Carly and Frank Fiorina
Frank Fiorina with wife Carly Fiorina in 2010, when she ran for a U.S. Senate seat in California. Carly Fiorina announced her presidential campaign on Monday. Reuters

When Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for president Monday, she focused on how she worked her way up from being a secretary at a real estate company to become the first female chief executive of a Fortune 500 company as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Her husband of 30 years, Frank Fiorina, shares a similar experience of moving up the corporate ladder.

“My husband Frank has lived the American story,” Fiorina said last month at a New Hampshire GOP event. “He started off as a tow truck driver in Pennsylvania.”

Frank Fiorina eventually became an executive at AT&T, where he met his wife, then known as Carly Sneed. During their first date, Frank, who was a step above Carly in the AT&T hierarchy, told Carly that he envisioned her heading the telecommunications giant.

“It was a good line; she loved it,” Frank Fiorina later told Bloomberg in an April 30 profile of his wife. Fiorina’s husband said the words of encouragement were the few he could recall about the night. “I just remember making out in the car,” he said.

Frank Fiorina has been at his wife’s side since then, serving as her bodyguard while she was HP’s CEO and when she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 against California Sen. Barbara Boxer. Frank, who is in his mid-60s and retired from AT&T at age 48 to travel with his wife and take care of his two daughters from a previous marriage, received a concealed carry permit in 2000, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Frank’s decision to retire early initially didn’t sit well with Carly’s father, she recalled to Bloomberg. “I think my dad had initially sort of a typical man’s reaction, which is, ‘How could you do this? Why would you do this?’ It was so outside of his experience,” she said. “As he got older and realized how important a role Frank played in my success -- and my happiness, beyond that -- he came to really appreciate him.”

As Carly geared up for a 2016 bid, Frank said he was not looking forward to the negative attacks that may come his wife’s way. "It bothers me to have people bad-mouth her," he told the National Journal. "It bothers me that she is going to work very, very hard throughout these next couple of years. We've been through a lot. I worry about that sometimes. I worry about her winning."

Carly is one of the underdogs in the 2016 race, but that hasn’t stopped Frank from thinking about what he would do if she were elected and he was the first man with a spouse in the White House. “Like Carly, if I’m going to do something, I want to add value,” he told Bloomberg.