Millennials have been raised in a digital world, and they’ve been equipped with high-tech tools that help them achieve immediate results.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that local young professionals are not waiting for a stroke of luck to advance in their careers. Despite their young ages, many have charged full-steam ahead and are already making marks on this world as entrepreneurs, realtors, teachers, photographers, musicians and directors of nonprofit organizations.
Lake Business Magazine is excited to share their triumphs and successes in our inaugural 30 Under 30 feature, which introduces readers to some of the most talented young professionals in our area. Thanks to innovation, energy, hard work and persistence, this group of men and women are flourishing in their careers.
Current town: Clermont Occupation: Owner of Skillful Antics Duties: I create awesome and affordable websites. Greatest Career Accomplishment: We have clients in eight states, and we are opening our third location this year. Business Philosophy: Focus on building relationships first and businesses second. My Celebrity Spokesperson: Brad Pitt because he’s simply awesome. Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Don’t look at clients as a dollar sign. Talk to them and get to know who they truly are and establish a relationship first. Guilty Pleasure: I love looking at expensive tech gifts for men. I don’t buy them; I just enjoy looking at how creative inventors can be.
Current town: Mount Dora Occupation: Realtor/sales associate for Watson Realty Corp. If I could have a drink with anyone: I’d drink a mojito with Bill Gates and pick his brain on exactly how he got to where he is today. Greatest personal accomplishment: Going to Australia and competing in polocrosse as a member of the 18 and Under USA team. I was one of only seven youth players selected.
Current town: Tavares Occupation: President/CEO of New Vision for Independence Business philosophy: Do the right things the right way and everything else falls into place. Inspirational leader: Sheryl Sandberg, who is chief operating officer of Facebook. As a high-ranking female leader in a predominantly male sector, she uses her influence to push for gender equality. Guilty pleasure: Chocolate and Coke
Current town: Eustis Occupation: Branch manager of Insight Credit Union Business philosophy: If you want something, go get it. The key to success is failure. In 10 years: I will have mastered my profession with Insight Credit Union. First job: Bus washer with the Lake County School Board. During summer, we washed, waxed and detailed every bus in the school system. Hidden talent: I love making people laugh. Guilty pleasure: Chicken wings!
Current town: Eustis Occupation: Public relations coordinator for the City of Eustis Greatest career accomplishment: Having the City of Eustis, the Georgefest Parade, and Cameron Witsman featured on ABC World News. Cameron is a six-year-old-boy with a life-threatening illness and was named as an honorary Eustis firefighter. Pet peeve: I’m a grammar Nazi. I cringe when I drive by billboards that have typos. If I could have a drink with anyone: I’d have a Bud Light with Bethenny Frankel, who is founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails. She started with nothing and became rich with her drink line. Plus, I like the fact that she is tenacious.
Current town: Fruitland Park Occupation: I own Chowtime Apiary and also work at B&C Pest Solutions, which is owned by my family. Secret to success: Don’t listen to negative things people have to say. As a young entrepreneur, I couldn’t tell you how many negative comments I received and how many people told me my business venture wouldn’t work. Guilty pleasure: I don’t like eating anything healthy. It simply doesn’t taste good. Biggest inspiration: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Donald Trump: Donald Trump because he’s a tougher, straight-to-the-point guy. The other two are nerdy. If I could have a drink with anyone: I’d drink rum with a famous pirate and find out where the hidden treasure is. Hobbies: When I’m not working, I spend my time fishing and hunting.
Current town: Tavares Occupation: Supervisor of T. Scott Roofing, Inc. Greatest career accomplishment: Being the third generation in a family business that was started by my grandfather in 1973. First job: Winn Dixie when I was 16. I worked there for 18 months and realized I was better suited for an outdoor job. Hidden talent: Buying things and fixing them up to resell for profit. I’m a Craigslist junkie! Biggest inspiration: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Donald Trump: Donald Trump. I like his straightforward, no-nonsense approach to business. Pet peeve: Entitlement. Especially at my age, so many people are living an entitled life and don’t want to work hard for success. Guilty pleasure: Fine cigars.
Current town: Leesburg Occupation: Owner of Pin Ups Salon and Spa Greatest career accomplishment: Achieving my dreams by becoming a licensed cosmetologist and being able to operate my own business at 24. My celebrity spokesperson: Taylor Swift because she’s a great role model for the young crowd and promotes anti-bullying, which I strongly support. Inspirational leader I admire: Jessica Alba. She started the Honest Company to provide healthy alternatives and natural products for her kids. Hidden talent: I can catch fish by throwing a cast net. I am a country girl at heart I guess you could say.
Current town: Clermont Occupation: CEO of TB Financial Group, Inc. Life philosophy: Life is too short so make the most of each moment. I believe it’s our duty to leave the world a better place than when we got here.My celebrity spokesperson: Tony Robbins. His simple and proven path to success emphasizes the power of the mind. Inspirational leader: Mark Cuban because he’s a bada**. I’d also choose Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest self-made billionaire. If I could have a drink with anyone: I’d have Dom Perignon with Jackie Kennedy. She was a classy lady and that was her drink of choice for White House functions.
