Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Troy Evans, Former Bank Robber

Last week I spoke at the Society of Government Meeting Professionals' Southeast Regional Conference in Ft. Meyers, Florida. If you've never been to the southern Gulf coast of Florida, I highly recommend the Sanibel Resort.

The keynote speaker on Tuesday morning was Troy Evans, former bank robber. I had the pleasure of sharing a van ride with Troy from the airport to the hotel, and we ate lunch together on Tuesday. Never heard of him? You will soon; the movie rights to his life story were just picked up by Hollywood while A-list actors line up to play his part.

Troy grew up as a good kid in middle-class Phoenix, but turned to drugs, and then took to bank robbing to support his habit. This landed him in the federal penitentiary for 7+ years, during which time his son grew up, he cleaned up his act, and received two college degrees. He's a professional speaker now, spending half of his time teaching banks how robbers like him think, half teaching kids about the dangers of drug use. It inspires me that in America, you can mess up as badly as Troy did, and bounce back to heights beyond anything you could have achieved had you lived a "normal" life in the first place.

The other keynote speaker was Jon Gordon, energy coach. This guy has a head cold that would have kept me in bed, and he still manages to jump on stage (literally) at 8am and motivate us all to attack our day with positive energy. The conference organizer, Beth Miller-Tipton from the University of Florida, definitely headed his advice as she effused praise about our speakers and topics for the conference.

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