I would not say I was an entrepreneur when I was in diapers, but I did get an early start. I was raised in Douglas, Arizona, and unemployed till the elderly age of seven, when I got a paper route for the Douglas Dispatch. I remember two things: I got up before the sun; and on pay day, I loved that job. It ended when we moved to Los Angeles when I was nine.

By the time I was ten, I was delivering newspapers for the LA Examiner.

My first summer job was a great experience with a women’s fashion wholesaler outlet where department store buyers shopped. At times I glimpsed the owner, a likeable guy, selling racks filled with dresses that I helped deliver to department stores in downtown Los Angeles. I helped out in shipping. I remember rolling canvas covered racks on carts across sidewalks to the May Company, Bullocks, Robinsons and others.

I was hired to work as a stock boy after school in East Los Angeles. From the age of fourteen, I had a four year meteoric rise through the ranks of a neighborhood pharmacy, graduating from stock to bicycle delivery boy to working one of three cash registers. The pay raise allowed me to buy my first car at 16.

In a quest for better wages, I started working at Red Arrow, an early package delivery messenger service owned by UPS. I was a courier in Los Angeles. Tips and pay were so lackluster at Red Arrow that I enlisted in the navy as a medical corpsman. They say "Join the navy, see the world." I made it all the way to San Diego.

I moved on to Monterey Park, California when I was accepted to a five year apprenticeship by the Heating, Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning apprenticeship program. In addition to trade school classes (thermodynamics and other fascinating topics), I worked with professionals at Western Pacific Mechanical Contractors, installing systems for pre-high rise office buildings, hospitals and colleges.

When I had my car repaired at a landmark body shop that had been there since the beginning of time, the owner talked me in to becoming a partner or perhaps it was the other way around. With the enormous borrowed sum of a thousand dollars, thanks to Dial Finance, I bought in. A shot at my heart's desire to be in business for myself. My partner had an upholstery department, a full service mechanical department, a body shop, and now, me, someone who could sell. The big building was a dark, barely lit mess. I brought in light and sales. My partner taught me the body shop business, and how to write an estimate of a wrecked car. The crew in the upholstery and mechanical departments taught me how to bid jobs. I got in the pit with them and learned hands on. I bought out my partner, and put in a paint booth and oven so that we could paint cars in one day from start to finish. Business boomed. I didn't know where to stop. The sky was the limit. I opened another shop in E. LA at Whittier & Rowan, and a year later another shop near Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard. I would still be in this booming business if there had been one of me for each shop. I crashed hard.

I had very little to offer in 1965 when I married Amelia, AKA Molly. Forty-nine years ago, I was broke.

You may recall Earl Scheib, paint business giant who wrote the book on in-and-out one day paint jobs. My mission for Earl was to go to his terrible Fresno shop and do whatever was necessary to change it from a money pit to a cash cow. The challenge whet my appetite enough for me to overlook that I was working for someone else. In spite of putting all my efforts into the business, even hiring my wife as a car prep masker, not even a generous advertising budget could get Fresno customer traffic to the target 16 to 20 cars (or units) a day. I started painting refrigerators and other appliances in all shades of car colors for the same price as a car paint job, $29.95. First it was all word of mouth, then I advertised. Within months, business boomed. We were awash in "units," albeit, seventy-five percent of which were appliances. Amazing success. But—there's always a but—who knew that Earl Scheib had visiting vice-presidents? They didn't exactly like my rulebending. I was not fired, but no one was unhappy, including me, when I returned to Los Angeles after six months with Earl Scheib. In fact, I felt energized. I had found a niche in an impossible market, and more than tripled in sales. I was ready, full of experience, and on the lookout for the next big opportunity.

Thanks to my mom who had taught me to read and write fluent Spanish, maybe the biggest change in my life came after an hour's chat with a lawyer developing a huge Latin practice of personal injury cases, and automobile accidents, etc. He believed I had the magic, and inspired me to a new calling, one which had strict rules of ethics. The lawyer couldn't split his fees with me, and I couldn't solicit clients. But he had very deep pockets and no limit on how big he wanted to grow. I became his investigator and marketing person, and soon fulfilled his expectations of me. Even following the rules, I had the magic. I produced. Six months after we started working together, he handed me the keys to a brand new Cadillac Coupe Deville. At the time, a car right off the show room floor was about five thousand dollars. I had hit the big time.

The lawyer suggested I incorporate, so that he would pay the corporation instead of me. I would pay myself from the corporation. Thus, I formed Aztec Industries.

