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Former CEO gives up business career to become pastor

by Linda Hiller

Sometimes the path to a destination can take mysterious twists and turns. Sometimes, after you reach that destination and look back, the twists and turns don’t seem so mysterious after all.

That is what Lex Adams sees when he reflects on a successful business career that spanned nearly 30 years and led him to be the new associate pastor of the Carson Valley Christian Center.

At the pinnacle of the business phase of his life, Adams was the chief executive officer of Quintus Resorts, LLC, the company that is, among other things, developing David Walley’s Resort and Hot Springs into a vacation rental/timeshare resort.

Adams, 49, is also the president and major shareholder of Resorts West, the award-winning company that manages the Ridge Tahoe and Ridge Resorts – successful timeshare complexes at the top of Kingsbury grade.

He left all that to pursue what he calls his “lifelong plan to enter the Christian ministry.”

At first glance, it seem like an unlikely transition – high-powered CEO leaves lucrative career to become a pastor – but you only have to hear his story to understand this is what he feels he was meant to do all along.

“I have been involved with the ministry all of my adult life, even while I was in business,” he said. “Since I was 20, I’ve had a personal relationship with the Lord.”

– Back to the beginning. At that time, Adams was involved in a non-denominational Christian church in Redondo Beach, Calif., and through that church, he went to the Philippines to work toward starting a new church on the island of Mindanao.

Returning from that experience, which he calls “life-changing,” Adams returned to California and found the love of his life, Lynn, at that same Redondo Beach church. Through a series of events that both Lex and Lynn would call “God’s matchmaking,” the couple were married in 1973, and moved to Hawaii where Lex sort of “fell into” business through the hotel industry, which wasn’t exactly his choice for a career, he said.

“I believe God leads different people in different directions for many reasons,” he said. “The Lord kept opening doors for me to advance in business.”

In 1978, Adams transferred from Hawaii to Lakeland Village, a condominium resort at Lake Tahoe with Lynn and their two young children, Jesse and Marisa.

In 1981, he did some consulting work with the developers of The Ridge Tahoe, a large timeshare resort at Stateline. Two years later, they asked him to return, this time on a full-time basis, and after some thought he accepted the position in 1984, primarily because it would allow him to travel less and be with his family more.

“Both Lynn and I felt that was an important move for our family,” he said.

In 1988, Adams formed Resorts West to manage the mountaintop resorts.

“We were one of the most successful vacation ownership properties, and were asked many times to develop more properties,” he said.

Ten years later, Quintus Resorts, LLC was born, a separate development and management business from Resorts West.

– Working in mysterious ways. Though he had planned to avoid a long-term stint as the CEO at Quintus, Adams had no idea it would be as short-lived as it turned out to be. He happened to be watching cable television from his home in Minden one day and saw pastor John Jackson of the Carson Valley Christian Center doing a video presentation.

“We had fellowshipped at several churches, and never really connected, but when I saw John preaching, I thought we might have similar philosophies,” Adams said. “So I met with him and had several conversations and I really felt our hearts were leaning similarly.”

At that time, when he was feeling conflicted about the pull between the ministry and his very successful businesses, something happened to let him know, without any doubt, which way he should turn.

“Things were happening at Quintus, and the opportunity came up – kind of out of the blue -where I was offered the opportunity to sell my interests,” he said. “My wife has a little pink piece of paper she saved from when she was in 7th grade. On the paper it says, ‘The great secret to success in life is taking advantage of opportunity when it comes.’ When I went home and told Lynn about the opportunity with Quintus, she showed me that piece of paper and I knew then what I should do.”

Adams retains his interest in Resorts West and still holds the title of president, but he sold his interests in Quintus Resorts, came to talk with Jackson, and began to pursue this lifelong dream of entering the Christian ministry.

“I always knew in my heart of hearts I’d be in the ministry,” he said. “There are many different paths people take to become a minister, and the Lord prepares people for the ministry through life experiences, I believe. I’ve come through the streets of life.”

The children, both Douglas High School graduates, are grown now – Marisa is 22 and Jesse is 25, and Adams says he’s busier now than when he was in the business world, but the rewards so far are immeasurable.

“The opportunity to serve here is a greater opportunity than anything – any awards or accolades – that I had in business,” he said. “I feel like I’m where I should be.”