Treasure House’s “Key” People: Rock Rickert

As Treasure House grows and gets closer to becoming a reality, we want to take time to highlight the people behind the movement.  Each month, we will feature a community member that is giving of his/her time and treasures to build the first residence for young adults with intellectual disabilities in the Valley.

September’s “Key” Person


Rock Rickert

Title, Company or current Role in Life?

Director, Business Development, Archicon Architecture and Interiors

Are you a native Arizonian?

No. I’m a Cheesehead. Born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, although I’ve lived in Arizona for over 20 years.

Who is a public figure that has influenced your life, and how?

Bart Starr, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. I first met Bart when I was 8 years old when he and his family lived in our neighborhood in Green Bay. At that time, he was playing for the Packers, but as a family man, still had time to play football with his sons and the other kids in the neighborhood. Imagine having him as all-time quarterback for your team at that age! I watched him move from championship player to assistant coach to head coach, always with a decency and integrity that set an example for everyone he encountered. Years later, we did business together when he was chairman of a healthcare-focused real estate development and investment company and I was working with a similarly focused architecture and engineering firm here in Phoenix. We had many conversations over the years during which he imparted valuable life lessons from the perspective of a professional athlete, a successful businessman, and a father. Who could ask for anymore from a childhood hero, mentor, and friend?

Have you thought about learning something new, or taking lessons, and why?

I find myself intrigued by the health and wellness benefits of practicing yoga, although finding time for it in my current schedule has proved challenging. Perhaps when I finally decide to give up playing “old guy” soccer, I’ll be able to turn to yoga as a replacement physical outlet.

What are a couple things on your bucket list, still to do?

Skydive, travel to Australia, and be the lead singer in a band. Unfortunately, Wendy won’t even let me get on the roof to do Christmas lights these days, much less jump out of a perfectly good airplane, my passport is expired, and our daughter Kate takes up all my singing time with karaoke outings in Fountain Hills.

What is your most favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?

Watch the Green Bay Packers during football season and hang out with my wife Wendy and our dogs and cats.

What daily or weekly activity is non-negotiable?

I try to start each day with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Having been a reporter early in my career, I still value objective reporting, where, as Sergeant Joe Friday used to say, you can read about “Just the facts, Ma’am.”

What was your first job as a young adult?  Do you remember how you got that job?

I taught Freshman Composition (English 101 and 102) at the University of Arizona in the early 1980s. It was part of the graduate student financial aid package I was offered as an enticement to enroll in the Masters of Literature program there.

What advice do you have for a younger you?

Spend more time with your children when they’re young rather than always opting for the demands of your profession. You can almost always negotiate extensions of a project deadline, but you can never get back their youth and your opportunities to play with and influence them.

What/Who attracted you to get involved with Treasure House? 

Learning of Don and Kim Cardon’s involvement was the most direct attraction. Wendy and I met them through the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) when Don was leading the Arizona Commerce Authority and I was the board chair for AAED. We soon discovered that we each had daughters experiencing IDD challenges and, as Kate is a bit older than Emily, we shared our experiences with them.

Why are you supporting Treasure House?

As nearly everyone involved with Treasure House can attest, young adults with IDD have few options in front of them as they progress out of school. Treasure House will provide the opportunity for these members of our community to make meaningful contributions and achieve a level of independence they would not otherwise be able to realize.

Once the first Treasure House is built in the Valley, what do you see in its future?

I fully expect that the first Treasure House will be an amazingly successful model for what can be accomplished when people pull together to benefit a subset of our community who are not able to advocate for or help themselves. I believe that this first Treasure House will be replicated around the country so that many other young adults with IDD may achieve levels of independence and personal fulfillment they would not otherwise see as possible.

Won’t you consider joining Rock in support of Treasure House by making a donation today?