Less formality, more fun

The Baltimore Sun

Boots-N-Bangles Bar-B-Cure was the name - and theme - of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation shindig. So, it made sense that the pre-party VIP reception would be held at the digs of local maverick, Ed Hale. Urban cowboys and cowgirls hitched rides on the elevator at the 1st Mariner Bank Tower up to Hale's penthouse home. There, they moseyed through the rooms, bellied up to the ice bar on the terrace, and filed through the kitchen for some fixin's. Of course, there was always that 17th-floor view of the Baltimore harbor to take in.

An hour later, it was time to descend to an unfinished floor and join the jeans-clad throng for the main fandango. You could catch up with the likes of Margaret and Richard Himelfarb, Debra Nelson, Lauren McMahon, Scunny McCusker, and Jim Lighthizer. If you weren't dancing to the band, you could browse the barbecue buffet. Or check out the silent auction. Or learn how to lasso with a lariat.

JDRF board president-elect Alan Shusterman, decked out in jeans, jean jacket and a straw cowboy hat, noted happily that the change to a less formal party was bringing in the largest crowd ever with some 350 guests.

"This isn't a gala," he announced. "It's a party."

A drink with Jason Pappas

Seventh shot at success is a hit for entrepreneur

Jason Pappas, 39, is co-founder/CEO of EntreQuest, a Baltimore-based sales consulting company. He grew up in North Baltimore, went to Gilman School, Yale University and the University of Maryland School of Law. However, Pappas decided he wasn't a lawyer but rather a "serial entrepreneur." In his own quest to create a successful business, Pappas tried his hand at real estate investment, property management, owning a driving range and starting a golf apparel company, among other things. EntreQuest was "one-for-seven." Pappas lives in Canton with wife Cindy Pappas, a U.S. Department of Justice social science analyst, and their 3-month-old son, Luke Plato.

As you yourself readily admit, it took seven tries at entrepreneurship before a business of yours took off. What made No. 7 work?

Honestly? A phenomenal partner. [Joe Mechlinski] is 10 years younger than I am. ... We're very similar from a core standpoint, but our tactical strengths are different. He's much more detail-oriented compared to me. The other thing is - we know how to fight really well. ... [We] never make it personal.

You describe yourself as a "serial entrepreneur." What do you think it is about you that drives you that direction?

It's clearly a control issue. I need to control. I'm totally comfortable with the uncertainty and the risk. But, I've gotta be the one holding the dice.

And your wife?

She's the perfect complement [to me]. She's not the big risk-taker. But, she's my biggest fan and completely supports this journey, though she wouldn't do it on her own. She is my absolute angel. This wouldn't work otherwise.

Are you driven in every aspect of your life?

Probably too much. It has gotten better. It shifted when I finally realized the difference between success and fulfillment. That they weren't one and the same.

How has that changed your life?

I'm just enjoying the ride more. ... It just makes you notice how cool the ride is along the way. The ride is as fun as the destination.

What else are you enjoying in your "ride" these days?

I love to play golf. Love red wine. But my biggest hobby is fantasy football. And that's the one that drives my wife nuts. This may sound cliche, but we get the biggest juice just hanging out with friends. The kid changes things. Instead of hanging out at Birches, you hang out on your back deck and do exactly the same thing.

What would surprise people to know about you?

I was in a Greek dance group as a teenager.

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