Title: co-founder and general manager of Reservoir Distillery, a whiskey maker based in Scott’s Addition

Born: 1972 in Richmond

Education: bachelor’s in electrical engineering and minor in chemistry, Virginia Tech, 1994; master’s in electrical engineering, Columbia University, 2000

Career: Naval Research Laboratory, Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, 1995-2001; portfolio manager for West Side Advisors, 2002-08; bond trader for various firms, 2009-14; Reservoir Distillery, co-owner and general manager, 2008-present

In which part of the metro area do you live: Fan District

Best business decision: “Becoming my own boss where the accountability is personal and other people can’t overrule you.”

Worst business decision: “Second-guessing myself and letting something out that was not wholly up to par. We had a minor breakdown in quality control and a batch got out that had this note in it that a portion of the population can pick up. You either love it or hate it. We caught it after it went out and tried to pull back as much as we could. When people turned up that were displeased, we worked with them to make them happy. Obviously, we improved quality control, but we were able to engage with a lot of people that may have just turned away from us.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “Trusting counterparties during the 2007 and 2008 financial crisis while trading bonds at a hedge fund in New York. People you thought were your friends really were not. However, the people that were there for you, I can trust for a lifetime.”

What is the biggest challenge/opportunity for you in the next two to five years: “Our number one problem is that craft is becoming synonymous with overpriced and not very good because of the proliferation of sourced whiskies that are really all the same or blended with cheap whiskey, and then the consumer is charged a craft price believing it not to be sourced. We have never sourced, and every drop of whiskey we have sold was 100 percent made right here in Richmond, Virginia, to the highest quality standards.”

First job after college: “Electrical engineer for the Naval Research Lab. I was working on multiple projects for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and running a lab where we built prototypes of equipment.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “Start making whiskey right away.”

Book that inspired you the most: “Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk,” by Peter Bernstein. “It is a fantastic work on risk and how it has shaped mankind, explained in a way that you don’t need a degree in advanced mathematics to understand. It applies to everyday life and especially to running a business.”

Favorite/least favorite subject in school: “Favorite subject is math and science. Worst class: It was a graduate-level physical chemistry class at Virginia Tech. I was in way over my head, busted my hump studying for the first exam and got a zero.”

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