An Interview with May NAMW Member of the Month, Gene Pepper
Linda: Tell us what you are working on.
Gene:I am writing a memoir about growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah. My Dad was a country doctor in a then-small mountain city. My Mother was a housewife and the glue that held the house together while my Dad (we had only one family car) was out tending to his patients.
Growing up I made hundreds of house calls with Dad, waiting in the car while he trudged into homes in all kinds of weather, carrying his magic black bag that contained what I thought as a kid, were the secret potions handed down from the ancients. Many times he would come back to the car with lugs of fruits or vegetables. These were payments in kind for his services. There was little money in the 30s and 40s.
I am the oldest and last of my generation so I think it’s incumbent upon me to write the family history (a snapshot, really) from about 1900 to about 1985 when my Dad died.
Linda: What would be the title of your story?
Gene: I am still working on the title. I have a couple in mind, but every new chapter I write causes me to rethink the title. I am about 60 per cent complete with the original copy. Rewriting and revisions are to follow the completion of the book.
Linda: What helps you get your writing done?
Gene: I do have a writing schedule that requires me to write about 2000 words a week. I don’t consider the goal oppressive because virtually every page I write opens up doors that I have forgotten. Every memoir writer knows exactly what I’m saying here. The NAMW tele-seminars are powerful drivers for me to write.
Linda: What are your five favorite books?
Gene: I have lots of favorite books and authors. May I list authors instead of book titles?
Michael Connelly, William Zinsser, Ernest Hemingway, Richard Rhodes, Michael Lewis, Napoleon Hill, Linda Joy Myers (and other “how to write memoirs” authors) Jack Hart, William Woo.
Linda: Is there anyone who does not want you to write your memoir? Why not?
Gene: As far as I know there’s no one in my family who’s against my book. My sister might have had a quarrel with me because she would have objected to my portrayal of her. But she died almost seven years ago. I am not in contact with her family. I think overall my children and cousins are quite supportive of what I’m doing and have offered their help. I’ve had a running debate with myself about “truth.” I am going for true stories and scenes. A tough decision, but I am OK with it now.
Linda: Talk about who the audience is for your memoir. Be brief and concise.
Gene: My audience is my family and a few friends. I have no intention of seeking agents and publishers to publish and distribute the book. Last year I wrote a book, How To Save Your Business & Make It Grow In Tough Times. I self-published which turned out for me to be the best decision I made in getting that book sold. My memoir book is really aimed at my teen-age grandchildren.
Linda: What are the most significant turning points or influences in your life?
Gene: I have to list three major turning points in my life. I hope this is OK. I will be brief:
A- My parents, Milton and Sonya Pepper. They gave my sister and me unconditional love and served as role models for us. We had a close and supportive family that gave meaning to our everyday lives.
B-The United States Marine Corps changed my life in a short period of time. I went from a rather naïve, bumpkin enlisted man, to become an Infantry Officer leading a platoon and then later a Rifle Company.
C- Being married to my wife Marilyn, for 51 years has been the true highlight of my life. She makes me laugh and sometimes cry. She’s always been with and for me. She’s a remarkable wife, daughter, sister, mom and grandmother. Whatever I have become, is totally due to her.
GENE PEPPER, is the president of Alliance Business Consultants (ABC) which he founded in 1971. ABC provides project-strategy advice and business-brokerage services to middle market companies. ABC has been highly successful in serving these businesses, whose smaller size limits their access to larger traditional sources of capital. In addition, Gene is a commercial real estate broker, with about $200 million in completed transactions.
He is the author of the recently released book, How to Save Your Business and Make It Grow in Tough Times
ABC has specialized in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; appraisals and valuations; capital restructuring and turnarounds; and has successfully provided these services to more than 50 companies. These services have been involved in transactions valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
Representative companies include: Interprint Services, MatchMail, Inc., Courtaulds International, Inc., Re/Max International, Prudential Real Estate Holdings, WilPak Foods, The Geneva Companies, Vista International, Sawtooth Title Company, Coit, Sunclipse International, Citizens Business Bank and many others.
Mr. Pepper has successfully invested in, created, owned and operated eight of his own companies, some in highly competitive businesses like graphic arts and newspaper publishing. His portfolio of companies also includes manufacturing, distribution and service companies, providing an extensive range of products to a wide variety of customers. All of his companies were either sold, or merged with larger companies. He has written articles for the Los Angeles Times and the Glendale News-Press.
Mr. Pepper takes pride in being a “hands-on,” personal service advisor to clients. He shares his extensive experience as both an investor and entrepreneurial operator in providing his clients with in-depth knowledge of Marketing and Finance – two disciplines rarely found in one person. This unique perspective has enabled him to formulate highly creative structures and successful solutions to a myriad of complex transactions.
Mr. Pepper holds a current California Real Estate Broker’s license. He has also earned a designation known as CCIM—which stands for Certified Commercial Investment Manager.
He is a graduate of Stanford University, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer. He has been married for 51 years to Marilyn and has three grown children and six grandchildren, and has resided in Southern California, with his wife, for most of his adult life.