Company: Bluewater Industries
Title: Director of Credit & Collections
Favorite College Team: The University of Georgia Bulldogs.
Where are you from?: I was born in Vallejo, California. My father was in the military and got stationed at NAS Jacksonville when I was 10. I may not have been born here, but I’m definitely a Floridian.
Gator Bowl Sports Membership Level: Green Jacket Member
How long have you been involved with Gator Bowl Sports? Since 2012, I believe. That was my ‘redshirt’ year.
What is your favorite aspect of your involvement with Gator Bowl Sports?: The thing for me is networking with other local community leaders who have an interest in seeing Jacksonville become a better city. Gator Bowl Sports is helping to do that – whether it be through our philanthropic work or our work through the annual TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game, we’re able to make an impact while highlighting all that Jacksonville has to offer.
What’s your favorite TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Memory: The Georgia vs. Penn State game in 2015. It was a great game (not only because I’m a Bulldog fan), but my favorite memory is after the game… I was walking the concourse underneath the stadium and ran across Loran Smith who is the sideline commentator for The University of Georgia. The team busses had forgot him and left him there at the stadium. I had the privilege of taking him to his hotel after the game and speaking with him during the entire drive. Even better than that, the following year, he invited me up to a Georgia game, and he invited me to his house for a party he throws every year where I had the pleasure of meeting Charley Trippi who is a former Bulldog and an NFL Hall of Famer.
You host the practice facility for, typically, the ACC team, can you share a little about that unique volunteer position?: The ACC team practices up at Fernandina Beach High School, so with that role ahead of game week, we meet with the Athletic Director to make sure the school and facilities are up to standard for the incoming TaxSlayer Gator Bowl teams. Once teams have been announced, I coordinate logistics for the team, so their support staff knows where everything is and they can make sure that everything is set-up from the the practice fields to the locker rooms, and even the gym. I assist in coordinating getting them back and forth from their hotel to the facility. I’m also there on-site to make sure they have whatever they need while at the practice. There’s been times where people get hurt at practice and you’ll take them to the emergency room instead of waiting for an ambulance. You’re there to support the staff and school in whatever aspect whether it be the nutritionist, equipment manager, or even the head coach. I’ve enjoyed serving in that role for a number of years now!
To put you on the spot, who do you think is going to be in the game?: You know, I can easily see a Notre Dame and Florida matchup… that would be fantastic!
What are your favorite things about the Jacksonville area?: One thing about Jacksonville is that it is so diverse. Within an hour you can be in Downtown Jacksonville enjoying the Cummer Museum and then you can be out in the woods hunting.
What are your hobbies outside of work?: Gardening is probably the biggest thing I do. I like seeing what’s produced and knowing “Hey, you grew this!”. I will spend usually most of my Saturday and Sunday out there doing something. We grow tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and we have several fruit trees, so it’s lots of fun. I also like to hunt and spend time with my grandkids.
What’s your favorite sports film? If I had to pick any, I would pick Rudy… I always root for the underdogs.
What would be your walk-up song? Centerfield by John Fogerty. I like the concept of being available wherever you’re needed.
What’s your favorite genre of music : For me it’s country bluegrass, I was raised on that. I’m not a real pop or rock guy!
Are you a fan of live music?: No. I got to be honest it’s the people singing around me. It’s funny, my wife and I went to a concert last Friday and my wife was enjoying it and I was just sitting there. You pay $150 to $200 to hear them sing, not the people around you.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?: I’ve had great mentors over many years and something they all stated without exception is, education. Not necessarily a formal education through a university; there’s so many different opportunities out there to get a good education whether it be through a trade school or online courses. Get whatever education you have available. One thing my wife’s uncle taught me back when I was 19, he said “Son look, you got to work smarter, not harder.”.
What advice would you give a young professional who was reading this?: My advice for a young professional would be to give back to your community. There’s so many things that young professionals can offer. You could mentor young high school and junior high students. My first experience with giving back was in my mid-to-late twenties with the United Way of Northeast Florida. I got involved with the campaign and progressed from campaign chair to a couple of boards with multiple non-profits in the area. Find something you’re passionate about whether it be education, mentoring, adults with disabilities, etc. and get involved with an organization where you can help and provide some insight. Just get involved with your community and make it a better community.
Who are your biggest supporters? Without a doubt it is my wife Melanie. Without her, I couldn’t do anything I’m doing now. Obviously, my kids support me 100% and they’re excited about where I’m going and what I’m doing, but Melanie is the one. I couldn’t do it without her.