Profit (yes, that’s his family name) runs Profit Investment Management, a boutique investment firm with a $1.8 billion portfolio and clients that include big corporate and public pension funds, foundations, and wealthy individuals.
Located near the Silver Spring Metro station, Profit Investment has 15 employees and grosses between $5 million and $10 million a year. Profit does most of the stock picking himself, and pays himself handsomely for it. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest he earns more than $1 million a year; he didn’t dispute that number when I asked him.
His employees do well, too. His five financial analysts earn $175,000 to $300,000 a year.
What I like about Profit is that he was willing to stretch beyond his surroundings, putting himself in uncomfortable situations in pursuit of success.
He didn’t know his father. His mother, now retired in Florida, was a surgical technician who took him out of the Los Angeles public schools and sent him to Junipero Serra High School, a Catholic school in Gardena, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb.
“Mom always stressed education as a way to do better,” said Profit, who grew up near one of the worst blocks in south-central Los Angeles, not far from the Los Angeles Forum, built by the late Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke.
He played football and basketball and ran track at Serra High; he was smart enough that Yale, Harvard and Stanford came calling.
He picked Yale after a visit that included a meeting with Calvin Hill, who had starred on the Yale track and football teams and later played for the Dallas Cowboys (not everyone makes smart decisions) and the Redskins.
“It took me a year to acclimate,” said Profit, who still holds Yale’s long-jump record. “It was a different culture. ”
He majored in economics because “it was the closest thing I could see to real world jobs . . . something tangible,” Profit said.
He was a graduating senior in 1986 but was passed over in the NFL draft. But at 2 a.m. the next day, the New England Patriots phoned his dorm and asked him to try out for the team.
He signed as a free agent for a $60,000 salary; his signing bonus was $4,500.
Profit, who played cornerback and on special teams, doesn’t regret pursuing an NFL career while his classmates headed toward big financial players such as Bain Capital, Morgan Stanley and Salomon Brothers.
“There’s a lot of panache affiliated with the league. I enjoyed it. I also knew that there was going to be life beyond football,” he said.
Profit rented an apartment in Walpole, Mass., bought a big television set and started working out with the team and watching game films. When he was bored, he read the federal tax code.