Current town: Orlando Occupation: Owner of Sierra Ford Photography Business philosophy: My clients’ great-grandchildren will be looking at the pictures I take, so it is important to capture authentic emotion and personality. Guilty pleasure: At 10 p.m. I drive to Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and order a strawberry-lemon gelato. If I could have a drink with anyone: I’d have a margarita with the Founding Fathers and talk about how they envisioned this world and how it is now. My celebrity spokesperson: Jack Johnson, a musician who raises environmental awareness through his band.
Current town: Eustis Occupation: Vice president of Triangle Lightning Protection Business philosophy: Stay true to your core values. Secret to success: Working hard and not taking myself too seriously. In 10 years: I’ll hopefully be in Lake County running our family business with my son, Chase. Quote to live by: “Opportunity is missed by people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” My celebrity spokesperson: Ted Nugent. He stands up for the American Dream and the Constitution.
Current town: Mount Dora Occupation: Owner of David Oliver Willis Music Greatest personal accomplishment: Finishing as a top 40 finalist on FOX’s “American Idol” Secret to success: Showing up, moving forward and allowing every “no” to propel me further. Inspirational leader I admire: Oprah Winfrey because she lives a life of authenticity while encouraging others to live life to their highest and best purpose.
Current town: Eustis Occupation: Commercial Operations Support Employer: First National Bank of Mount Dora Greatest personal accomplishment: I was named as Employee of the Year at my bank. Secret to success: I know there always is someone working harder than I. Pet peeve: When people don’t put enough effort toward something, it grinds my gears. Hidden talents: I play the guitar in my spare time. If I could have a drink with anyone: I would drink a Yuengling with my grandmother, who passed away when I was 4.
Current town: Umatilla Occupation: Office manager of Premier Alarm System Solutions Secret to success: Hard work and personal relationships. Advice for aspiring business professionals: Be friendly and outgoing. Networking is important. It really is all about who you know in business. In 10 years: I love my company and hope to stay for a while, but I would love and hope to own my own business someday. My celebrity spokesperson: Jennifer Lawrence. She’s fun, natural and easy to relate to. Guilty pleasure: Binge-watching Netflix with a bottle of wine.
Current town: Umatilla Occupation: Locomotive technician at Pensley Railroad Greatest career accomplishment: I have progressed throughout my career from schooling, hands-on experience and hard work. I am a fully certified fire apparatus technician and have also earned other certifications in my field. Business philosophy: Always give 110 percent in everything you do and you will go far. My celebrity spokesperson: Tim Tebow. He is one of the few male figures who through fame and fortune has kept his faith and made it known. Guilty pleasure: I like to drive fast and get my relief at the drag track once a month.
Current town: Leesburg Occupation: Manager of Internet sales at Central Industrial Sales, a machinery parts company that my grandfather opened 59 years ago Secret to success: It takes passion and commitment to be successful. It doesn’t happen overnight. In 10 years: Well, in the near future I hope to become owner of Central Industrial Sales. My grandfather has owned it for 59 years and said he’ll retire once he’s had the company for 60 years. Business philosophy: Just because you are struggling does not mean you are failing. My celebrity spokesperson: Reese Witherspoon because everyone says she’s my look-a-like Hidden talent: Ping-pong. Quite frankly, I never lose! Pet peeve: Unsolicited advice.
Current town: Fruitland Park Occupation: Accredited disability representative Employer: Disability Consultants Duties: Represent and argue cases for our clients during disability hearings My celebrity spokesperson: Former college football coach Lou Holtz. Lou would keep things light; he has a great sense of humor and wit, and he also demands your respect when he speaks. Hidden talents: I can juggle, draw a little bit and play three songs on the piano.
Current town: Orlando Occupation: Owner of Emma Shourds Photography Business philosophy: My purpose for pursuing photography is to answer a calling to share God’s grace and beauty in timeless photographs, as well as encourage self-confidence and individual expression in clients. Favorite quote: “Let go and let God.” I even have this tattooed on my foot. Hidden talent: I am really good at weird, cartoon-like voices. If I wasn’t pursuing photography, I would love to be a cartoon voiceover. It’s my alter-ego dream job!
Current town: Leesburg Occupation: Vice president of David Clark Heating and Air Conditioning Greatest career accomplishment: Becoming vice president of David Clark Heating and Air Conditioning. Inspirational leader: My father, David Clark. He taught me the importance of honesty and hard work and how dedication is important to running a business. Hobbies: Fishing, hunting and being outdoors.