But I always had my ears open for opportunity's knock. This time, opportunity knocked in the form of a big rig. I signed a contract with a Texas trucking company. I started with one truck and hired a driver. Soon, I purchased a second tractor. After a year or so I realized that yes, the two drivers were busy traveling cross country for the trucking company, but after I paid the drivers, the truck payments, insurance and repairs, there wasn't anything left. As quickly as I got into the business, I got out of it. It left no scars, and I was richer in knowing the trucking industry.

My marketing business with the attorney was a lot of work. I had a secretary and a field investigator paid by the attorney. With no employees, I had practically had no overhead. I was a world away from the mile long payroll and overhead of body shops. Maybe I should have been content, but you might have noticed by now that I have an unscratchable itch for new business.

When a friend experienced in the photocopy supply field wanted to open a company, I jumped at the chance. The only serious photocopy business competition at the time was Xerox. There was no Staples, no Office Depot and no Costco, no stationary stores like today to provide for the niche market of small companies needing small machines and a paper source. My partner and I opened Progressive Photo Copy. Within a year, on the foundation of his know-how, we were the first to put copy machines in business establishments like Thrifty Drug Stores where a person could make copies for a dime or a quarter. After three years, I let my partner buy me out because he was doing all the work and kept complaining every time he wrote me a check for my share. Another clean break. Another learning experience.

The attorney I was with moved to One Wilshire, at the time the only high rise in downtown Los Angeles. After his tiny downtown office, the thirty stories of One Wilshire was a palace literally at the top of the world. Maybe it was the thin air so high up, but I was inspired to wear suits to the office, though I'm most at home meeting with clients in the field. A secretary and a great view were a fine change for a while, and led to my brainchild, Venture Productions which lasted for two years. I was still doing client development for the attorney, but also, since all the world's talent gravitates to Los Angeles, my Venture Productions signed up talent, music groups, bands who played clubs in Los Angeles. As a marketing tool, I used video, which was in its very expensive infancy. On the strength of the videos, my cousin in Mexico City booked the groups very effectively by showing them at area clubs. It was more fun than money.

The attorney I was consulting for convinced me that my next move should be to join forces, so we bought buildings together. In that very different real estate world, financing for new construction was easy. A 29 unit building was two hundred ninety thousand dollars. We put together a management company, got a contractor license, and my mother managed the rentals. Between client development, marketing, buying lots, building apartment buildings, my head filled up with buckets of effective knowledge, including how to work with subcontractors. It's not like I was rolling in money though. Financing was ten percent down. I always managed to come up with the ten percent. Everything was pretty much tied up in assets that, if they did much more than break even, went to next ten percent deal. No matter how great the deal, as long as there was overhead, I just couldn't make it. I wish I had all those properties now. I'd be a gazillionaire.

I didn’t stop there. (Should have, though.) Across the street from One Wilshire, I leased what had been a travel agency, and spent a bundle making it into a fabulous Mexican Restaurant. Downtown was expanding. Highrises were sprouting like weeds. It was a perfect combination, except it wasn't. When we opened, there were lines outside waiting for a table. But this venture was my hard lesson about being an absentee owner, and about being a non-restaurant person who owns a restaurant.

The restaurant business left repercussions both bad and good. The good thing is that if you own a cozy Mexican Restaurant like I had, a real prize, you end up rubbing elbows with lots of people. As a restaurant owner, sometimes you don’t let the important ones pay their bill, and even though you never actually call in a favor, eventually you find out that you know all these important people, and they remember you. Some of the attorneys and judges I know today, I met as they broke bread at my table, eating my food way back then. So the restaurant left me with a sort of fame. The bad is, well, it folded. I can be philosophical. Some things do not last forever. Maybe it was just a bad year for me. It was the same year the consultation business with my attorney friend wrapped up.

But I'm always a free agent and I never stay down for long. And I always have options, somewhere interesting to go next. I was snatched up by another firm in need of client development. You know that saying about a door closing and a window opening. The deal with the new attorney was better.

Two years later, a still better deal turned up. I became an adviser to Masry, David & Cohen, another firm at One Wilshire. Ed Masry and I had already been friends for a while. I introduced him to a senator. Masry was always a big guy in sports; he represented football players and the like. He offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse, to consult for him and manage his client development. This I did, as a friend and key person in growing his firm from then till his death in 2005. Simultaneously, I was a free agent in my own other businesses. James Vititoe would much later join him to become Masry & Vititoe. I remember when Vititoe first walked through the door.

Business helped me get to know a whole lot of important people. I didn't aspire to office, but I wore a political hat. Politicos and I didn't run in the same circles, but my circles intersected with their circles, especially in terms of events and parties. This would help my adviser business a whole lot for years to come.

