I was born in Tampa, Florida in 1953. An Air Force brat, I was priviledged to spend my young years in Florida, Colorado, Izmir Turkey, and Texas. The middle child of 5; my oldest sibling was 10 years my senior with my youngest brother being 10 years my junior.
My grand-father was Nunzio A. Previtera, born circa 1881 in Cantania, Sicily. He proudly immigrated through Ellis Island in 1905. My grand-mother was Alicia Alonso. She was born in Castille, Spain, raised in Cuba, and immigrated to Tampa Florida near the turn of the century. My Dad, Salvatore “Tony” Previtera named me after my grand-father, in the Sicilian tradition. As a teen ager, Tony wandered across the United States during the Great Depression. He joined the Army Air Corps and served our country as a War Time photographer during WWII. His distinguished military career culminated when he came back to Texas after serving our country in Vietnam in the early 1970’s. A humble man, he remains the man I have the most admiration for.
My elementary school years were spent in Aurora, Colorado and Izmir Turkey. My family lived off base during the mid 1960’s. Imagine going to school to learn about Alexander the Great and then walking a few blocks from school and being in front of a castle built by his army! Many life lessons were learned during my pre-teen years in Turkey. The most important one was that a person will be treated in the same manner that they treat others. We overcame language and culteral barriers to make many friends in those years. My family lived in an apartment across the bay that borders Izmir. One early morning, we awoke to anti-America rioting in the streets. Looking from our 3rd story balcony, we saw hundreds of armed protesters lining the 15 foot wide sidewalk along the bay in front of our complex. Unlike the recent episode that our 3 American sailors experienced in Turkey, nothing ever happened to us. Why not? Because, as we looked down at the entrance to our complex, we saw dozens of armed Turkish men standing guard. They were all our friends living in the neigborhood.
I am a Randolph Ro-Hawk. Randolph is the small high school on Randolph Air Force Base. Most of our parents were active military; constantly moving around the world. Ro-Hawks are used to constantly changing friendships. Your best friend is there one day, and shipped out with their parents the next. Many times, you meet up again at another location. In the world of a military brat, skin color means nothing. Friendships are forged on personality. There were very few bullys among military families. They simply were not tolerated by our parents.
My college years were spent at East Texas State University in Commerce, TX. It is now known as Texas A&M, Commerce. Sorry Aggies, but I will always be a Lion. I studied photography at first, like my father, with the intention of getting a Business degree and a photo journalism degree. I soon found a love of Finance and graduated in 4 years (I know, unheard of today) with a BBA degree in Finance. Unlike other BBA’s, the Finance degree is so intense that no minor is pursued. Photography remains an active hobby. I am proud of the fact that I graduated with no debt. I held down as many as 3 jobs some of those years to make ends meet.
Soon after college, I met the love of my life, Penny. We became an instant family, as I adopted her 6 year old son Mike shortly after our marriage. There has never been a single day that I did not consider Mike to be my son. In those early years, he was constantly riding on my shoulders every where we went. Our daughter Jennifer was born a few short years later. By then, Mike was a bit big for the shoulder rides, so Jennifer took over. Years later, our grandson Anthony ascended to that throne. Seems like I have had one child or another riding my shoulders all my adult life.
My business career was forged early as a Branch Manager for Borg-Warner Acceptance Corporation, a floor planning finance company. I learned early how to budget a small branch and how to manage employees. I then spent 13 years with Sysco Food Services here in San Antonio. Much of that time was spent as a Commercial Credit Manager. As I moved up into middle management, I had responsibility for HR, IT, and the Credit Department.
I resigned from Sysco in 1993 to join my wife Penny in the insurance field. She started her own independent insurance agency in 1991. We renamed our agency Integrity Insurance in 2001. We currently employ a staff of 15 professionals, and market our products in Commercial insurance, Personal insurance, and Employee benefits. Many of our clients have allowed us to serve them over 20 years.