I still have the certificate for the first stock I ever owned. Several family members, including my parents, grandmother and a favorite aunt and uncle, all pitched in to buy a stock I kept talking about for my sixteenth birthday. And it is the real deal, beautifully engraved in a burnt gold ink on light tan paper. They even punched holes in a little bar graph to denote the number of shares (LESS THAN 100 SHARES, it says in several places).

Marinduque Mining & Industrial Corporation (Incorporated under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines) was a copper mining outfit that had been around since 1949. 18-shares of Class “B” Stock purchased on August 25, 1975, and it says, typed on a real typewriter right on the certificate, CHRISTOPHER C-KARCHER UNIF GIFT MIN ACT TEX. Memory seems to recall a value of around $100. I had the CUSIP checked a decade ago, and its now worthless as an investment.

So my interest in the stock market and investing goes back a long way. I dabbled in college, but without sufficient funds, it didn’t amount to much. Beginning in the early 1980’s when I finally found myself gainfully employed, my investing career began in earnest. I took over management of a trust for my brother around 1991, and started overseeing a second family account in 1999. Now I manage a couple of personal accounts, college funds for the kids as well as the two trusts.

All this is important, to my mind, for a couple of reasons. First, my thoughts are not idle speculation. There’s real money being invested on the ideas being shared at Invest-notes. Second, while making no pretense to being a professional, I have completed the course work for becoming a Certified Financial Planner, but never took the final exam. Which leads to the final point, as much as I enjoy reading, studying and learning about investing, the idea of managing “Other People’s Money” had never been a goal. My suspicion is that being responsible for OPM would likely take the fun out of the game

This means you’re free to take what you’d like, but don’t expect any sympathy from me if things don’t work out – I’ll have my own problems to deal with. Just the same, for those interested in high finance, international business and big money, there’s no greater way for us little guys to participate than through becoming thoughtful investors to the extent our means allow. As my friend Matt Mohr told me long ago, “…the harder I work, the luckier I get.” Here’s hoping our work is fun and pays dividends we can actually spend.

Now, on to the boring stuff:

Chris Karcher

Opportunity analyst, marketing professional and educator with experience in corporate, agency and academic environments

Vice President of Consumer Strategy

TVAHealth, LLC, 2011 to present

Reporting to the CEO, responsible for business strategy development, new product development and all marketing efforts of a company focused on new and innovative health care products, programs and services for hospital systems and physician’s groups

Vice President of Marketing

Vanguard Health Systems, d/b/a Tenzing Health, 2010 to 2011

Reporting to the CEO, responsible for new product development and all marketing efforts of an internal health services division

Business strategy development and new product development

Oversight of call center and operator training

Development of interactive web presence including local health resource guides for multiple markets, weekly healthy living tips email campaigns and interactive social media including chat rooms and live chat capabilities

Associate General Manager KRTU 91.7 fm

Trinity University, 2009 to 2010

Reporting to the Chairman of the Department of Communication at Trinity University, responsible for business planning, revenue generation and community outreach for a non-profit jazz radio station

Created new programs and events that included lectures, concerts series and member benefit programs

Developed and managed relationships with over 20 non-profit arts organizations

Communication Department

Instructor for Comm 1170-1: Media Management

Vice President of Consumer Strategy

Member of Executive Steering Committee

Gunn GP LLC, 1997 to 2008

Reporting to the Chairman of the Board, responsible for all marketing and advertising activities, all Internet initiatives as well as management of training department and company call center for one of the largest privately held automotive retailers in the United States

Reduced annual marketing expenses by over 60% during the same period that saw market share double

Responsible for the creation of a call center (initially for customer follow-up) that later produced over $1M annually in incremental service revenue

Responsible for the creation of an award winning Internet presence

Negotiation and management of celebrity spokesmen (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Ram Herrera) and strategic alliances (Sea World of Texas)

Hired as Director of Marketing in 1997, promoted to Vice President in 1998, became member of the executive steering committee in 1999

Marketing Concepts Manager

Clarke American, 1995 to 1997

Reporting to Vice President of Marketing, accountable for management of departmental budget, development of kiosk and Internet applications and presentation of technology strategy for a major printing company providing financial documents and services to banks, credit unions and other financial institutions

Hired as Computer Graphics Specialist in 1995, promoted to Manager in 1996

Art Teacher

Judson Montessori School, 1991 to 1994

Reporting to Head of School, created and implemented a curriculum for upper elementary and middle-school students for the study of art history as well as providing instruction in drawing, painting, printmaking and computer design

Instructor of summer, weekend and evening enrichment classes in art, art history and archaeology for both children and adults at Judson Montessori and The San Antonio Academy

Staff Artist

South Texas Epigraphic Mission to Karnak, 1990 to 1995

Epigrapher for a long-term project to document the Ancient Egyptian edifice of Amenhotep II at Karnak in Luxor, Egypt

Vice President

Karcher & Associates, 1983 to 1990

Advertising agency principal

Account management for automotive, financial institution and food service clients

Hired as production artist in 1983, promoted to Senior Art Director in 1984, promoted to Account Executive in 1986, promoted to Vice President in 1989

Community Affairs

American Research Center in Egypt (non-profit providing support to U.S. archaeological expeditions in the Middle East), board member since 2006

Bledsoe Foundation (foundation providing funding for disability-focused non-profits), board member since 2005

Witte Museum (museum of natural history), board member 2008 to 2010

Mentor at NEISD Business Careers High School 2005 to 2008

Say Si! (non-profit serving inner-city youth), board member 2005 to 2007

Mission Road Ministries (non-profit serving persons with developmental disabilities), board member from 1997 to 2006 – chairman of the board from 2003 to 2005

San Antonio Advertising Agency Association, member from 1987 to 1989 – chairman of the association in 1989

Judson Montessori School, board member from 1985 to 1989 – treasurer from 1987 to 1989

San Antonio Advertising Federation, member from 1985 to 1988

North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, member from 1986 to 1987, served on Public Arts and Education committees

Business Interests

Tambopata Partners, business investment partnership – formed 2004

CT Rubicon, real estate investment partnership – formed 2000

Edfu2 Industries, graphic design company – formed 1992, closed in 1995

Executive Eco-Systems, commercial aquarium leasing company – formed 1984, sold to Houston-based competitor in 1986

Published Works


Blog about investing and business

Masters of the Sword and Their Books, 2010


Non-fiction book about the earliest printed works on swordplay, 1516 to 1799

Lifting Heaven, the Twilight of the Gods in Ancient Egypt, 2005

Historical murder mystery set in Ptolemaic Egypt


The Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt

Swordmaster, publication of The U.S. Fencing Coaches Association

San Antonio Business Journal, weekly business newspaper

Varia Aegyptiaca, scholarly journal on Ancient Egypt

Archaeology, popular magazine on ancient history

Artpolice, avant-garde arts magazine


Competitive and historical fencer since 2000

Happily married since 1986 and proud father of two kids

BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1983

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *