Whether in the Atlanta Braves organization or with Richards & Tierney Inc., John C. Simmons has been a team player.
The recently named principal of Chicago-based Richards & Tierney Inc. credits his years as a minor league pitcher with helping him develop skills he now uses as a consultant.
"One of the things I learned in baseball is how to relate to people with different cultures, backgrounds, education levels," said Mr. Simmons. As a consultant, he said, "I work with all types of clients: corporate, public, endowment, foundation.… you have to relate to them and get across information to discuss complex issues."
Mr. Simmons was a 50th-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves organization in the June 1992 baseball draft and started pitching with the Idaho Falls Gems, an Atlanta affiliate, in the Pioneer Rookie League — "bats left, throws left," as the back of his baseball cards note.
In ensuing years, he played with the Macon (Ga.) Braves in the Class A South Atlantic League; Durham (N.C.) Bulls in the Class A Carolina League; and the Class AA Greenville (S.C.) Braves in the Southern League, the highest level he reached with the Braves organization before he was released in January 1996. He then trained in the Philadelphia Phillies' minor league spring camp in Clearwater, Fla.
"I worked one-on-one with Steve Carlton," Mr. Simmons recalled. "It was a little intimidating and fun. But I didn't make the team."
Then he joined the independent Tyler (Texas) Wildcatters Texas Louisiana Minor League, where he was the "tallest pitcher on the staff," at 6 feet 6 inches, according to one of the baseball cards. He quit halfway through the 1996 season.
While in the minors, he continued in school during offseasons, going back to complete his MBA at St. Xavier University in Chicago upon leaving the game. "I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable, when the fun and games end," he said.
After baseball, he started out as an equity analyst involved in the underwriting of directors-and-officers insurance for a Great American Insurance Co., Schaumburg, Ill., a unit of Cincinnati-based American Financial Group. From there, he joined the risk management group Arthur Andersen LLP, Chicago, and then, in 1999, Richards & Tierney.
David E. Tierney, principal, said Mr. Simmons is the fifth principal of the firm. "He's a player. He's competitive and likes to win.