A self-described "Army brat", Walter Larkins was born at Fort Leonard, Missouri and before the age of two moved to Germany. He settled with his family at age eight in Los Angeles after his father’s retirement.
Following in his father’s footsteps, the younger Larkins also served in Germany with the U.S. Army. After four years, he left the service as a captain and returned to the U.S. to transform himself into a sales professional, entrepreneur and businessman.
The Long Beach resident was recently appointed as a business community representative on the Citizens’ Oversight Committee for LBUSD. The seven-member group is responsible for monitoring the finances of school bonds measures K and E.
"As a member of the business community, I want to help ensure the next generation of students have the skills that employers want and need," said Larkins. "Quality schools, business engagement and modern facilities are critical to student success."
Larkins is president of CDR Benefits, LLC, which specializes in providing health and life insurance solutions for individuals, employers and employees. He also heads CDR Financial Services, LLC, which provides revenue cycle management solutions to hospitals and other healthcare providers. Both firms are located in downtown Long Beach.
With his wife, Julie, Larkins has also launched a startup venture, Sapphire RCMS, Inc. which developed a proprietary software solution to enable healthcare providers to recover receivables owed them by insurance companies. The Larkins previously owned other businesses in the health care technology field, including one which sold a device to enable heart surgeons to perform bypass surgery without opening the patient’s heart.
Passionate about education, the couple also started a non-profit group, Education Equals Opportunity Too. Founded in 2014, the organization takes a business approach to teach work and leadership skills to at-risk middle schoolers.
"We offer training along with a variety of incentives, including a laptop computer, to students who achieve our standards for good grades, improved attendance and reduced disciplinary referrals," Larkins said.
Over the past seven years, the program has served 600 students in four LBUSD schools.
Earlier in his career Larkins held positions in sales and marketing management with Coca Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, and start-up Ethicon Endo-surgery.
Holder of several international and US patents, he attended Boston University's European Division MBA program and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and he graduated from UCLA.
Larkins serves on a number of non-profit boards and commissions, including the Long Beach Economic Development Commission, the Long Beach Education Foundation, the Executive Board of the California Conference of Equality and Justice, the Long Beach U.S. Vets Advisory Board, the Todd Cancer Institute Advisory Board, L.A. Job Corp Community Relations Council, the Educare Advisory Board and the Long Beach Rotary Club.