Gary Byrne '64

Portrait of Gary Byrne

Gary Byrne '64

One morning while riding his bike along Huntington Beach with fellow alumnus Richard McKenzie, Gary Byrne spotted a homeless person who was simultaneously smoking a cigarette and panhandling. Curious, Gary turned to Richard and asked, “What do you suppose the Capital Value of smoking cigarettes might be?”

It is this type of intellectual insight that inspired Gary to write the book “Seven Paths to Poverty.” It is also what fuels Gary’s passion for helping people to understand the concepts of living consciously and comprehending the benefits of compound interest.

Redlands prepared me for success – I knew I could try anything

When Gary Byrne reflects on his time at Redlands, he remarks that “it was Redlands that prepared me for the opportunities that were still ahead of me. I didn’t know it at the time, but I gained a competitive edge and a perspective that gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in life.”

Early in his career, Gary identified that the world was full of options. His inquisitive nature and sense of adventure, led him to the University of Bonn in Germany for grad school, and then back to the United States where he obtained his PhD at Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

Gary’s first job was as a professor at San Diego State University, where he taught Human Behavior and Social Psychology and their influence on American Government. Tenured at 30 years old, he realized that there was still an internal drive to experience “more.”

His incredible journey continued in Washington D.C., where Gary became a Foreign Service Officer in German Affairs. He was responsible for writing several internationally-focused speeches for President Lyndon B. Johnson. He then he became a consultant; first joining Arthur Young Accounting Firm (later, Ernst & Young and then establishing with a partner, Miller & Byrne, their own consultancy firm, which took him to Sacramento where he became an expert in advising a few prominent home builders.

In the late 70’s, Gary’s analysis led him to the conclude that a major downturn in the housing market was on the horizon. He consulted with a few of his UofR classmates and colleagues and within two weeks, they raised enough money to purchase a small bank in San Francisco.

After a few mergers and acquisitions, the bank was sold to First Interstate (now Wells Fargo,) which freed Gary to return to Washington D.C. to join the Bush Administration where he held was a Rural Electrification Officer, was appointed to the Farm Credit Association Agency and the Federal Home Loan Bank Division.

Seven Paths to Poverty – the message

With a lifetime of experiences in the financial world, consulting and analyzing, Gary is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with students and young adults and hopes to impress upon them, the idea that “each American has the potential of becoming a millionaire,” and that “we all have the ability to choose what we do with our money.” Gary added, “For the person who goes to college and sincerely tries to ‘do things the right way’ –the possibilities are endless.” His book Seven Paths is focused on sharing the concept that making small changes today can result in a big impact on your financial future.

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