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David Seuss spends his free time playing with swords and racecars. But for him, such pastimes are more than just child’s play.
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Now in his 60s, the chief executive officer of Northern Light a provider of research portals for large companies, is a champion fencer and racecar driver.
“As a kid, we play with swords and we play with cars,” Seuss told ITTechNewsDaily. “When I grew up, I never grew out of my toys.”
For the past eight years, Seuss has been training as a nationally competitive fencer, specializing in the saber, one of three weapons used in fencing that allows for scoring with the edge of the blade, as opposed to just the tip, and recently won the gold medal at this year’s U.S Summer Nationals competition.
“There is nothing more fun than hitting someone on the head with a sword,” Seuss said. “There is just this inherent male desire to pick up a sword and fight someone.”
Seuss’ win at the national competition earned him a spot on the 2011 U.S. World Team that competed in Croatia last month.
He said he initially was scared about squaring off against the best from around the world, but by the end of the tournament, his confidence was running high. He finished in third place.
“I felt like if I would have got in the gold medal match, I would have had a good chance at winning,” he said.
Seuss said he enjoys fencing as a way to get exercise, but said he also enjoys the mental challenges of needing to stay one step ahead of your opponent provides.
“It is hard to win on pure technique,” Seuss said. “You have to manage their psychology.”
And the way you succeed in fencing is very similar to the way you succeed in business, he said.
“The cooperation of a team is crucial in both,” Seuss said, pointing out he works with a host of others, including coaches and sparring partners, who help prepare him for his matches. “Certainly in business, everything is accomplished by a team of people.”
At Massachusetts-based Northern Light, Seuss and his team provide strategic research portals, business research content and search technology to global enterprises. Their services help combine businesses’ numerous market research reports into one sortable document.
“We aggregate that content and index it so employees can search it all at one time,” Seuss said.
Northern Light’s clients include Verizon, John Deere and Hewlett-Packard.
In addition to fencing, Seuss also spends his free time racing cars, which provides him with a similar thrill of competition.
“Everything I do has this element of measuring my success,” he said.
Having raced a host of cars, Seuss currently is taking his turns behind the wheel of a Porsche 911.
“It is about as good as life can get,” Seuss said of his time racing the Porsche around the track. “It is the sheer joy of speed.”
While dedicated to his job, Seuss believes it is critical to have outside interests that help you clear your mind.
“It is important to spend time away from work so you can approach work with a fresh and eager mind,” Seuss said. “Time away from the task energizes you for the task.”
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