BRADENTON, Fla. – For two years, William Broxterman began every work day dressed in a white chef’s jacket and toque, sharpening knives and preparing food for dinner service. Since 2011, however, he puts on a three-piece suit as a financial services consultant at PNC Bank’s Lakewood Ranch branch.
Broxterman learned to cook at a very young age. In addition to recalling a wine bottle constantly on his Italian family’s dinner table, he always remembers himself in the kitchen. He enjoyed being surrounded by family, learning new recipes and has vivid memories of cooking and tasting nearly everything made by his parents and grandparents. In high school, he was inspired further by his cooking teacher.
“Because I loved to cook, I took a class during my freshman year and met a mentor, Mike Niewadowski, who nurtured my passion for cooking for other people. Ideally that’s what motivated me to pursue my higher education in this field.”
Broxterman attended culinary school at the prestigious Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. As a student, his fondest memories included learning to make ice carvings and tasting caviar on a spoon with just vodka.
After graduation in 2009, he landed his first job with a well-known private golf club in Sarasota, Fla. He started out as a pantry chef making salads, sandwich wraps and small hot items. Six months later he moved to his favorite position at the grill cooking up lobster, filets and pizza from scratch. Soon after he was promoted to sous chef, expediting meals and controlling the kitchen’s madness.
Although his culinary education prepared him to work professionally as a chef, he realized in 2011 after his first son was born that he needed a change to a more family-friendly working environment.
“Working 65 hours a week was normal. Being a chef is a great profession, but after working in kitchens that feel like 1,000 degrees in the summer and cutting my hand while slicing a block of cheese, I decided this strenuous career was not the best choice for me or my family.”
Broxterman’s wife, who works for a financial institution, recognized his previous sales experience and cash-handling ability from a retail job in Bradenton and recommended he try finance. In addition to those skills, he was able to apply his experience as a chef to the role of financial advisor.
It’s just serving a different set of needs. At a restaurant, customers want the best quality food with a quick wait, and they don’t mind paying a little more for a better meal or service. At the bank, clients want accuracy and a trusting relationship. They appreciate the value of a product or service if we help them achieve a better solution.
Broxterman jokes the biggest difference between his kitchen job and bank position is the luxury of air conditioning and running back and forth to the printer instead of the cooler.
Five years into his second act career, he has no regrets. He can still be a chef at home, and it’s a family experience like the one he enjoyed as a child. He will cook his favorite food -- a grilled tomato, bacon and cheese sandwich -- with the help of his wife Nicole and 4-year-old son Ashton.
His family also plays a crucial role with holiday meals. Nicole and her family help him with Easter dinner, which features rack of lamb, and his signature dish for Thanksgiving, roasted duck (see his recipe highlights below).
“Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen, but it makes for a memorable time,” Broxterman said. “After the dishes are put away, we just enjoy the simplicity of being around loved ones, enjoying great food, good wine and even better blessings.”
I am thankful that I decided to pursue finance as my second-act career, but the kitchen will always be my comfort spot and where I feel most at home.
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