On the road again
Exec's Einstein weekdays, wrangler weekends
The company for which Paul Carolan is senior vice president of franchising and licensing, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, has three identities depending on where the bagel store is located. Noah's Bagels serves the San Francisco treat, a bready bagel; Manhattan Bagel sells the boiled bagel preferred on the East Coast and Einstein Bros. has a cross between the two, which is perfect for the middle of the country.
Paul Carolan's daughter, Cristan, is teaching him how to be a cowboy. The New Jersey native spends weekends on the rodeo circuit.
Carolan has three sides to his personality, too. During the week, he's the senior executive talking deals with the power brokers. On weekends, "I'm just the guy with the shovel," cleaning up after horses and spills when his daughter's trick riding team missteps during its suicide crisscrossing. And, then there's the middle of the road Carolan, who works out of a horse trailer with a laptop and cell phone on some remote rodeo grounds.
"I'm on the road 52 weeks a year (for the company). With today's technology no one knows where you are," he says, unless the caller on the other end of the line hears the bull snorting in the background.
Being a roadie for the Cowgirl Chicks has been interesting—especially for a New Jersey-born-and-raised city slicker who came to wearing cowboy boots and big belt buckles late in life.
Carolan moved his family to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area when he was an executive with Aramark. Coincidentally, he calls his two daughters Dallas and Ft. Worth. His older daughter, Dallas (aka Courtney) is the fashionable daughter who works as a buyer for Neiman Marcus. Cristan, 20, is Ft. Worth. "She's all cowboy," he says. So when he talks about halters, he references halter tops with Courtney and a horse's halter lead with Cristan.
For the past three years, Carolan and his wife of 28 years, Jill, have followed Cristan on the rodeo circuit. As a wrangler, Carolan does everything from ensure a fallen rider isn't run over by her horse to feeding the horses to checking on the pyrotechnics. He hangs out with bull riders and rodeo clowns.
Einstein Noah exec Paul Carolan has taken to cowboyhood late in life. The one-time power lifter has traded in his weight-lifting belt for a belt buckle.
"A good night is when nothing happens," he says. A bad night was the time the lights weren't turned up for the girls opening "suicide crisscross," and two horses collided in the center of the ring, with 16 girls still coming.
Carolan may have been a city slicker, but he's done his share of heavy lifting. When he was 30 he started competing as a power-lifter and could bench 360 pounds and dead lift 450 to 475 pounds. He still works out five days a week, rising at 4 a.m. to get to the gym by 5:30 to complete his hour-and-a-half routine of lifting weights and hour of cardio. "On the road, I find a gym or run early in the morning," he says. "You're safe when you run in the early morning (no matter what neighborhood your hotel's in) because bad guys sleep in."
His daughter has inspired him and he's in the process of training a retired race horse. "He's a huge horse. He knows how to make a left turn and that's about it," Carolan says. "I'm trying to turn him into a Western horse."
Training a horse seems easy compared to training your body to get up at 4 a.m. to exercise. How does he do it? "You set an alarm," he says. No wonder he's executive material.
Here's Carolan's answers to some of our questions:
Prized possession: My family
Do you wear a big belt buckle? I don't wear it to work. And you can only wear one when you earn it or it's given to you. The Chicks gave belt buckles to all the wranglers.
Signature accessory: A bucket strap—what a horseperson uses to hang a feed bucket for a horse in the stable—to hook my briefcase to my suitcase.
Favorite indulgence: Beef tenderloin, grilled, with a special rub that I do myself.
What's special about the rub? I can't divulge the secret recipe.
Advice: Know your true values and don't compromise on them.
Favorite TV show: "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel, those CSI shows and sports.
Favorite bagel: The everything bagel, all three of our brands have them, toasted with a little cream cheese
What's the best part of being a wrangler? I get to spend incredible time with my
daughter. (However) one woman is 50 years old, God help us if Cristan decides to
do it that long.