Current town: Eustis Occupation: Biology teacher at Eustis High School Duties: In addition to teaching, I am head coach of the school’s softball and weightlifting teams. I also serve as sponsor of the junior class and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Greatest career accomplishment: I was Rookie Teacher of the Year in 2012 and Eustis High School Coach of the Year in 2014. My celebrity spokesperson: Olivia Pope from the television show “Scandal.” I absolutely love how she’s a go-getter and backs down from nobody. Pet peeve: Hearing people make excuses. Guilty pleasure: McDonald’s french fries
Current town: Eustis Occupation: CEO/owner of Mitchell’s Moving Business philosophy: Each job is the most important. Greatest career accomplishment: Making my company a family business and being a dependable company. Secret to success: Treating every customer with the same amount of respect and making sure everything I do is for them. If I could have a drink with anyone: I would have a beer with Mark Cuban because he is a great entrepreneur. Pet peeve: When people look down on themselves and act like they aren’t capable of doing something. All they have to do is set their mind to it. Guilty pleasure: Taking long weekends.
Current town: Oxford Occupation: Owner of Just Jammin Duties: I make homemade jams for special events such as weddings, baby showers and fundraisers. Business philosophy: Keep God first in all your endeavors and you will succeed. First job: Working at my family’s business, where I’d do oil changes, jump start vehicles and wash the tow trucks. My celebrity spokesperson: Kenny Chesney. The words in his music speak to my soul. Inspirational leader: Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer. She is very charismatic and not afraid to speak her mind.
Current town: Tavares Occupation: Owner of Haley’s Comet Clothing and Mobile Tuxedo Service Duties: I create custom-designed clothing, as well as tuxedos and suits. Greatest career accomplishment: Co-founding Sweet Treats for the Arts, a fashion show fundraiser that has raised $36,000 Life philosophy: Put your big girl panties on and deal with it! // Inspirational leader I admire: Coco Chanel because I design like her. No drawings… just a pattern in my head to go by. She also did not let anyone keep her from doing what she loved. If I could have a drink with anyone: I would dance (not drink) with Terry Crews because he is a riot and I love his moves! My celebrity spokesperson: Drew Barrymore. She has her own sense of style and doesn’t care what others think. She has also been through a lot and doesn’t give up.
Current town: Leesburg Occupation: Director of marketing and sales at THAT! Company. Business philosophy: Live and do business in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you nobody would believe it. Pet peeve: People who honk their horn after the light has been green for a moment. Patience, people! Guilty pleasure: I enjoy sleeping in a bit too much. Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Pursue your passion, take calculated risks and make sure you’re making a difference. Pursuing money only to gain material wealth is meaningless.
Current town: Eustis Occupation: Realtor Employer: Morris Realty and Investments Greatest life accomplishment: My wonderful husband and two beautiful girls. Guilty pleasure: Cookies, cake, ice cream and chocolate. I have the world’s worst sweet tooth. My celebrity spokesperson: Barbara Corcoran. She started a real estate company with just $1,000 and turned it into a billion-dollar business. If I could have a drink with anyone: I’d have a glass of pinot noir with my grandmother, who passed away six months before I was born. My dad said she and I would have been inseparable.
Current town: Mount Dora Occupation: Public information officer for the City of Mount Dora Business philosophy: “Let the public service be a proud and lively career.” Greatest personal accomplishment: Fulfilling my academic goals by earning a graduate degree. First job: I worked two years at Old Navy. I learned essential life skills, including time management, teamwork and how to serve others. If I could have a drink with anyone: Nelson Mandela. I’d ask him to recommend a good wine from a South African vineyard. Pet peeve: When social media is used for a diary.
Current town: Oxford Occupation: Designer/buyer for Monogrammit, Inc. Greatest career accomplishment: Helping start a business at age 16. Business philosophy: It’s all about being fair and ethical—not only to customers but also your employees. I think it is very important to be creative and original with your ideas. Secret to success: I love being creative and making customers happy. Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Love what you do and do what you love.
Current town: Tavares Occupation: Owner of CupKay’s Cakery, a cupcake food truck. Duties: I am the head pastry chef. Business philosophy: I believe all gourmet products should be handcrafted from the finest ingredients and taste as great as they look. Life philosophy: You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination. My celebrity spokesperson: Bobby Flay, an Iron Chef on the Food Network. He’s passionate about baking so he’d be passionate about my company.
Current town: Leesburg Occupation: Account Representative Employer: Akers Media Life philosophy: God, family, work, fun. Secret to success: Drive and integrity. Without either, you’ll never find success My first job: I was a waiter at Lake Port Square at 15. In 10 years: Right now, I’m thinking about today. All I know is, in the words of Zig Ziglar, “I’ll see you at the top.”
Current town: Leesburg Occupation: Owner of Computer Corner Business philosophy: My slogan is, “Computer Repair with Care.” I strive to give each customer quality service at an affordable price. Greatest career accomplishment: Running my own business at age 15 and incorporating the business at age 18. Secret to success: Keeping the Lord first in everything I think, say and do. If I could have a drink with anyone: I’d drink with Steve Jobs so I could pick his brain about technology and how he came up with ideas on how to excel. Guilty pleasure: Sour Patch Kids candy