BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Neal Patel, VP at the Alpine Group

POLITICO Staff

How/where are you celebrating your birthday and with whom? “With my wife and two little girls (#GirlDad) at home. I will probably try to get some golf in. Birthday traditions include: ice cream cake, BBQ, and some sort of Patel family dance-off in the kitchen to music my kids will no doubt appreciate and thank me for later in life.”

How did you get your start in your career? “I started as a 27-year-old unpaid intern for Congressman Joe Wilson. Having practiced law for two years in the Carolinas, I had an itch to work on Capitol Hill and knew if I didn’t scratch it, I would always wonder ‘what if?’ So I packed up my car and arrived here as an intern in August of 2010. I became Congressman Wilson’s press secretary in December. And I never looked back. Three years in the House led to three years in the Senate, which set me up for three years in the Trump White House at OMB. Now I’ve found a home at Alpine Group and am really happy working with a great group of professionals with a family atmosphere.”

What’s an interesting book/article you’re reading during coronavirus social distancing? And why? “Coronavirus is really affecting how people are purchasing goods and services. I just read ‘Payments Systems in the U.S.’ third edition. I’m reading more about the payments space to learn how the global economy and regulations are intertwined. The book was a great primer.

“For fun? Michelle Obama’s memoir ‘Becoming.’ I didn’t know much of her background prior to the book. It discusses life for Mrs. Obama growing up on the South Side of Chicago, then balancing being a successful and ambitious attorney herself, a mother of two girls with an ambitious spouse, and ultimately, first lady. I’m halfway through and it’s been a great read so far.”

What’s a trend going on in the U.S. or abroad that doesn’t get enough attention? “Financial literacy. I’m the son of immigrants that were entrepreneurs. My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me and my siblings. They also stressed the importance of making the money we earned work harder for us through compound interest and savings.

“I view money as a pathway to be free to do what I want with my time. Yet financial literacy is actually declining across the globe even though it becomes more important by the day.”

How’s the Trump presidency going? “The ultimate measure arrives in four months. But I’m not willing to bet against President Trump.”

What’s a fun fact that people Washington might not know about you? “I possess an absurd amount of 1980s-2000s wrestling knowledge, which is matched only by my mental repository of hip-hop lyrics from the same era. From Snoop Doggy Dogg to the Junkyard Dog, Andre the Giant to Andre 3000, the nWo to N.W.A., Dwayne Johnson to Dwayne Michael Carter, I’ve got you covered.”