1. I’ve lived in Ballston Spa since 1997 with Debbie, my wife of 32 years, and together we raised our daughter Jenna (27) and son Will (24). I was born in Elyria, OH and lived there until I was 5; we then moved to Rockford, IL and lived there until I was 12. We then moved to New Hartford, NY where I graduated high school. No, we weren’t in the witness protection program. My father was an executive at several industrial instrumentation companies and in order to move up in the organization we needed to relocate. It was hard socially to move around but I did get to experience several other parts of the country. Also, while living in Illinois, I became an avid Chicago Cubs and Bears fan. Those affiliations have helped me better deal with disappointment. Except, of course, for the 1995 Bears and 2016 Cubs.

2. A lot of you probably know this but I am an avid fly fisherman. I also tie the majority of my own flies. There’s something special about tying together some feathers with some other materials on a Thursday and using the fly to catch a fish on Saturday. It’s even more rewarding when I give one of my flies to someone and they catch a fish on it. I only use barbless hooks and exclusively practice catch-and-release. One of my favorite fishing spots is on the Swift River in Massachusetts. I drive two and a half hours to let fish go. I recently traveled to northwestern Montana for a fishing trip. For that one, I traveled 3,000 miles to catch and release fish. 

3. I truly enjoy home improvement projects. My wife and I have renovated the vast majority of our home. My first project was putting up a shelf in our first home. I was so proud of my accomplishment. However, when my wife looked at it, she asked if it was level. I assured her it was and that I had measured twice. To prove my point, I put a pencil on the shelf. Yes, it rolled right off the shelf and I worked on my measuring skills. My skills have improved and expanded and my last large project was converting a sliding door into a large window and converting a window into a door. Yes, everything is level. 

4. I love going to concerts and have lost count of the number I’ve seen. My first concert was the Doobie Brothers in 1976 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The band I’ve seen most often is the Rolling Stones (7 times). My favorite concert is a tie between Paul McCartney at the Times Union Center and the Foo Fighters at Madison Square Garden. There is just something special about watching a band get on stage and perform live. I truly appreciate the imperfections and improvisations you witness during live performances. 

5. Pets have always been an important part of my life. We always had dogs growing up. Candidly, I wasn’t a cat person until I met my wife. She had a cat when we met and I realized what great pets they are. My goal in life is to be the man my pets think I am. My family has always had rescue pets. They tend to come with some issues but it is wonderful to give them a second (or third) chance at a family. My only problem is that each time they pass, it leaves a huge hole in my heart. When our last pet passed away, I put my foot down and said we couldn’t have any more pets. I was just having trouble overcoming the loss. Well, we currently have two dogs and a cat. You can clearly see how much influence I have in the family. Also, I couldn’t be happier that my advice wasn’t followed. 

6. Siena used to have an exchange program with Ukraine. I participated my first year at Siena, and Rick Proctor and I went in January 1997. It was shortly after the breakup of the former Soviet Union and we taught courses in micro and macroeconomics. It was a wonderful experience but we did have a little trouble entering Ukraine. We had no problem flying into or leaving Hungary, but when we tried to enter Ukraine, we were told there was a problem with our passports and they were confiscated. After a few minutes (which seemed like hours) the officials returned and again told us there was a problem. I asked what the problem was and they indicated that the problem could be taken care of for $5. They would have probably taken $3 but I didn’t think it was the right time to negotiate. We paid the money and the problem went away. 

7. I always believe it is important to know your strengths as well as your weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is my inability to carry a tune. I was first asked to sing quieter in my youth choir and then was told it might be best to serve the church in ways other than singing. Another time, I was driving my sweet, dear 18-month-old daughter. She was in the back of my car and I always like to play music while driving. I didn’t think it was appropriate to play Pearl Jam so I put in a Winnie the Pooh CD. As I was singing along my lovely 18-month-old daughter announced from the back seat that “Pooh’s all done Daddy, Pooh all done.” I told the story to a friend of mine who was very active in performing and recording music. He asked me if I wanted to be on the CD he was recording. I told him that I would love to but wanted to know what I would play. He told me I could be on the triangle. Of course, I agreed. However, it took multiple takes to get my triangle hits correct. Obviously, rhythm is another weakness. Anyway, when the CD came out, it listed a special musical guest: Chuck “Pooh” Seifert. 

8. At the Seifert household we take our Easter egg hunts very seriously. When my kids were small, we would have less challenging hunts but there would always be one egg that was hard to find. As they got older, the hunts became increasingly more challenging. The hunt is inside and in one part of our house. Tools are usually required. Some of my favorite hiding spots include inside our gas fireplace, taped under a credenza, in the toilet tank (in a Ziploc bag) and in a cut-out section of a book on the shelf. However, my favorite was inside a heating vent under a cabinet. Unfortunately, when it was found, my son pulled the vent out and the egg rolled down into the duct work. Lesson learned. 

9. I am a first-generation college student. I am the youngest of three children (two older sisters) and both of them received college degrees. Candidly, I wasn’t sure I was going to attend college when I was in high school. In fact, my guidance counselor indicated that I had a snowball’s chance in August of getting into college. Luckily, I didn’t heed his advice, took the SAT and applied to a few places. I took my acceptance letter from the University at Buffalo to my guidance counselor and tossed it on his desk. He then read the letter and said; “If I would have known that, I would have sent more applications there.” I would like to see that man (yes, I remember his name) today. I also feel for all the people who followed his advice.

10. Before children, my wife and I used to do quite a bit of snowmobiling up on the Tug Hill Plateau. Debbie’s cousin used to race for Artic Cat and would always provide us with great sleds. On one of our trips, we were going between two lakes and the sled I was driving (with my wife on the back) began to slow down. Then the rear of the sled started going down and eventually broke through the ice. Luckily, we were in a shallow channel and when we went through the ice, we were able to easily get out of the water. Unfortunately, we were very wet and it was very cold. Deb’s cousin came back to get us (he was a little disappointed that the majority of his sled was under water) and brought us to a bar to warm up. The next weekend we went back up to retrieve the sled. We pulled it out and got it to shore. Pulled the plugs, sprayed in some engine starter, pulled the cord and she fired up. The sled was called the Calypso and they referred to me as Jacques Cousteau.