When John (Jack) Barry ’62 retired after four years in the military and 35 years in the computer, software, networking and information industry, he had no real concept of what was ahead in retirement. After three months of taking it easy and trying to adjust to not leaving for work at 6:30 a.m. every morning, Barry knew that a passive retirement was not for him. Instead, he established the following objectives:
1. To have a flexible schedule with family time as a top priority
2. To stay involved and current in industry
3. To share his business expertise
4. To give back to the community and country
5. To help develop Christian business leaders
Once these objectives were firm in his mind, positive events began to happen. A chance encounter at a local Starbucks led to an invitation to be a guest instructor for corporate education courses. Since then, Barry has served as a full time instructor and even co-launched a Leadership Mastery Program for corporate education. In addition, he began his own executive consulting practice where he has served for the past 10 years. Along with these endeavors, Barry serves on director and advisory boards and is a frequent speaker at business forums and business society events.
In February, Barry visited Grove City College to spend two days interacting with students both in class and through a fireside chat where he imparted his vast professional and personal experiences. The visit was highlighted by his lecture as part of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s Visionary Entrepreneur Speaker Series titled Entrepreneurial Success: Navigating the Journey. In these ways, he stays current in the industry while offering his business expertise to his local community and to his Alma Mater.
In the nonprofit sector, Barry designed, created, and has served as the leader of an annual business plan contest hosted by a faith-based nonprofit organization and Houston Community College. The nonprofit and the college are dedicated to business development in an underprivileged area of Houston, Texas, and have created numerous jobs through the competition over the past six years. Additionally, Barry has volunteered at his church’s Career Transition Ministry for people have lost their jobs. He is grateful for these unique opportunities to develop future business leaders and give back to the local community.
While service and continued business world contributions have been important parts of his retirement, Barry still takes advantage of his flexible schedule to travel, pursue hobbies and spend time with his family. He and his wife, Judy, have traveled either abroad or domestically at least once per year in his retirement. Highlights from their travels include an Alaskan Cruise and a 46th wedding anniversary trip to Canary Island, Casablanca, and Spain. Barry also enjoys boating, fishing, hunting, and attending his eight grandchildren’s school and athletic events. The extended family often enjoys vacation together at the Barry’s beach house on the South Texas Coast.
Barry’s objectives for retirement guide the way he spends his time. He devotes his life to God, family and service in unique and significant ways. Barry explains the biggest lesson he’s learned in retirement in this way, “With God’s blessing, retirement is like the rest of life. It is what you make of it.”