Zimmer custom tailors sales style at Men's Wearhouse

That corporate culture, which includes an emphasis on managers being involved in their communities, regularly lands Men's Wearhouse on various lists of best places to work. It also has led Zimmer to board seats with a variety of organizations, including the Oakland Zoo, near his home.

Twenty-five years ago, after seeing a picture of a large male African elephant bending down to get into its cement night house, Zimmer was disturbed to learn the photo was from his local zoo. Practicing what he preaches, Zimmer called the then-new zoo director to volunteer his time and money.

"Over the 25 years since we've redone every exhibit in that zoo and it has become a magnificent community venue," he says.

There also have been times when Zimmer's '60s-mindset has raised conventionalists' eyebrows.

For instance, Zimmer's a board member at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a group that studies paranormal phenomena and was founded by Apollo astronaut and moon walker Edgar Mitchell. Zimmer describes IONS as seeking to know what can't be known from the five senses.

"Yeah, it's got a metaphysical notion about it," he admits. But, as one who has made a career out of straddling two worlds, Zimmer adds, "I've always liked physics — and metaphysics."

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