In what part of town do you live?
We live in Kendall, down south. I grew up in Miami Springs. After we got married, my wife and I moved to New York for about five years, and then moved back to Miami.
Would you share a little about your family?
We are six. My wife and I have been married for 23 years. We have four kids. Our oldest is our only girl. She is 19 and in her first year of college but she is home with us right now do the whole COVID situation. We have a 16 year old boy who is very much into music. We have a 13 year old boy who’s very much into art and sports. And then, we’ve got an eight year old, very rambunctious boy, who’s into just about anything.
What keeps you busy during the week?
I work for a company called AK Capital, a securities brokerage firm. I’ve been here for a little over 20 years. I started in 1998, originally up in New York and then ended up opening the office here in Miami. I kind of run the finances for the brokerage firm.
How has your role changed over the 20 years?
When I started, it was just two of us. We were working for bigger banks in New York. We decided to start a smaller boutique shop. We’re still pretty small with just about 10 individuals spread out with offices here in Florida, and we still have a presence in New York.
Does AK have a specific niche in which you specialize?
It’s all institutional where we work with larger investment managers and mutual funds and insurance companies – people buying for bigger portfolios. We’re working with different parties in the markets to source bonds and then help others who are looking to buy. When we founded the company, we started with mortgage backed securities. That’s where you take all the mortgages that get done across the country and pool them into bigger deals with agencies like Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae. That’s how larger investors can invest in those mortgages.
Has Covid impacted that side of the business?
No. The market’s been pretty steady. The housing market’s been strong throughout all this. With interest rates being so low the market has stayed really strong. It’s been a good thing for homeowners to see an increase in the value of their properties. It’s also been good for buyers. With the interest rates so low, it helps them with the affordability of purchasing. But for our general business, the fixed income side of the business has remained calm.
What do you enjoy most about it?
The fact that you come in every day and it’s something different. So many different things affect the markets, from geopolitical events to elections, even pandemics. A lot of our clients are either insurance companies or mutual funds that are investing on behalf of other people’s 401k’s. I enjoy being able to help others invest and create a return on their investment.
Even though you are one of the founders of the company, when you talk about your role it comes across as though you are truly a member of a team. Is that something that stands out to you as well?
Definitely. I’ve been here for 20 years and built it from scratch with one other individual, seeing it grow a little bit bigger and sometimes a little smaller. It really feels to me that I’m part of the organization much more than just running it.
Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?
My favorite pastime is scuba diving. Right here in our backyard, there’s so many reefs and great dive spots. It’s been a passion of mine for many years and now seeing my boys want to get involved is fun and I think we’ll be able to look for places to travel to and get them more involved.
We’ve seen you and your family a bunch at the drive through. Would you share a little bit about that experience?
We first met you guys at the Pinecrest Market. We love the smoothies and the other products you guys have. When we found out you were doing it out in Kendall and still had a place where you could drive by, we made it almost a weekly routine. I think in the last couple of months, we might have missed one or two at most. We love all the off shoots we’ve seen from the Farmer’s Market. Even at your drive through, you have the kombucha and the ice cream. The drive through feels like you’re participating in that farmer’s market community, even though you’re just going to one location. It helps us support local, and not just you guys but the others that you help support.
What restaurants have you been going out to or ordering from during the closures?
We are still not venturing out too much. We’ve been ordering Peruvian food. Aromas del Peru Roma is great. Sometimes we order from Pummarola in the Falls. One of our favorites that we used to go to, but can still get delivery is Shaddai the Lebanese family restaurant. They are really great people.
Are there places you’re really looking forward to going back to?
Black Point Marina is open air, so I think that’s definitely something that’s first on our list to be able to venture back out to. It’s always fun there, both eating and also watching people loading and unloading the boats. It can certainly be comical. I’ve seen cars and trucks pulled into the water. Pretty much anything bad that can happen, tends to happen there on a weekend.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
I’m a really big fan of Babe Froman Meat and Counter. Having a local butcher like them is not something you find too often. Their wagyu vacio is amazing. Their sausages are great and the croquettas are fantastic.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
Travel is our escape. With busy schedules and especially the kids in all different age groups, from college all the way down to elementary, we get busy. We try to go on road trips once or twice a year. Our favorite spot is up in the mountains of North Carolina, in the Asheville area. It’s a place we can disconnect and spend time with family outdoors.
What’s a fun rainy-day activity for you all?
With Covid, it feels like there’s been a lot of rainy days whether it’s raining outside or not. We love watching movies and we’ve actually gotten pretty good at doing puzzles as a family.
What community or philanthropic groups are important to you that you might like to promote or share?
As a family, we’ve felt the best way to reach the community is through our local church. We attend, Christ Fellowship’s Palmetto Bay campus. Through the church they have, Carring for Miami, which helps the homeless in different parts of the city. Also on a regular basis, they do ‘Love Miami’, which is where they inspire members to do something in their local community and pitch in towards the greater good.
Would you like to share a pitch about your business?
Our business is more geared towards the institutional side, not so much public facing. But one thing we’ve definitely noticed that’s cool throughout Covid is how a lot of people with entrepreneurial spirits have started their own homegrown businesses, from making candles to baking items. My daughter started a cookie company, CookiesbyMia.com, and she’s been doing really well. It’s been great to see her do something in the community.
Is there a question that you would like to ask us?
It’s funny, we were talking about it the other day at the drive through. How long did it take you guys to come up with the rainbow smoothie?
(A&W) About 9 years. We’ve been making smoothies now for about 10 years. This year, people started asking for two flavors and then three. When we made those stacked colors, it was so beautiful. We realized that if we focused on the Rainbow, more people would try unknown fruits and learn about what’s grown locally. Now kids are drinking kale, beets and ginger, and lots of people are trying jackfruit for the first time.
What question or words of advice or maybe a challenge would you like to pose to the community?
In this tough time, with those who are hurting economically, or because of the loss of a loved one or someone is sick, all the normal things that we deal with are exacerbated. I encourage the community to look outward, and do what they can to get involved and give back to the community. We found as a family that the more we’re able to give back the more it lightens the load of what you’re carrying.