Damon was born in 1976 in Fort Worth, Texas to a 16-year old single mother. He grew up in dire poverty, living in a three-bedroom trailer with ten family members. He wore hand-me-downs and Salvation Army clothes. From these very modest beginnings, Damon learned the value – and the rewards – of hard work, something he has demonstrated throughout his life.
Excelling in Education and Athletics
By the time Damon reached high school, he understood the power of a good education. He set his sights high. Throughout high school, Damon was an honor student and an athlete. He earned recognition as a Texas All-State Football player while maintaining a stellar grade point average and volunteering in on-campus activities. He earned a scholarship to Stanford University.
Damon took full advantage of his Stanford education. It was a big step from his life in Texas, a step that would change his life for the better. Damon had a record-setting college football career, ran track and earned many academic and athletic awards, including the NCAA Academic Scholarship, All-PAC 10 Honors and Academic All-Pac 10 Honors, and the National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame Award.
Stanford University leadership valued public service and encouraged its students to do the same. As a university student, Damon served as Executive Director of the East Palo Alto Stanford Summer Academy, which provided tutoring and mentorship to underprivileged Latino and African American students from East Palo Alto, CA. In recognition of his work at the Stanford Summer Academy and in the community, Damon received the James W. Lyons Award and JE Wallace Sterling Book Award given to students who demonstrate outstanding service to the greater Stanford community.
Upon graduation, Damon played in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. Damon had the privilege to play under and be mentored by coaching legends such as Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Tyrone Willingham and Tom Coughlin.
Career & Commitment to Public Service
Damon is a co-founder of Tricor Southwest Corporation, a real estate investment firm.
He moved to Long Beach during California’s worst budget crisis in the state’s history. He could not stand by and watch Long Beach Unified School District, a Broad Prize winning district, cut programs that contributed to that prize. In March 2011 the Superintendent sadly reported to the public that all programs were on the table for budget cuts or closures. In September 2011, the Board of Education said the district needed help to keep the Middle School Sports program going for another year. Damon joined the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Education Foundation and immediately took the leadership to raise $190,000 for the 2012-13 school year. He has invested in the Male and Female Leadership Academies, developed and delivered the Future Business Leaders Academy, a program for high school seniors at risk. He founded the Long Beach College Prep Academy, a program that prepares selected high school students with successful college admission, with Superintendent Steinhauser. “The quality of an education system is a direct reflection of its community… The people of Long Beach are shining stars and so is the education system,” Damon said in a recent interview. He is a member of Rotary, and he was recently named the Faculty Fellow for the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at CSULB.
Damon is bringing his life and his learnings to Long Beach hoping to help make this city an even greater place to live, work, and play.