WE ARE CLOSING UP SHOP, FOLKS. This is the 44th and last Dave's Desk column I will write, ending one of the more unique offerings in the history of financial journalism (OK, I'm getting carried away). But this magazine is ending its amazing run (since 1939) and I am going off into the sunset (more like the library).
I will definitely miss having monthly quality time with Dave Stevens, as he is a hot media property (as you must know if you watch CNBC). But Keitha Bell has been kind enough to squeeze me in every month since January 2013. (Thanks, Keitha!)
When I asked the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA's) chief executive officer what he would miss the least about the 30 minutes he gives me every month, he was very polite--so I had to put words in his mouth. I offered: not having to answer inane sports questions (about baseball, mostly) in the middle of eating your lunch because that was the only spot left in your schedule. He agreed that was fair. (He does, however, enjoy the topic of skiing--so if you need to ask a sports question, go there.)
The other thing he said he won't miss is not knowing what I am going to ask about. It's true--my questions tend to go all over the place. And apparently his crack media relations team gives him the heads-up before every other interview.
So on that note, as I sat down with him for the last time, I proceeded with my prepared questions that were even more all over the board than usual. For this last time at the desk, my goal was to capture a slightly fuller sense of the man (or at least try). What makes him tick? (At least that was the organizing principle I told myself we were working with this time around.)
There was added significance to this interview for another reason. Right now he is facing a unique challenge. In August, he was diagnosed with a serious but treatable form of cancer. He will be undergoing chemotherapy in the next few months, and by MBA Annual Convention you might notice a change in his appearance. But he wants people to know that despite the aggressive treatment schedule, he is fully engaged in all facets of his job as chief executive officer of MBA.
Stevens also wants MBA members and attendees at the annual convention to know they can ask him about how he's doing--and not treat his illness like it's some hush-hush topic.
He wants convention-goers to feel free to ask him these other questions as well: 1) Are you going to work for the Clinton administration? 2) How are...