Where do you live?
We live down in the Killian area by Killian High school.
How long have you lived in the area?
Two and a half years.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
Family and a desire for a bigger yard. We lived in Gables for a while and wanted something quieter, a little more isolated, and with a big backyard for the boys to run around.
Would you share a little about your family?
It’s four of us. Monica and I got married eight years ago and we have two boys. Our three-and-a-half-year-old is Gavin and our eight-month-old is Liam.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
I’m a business owner. I do procurement consulting with a focus on payments. I help with anything having to do with payments coming in, such as credit card processing, and payments going out, like accounts payable. We deal mostly in the middle market segment, around $50 million in annual sales, where we can make the greatest difference.
How did you get into this business?
I got into it when the economy tanked in 2008. My background was in lending. I had started my first company at the age of 27 and shortly thereafter the economy went down. To be perfectly blunt, I was trying to figure out what to do next. A couple of my friends were in payments, I started getting knee deep, then waist deep and I saw an opportunity to operate from a consulting standpoint because people were bitter about their payment infrastructure. They weren’t sure what was real and what was not, and they needed guidance more than they needed a product. So, I flipped it and said, I’ll charge you for guidance and I don’t care which vendor you use.
What type of advice would you offer us (even though we are smaller than the average client)?
I would prioritize work flow, ease of use and integration with other software that you use. Those would be my two biggest pieces of advice for a company of your size because any savings would probably be $50 a month.
I know that a lot of projects you have worked on have dealt with creating community. What have you learned that has worked well?
I started Map Your Startup around seven years ago as a nonprofit initiative to connect startups. We did a lot of one on one mentoring with accomplished entrepreneurs and paired them with startups across town in partnership with FIU. Whenever you get entrepreneurs you don’t have to nudge them much. If there’s one lesson learned, it’s to get out of the way. Give them the platform, give them access to the information, make yourself available whenever needed, and then get out of their way. One of the most inspiring things I saw was the ambition, work ethic and willingness to help from everybody that was involved.
What type of resources are there for startups in Miami now?
Refresh Miami is the preeminent resource guide now. When you look at physical centers, there’s a lot of co-working spaces, but I think the strongest one in town is called CIC Miami. It’s short for Cambridge Innovation Center, Miami that’s run by a close friend of mine. Their entire business model revolves around building community.
How often do you come to the market?
I don’t remember the last time I didn’t make it, rain or shine.
What is your market ritual?
We go straight to your stand. We order the red and green, that’s what Gavin calls it. I get your turmeric concentrate probably every other visit and I don’t leave there without getting a couple of fresh avocados for the week. They’re a regular staple at our house.
How are you using the turmeric concentrate?
I take a two ounce shot every morning. I started when Gavin started school and got sick, as all kids do when they go to school, and I found myself lethargic, swollen and bloated. It really worked. After a few weeks, I could really feel when I missed it. I drink it straight. For me, blending it with anything else is like diluting good champagne.
What else do you buy from other stands at the market?
Sometimes, we’ll get some orchids. On occasion, we’ll get some bread from ZAK the Baker. I definitely get a breakfast empanada from time to time and my wife likes to get the acai bowls.
What’s it a fun activity you enjoy doing with your kids?
I’m doing my best to make them like cycling. They seem to like it on their own. I don’t feel like I’m coercing them too much. When we go on vacation, we usually are in nature and they both seem to gravitate towards that. Even Liam melts when he sees Fairchild and Gavin likes hiking.
Have you found any good places to go riding with the kids?
I tend to stay around the neighborhood with them because there’s a lot of dead-end streets. I’ve already plotted out some very safe rides to stay on the bike paths through Key Biscayne. From Alex Wayne Right, you can stay on the sidewalks away from car traffic and go all the way down to the key. There is one light to cross.
Have you found any deals at the market?
I think the impact of buying local is starting to gain traction again. For me, if I think about where I want to spend my money on Avocados, if it’s a local organic farm, where I can meet the people and shake their hand and understand that what I’m buying is what I’m getting, I’m willing to overpay for it. And your case, it’s less than a Hass avocado at Whole Foods.
What do you think our market is missing?
Without Babe Froman, we are missing a breakfast meal. Right now, the only options are an egg arepa or acai bowls.
Do you have any good market stories?
Not a story but a note. It’s just mostly recognizing people that you see at the market when you’re out. We went to a concert and we saw a handful of people that we recognize from the market and even though a friendship hasn’t struck it up, you see the same people every week and there’s a sense of community.
What do you like to cook at home?
We invested in a grill and I cook 4-5 days a week on the grill. I’ve explored grilling fruits, pineapples, bananas, pears, bananas. The pineapple on the grill is just insanely underrated. It is so good. Slice them 1 ½ inches thick and grill them for 3 minutes on each side at about 350 degrees until they have grill marks. For bananas, cut the banana in half lengthwise and grill it skin up for three minutes. Flip it and when the peel starts to come off, it’s ready. Drizzle some rum and honey sauce on top.
We just got our first Wagyu skirt steak from the folks at Babe Froman. I just don’t see how I can go back to anything else. The wagyu just disintegrates in your mouth, it’s so rich, so good. I ended up doing four minutes on each side – and that’s all it needs.
What’s the area’s best kept secret?
For me, it’s still Fairchild. If you just sit around and listen to the sounds of nature, it centers you pretty quickly and it’s just a neat thing. You don’t have to do anything, you just let it work and that’s one of the few places you can do that. We’ve been members for a couple of years and we try to go as often as possible.
What is a worthy splurge?
Anything related to cycling.
What’s a good rainy day activity?
Ideally, it would be sleep.
Where’s the most romantic spot around?
I’d probably say the Valentine’s concert at Fairchild. We’ve done that maybe seven years in a row.
Would you like to share a pitch about your business or your company with the community?
If you have any payment needs that you’d like to discuss feel free to reach out. I’ll be happy to have a basic one on one conversation to uncover any potential issues, needs, and operational improvements, Anybody should take me up on that offer regardless of the size of the business. I’m happy to have the conversation.