Somewhere along the line, I found myself in the middle, frequently mediating between friend and friend; and between feuding business partners. I worked behind the scenes, and settled arguments and disputes big and small. Mediation became a good source of income. Many years later in the late 90s, I handled several huge disputes between athletes and their parents. (That's all that I can say about that.) In the present, I am still called upon for crisis management.

No matter what business I was running, my client development business was always going strong in the background. I never learned to leave well enough alone. So I was always reaching beyond legal case development, which generally caused what you might call a wobble in my income. Do you see another venture coming? How well you know me, by now.

I formed Baja Foods, and purchased a small refrigerated truck to travel from Los Angeles to Ensenada to pick up a daily load of all types of fish to deliver to three customers in Santa Barbara, California. Baja also canned Sea Urchins in Ensenada, and brought the canned goods to Los Angeles for shipping to Asia where there is a big demand. The truck I owned started breaking down full of fish. Use your imagination here as I really don't want to describe it. After the truck was towed more than once, it was time to move on.

I found a 24,000 square foot building in shambles. I couldn’t afford to buy it, but I was able to get a very long lease from an elderly lady who eventually financed my vision of converting the building into separate stores. Construction was a piece of cake. Okay, construction is never a piece of cake; but I had a niche with subcontractors. They're all gone now, but I had met them when I was building apartments: carpenters, plumbers, electricians, foundation people, bricklayers, plasterers, drywall people, painters. I had them all coming to me doing the best work and giving me good prices. The colleagues who had built apartments with me were happy to convert the space into a very large laundromat, liquor store, cleaners, print shop, pizza parlor and donut shop; and the parking lot was spacious enough to plant a fast food joint. The project took up a small square block on 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles.

I repeated this at two other locations but, you know the drill, when things got tight, I sold my master leases.

My partner and I formed a service company to bid on Federal Service contracts under a minority angle. My partner was an expert at bidding in every field you can imagine. What he didn’t have is the know-how to raise the money to perform the service, and the solvency to wait for payment from the government. We landed a one year contract to pick up trash daily at Lake Mead, and I purchased two old rubbish trucks to handle the job. We won another one year contact doing the landscape and gardening at Walla Walla Washington Park in Washington State. During the three years I had this company, we trimmed trees throughout on federal property throughout California, provided kp services at various army bases, brush clearance on federal land in Oregon, janitorial services in various Federal Office Buildings, etc. The service company was a handful. It didn't go broke, it just fizzled away.

When I wasn’t building anymore, I hooked up with a friend who owned a large building materials outlet in East Los Angeles. We partnered in Bell, California in pre-home depot days. I leased a big building with property to spare for parking and outdoor sales. Back then, contractors purchased everything from lumber, cement, sand, gravel from stores like these. What I didn't know about building materials, I learned from my partner. Business was busy, hectic even. I was back to having real overhead, rent, payroll, etc. which I never like to have. I bought in to my partner's main store that had been there for ages figuring to make more money but mainly, I inherited half of his overhead. It wasn't a smooth ride. Drywall companies went on strike. We were the only game in town, and weathered the builders supply storm by hauling in drywall from other states, Nevada, Colorado, where ever it was being manufactured. Hauled it in by the truckload. Then the California Cement Industry went on strike. Same solution-we hauled cement in by the truckload.

By this time, Masry & Vititoe (MV) had relocated to the San Fernando Valley. Scarcely a day passed that Ed Masry didn't communicate to me that I was wasting my time with these businesses I was in and out of. He kept reminding me that my niche was legal marketing, advising, etc. Every time I looked at the stack of bills, I did find myself reminiscing fondly on days of low overhead. After my partner died, any passion for building supply died too. It was time to move on. I walked away from building materials and back to my field, client development, client management, and case coordination for attorneys.

Before 1985, apps and applications just didn't exist as they do now. Windows was not yet a jingle in Bill Gate's wallet. MV hired me to develop a legal management program in Microsoft DOS. Within a few months, computers on the desk of all MV employees had bare bones applications that I wrote. It took me two years to flesh them out, and keep incorporating features to handle what MV needed. MV's in-house CPA worked with me for countless hours to tailor a full accounting program just the way he wanted it.

By now, I was wearing a lot of hats with Ed Masry. Still had the ongoing calling to bring in new business, as his business had its up and downs. I worked out of their office, and that included showing off the software I had written to other law firms. Another attorney retained me to tailor a management program similar to the MV application. My software clients weren't limited to lawyers. A doctor hired me to develop a management program for his two medical facilities. That jump started me in a whole new area, the medical field. With programming, I was back to being a one man show. The formula held true; no overhead meant success for me. I had no employees. One helper, Emilio, came in when we needed to install the actual computers. Emilio still works for me at home, and wherever else I need him.

