Peter Winkler - Ambassador LIGS University
I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at LIGS University, but probably not the typical candidate. I am retiring in a few months after a long and varied career, so my goal in furthering my education is personal, not professional, and I am not seeking additional credentials to improve my employment, nor to enter a career teaching.
I have, in the course of my life, taken almost every opportunity to seek further education, though for the past three decades and more, I have lived in a very rural area, and have not had the chance to do too much locally. But I am a believer in the concept of lifelong learning, and a believer in the concept that education is at least as worthwhile a place to spend resources as entertainment is. My B.A. is in English, from the University of Notre Dame, along with a certification in Asian Studies. After completing my Bachelor's Degree, I accepted a job as Assistant Director at the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame, and completed a Masters of Science at Notre Dame in Institutional Administration - the equivalent of an MBA, but with a focus on non-profit management.
At that point, I returned to my family's business in rural Pennsylvania, and eventually became a McDonald's franchisee. Over the next 17 or 18 years, I eventually took over the ownership/management of four McDonald's restaurants. During this time, I completed a second Bachelor's equivalency in Accounting at the University of Pittsburgh. In the mid-nineties, I sold the McDonald's and invested in several other franchise businesses, including Midas (an auto repair business), Rally's, another restaurant chain, and Jackson Hewitt, which is the only business I still own, doing tax and accounting work. Along the way, I also did the educational work and procured licenses in real estate sales, which I never used, and as a stock broker, which I rarely used.
In the mid-nineties, a group of friends approached me about running for County Commissioner - the County Commission in the US is the executive and legislative branch of one unit of local government. I won that election and served a little over two years as Chairman, before I was recruited by our local federal Congressman (US House of Representatives) to take over the administration of his District (5-PA), as his District Chief of Staff. I worked for him for eleven years, until his retirement. I was then offered the same job by his successor, and continue to hold that position to this day.
I also served for ten years as an elected supervisor in my home township - a unit of government smaller than the county, the equivalent of a small municipality. And I have started and run and sold a few independent businesses, too, mostly restaurants.
Again, along the way, I completed a certification, on-line, through Florida State University, in financial management, and a second certification, also on-line, in project management from the University of Illinois. I also recently completed accreditation with the Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants, through the program provided by LIGS University.
My primary interest educationally at the present time is in taxation, particularly in the United States, as it relates to data collection and the use/mis-use of government-gathered information. Related to this, and as an explanation for pursuing a Ph.D. in finance, is the question of whether a government the size of the United States' can finance without income taxation and, if so, how. By the way, I don't expect to find an answer.
Personally, I am married to Jennifer, an elementary school teacher, and have two children, a daughter who is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a son who is a software engineer specializing in Unity Simulation programming, whatever that is . . . I have two dogs, a small blueberry farm, and I try to run between fifty and ninety road races a year, almost all of them 5K's.