When former Lipscomb All-American baseball player J.D. Blackburn says "go fish" he isn't playing the card game. Like many people Blackburn enjoys fishing as a pastime. But it is also his business. He gave up a 10-year career in physician management after beginning his business life with Deloitte, the second largest business services firm in the world. He also helped found Lighthouse Family Ministries in 2003. He started a company called Back40 in 2006 and also founded Pro Fishing Management Services (PFM). He spent some time this week to talk with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play baseball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I started Lipscomb in the fall of 1993 and graduated in the spring of 1997.
"Ken Dugan was my coach through my junior year. Mel Brown was the coach my senior year."
Why did you choose Lipscomb?
"I liked the quality education and the business department's reputation.
"We had moved to the suburbs of Chicago to Buffalo Grove, Illinois. We were from the South and my family was very encouraging to me about going to college in the South.
"I knew about Lipscomb. My family has always been big on Christian education.
"When I visited I liked the baseball facilities at the time. They are even better now.
"I liked the size of the school and the Christian approach. I had heard great things about the school."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"The relationships I formed with the guys I played with. I am still friends with them. I might not see someone for years but when I do we always have stories to tell.
"We didn't win any championships when I was there. Looking back on it now it was a dream to play college baseball. I got hurt my sophomore year and that made me enjoy it even more. I enjoyed everything Lipscomb had to offer.
"I played third base my freshman and sophomore years and second my junior and senior years."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Ken Dugan. He taught me about life more than he did about athletics. He taught me how to be successful. He cared about people and he had a sense of humor which surprised me at times. I got the brunt of it sometimes being a freshman from up north.
"His health wasn't great when I was there. We saw glimpses of how tough he could be. There was a system in place that helped us be successful."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I met my wife, Liana, right before school started. Her maiden name was Fisher. She played tennis at Lipscomb.
"We met through mutual friends at a Nashville Sounds game at Greer Stadium. I was sad when they stopped playing there. Richie Estep introduced me to her."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"Honesty. Integrity. Ethics. Morals. The right way to do things.
"All of the professors had a solid connection to a local church. I has seen that with my parents, but at Lipscomb I also saw how important it was."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"I majored in both accounting and finance. I have three favorite professors - Charles Frasier. Bill Ingram and Perry Moore.
"They were all three passionate about what they taught. And they each took an interest in me personally. They were all three great teachers.
"I really liked accounting. Charles Frasier made it fun. Who doesn't like Charles Frasier? He brought me a pack of baseball cards at church a couple of weeks ago. He told me he found them in a box and my card was in there.
"Perry knew his stuff and he was passionate about his classes. It is amazing people can get passionate about accounting.
"Dr. Ingram liked what he did. He understood I might miss class because of baseball. He went the extra mile to make sure I was learning what I needed to know in his classes."
Where do you live now?
"We live in Nashville, Tennessee."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"Pro Fishing Management Services has a broad description. I have grown it for the past 10 years. Basically we are a small boutique public relations and marketing agency.
"We started working with pro fisherman and pro fishing teams to promote them and help with sponsorships.
"We have started with companies and manufacturers of fishing items to help them promote their products."
How does a person with a background in business and finance form a company that centers on a passion for fishing?
"In Nashville working in health care is great. But I worked for a couple of companies that were bought out while I worked for them. I realized I didn't have any job security.
"I met with Brent High and he told me I should get involved with fishing somehow. He thought I should be a fishing guide, but I couldn't raise a family on what I would make doing that. I wasn't good enough to be a professional fisherman. Those guys are really good at what they do.
"Lipscomb taught me enough about business. I am passionate about fishing. I have always liked being around it.
"Growing up we always went fishing as family. When they weren't at my baseball games I would go fishing with my parents, Laurel and Charles.
"Brent knew that. We played baseball together. We would go fishing while we were at Lipscomb."
Tell us about your family.
My wife, Liana, and I have two daughters. Hannah will be a freshman at Lipscomb Academy. Addie, short for Addison, will be at the middle school."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.