Jacob Hamm was born in Florida, raised in Alabama and moved across the country to live in Ohio, California, New York and South Carolina. Since 2016 he’s been a resident of Lincolnton, N.C.
Hamm lives there in an apartment, while he’s completing a remodel job on a house he’s looking forward to making into a home. On this warm Friday in late May, Hamm sits in his Lincolnton office, dressed in shorts and a simple t-shirt.
His choice for spring attire? Black and grey. He only wears blacks, grays and blues and buys multiples of shirts he likes, assuming they fit within his routine color scheme.
If you do an internet search for Jacob Hamm, you’ll most likely immediately learn that he’s the founder and CEO of a company called ProHealthDesk, but there’s so much more to Hamm.
If you were stuck eating only two food items for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Tacos and grapes.
Awesome. Tacos offer tons of options and grapes are quite healthy. So, let’s talk a little about who you’d be dining with. Are your married?
Yes. We have been together going on 13 years and legally married for six.
What’s the best thing about your spouse?
I love his creativity.
So let’s flip the script a bit. What, if anything, would he say drives him crazy about you?
Looking at your life thus far, what are you most proud of?
Hmm, I would probably say building my business.
What do you wish you could tell 15-year-old Jacob?
I think I would tell him not to change a thing and to follow your gut because you’ll end up right where you need to be.
You mentioned earlier you’re most proud of building your business. What is your business?
The name is ProHealthDesk. All one word. We provide revenue cycle management, virtual office administration and bookkeeping services.
What is revenue cycle management?
It is a fancy way of saying medical billing.
Many people know you through your affiliation with Time Out Youth. What do you do at Time Out Youth?
I am currently the board chair, and I have been on the board for four years now.
What’s it like being a board chair for an LGBTQ youth organization like Time Out Youth?
It’s actually very fulfilling and also very scary. It’s fulfilling because I grew up in Alabama, and my childhood wasn’t the best. So, it’s very fulfilling [being able] to help LGBT youth have a better youth experience. It’s very scary because I’m realizing how disconnected I am from youth, and it’s making me feel old. You don’t change and adapt as quickly, so there’s technology out there that you just don’t understand or just doesn’t appeal to me. Things have come out of my mouth that sound just like my mother or father.
Things like what?
Things they said, they were talking about [limiting] TV and I’m now talking about smart phones and tablets. I catch myself saying things like, “You need to put your phone down and go outside and take a hike or play.” When I was growing up we went outside and didn’t come back in until it was dark. We played.
What do you look forward to seeing happen within the next year for Time Out Youth?
I look forward to us expanding our youth services around homelessness.
As a board chair, what do you think is most important for those heading inclusive youth programs to know or practice?
I think today it’s probably listening to the youth and also making decisions with equity in mind.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your work life?
I don’t know how to say this without sounding selfish or conceited, but I have 100 million ideas in my head and the hardest thing for me is staying focused on what I’m doing now. As soon as I get something started, I’m ready to move onto the next project. I’m a natural starter. I like to get projects started and get them going and then I’m ready to step away and let someone else run it day to day. I guess that’s the entrepreneur in me.
As an entrepreneur, a happily married gay man and a board chair for an LGBTQ youth organization, many might say you’re an inspiration and a role model. Considering that, what do you want today’s LGBTQ youth to know?
I want them to know that no matter what situation they are in now, things can get better and will get better. And there are many people that love and support them.
In your ideal world, if you weren’t doing what you are now professionally, what would you be doing?
I want to be a park ranger. I love national parks. I collect national park pins. You can put that in there as a geeky interesting fact about me. I love maps as well. Just being out in nature — it’s wonderful.
When your busy day comes to an end, how do you spend your downtime?
With what little down time that I have, I am usually walking or hiking. Walking on the Rail-Trail in Lincolnton or hiking in the mountains. I usually go hiking once a week on a Saturday or Sunday.
Those are great activities for someone who’d want to be a park ranger. Is there anything else you’d like qnotes readers to know about Jacob Hamm?
I can’t think of anything, other than, if you find any old maps, send them my way, because I love them.
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