Howard Kossak, a friend and mentor of mine, passed away last week. He lost a long battle with cancer, one that he had beaten several times over the years.
I still remember the first time I reached out to Howard. I sent him an email one night in late 2001 while sitting in our Foxridge apartment / office. He emailed me back within minutes, which is always a good sign (I like working with people that are motivated, passionate about what they do, and organized, and I think that people who return emails quickly tend to have those characteristics). A couple of days later we met face to face to talk about our business plan, progress we were making, and to determine whether or not Howard would be able to help us raise money. After getting acquainted with one another, Howard gave me some great business advice. He told me that we weren’t ready to go out and raise money. We took his advice.
The next thing we did was come up with goals and we agreed to revisit the possibility of capital raising once we hit some of those goals. That was when I learned that Howard was a straight shooter and someone that I could trust. Over the next couple of years, Howard and I became good friends. He gave me tons of business advice. He definitely believed in me and he made me further believe in myself. He repeatedly told me that he thought I had the potential to be the best CEO in our region. Even if he was just pumping me up, it was nice to have an older, wiser, very experienced person instill that type of confidence in me. And sure enough, we went out and achieved our goals and milestones and shortly thereafter, we raised our money.
During that capital raising process, Howard helped me through some discouraging moments. Prospective investors would kick me down and Howard was always there to pick me right back up. When someone would reject us or display a level of arrogance, Howard would remind me that we don’t need them anyway or that “they’re just some pricks that could never run a business anyway.” He was definitely a guy that wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and if you know me, you know that I like and appreciate that.
Even though Howard was a tough, straightforward guy, he was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. I know that some people even defined him by the answer to the simple question, “How are you?” Howard’s response was always, “I’ve never been better a day in life.” I know of at least two people that say something similar as a result of Howard’s influence. I’m sure there are many more.
Howard was a great guy and I’m a better person because of him. More posts