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Learning from the man of morals

Pre-Collegiate Mentors
Christian Ayala
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Herb Feinzig
ALL |

Herb Feinzig was raised on education, taught by business, and sees only what is inside of a person. Feinzig also follows old-school beliefs in paying back what has been conceded to him, so he believes that it is an obligation to pay back the community of education because he has been granted so much from it. His beliefs have stood the test of time as he mentors for the seniors in the Pre-Collegiate Program at Roaring Fork High School.

He brings with him, everywhere he goes, a business-like persona that he gained over years of dealing with companies such as General Electric and Smith Kline. Smith Kline is a global organization aimed at providing global healthcare with products of value while simplifying the operating model.

However, most of his ideas were instilled in him from a young age. He grew up in a modest, diverse Brooklyn neighborhood, which he describes as a big, small town. “The goal was that your children would have a better life than yours,” Feinzig said concerning his household’s definition of the American dream. “He has a very interesting background and he has accomplished a lot, and it motivates us to be involved,” Roaring Fork senior and Pre-Collegiate member Maria Flores said.



Some men live their lives following a path, others looking for one; Feinzig made his own path, while at the same time always following his core ideas. He grew up under two immigrant parents, and realized to never look at someone from the outside. But instead he realized that the only difference between people is what is buried beneath one’s exterior. He also realized the importance of opportunities. “The streets really are paved with gold, not literally but the pavement is opportunity,” Feinzig said.

At the age of 3 Feinzig witnessed something that, to this day, affects his outlook on life. It was at the beginning of World War II when all the Japanese citizens in his neighborhood were gathered together, deposited onto a bus, then taken to an internment camp. It was the actions that these people did that left Feinzig contemplating. They had thrown all their money out the windows as if they had simply given up. At that point Feinzig realized that he must never give up.



Upon graduating high school, Feinzig attended Brooklyn College of the City, at the University of New York, and received much financial support from the college. College in his family was the only option. “From the day I was born I was expected to go to college.” Feinzig graduated with a degree in psychology and economics, and then went on to obtain an MBA from Temple University.

However, before he obtained his MBA he served three years in the Air Force from 1962-65. During this time period, he operated a nuclear missile station overseeing 50 Minuteman missiles. The ideas and work ethic he acquired from this experience were invaluable to his future success. “I have learned how to get people to focus on a particular mission without creating problems.” He later applied these traits to his business career.

Feinzig described his military service as “a strong feeling of obligation to this country … a sense that everyone had to serve.”

“The difference between a mentor and a parent is that a parent has unconditional love for their kids and will let things slide. Mentors don’t have unconditional love for their kids and can come down on them when needed,” Feinzig said about mentoring. He enjoys working with the young people of the Pre-Collegiate Program and runs his meetings with professionalism, while at the same time being there for his students. “Feinzig really knows how to motivate us, he uses the right words and examples to really speak his mind and shows us how to do the things we need to do,” Flores said.

Feinzig conducts meetings with his students once a month and constantly makes sure all information is ascertained as directly as possible. “He always knows what to say when you need help, and makes sure you’re in line with the whole college thing. He’s just on top of it,” Roaring Fork senior and Pre-Collegiate member Brian Salinas said.


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