Home: Tampa, FL and Casey Key, FL. Age: 30. Birthplace: Tampa, FL. Profession: Musical instrument industry; finance and real estate. Organization: Era Music Brands. 50% ownership interests in Dean Guitars, Luna Guitars, ddrum. Previously, Armadillo Enterprises. Title: Founder and CEO. Significant other: My beautiful fiancé, Catherine Thomas. Alma mater: Duke University (B.A.). Languages spoken: English; limited working proficiency in Spanish and Italian.
Current project: Launching ERA Music Brands and acquiring various sub brands under the parent company. Also, serving as an interviewer for prospective applications to Duke University. Recent recognition: Featured in digitalDrummer magazine for the promise and potential of ddrum. Recent professional development: A career transition from President & CEO of Armadillo Enterprises to founding my own musical instrument conglomerate, ERA Music Brands. Latest accomplishment: Driving Armadillo Enterprises to a 27.3% Y/Y increase from 2020 to 2021. Latest contribution to others: Annual donations and participation in event fundraisers for Duke University, Jesuit High School, the Humane Society and Southeastern Guide Dogs. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Transitioning from a finance career to a musical instrument career when my father became terminally ill. Hobbies: Hiking and running with our four dogs; golfing, grilling, auto racing. Recent travel or adventure: Canouan Island, the site of our destination wedding next June. Last book read: The Outsiders, by William N. Thorndike, Jr. Recently viewed and recommended: Severance (Apple TV+).
Personality profile: Determined, persevering, intuitive, self-aware and self-reflective. A risk-taker and a people’s person. What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Driven. Moral compass: Would I be proud of my decisions if my loved ones saw what I was doing. How do you define a perfect friendship? A true measure of give and take. Reciprocity. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Trust and loyalty; aligned business objectives and backgrounds; those who can add strengths where I am weak. What is your greatest joy? My dogs and my family. What is your greatest fear? Failing to achieve my true personal and business potential. What is your guilty pleasure? A fine scotch whiskey. What word or phrase do you use far too often? Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn. What natural talent have you neglected? Track and field. I ran D1 in college for the 200m & 400m. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Specialty doctors seeking to solve complex problems for life-threatening conditions. What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Traveling, dining and investing in biotechnology and biopharma. What is at the top of your bucket list? Visiting the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. How do you relieve stress? Running, swimming and spending times with my four dogs. What is your go-to workout? Peloton and weights. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? A worry-free, stress-free environment.
What was your first paying job? Working in my late father’s warehouse sweeping floors at eleven years old. What was your favorite college course? International Finance and Trade. What was your favorite childhood toy or game? Vintage arcade games, e.g., Pac Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong and Pinball. What book have you repeatedly read? Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis. What movie have you repeatedly watched? Darkest Hour. What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? Platinum albums from world-famous rock bands. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? My fiancé, Catherine Thomas. What’s the best advice you received growing up? No one owes you anything in life. What’s the best advice you received in your career? Never predicate your decisions off of an assumption. What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Mobile hotspots. What is your favorite app? Zillow and LinkedIn. What is your go-to source of news and information? CNBC, WSJ, Bloomberg, Barrons, MarketWatch and BBC. What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Music and music videos. What company or organization do you most admire? Bridgewater Associates, D.E. Shaw Group and Fender. What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? COVID-19. What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? My father’s passing when I was twenty-five years old.
Increasing the use of technology to better assist in supply chain efficiencies and reporting data.
What change would you like to see in the world? A return to specialization of comparative advantage in global trade and a less nationalistic outlook. What message do you want to send out into the world? Try to see things from others’ perspectives. We are all a product of our experiences. None objectively right; none objectively wrong. What widely held belief do you reject? There is no single correct path in life. Life and career are simply what you make of them. What mega-trend most excites you? Blockchain technology and certain cryptocurrencies. What mega-trend most concerns you? The metaverse.
What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Kit Harington. Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Winston Churchill. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A professional tennis player. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? Family documents and photos; a guitar my late father designed in tribute to 9/11, just before he passed away. How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? A hike with my dogs and my fiancé, a few hours out at the pool and a great steak dinner. What advice would you give your younger self? Be patient. What day in your life would you choose to re-live? The day I proposed to my fiancé. What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? Spending more time with my father before he passed.
Personal mission: To provide my children with more opportunity and more success than I have had. Personal motto: Selfless desires often evoke selfless actions. Favorite quote: “Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity” (Michael Johnson). Desired epitaph: I’m 30, don’t sell me short just yet…