It was a humbling experience that blessed me with: - a greater respect for blue collar work (this would continue to expand with stretches at Dr. Pepper, and, during the economic downturn of 2008, roofing houses) - the first-hand realization that living on minimum wage is next to impossible - the shift from weightlifting strength to “grown man strength” - a resounding desire to continue my education and work indoors What is the best and/or worst advice you’ve ever received? I decided not use the “IV” in my byline because I thought it would sound pretentious. Now that I’m writing about business I may reconsider. What do you like to do on your time off? Hang out with my wife and son. Talk with old friends over a pint. Play with my dog, an adopted mutt named DotCom. Paint. Read about history. Play chess and video games, rarely simultaneously. Eat great food (Norman’s a good place to do it.) Best: Everybody knows something you don’t. Worst: Dance like nobody’s watching. What is your most memorable failure and what did you learn from it? Wow. Pretty deep question for an in-house questionnaire … Let’s see. In all honesty, I’d say a big one wasn’t one but many. I picked up smoking in college, and I blame my own arrogance. I tended to ascribe to a sort of iron will mentality and believed I could easily resist an addiction that many struggle mightily to kick. I was wrong. Oh man was I wrong. I failed so many times to quit over the years. It got pretty disheartening, but now that I’m on the other side, I recognize that I learned a little bit each time, about what worked and about myself. It sounds strange to me as I write it, but I count quitting smoking as one of my greatest personal triumphs. That and beating my mom in Scrabble (almost equally impossible). What career advice would you give your younger self? Believe in your talent. Be honest about your weaknesses. And, above all, be more patient. What’s your favorite quote? “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” — John Wooden What is something most people don’t know about you? My full name is Mack Neal Burke IV. Years ago, 32 NormanBusinessJournal.com | Quarter 2 // 2019 What’s the story behind the most interesting thing in your office or on your desk? I got into a conversation with Cody Giles once about how only having digital copies of photos of my infant son would make me nervous. I was born in the 80s and perhaps this makes me sound old, but it’s just hard to imagine not having some physical pictures. I know it’s unlikely that the cloud will suffer a cataclysmic failure that wipes out all records of my son’s youth, but I now have some backups. As we reminisced about Polaroid cameras, Cody said he would give me one of his. Apart from being a pretty sweet gesture, it produced one of my favorite physical photos of all time: a photo of me holding my son who is dressed as a football. It now sits on my desk and makes me smile every time I look at it. An interesting aside about Polaroid photos that Cody mentioned: it’s the only kind of photo that was physically there when and where it happened. Maybe I’m a dork, but I think that’s cool. If it’s not that, I’d say it’s all my shiny writing awards. I keep them prominently displayed. You know, to keep me humble. What’s your office style? Decaying 70s furniture complemented by custom art by some of my talented colleagues. My desk is so heavy it may actually come in handy in the event of a nuclear blast.