I left the Treasury Department in 1987 to become an associate with Newtek Ventures, a San Francisco based venture capital firm focused on early stage healthcare and industrial technology investments. Two years later, Newtek became an investor in Capital BIDCO a Michigan based, Business and Industrial Development Company which I founded to provide debt and equity financing to growing small businesses. Capital BIDCO funded many successful small businesses and in 1997, I sold my interest in Capital BIDCO and relocated to Southern California, becoming the Chief Operating Officer for EC2, The Business and Technology Incubator for the University of Southern California.
Later, along with Dick Huntington I was co-founder and Chairman of San Diego based, Huntington Capital, a federally licensed Small Business Investment Company and Huntington Capital II. Both Huntington funds were focused on mezzanine investments in small and mid-sized businesses. Huntington investors included the pension funds for the State of California and California State Teachers, Pacific Life, Union Bank & Trust and many others. I'm proud to say, the funds I helped manage and the funds which I co-founded have created thousands of good paying jobs in dozens of companies in a wide variety of industries. I also served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of O'Melveny Consulting a subsidiary of the international law firm of O'Melveny and Myers. I subsequently purchased the firm from O'Melveny and operated it as BWilson Partners serving a variety of clients in Southern California. We lead the creation of the Mission Innovation Institute for one of our clients, Mission Hospital. The Institute was created to address needed innovations in healthcare. Life was going well but always has surprises for us. In 2003, a catastrophic illness struck our family when my wife of 24 years was diagnosed with breast cancer. I paused much of my business activities to focus on her care and recovery. Unfortunately, we didn't win that battle and she passed away in 2005. At that point I concentrated on raising our daughters. To provide the freedom I needed to be with my daughters, I launched a business venture with some success until the recession of 2008 hit. During Mary Kay's illness and through the failure of my business I learned a great deal about facing financial adversity. The important thing is today I have four daughters who are all happy and doing well and I have turned my attention to trying to impact the future of this country I love so dearly. Why, Central Illinois? Well, the fact is a consulting engagement brought me to the area and a few walks through Starved Rock State Park and the area's towns and cities convinced me that this was where I wanted to settle.
I'm a graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and earned my Juris Doctor Degree from Western Michigan University's Thomas M. Cooley Law School.