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1. What attracted you to the sport of skydiving?
SM: Honestly, a woman. I really did not want to get out of a plane unless it was on the ground and completely stopped, but…I did it because she kept asking me to go. Once I landed from that first tandem jump I was hooked. I ran in and paid for a second tandem which I did within an hour of my first jump. I was so excited that after my second tandem I went straight back in to talk to Bo and Alex about learning to skydive, and signed up for AFF then received my A-License within about a month. I have not seen or talked to the person responsible for getting me into skydiving for a long time, but skydiving remains true to my heart.
2. What influenced you to actually make the phone call to make your first skydive?
SM: That same person that talked me into it made the call…I would not have made it myself.
3. What’s the most memorable skydive you’ve ever been on?
SM: Having just completed my 300th skydive in just over two skydiving seasons it seems as though they are all fresh in my memory. I have done a lot of very fun and exciting jumps; wing-suit rodeo, sunset high pulls, many 4-way jumps, coach jumps, started video flying, and even had a cut-away. My favorite jump to date though was going on a friend’s 100th jump after teaching her AFF class, coaching her and, being on her first licensed jump. The joy that instructors feel when we are a part of a new skydiver’s excitement and progress is difficult to describe and I feel honored to have been a part of that.
4. Who / What inspires you?
SM: My mother, Merry, and her partner Thyra inspire me for sure. They are two of the most supportive and wonderful women I know and I do not know where I would be without them. Throughout my life they have always been there for me and been a positive influence on the choices I have made. They gave me a love and appreciation for art, music and people. They taught me to be accepting, loving, and forgiving of others regardless of their choices and experiences. No matter what I have chosen to do or be, there has always been love and support. It is with their encouragement that I have experienced so many of the exciting things that life has to offer.
5. Of the places you have visited – what is your favorite place and why?
SM: The Midwest. I came out here from Seattle, Washington for a short vacation in May 2003 and moved here two weeks later. The people here are hardworking, kind and generous. This is also a really beautiful place with four actual seasons. I really enjoy having a real summer and an actual winter, with snow! Wisconsin is now home and I do not think I will ever move away.
6. What other interests do you have outside of skydiving?
SM: I really like tattoos and getting tattooed, I bow hunt, fly fish, ice fish, mountain bike, and hike, but my family is my biggest interest. My wife Katie, my step-daughters Claire (8) and Genevieve (6), and my son Reif (11mo) are my life and I love every minute I have with them. Watching Reif become interested in the world is such a beautiful thing.
7. What is something about you that few people know about?
SM: The thing that most people would never guess about me, until I was in my mid-twenties I was incredibly shy and lacked any social confidence. I shied away from being the center of attention in public settings. I was not comfortable meeting new people and in new experiences. Then something happened, almost overnight. I gained a confidence in myself and became extremely comfortable with who I was. Because of this change I was almost instantly open to trying nearly anything and living like there is no tomorrow.
8. What’s on your bucket list?
SM: I don’t really have a “bucket list”. I get an idea that I’d like to do something and I go do it, I’m sort or impulsive that way. There are a few things that are in my sights…BASE Jump, SCUBA Dive, White-Water Rafting, and maybe para-gliding.
9. What do you do for work? If you could do anything as an occupation – what would it be?
SM: A job for me is just a job that allows me to take care of my family and do the things that I enjoy. I am a Buyer/Planner for a manufacturing company in the Madison area…definitely not a dream job but it pays pretty well. If I could do anything though, I would like to be a skydiving instructor/examiner. I am, with the help and guidance of Bo, currently working toward doing that part time and we will see where that takes me.
10. What are your future goals?
SM: Continue to live life like each day is my last and share that enthusiasm on to my children and anyone that I meet. Be a great husband and father.
Skydiving related goals: continue working on becoming a really great skydiver, make constant improvements to coaching, kick some butt with my 4-way team (System4tic Ch4os), AFF and Tandem Ratings in 2015, and continue working toward a Coach Examiner Rating.