Patel sees strengths in community's diversity

Filed under: One on One |

* Name: Jay Patel

* Organization: Jayson, Inc.

* Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: I’ve lived here for 26 years. I came to Colorado Springs and decided to get into business for myself.

v Education: I studied accounting and I transferred to Indiana State University from overseas.

v A few words about your company: I own Jamboree Liquor, Conoco Snaxtop, and the Super 8 Motel Air Force Academy, near the United States Air Force Academy.

* Recent accomplishments: I graduated from Leadership Pikes Peak, class of 2004 and I am a 2004 graduate of the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute.

* Biggest career break: I was offered a partnership in 1983 to work with my in-laws. I worked with them for 18 years in the hotel business rather than continue work as a CPA.

* The toughest part of your job: It’s difficult at times to step back and see the “big picture.” What happens is that, as a small business owner, you come into work and you just get slaughtered, there is always something. It’s good to stay ahead of the game and it’s best not to get caught up in day to day things.

* Agency name: Youth Outreach Center Inc.

* Address: 1801 N. Union Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80909

* E-mail: thooper@scexpo.biz

* Web site: www.scexpo.biz

* Telephone number: (719) 633-9660

* Date established: May 22, 1996

* Mission statement: The Youth Outreach Center provides a safe, drug-free environment for our youth, promoting a positive alternative to drugs, gangs and violence in an atmosphere that increases spiritual, mental and physical well-being. All activities are designed to raise personal confidence, promote goal setting and increase self-esteem.

* Senior managers: Terry Hooper, president and founder

* Number of people served: 300,000

* Annual budget: $400,000

* Percentage of budget that is used for client services: 80 percent

* Scheduled fund-raising campaigns during the year: Four fundraisers are scheduled annually.

* Projected number of people needing services in the future: 400,000

* Long-term plans for the agency: Plans are being made for the expansion and relocation of the Southern Colorado Expo which supports the Youth Outreach Center. SCE has signed a letter of intent to purchase a 120-acre property in Fountain. The new facility will be designed to accommodate several events at once and the property will include an expo/exhibit hall, restaurant/banquet hall, and indoor arena and outdoor sports complex. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

* History of the agency: The Youth Outreach Center was founded by Terry Hooper in May of 1996. Groups that cannot afford a large facility for fundraising events, meetings and group activities are able to utilize the center to house these activities.

* Key personnel background: Hooper has eight years of experience managing the existing successful expo at its current location and 25 years as a successful professional, as well as the cumulative 125 years experience of his team of professionals.

* Something people should know about your agency: The Youth Outreach Center is currently providing support for the Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs, Youth Archery and the Ballet Folklorico, among others.

Someone you admire: I went to a Jesuit school in Zimbabwe and I had a lot of great coaches and teachers. It was just an extraordinary education, just unparalleled. I played hockey and cricket – hockey in the summer and hockey in the winter. I was also on the 1996 Olympic team for field hockey.

* About your family: I have a wife, Rita, and two children. My son, Jayesh, is 23 and he works for the family business. My daughter, Sonica, is 18 and she is a freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: I’d like to help bring all community groups together on common issues. In the leadership field we have many diverse groups out there. I am the co-chair of the Asian American leadership forum and I’ve been working with the El Pomar foundation for just over two-and-a-half years. We at the Emerging Leadership Development Program at El Pomar did a survey recently and the survey talked about issues such as education and transportation. We have a great need to improve our roads and bridges and because of TABOR it’s a hard sell. One of the issues relevant to ethnic communities is social justice.

* How your business will change in the next decade: I think there will be more competition and we’ll become more involved in direct advertising. If I’m at my liquor store I can’t just open the door and expect traffic. One of my goals is to get the word out and get more people to shop with us.

* What book are you currently reading? I am rereading the complete volumes of Sherlock Holmes. I read a lot, I’m a voracious reader and I read everything. Reading kind of takes you to a different place. I love the atmosphere and descriptions in Sherlock Holmes. It’s a nice way to escape from day to day routines.

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I encourage people to embrace and celebrate diversity. I think that since I’ve lived here for so long I guess the perception out there is that we’re a very conservative community and we’re slow to change. The population is diverse and we should celebrate that. Our world is becoming smaller and we’re noticing that within our city. You live next to each other, you do business together, why not learn more about each other’s cultures?