Get out of the closet and tell the world you're a life insurance agent!
June 29--If you recognize Richard Thompson, here's why: For nearly 20 years he was the South Sound Bureau Chief for KIRO-TV, covering news in Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties.
But after more than 20 years in the news business, including a stint as a segment producer for KIRO-TV and three years reporting for an ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas, Thompson decided to put down his microphone and reporter's notebook for a new career.
He's now a financial adviser for Edward Jones in Lacey after leaving the station in January.
It's an idea he had kicked around for a few years, periodically picking the brain of his niece's husband, Jon Emerson, who also happens to be a financial adviser with the same company.
After deciding that it was the kind of company he could work for and that it had a similar mission -- working with and educating people -- he made the switch.
But he didn't become a financial adviser overnight.
It involved a screening process, training and studying 10 to 12 hours a day so that he could pass two key tests: the Series 7 and Series 66 exams. The Series 7 test took six hours to complete, while the Series 66 test took three hours. Both are required to sell securities and to become an investment adviser.
He also had to get a Washington state license to sell insurance, one of the products that Edward Jones offers, Thompson said.
But the newsman in Thompson, 47, hasn't completely gone away. He remembers that time fondly and has even passed along a few story ideas to former colleagues.
"News is a brotherhood," he said. "I may have left, but I feel greatly for the people I worked with."
Thompson covered his share of big stories: Hurricane Katrina, the Thailand tsunami and the Fukushima, Japan, earthquake and tsunami. There was also the time he traveled with former Washington state Gov. Gary Locke to China, and he also once watched as a woman tried to single-handedly rescue salmon after the Skokomish River flooded in Mason County.
There were tough stories, too, such as when four members of the Lakewood Police Department were shot and killed at a coffee shop in Pierce County.
"That's a day I'll never forget," he said.
Being a newsman also meant a lot of time away from his family and his two sons. Regular hours, though, means he will no longer be awakened by a producer in the middle of the night, urging him to dash off and report on snow falling in Grays Harbor County.
But he'll still get to work with people and develop relationships.
"It's a different way to help people," he said.
Thompson currently is sharing office space with Edward Jones financial adviser Jon Emerson. He expects to get his own office in about 18 months.
Richard Thompson, Edward Jones financial adviser
Location: 4810 Yelm Highway SE, Suite C, Lacey.
Years in business: Thompson started at the end of May.
Online: Thompson's contact information can be found at edwardjones. com.
Advice to those changing careers: Do your homework, be patient and make sure it's something you really want to pursue.
Did you know? After interning and working as a segment producer for KIRO-TV, he ventured off to work as a reporter for three years at KAKE, an ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas. It was there he encountered his first tornado. His first reaction was to jump into his apartment bathtub and let it pass, but then his reporter instincts kicked in, Thompson deciding he needed to get to the station. But en route, baseball-size hail destroyed the windshield of his Chevy Blazer. It's no myth: Baseball-size hail does exist, he said.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 [email protected]
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