TonyMy friend, Dr. Tony A. Barringer, was kind enough to grant me the interview for my blog.

Question:  Tony, is formal education important to succeed in life?

I would say that it definitely increases the likelihood for success especially if we’re referencing monetary success. The formal education allows one to get into the game when certain qualifying credentials are needed. It definitely allowed me an opportunity to escape the woes of the Southside of Chicago.

Question: What is your educational background?

I have a BS in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Public Administration and a Doctorate in Criminology.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?

My biggest challenge is continuing to do the right thing when that might not be the most popular decision. I have vowed to not let any job cause me to compromise the core principle by which I live. To me, at the end of the day, all you have is your name and what you stand/stood for.

Question: What advice would you give to young people trying to decide in what area to specialize professionally?

I would always advise a person to follow his/her passion. Choose a career that excites you about doing it every day. The ideal job would be something that you would do even if you were not compensated/paid. I’m more driven by the passion to assist and help than I am about great fortune and wealth. Having said this, I feel that no one should be afraid to achieve and sell him or herself short out of fear of failing.

Question: Is it important to follow one’s dream even if financially it may not be feasible, or if there was no income potential?

This reply would be very similar to my response to previous question.   Enjoying what you do is invaluable. As long as you are honest with yourself about why you chose a certain career and you can live with that decision, it’s all good.

Question: Are you following local politics? Do you vote in the local elections?

To a point. I realize that local politics are the same issues that are on the national scene; just a smaller scale. For numerous reasons, I do not vote in local elections. That being the case, I am careful not to complain about the results. To me, that would be hypocritical.

Question: Can you think of one important issue Lee County is facing right now?

Law enforcement and Community relations. There appears to be a major issue with the minority community not trusting the “system”. This is heavily tied into the second major issue of racism and race relations. We definitely need dialogue in this arena.