TNH: Briefly tell us who you are and what you do.
BB: My name is Bill Belchou and I*#8217;m a technology consultant who started my company Phalanx Systems in 1994 after leaving the corporate world, because the Greek spirit of independence caused me to do that. [The company*#8217;s name] comes from a military formation used by Alexander and his father in ancient times. I am also a part-time economist and historian.
I am the father of two and I*#8217;ve lived live in Westchester County pretty much all my life. I am the son of a Greek American father born in 1928 and mother who came here from Greece in 1962, and both sides of the family hail from Macedonia, Greece; Florina and Naoussa respectively.
TNH: Has your life path been influenced by your Ancient and/or Modern Greek heritage?
BB: One of my role models is Alexander the Great, and that*#8217;s mostly because of his business approach. If you look at how Alexander treated his men, the way Alexander formed alliances and what he*#8217;s done in his short life you get an idea of how to run a business successfully: take care of your employees, and in turn they show fierce loyalty, and this helps your business out in the end. Basically, all the lessons I picked up from reading about his life and adventures, helped me to develop practical business skills.
In terms of my personal life, I really try to live a simple life, like our ancient ancestors used to preach about. Living a simple life is really rewarding. When you appreciate the really simple things in life, you don*#8217;t really have to acquire much wealth or many possessions to be happy; so I look to our ancient ancestors for a lot of guidance and wisdom.
In terms of my Modern Greek heritage, growing up Greek American has taught me the value and importance of a strong family unit and a strong community to be a part of.
TNH: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
BB: Being a hands-on father of two children and running a business at the same time has been my greatest achievement; still being able to eat breakfast and dinner with my children and spending a lot of quality time with them on the weekends, also raising aware and responsible children who will hopefully help mankind in the future somehow. I always consider business achievements to be secondary because raising children properly is the hardest job anyone can have.
TNH: What*#8217;s the greatest lesson youve ever learned?
BB: There are so many lessons in life that are so valuable; it*#8217;s very hard to prioritize all of them. Things like honesty, integrity, social and environmental responsibility, are of the greatest values I*#8217;ve gained due to the personal lessons I*#8217;ve learned over the years.
TNH: Do you have a role model?
BB: A more modern role models for me is someone like President Eisenhower, who had a very humble beginning and with hard work and a good value system, became a general and president of the world*#8217;s most powerful country. He was a great man.
TNH: What is your ultimate goal in life?
BB: Getting back to the simplicity theme, to live a simple, happy life but to also be able to help my fellow man out somehow in small or large ways. Eventually, I plan on changing careers in my mid-life and will start an alternative healing practice; another way to help out people.
TNH: If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?
BB: I*#8217;m perfect, I can*#8217;t think of anything. (Just joking!) If I can change something I would have married my wife the first week I met her instead of waiting [a couple] years. I would have possibly lived in Greece (more specifically, in Thessaloniki to be closer to my family which lives outside of Naoussa and Veria) a few years before starting my business.
TNH: What*#8217;s your most enjoyable pastime?
BB: I enjoy hiking, biking and reading. I am a shooter as well- hopefully trying to get good enough to join the Olympic team in the future.
TNH: Who is your favorite philosopher?
Epictetus*nbsp; My favorites of his sayings are: *#8220;He is a wise man who does not grieve for the
things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has,*#8221; and, *#8220;the essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness*nbsp; shall depend as little as possible on external things.*#8221; Philosophy, he taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and
are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and
dispassionately. Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions
which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.
Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from
neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is
the universe, human beings have a duty of care for all fellow humans. The
person who followed these precepts would achieve happiness.
TNH: What other words of wisdom would you like to share?
BB: People who know me know I have a lot of words. To make it short, live by the golden rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you.