What part of town do you live in?
I live in Pinecrest.
How long have you lived in the area?
When I was six months old, my parents moved from New York City to Pinecrest – into the house where I grew up. After college in New Orleans, I bounced around to North Carolina and then New York City where I met my wife. And then in 2007 we moved to Pinecrest. So it’s been 12 years.
How did you and Amy meet?
We both went to Tulane University. She lived across the street from me, and had even filmed a “woman on the street” commercial in our fraternity house. Her good friend married my fraternity brother. I even took one of her friends to formal, but we never crossed paths until we met in New York City. I coached an alumni softball team and she was on it.
Would you share a little about your family?
We have three kids. My oldest Sarah, who is almost eleven, my middle son Dylan, who is eight, and my little Heather feather – who is three and a half. The letter H in Heather, is in memory of my father who passed away a year to the date before she was born.
What keeps you busy during the week?
I have a job. I work mostly out of the house for IBM. I’m a subcontractor in a group that does hardware roll outs using cloud technology for large customers.
What do you enjoy most about it?
It comes very easy to me. I’m a PMI Certified Project Manager and can see a path to getting a deployment planned out and accomplished. And, it’s always something that I’ve enjoyed.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
There are three things that I’m very passionate about. The first is my connection to the agricultural world, which originated through my friendship with Tim Rowan, a farmer who used to sell lettuce at the Pinecrest farmer’s market and former chef at Deering Bay Yacht & Country Club. I am also very interested in electric vehicles and renewable energy and helping the technology kind of take-off. And last, I take a lot of pride in coaching my son’s baseball team and volunteering as the T ball Commissioner for Howard Palmetto Baseball & Softball Association. My father coached me and I grew up playing baseball at Howard Palmetto on the very same fields I now get to coach on.
How are you helping Electric Vehicle technology take off?
One example is close to you as a vendor at Pinecrest Gardens. Back in 2013, there was a program where Nissan was donating fast charging stations to dealerships and other good public locations. I helped the Village of Pinecrest get a donated charging station installed at the Gardens. When we did the press about it, we learned that it was the very first DC fast charging station in the state of Florida, that was publicly owned. Mayor Cindy Lerner and Pinecrest Gardens Director Alana Perez were very instrumental on moving things forward from the village’s perspective. And we had a great partnership with Nissan. Pinecrest Gardens is the perfect location for someone to spend 30 minutes while their car charges up.
You’ve been a real supporter of the Pinecrest Village. When did you get involved, and what roles have you had?
That’s true. I am passionate about Pinecrest, because we really have a very special community here. I was nominated to serve on the Pinecrest Gardens Advisory Committee for several years by Mayor Lerner. Mayor Joe Corradino nominated me to serve on the Zoning Board and I am now the Chair.
What types of decisions do you make on the zoning board?
We primarily deal with variance requests. We hear a lot of stuff, like regarding setback requirements for a tennis court and if someone is 3 feet over the requirements. Most of it is not too controversial, and there’s a lot of common sense solutions that can be found.
What do you think the Pinecrest farmer’s market means for our community?
It’s a beacon of cultural and agricultural activity that is, frankly, irreplaceable. It’s a community meeting place. In Pinecrest, there’s only a few places that are public points where you can interact with people: the US-1 corridor, the school systems, the religious institutions …but, there’s not a lot of other locations where you can meet up. Going to the Pinecrest market is a way to get the pulse of the community.
How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
Two or three times a month. When I ask my kids, ‘do you guys want to go to the farmer’s market?’ It’s always a resounding, Yes!
What’s your market ritual?
We’ll drive one of our electric cars and see if the electric vehicle charging station is open. We’ll try to prevent the kids from getting the popcorn immediately and see if they want one of your awesome smoothies. They’re a big fan of the Rainbow smoothies. And, they have no idea what fruits they’re actually trying!
What do you think the market is missing?
The thing I’d like to see more of, to be honest, is food and produce vendors that are growing things locally. If you really drill down to who the local people are, that are producing something from the earth, from their farm – there are only a handful. I’d love to see more people putting in the hard work to grow things as opposed to going to a distributor and just putting them out. I’m very impressed by all the stuff that you guys and Bee Heaven do.
What do you enjoy doing with your kids, besides the market?
Once a week, we typically go over to “Big Momma’s” house to go swimming and have a barbecue. The ability for my kids to have a close relationship with their grandmother is really a special thing.
We both went to summer camp at Manitou, I know how special it was for me. Are you sending your kids? What did it mean for you?
Two of our three kids went to sleep away camp last year. My oldest daughter goes to Camp Vega, and this summer will be her third year. And, my son did a half session at Manitou last summer for his first year. This summer, he is going to do a full session and he’s pumped. There are special things that happen at sleep away camp, and unless you go, you really don’t understand it. You make lifelong friends that are outside your social circle in Miami. And, it’s a way to experience new things and learn about yourself and learn what makes you happy.
Where do you all like to go out for food and what do you like to order?
I keep a list of restaurants on my phone that I try to constantly update – so when we’ve got a free night and ask where we want to go – we can take it out. The Downtown Dadeland area has been really impressive lately. Our favorite restaurant in Miami is probably Whisk – their spicy seared beef with coconut rice and spinach blends together in this perfect balance. Second place is called The Fish House. It’s on Miller road, way out west. It’s like a hole in the wall kind of place. They have a grilled octopus dish that is far better than any grilled octopus I’ve ever had at the fanciest restaurants around.
What’s a worthy splurge for you?
The taramosalata at Daily Bread. It’s a Greek spread, made of roe or fish eggs and is almost like a cream cheese spread. I’ll put it on anything. My second is a creole seasoning, called Tony Chachere’s. We’re about to do a big crawfish boil this Saturday for about 120 people and will have plenty of Tony Chachere’s for people to use. I even keep a bottle at our friend’s house in case we go over and we’re having dinner.
What’s a good rainy day activity?
My kids are into card games lately, Slamwich and War.
Are there any events or groups, or something that you would like to bring attention to?
If I want to promote anything, it’s electric vehicle ownership. The Village of Pinecrest asked me to do a presentation during Earth Day a few years ago and talk about debunking the myths of owning an electric vehicle. For many people, it’s kind of a scary concept. There’s something called “range anxiety”, which is the fear that you’re going to run out of charge. When you realize that there are hundreds of thousands more electrical outlets than gas stations, the anxiety goes away. Once you get over these myths, you find that the energy independence and environmental benefits outweigh driving a gas car, by far. If anyone’s interested, I can let them take a drive in our car and I can guarantee you after one drive, you’ll understand how the electric vehicle ecosystem is far better.
Is there a question you would like to ask us?
I am always amazed at how you guys do all the things that you do and there’s so many things, that I don’t think people realize, that you guys are involved in, outside of the market. The question I have is, would you tell us all the projects you guys do? Because, it’s remarkable.
(A+W) Adena is a trained chef, and is usually on the farm harvesting for the market or fruit for smoothies, or in our commercial kitchen developing recipes. She’s the one who comes up with all of the magical concoctions that we offer at the market. During the week, I am split between design and the market. Sometimes, I’m inventing farm machines, sometimes designing jewelry and the rest of the time interviewing people and prepping for the market. Right now, I am patiently waiting for the prototype of my new watch design that was supposed to be here last week. Hopefully, soon – and then I can share it with all of you!
Any final things that you would like to add?
Community is being a part of a collective group and hopefully working towards the betterment of that group. I’m really proud that we live in Pinecrest and I’m excited about the life that my kids will have as they go through the school systems here and make friendships. I’m just really thankful.