Most of us walked a very similar path… high school, college, job… but what happens when you make a new course for yourself? In the case of Bill Lapp, anything can happen! New adventures, amazing experiences, and at the end of the day, lots to look back and be proud of!
That unconventional path for Bill started when he dropped out of high school in his small hometown in Maine, moved out on his own, and began working in auto collision repair. “After realizing that I have a complete lack of hand eye coordination and had ruined one too many cars I re-enrolled in school.” That, perhaps a moment-too-late-for-unsuspecting-vehicleowners-realization led Bill to re-enroll in school and go on to Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he earned his BS and MS in Computer Science. He continued his adventurous path with a job in the South Pacific with MIT, where he was “responsible for tracking and shooting down nuclear missiles.”
Ready to move on from that eye-opening experience, Bill returned stateside where he received his MBA from Babson College. He “spent 15 years doing software development, crisis management and pre-sales in the big data, unified communications, security, and networking industries across international, government, education, large enterprise and startup environments.” Bill is currently leading the global Solution Architecture organization at Zscaler. Bill was kind enough to share a very cool story about ringing the opening bell at Nasdaq with his company and you can read it at: https://sethoughts.com/2018/03/19/what-is-it-like-to-ring-the-opening-bell-at-nasdaq-and-ipo/
Surely Bill would say the thing he is most proud of is his 8 year marriage to Danville native, Julie Lapp and their beautiful 6-almost-7-year-old daughter, Addison. Bill and Julie met while they were both living in San Francisco: Julie lived in Cow Hollow and Bill lived on a boat off of Pier 39. His infectious personality quickly won her over and they said their “I do’s” at Dawn Ranch Lodge in Guerneville in the summer of 2013.
Julie grew up attending Green Valley Elementary, Los Cerros Middle School and Monte Vista High School. She went on to UCLA to study psychology and became a member of Alpha Phi sorority. After earning her Masters of Social Welfare at UCLA she then enrolled at Chapman University where she earned her Masters of Counseling. In 2003, while Julie was still living in San Francisco, she started working at Pine Valley Middle School as a Counselor. It’s where she still happily works today.
Julie is also very involved in Addison’s school, volunteering her time when she can and serving as the secretary of the PTA. Addison attends Montair Elementary. She loves her teacher, Miss Fischer, and playing with her friends everyday. Each season brings a different activity for her: she does tumbling at Nor Cal All Stars, dances at Next Step Dance Studio and softball with the San Ramon Valley Girls Athletic League. In 2019 the Lapp family joined Diablo Country Club, where Addison is on the swim team. Bill and Julie joined the Sunday Bocce League there. With his New England upbringing, it should come as no surprise that Bill is a huge Patriots fan!
While holding down their full-time jobs, Bill and Julie are also the proud owners of a beautiful vineyard and one of the most historic wineries in Paso Robles, CA. The Lapps purchased Hollyhock Vineyards in 2015 as a way to increase their real estate portfolio and run an Airbnb in one of their favorite regions. These world travelers know wines and know beautiful places, so if they say Paso Robles is the place to be, that’s a stamp of approval for the rest of us! Addison was just a few months old when the property was purchased, and has been able to grow up with the vines. Now the Lapps have their own wine label coming out of Hollyhock.
In 2020, Bill had another “crazy” idea – purchasing the historic Rotta Winery. Through much deliberation with Julie and other trusted family friends in the business, Bill was able to see a diamond in the rough and has big plans to get Rotta Winery back on the map! Although the last year has been filled plenty of downs (needing to replant 75% of their vines for starters and having to rip out a 351 year old Oak tree), the promise of adventure, excitement, and memories with their family and friends is going to be the centerpiece of their winery and they hope you will join them for the ride! Bill runs a fantastic blog about their entertaining and educational experiences here: https://hollyhockvineyard.com/blog/
Both Julie and Bill are very passionate about giving back to others and teaching Addison the importance of building community. They joined Impact Diablo Valley in 2019 so that the whole family could “get involved with local non-profits.” Other causes they enjoy supporting are Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area, City of Hope and Must! Charities of Paso Robles. Julie says, “We also have created scholarships at WPI and Cal Poly. The WPI one is focused on transfer students, an underserved cohort that Bill belonged to. The Cal Poly one is focused on supporting the Cal Poly motto, ‘learn by doing’ for their wine and viticulture program.”
Bill is still so grateful to live in an area that doesn’t snow. And although Julie hadn’t planned on moving back to Danville, she is so glad they did and loves her lifelong friendships that are now expanding into the next generation. With pizza, pool parties, and plenty of neighborly goodwill, they love being able to say hi to all their neighbors whenever the family is enjoying some time outside.
After learning all about the intense, winding, truly inspiring roads Bill and Julie have taken to get here, it’s not surprising that when asked about their family motto, it goes as such: “Get [it] done, learn by doing, jump right in, and do the right thing.”
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By Alexandra Sullivan, Resident since 2017