This month’s edition of Lead + Follow — a Q&A section dedicated to further understanding the personal and professional mindsets of area business leaders — features Craig Dickens, who is the CEO of JD Merit & Co. as well as an entrepreneur, investment banker, certified M&A advisor, and an angel investor.

Dickens has started or acquired businesses from a variety of sectors, including specialty mail order, accounting, recycling, retail, medical, and many more. He and the rest of his team help entrepreneurs increase enterprise value, increase business growth, and profit optimization, culminating in a successful M&A event for owners.

Outside the office, Dickens and his wife, Caasi, live in Gig Harbor with their five children. He enjoys spending time with the family, coaching his children’s sports teams, golfing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. Additionally, he likes to read and participate in a variety of church and community events, and is a member of many for-profit and nonprofit boards.

Courtesy of Craig Dickens

Twenty years ago, I never knew

this leadership thing would be so hard.

What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

The Six Million Dollar Man

If you could stick to one age, what would it be, and why?

Now (56), because wisdom is hard-earned and should be appreciated. Live in the present!

What is your favorite website?

Mint — I know; I’m a geek!

How would you describe your look?

Casual, untucked, and comfortable … but decent shoes, of course What’s your favorite vacation spot? I like variety. I am still exploring the top spots.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Right here, right now

What is your email etiquette?

Respond in less than 24 hours.

What’s worth paying for?

Good shoes

Do you still write letters?

Notes, mostly. “No one reads anymore” is my excuse.

Wine or drink of choice?

Pinot

What’s your favorite children’s book?

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

What are you afraid of?

Taxation without representation

What causes are important to you?

Young Life and the nonprofit, charity: water

Music of choice?

Reggae and country — now there is a mix, eh?

What excites you most about our future?

The possibilities … There is no limit to what humans can accomplish. Not sure it has ever been so unlimited in history as it is now.

What is your mantra?

In God we trust; all others bring data.

Leadership style?

Empowering, yet expectant

Must-haves on road trip?

Phone charger and Cheetos

What, apart from time, would make the biggest difference to your life?

A jet or a genie

What apps do you use the most?

Noom and Podcast

What do you crave at the end of your day?

Quiet and calm

What song is currently in your head?

“Born Again” by Third Day

What is the most impressive dish you cook?

Pancakes on Sunday morning for my 7-year-old twins. It’s impressive to them. They claim I am the world’s best pancake chef, and I’ll take it.

What does success look like?

Free time and multiple choices in life — by anyone’s standard, we are blessed in the U.S.A.

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

Anything woodworking, making something beautiful out of wood.

What advice are you glad you ignored?

Keep the corporate job.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Savings give you freedom — save more and earlier.

What book would you recommend to everyone?

The Bible, of course, followed by Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

I am energized

by people.

What is your watch of choice?

My WHOOP fitness tracker, with an Android phone, is my timepiece of choice.

When self-doubt creeps in,

I ground myself and press on.