, so I had always planned to stay. Bill and I worked together at the hotel, and he irritated me at first. He thought he was my boss, and he wasn’t! He still thinks that way!” she laughs. “After a bit I warmed up to him, but the older ladies told me to stay away from him cause of his partying!”
Bill jumps in, “I took her to a New Year’s Eve party, and it was really love at first date for me.” Richele, however, wasn’t so sure. “He was just abrupt and obnoxious. People are very kind and family oriented in Hawaii, and Bill was very direct and opinionated. It took some time, but we eventually started focusing on each other.”
Richele and Bill eventually had a daughter together, and Bill’s career began to take him in different directions. He explains, “The hotel I was at was sold. The GM I was working for was let go, and it wasn’t near as much fun after that. I went from running the place to being little more than a figure head. So I moved to Austin to pursue an MBA from UT. I was pretty close to the top of the hotel industry by the time I was 25 years old. I could see the top was not far above me, and I didn’t want to be doing that for the next 40 years. So I chose school. I just wanted to transition into other industries. “
With Richele staying behind in Hawaii to have the support of family as she raised their daughter, Bill did what he had done before: dove into his studies, finished school early, and began to seek new directions. “I had finally gotten out of UT, and was hired by DeLoit. I moved to Pearland and was able to move the family there. DeLoit is a global management consulting firm that provides strategic and operational improvement advisory services. I was a consultant working primarily in the product development capabilities. The large consulting firms like DeLoit recruit talent, not necessarily skill sets. They refused to interview me in the first rounds. Somebody dropped out of the interview process, so they bumped me up. They interviewed me on campus, and in the office. After the interviews, I received nine no’s and one yes. The one yes had way more clout than the nine no’s, so I got the job. The guy that voted yes became my mentor, and is now on my advisory board of Kalypso.”
Richele recounts the experience, “I was just so excited for the experience to be in Pearland. I was looking forward to the opportunities, and I was just happy for us all to be together. I was working some sort of secretary job, and I was watching the two kids (one previous child from a previous relationship). I got pregnant again a few years after we moved, and we finally started looking at marriage.” The Postons were married in 1997, just after the birth of their second child.
Poston was a partner at DeLoit by his mid 30s, and Richele was loving her role as a stay-at-home mom. However, with any high-pressure career, the travels were hard. Bill explains, “I missed a lot of moments along the way. You orient your life around those 3 days that you’re home each week. I found that as the kids got older, they were as busy as I was with karate, and swimming, and acting, and all their activities. The weekends are very important to us. We’ve done a lot as a family together.”
Bill began to look at land in the Hill Country; more specifically, he wanted land on the river between Comfort and Kerrville. Richele adds, “In the beginning, the travels were ok. The kids were little, I had help, and it wasn’t too bad. Then he wanted to move here to the Hill Country, and it was away from my help. It’s very hard, and there are times that I just wanted to scream and run away.”
Bill had found his piece of property, and was already designing the home in his head. However, Richele had her doubts. “I told him that he had found his land, but he was going to move me out to the middle of nowhere with all these kids, and then he was going to get on a plane every Monday and I was going to be alone. It wasn’t going to work.” So, after seeing an ad for Cordillera Ranch, the Postons saw property on two separate days, and by the end of their second trip, they were property owners. Bill explains, “It was the best of both worlds. Richele has the Clubs [of Cordillera Ranch] and her friends, and I have the country.”
As the Postons began to lay down their new roots, the consulting industry experienced a great upheaval. Bill explains, “In the wake of Enron, Worldcom, and the post-9/11 era, the management consulting industry had a big shakeup. DeLoit intended to separate the consulting and accounting businesses, but that didn’t happen. So myself and my partner, George Young, founded Kalypso.“
With a reputation known industry-wide, the founders of Kalypso saw immediate and enormous growth. Now a $40 million firm with 165 employees in the US, Europe, and Mexico, and with clients such as Samsung, Pepsi, and Home Depot, Kalypso has proven to be a home run since the first day.
With the new organization growing by leaps and bounds, the Poston’s focused again on their new home. “We went and looked at a Robert Thornton spec house, and we toured it, and just loved it, so we called Robert. We didn’t have near the money as a typical Thornton home, so what I found is that we did some really cool things on a budget with Robert, and he was just an incredible person to work with.”
In typical Poston form, once they had become residents, they wanted to have a party; a party that eventually overtook their home and became a complete event that is now funding multiple non-profits locally. Bill says, “The Luau was just a big party at first. We cooked Hawaiian food and just had people over for 7 years. However, it turned into a monster event, and we would get hundreds of people here. We turned it into a community event, and instead of here at the house, we do it in town at the Kendall County Fairgrounds. We invite any local nonprofit to participate and make it a city-wide event. We’ve done it four years now at the Fairgrounds, and we’ve had 22 non-profits participate and we were able to give $9,500 to them. Overall, we’ve given over $50,000 to local non-profits.”
In addition to the non-profit work at a local level, Bill has founded a wonderful program to mentor college students, called the Stelos Alliance. “I split my time between Kalypso and the Stelos Alliance now. Stelow raises money for college level scholarships, and provides leadership education. My professional life has been spent around people that went to Ivy League professionals. All these people with high-end management and consulting positions; these people had top notch educations. I went to Texas State. I did everything right; honors, president of my fraternity, and held down a full-time job. When you do all those things, you’re supposed to get your job when you graduate. But when I graduated, I got offers for less money than I was making when I was in college. So Stelos is important to me. It’s as important as Kalypso to me. We have 21 scholarships we offer annually, and the teaching is a principled leadership course that is a memorial for a friend of mine that died four years ago. He was my best man. So I teach at Texas State each semester, with 35 students in each class. We expect to teach it at Trinity next year, and we’ll teach it at Angelo State as well. When I was in college, I didn’t have that kind of guidance. I had tremendous help with my mentors, but I’m trying to bring that benefit to younger kids and present them a great opportunity. I’ve hired over 20 of those students from my classes– I try to get the rockstars.”
And while Bill might be splitting his time between Kalypso and the Stelos Alliance, his hours are still nuts…just the way he likes it. “I took 10 weeks off last year for family vacations, but I work 365 days a year. We’ve been all over Europe, sailing in Greece, Korea, and all over Latin America. Jacob and I went fishing in Alaska last August. I still work the 80+ hours a week that I always have, but I split that time between the two groups and work remotely as much as I can.” And, because Poston even vacations seriously, he has a plan for 2016: “I have a grand plan for 2016; 12 months in 12 different destinations. One destination each month, and while I’m in each destination, I will aquire or perfect 12 new skills. 12 different people will join me in each destination for each month. I’d like to write a book about it. It’s just about living deliberately. It’s about the three things that I try to weave into every month: innovation, opportunities for young people, and adventure. Those are my true passions, and where I’m happiest.”
And the family is happy at Cordillera Ranch as well. Richele adds, “I have appreciated the friendships we’ve made here. The people that were here when we got here were all similarly oriented. The kids and their relationships have been tremendous. I love the Club as well. The facilities are tremendous and we have totally enjoyed every minute of being here.”
So with their travels, and the kids that are now 15, 17, 20, and 33, the Postons are in a wonderful position to truly enjoy the adventures that they have laid out before themselves. As Richele laughs and nods her head, Bill finishes, “Who knows what adventure we’ll be on next. I can’t sit still. If I spend 10 minutes on the beach on vacation, I’m ready to do something else.”