Then Windows came out and cut me off at the knees. Windows was the beginning of the end. Clients brought me more work as they changed over but while CompuTrak remained alive, the industry was in flux. Computers caught on in a big way, and programmers from India were coming up with applications for two hundred dollars that I used to get three thousand dollars to put together; then the giants in the U.S. started writing and boxing applications and making them available to everyone. A scanning program that I would have received twenty thousand dollars for sold in a box for a hundred fifty dollars. Time to move on.

We were living in San Marino and wanted to be by the beach. In 1988, Amelia and I purchased a fixer upper I really couldn't afford. The six thousand square foot home had no windows, no doors, and it was a mess, but the view was breathtaking. It was in Malibu, right above the Malibu Colony, practically next to Pepperdine University, The two hundred degree view of the Pacific Ocean was fantastic. In 1989 when my youngest graduated from High School in San Marino, we moved to Malibu. It took two years to sub out what needed to be done to that house, piecemeal. Project by project. When it was done, I couldn't have bought a hershey bar on credit. On the bright side, when it was finished, it was such a prize that almost every month movie studios contracted to film there. Meanwhile, plugging away at client development for Masry & Vititoe paid the remodeling bills.

In Malibu, I met a resident seven years my senior who hailed from Kuwait, a very wealthy man with a number of Middle Eastern businesses. We became good friends. His Los Angeles business was leasing aircraft and selling aircraft spare parts. The man and his wife blinded my family with gifts. Then Kuwait was invaded. My friend predicted that when Kuwait had its country back, food suppliers from the United States would be gone. As his marketing manager, I got his company the exclusive contract he wanted from Certified Grocers in Commerce, California. Shipping 20 and 40 foot containers of mixed grocery items became my new specialty for more than a year. I sold everything from Hershey bars to potato chips and Nibblers, canned food of all types. I was up at all hours straddling time zones, talking to the buyers. We had no internet. Fax was king. But the writing was on the wall, when after two years, Kuwait renewed a pre-invasion government decree: no food could be sold that was not Halal, (like Kosher.) The cost of relabeling everything was prohibitive. As fast as it started, the food business dissolved.

Pretty Face remained as the parent company. The next itch for new business came from a doctor who wanted to open an Urgent Care facility in Encino, California. As I’m not a doctor, I could not legally own a piece of the practice. The doctor selected a building that had housed a car leasing company. I leased the building, and made the deal to convert the building to a medical clinic. When I finished renovating, I subleased the clinic to the doctor for a lot more money than the space was worth, but less than if he only owned half of the practice as he had originally proposed. That deal lasted five years, and ended because getting rent from my pal was like pulling teeth. He moved on, and another doctor stepped in. When my master lease was up, instead of renewing the lease, I leased a building two doors away that had more parking and a huge sign. After I did a conversion, the second doctor moved in. Fifteen years or so later, that second clinic is still in the black for my company Doctors Medical Management.

On the consulting front, I took on a new client, Swiss Bank Corporation, one of the two biggest world banks at the time. Swiss bank sent a young genius of a banker to Los Angeles to open up a huge beautiful office in downtown Los Angeles. This banker consulted me on marketing new accounts and building new business, i.e. client development. The most impressive part of this consulting job was my letter of appointment from Swiss Bank Corporation New York. The contract terms provided me a monthly percentage of all deposits I brought to the bank. With some hesitancy that the bank's name would be a red flag on tax records, my friend Dick Clark was one of the first to make a big deposit. I drew a number of new depositors, but like the boy named "Sue," the real and legitimate bank was haunted by the name. Perceptions were negative based on movies about illegal "Swiss" numbered accounts. Eventually the bank wised up, taking the name Paine Weber and then UBS. By then, I had already framed my beautiful appointment letter as a memoir, and moved on. That young banker, still a good man to know, moved on as well, to bigger and better things.

When my sons went to college, businesses paved the way. George Hatcher Jr started LA Receivables. It more than paid for college. By now it has been purchasing medical receivables from radiologists for more than twenty years. About ten years ago, he rolled management to my management company Doctor's Medical Management, which manages a lot of medical enterprises. His LA Receivables is still an active business.

Mobile MRI, formed by my son Azar Hatcher at eighteen, has been conducting MRI studies for twenty years, with clients referred to the business by a short list of doctors and lawyers. About ten years ago, Doctor's Medical Management began managing Mobile MRI. The MRI business is very competitive, and Azar's business is steady and ongoing.

