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Pursuing Adventure

McLean resident participates in Reston Triathlon and prepares to sail across the Atlantic.

There were early signs that John Jacquemin would pursue a career in finance. One of the first was when — as a young child — he went to the local bank where his allowance was kept in a savings account, and asked how much interest it was accruing.

"They told me it wasn't earning any interest at all," said Jacquemin, who is currently president and CEO of Mooring Financial Corporation in Vienna.

Jacquemin promptly walked up the street to another bank and inquired about interest earning accounts there. When he was told that they had what he was looking for, he returned to his bank and asked to withdraw his money.

"They actually tried to fight me on it," recalled Jacquemin. "They said 'if you take your money out you won't be able to open another account here again.'"

Jacquemin was unfazed. He withdrew his $200 savings and opened a new account at the other bank. These days, Jacquemin lives in McLean with his wife Tracie and three daughters, Juliana,16, Olivia, 14 and Marissa, 8. As he runs his own financial company, he also makes an effort to instill the importance of smart investments in his children.

"I try to teach my kids that kind of thinking," said Jacquemin. "I take half of their allowance and put it in their own special Mooring Financial account, and explain to them that it if they leave it there, it will keep growing and growing."

Jacquemin said his youngest daughter, who is 8, is grasping the concept better than the others. She recently inquired if she could put all of her allowance in her Mooring account, and Jacquemin said he could not have been more proud.

"She's different," said Jacquemin with a laugh.

ON SEPT. 10, Jacquemin and several Mooring Financial employees competed in the 24th annual Reston Triathlon. Jacquemin has been participating in the triathlon for six years, and has gradually gotten more and more of his employees to follow.

"This year we had 11 of our 45 employees compete, which is over 25 percent of the company participating," said Jacquemin.

Jim Meeks, president of Mooring Tax Asset Group, has worked at Mooring Financial Corporation for 12 years, and has participated in the triathlon with Jacquemin for the past six years. Meeks said he believes that the high participation illustrates the solidarity of their company.

"I think 11 people is a huge number compared to the size of the company, and everybody from the company that competed, finished the race," said Meeks, who lives in Great Falls.

Since triathlons can be grueling, it is not unusual for contestants to drop out part way though. Six hundred people participated in the Reston Triathlon which consists of a 1-mile swim, a 22.3-mile bike ride and a 10k run. Mooring Financial Corp. was one of several sponsors for the event.

"We had the best weather ever, and it's a very well run triathlon," said Meeks. "What I like about the Reston Triathlon is that it's a fairly flat, fast course, and it attracts a wide range of participants, and there are a lot of local participants."

When he is not training for triathlons and running his company, Jacquemin keeps busy with other adventurous past times. This month, he will depart for a lengthy sailing voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

"Since I was a little kid, it's always been a dream of mine to cross the Atlantic in a sailboat," said Jacquemin.

Earlier this year he put feelers out to find a boat taking the voyage that would allow him to join as part of the crew — he got a call from a friend who had found a boat that will set sail in early October.

"Boats cross the Atlantic in October after hurricane season is over," said Jacquemin. "It will probably take two to three weeks depending on the conditions."

The voyage will most likely be a grueling one as it requires crewmembers to work in four-hour shifts.

"You don't get much sleep," said Jacquemin. "But I've always wanted to do it — I've always been a sailor."

JACQUEMIN WAS BORN in France, but his parents immigrated to America when he was 6.

"There are not that many French people who leave the country... but my father met a lot of American G.I.s and learned a lot about the U.S., and he decided it was the land of opportunity," said Jacquemin.

His parents relocated to the suburbs of Philadelphia, which is where Jacquemin grew up.

"I really admire my father for having done that," he said.

While many might say that television rots the minds of children, Jacquemin said it had the opposite effect on him. The more shows he watched, the more he wanted to get out and experience everything that the world had to offer. He particularly enjoyed Westerns and shows about scuba diving and sailing.

"I'm sort of a product of TV because it let me know what was out there," said Jacquemin. "A lot of the things that I enjoyed as adventures on TV as a kid, I decided to go and do myself... I probably watched too much TV but it really did show me what opportunities were out there."

Jim Meeks said that he admires Jacquemin for his "multi-faceted" personality.

"He's highly ethical and analytical and disciplined, but in addition to that he has a lot of fun interests, and he's very fun to work with," said Meeks.

In 1997, Jacquemin established the Jacquemin Family Foundation which provides grants to organizations that provide educational and artistic opportunities to under-served children. Jacquemin said it is important to him to give back to the community, and he wants his daughters to understand the importance of doing so.

"They are junior advisers with the Family Foundation," said Jacquemin. "They each get to handle a $500 grant, and they research the organizations and decide who to give it to... I want to instill in them the spirit of giving because they are reaping the rewards of my success."