For twelve years, Bye Bye Mold, Inc. has been performing environmental testing for mold and other toxins. I formed the company and we still perform mold testing throughout California, daily. I have a wall filled with certifications for environmental testing and air testing, etc. and a certified industrial hygienist who handles all my reports to our clients. In fact, there are several companies operating under this umbrella: Toxic Team, Evaluair, Toxic Litigation, Toxic consulting. These companies provide various services from mold and toxic inspections of residential and commercial properties, to paper handling of the chain of evidence, and consulting with lawyers handling toxic litigation cases.

All the while, my client development work with Masry and Vititoe was ongoing. I did not keep office hours, but I was there in 1992 when Erin Brockovich was hired for three hundred dollars a week to answer the phone. As I recall, among other things, she was handling medical malpractice cases. Ed, Erin and I would kick things around at lunch, including the toxic hexavalent chromium case Erin found in Hinkley that went to Hollywood to become a movie in 2000. I talk about this in some detain here.

The boxing years began about 1989 and went on for about ten years. I was an active advisor for Oscar's manager Joel De La Hoya. When Oscar's company Golden Boy Promotions was formed, I traveled all over the US with Oscar and Joel consulting behind the scenes. Boxing was a huge part of my life. I still have a California Boxing Manager License that I renew it every year, though I am not managing any boxers at this time and have no plans to do so again.

My work with aviation cases escalated in 2006, after a collision between a business plane and a low cost Brazilian GOL Airlines jet over Brazil. As I worked with a couple of families involved in that accident, I had a revelation. I realized I had a real itch for aviation cases. Enter Wrongful Death Consultants, the parent company of my other aviation enterprises. By the time the Tam crash occurred in July of 2007, I had the machinery in place to be effective. One thing I learned about in international aviation cases, is that no matter how good the cases are, lawyers are only interested if they have someone like me to do the footwork and case coordination. In international aviation cases, a bridge is needed to facilitate the works. I always describe this as a bridge, because the image is so effective to show how the company bridges the gaps. As I am not a lawyer, I am not entitled to an attorney split, but I do bill the lawyers for my services. I am calling the services "the works" to make clear that this is more than mere translation and communications. My companies provide a team of independent, informed professionals to handle client maintenance, client development, including paperwork such as demand letters, document handling, translations, chain of evidence. The team handles everything that comes up that we can facilitate between the family members, the local lawyers in Europe or South America, and the associated lawyers in the US. For example, in the Brazil case, our clients in Brazil could call a local Brazil number that contacted our Portuguese translation team in New York, 24/7. Since then, we have consulted in well over twenty-five big airline crash cases around the world such as Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518 (Venezuela), from Brazil, Venezuela, Pakistan, Africa, South Africa, to China, etc.) as well as many small crashes and helicopter cases. One reason we are successful is because foreign lawyers want to associate with the US lawyers we work with who are the real experts in the field, and have the real experience in dealing with the insurers. The attorneys here will do everything they can to prepare; their case preparation is exemplary. Between the quality of the demand package, and their vast experience in dealing with these companies, the client will have a better shot at maximizing the compensation they receive. The attorneys are prepared for trial, even though most will settle before they go to court or have a trial. And if it does end up going to court, it will be in the most appropriate venue. Wrongful Death Consultants has spawned Air Crash Consultants (the name is self explanatory), and Anonymous Experts, my database of experts including active and retired pilots who are available to the attorney handling the cases for analyzing, strategizing, and recreating accident scenarios.

In 1992, my first novel was published initially by Pretty Face Books then Ashley Books. The storytelling fictionalizes around twenty early years of my life I would like to forget. One Wilshire has eased out of print but not out of my consciousness. I used to say I have two more manuscripts in the vault, Pretty Face and Arabe, biding time for the perfect era to debut, but the number of unpublished manuscripts have grown and a couple of them are nearing completion, including one story that completely took me by surprise.

In spite of all the businesses I am involved in, I am personally available to clients. People matter. I am still not a lawyer but on top of the businesses, I consult in a variety of areas, including personal injury, wrongful death, business litigation, malpractice, product liability, aviation, pharmaceuticals, environmental and toxic waste.

In conclusion, (though I haven't come close to mentioning everything,) I have access to the world's top experts and deliver them to my clients. Where some people have an app for that, I have a company. With all this business experience under my belt, when my friends have with a problem that may jeopardize their endeavors, they call on me for damage control. If you're my client, I'll find you the top expert, the best possible deal to buy or lease, the perfect real property you've been dreaming of, due diligence to die for (just kidding) along with trusted experts. Look for me to visualize what's possible, then make it happen.

* I respect my client's confidentiality.