Talk techie to me… I love solving problems, Marvel Comics, sociology, and leveling up.
I was born on April 17, 1984 in North Miami, FL and grew up in the Village of Biscayne Park. My dad bought my first computer, a Packard Bell, in 1995. Since then, my entrepreneurial spirit began to grow as money was tight around the house and I enjoyed going out, meeting people, and helping out where I could. I had many different jobs going on, Speedy Car Wash, Walk the Dog, Lawn Mowing Services, and more. As I began learning more about computers, I was instantly hooked on developing websites. The first few sites I created were with FrontPage using their themes to make the site look fancy and, uh, reviewing other websites to see how they did things. I want to say they were hosted on Geocities, but who knows. Eventually, I created a flyer and directed them to the website on the right. 33 VISITORS!
Eventually, I only had a handful of people that I helped out. Yes, they paid me, but it wasn’t much. For example, I loved helping out an elderly neighbor named Joanne. She needed help with groceries, car washing, walking her pit bulls, etc. She would keep all the change she collected, even when I wasn’t helping her, and would put it in a jar for me. She also made some really, really good homemade food!
As time went on, I started a website dedicated to the Miami Dolphins. Originally it was named “AJ’s Miami Dolphins Website” and I basically wrote posts, kept stats, and so on. As it attracted more attention, it became “AJ & Friends Miami Dolphins Website”. Finally, in 1996, it grew to a point where I began FinHeaven.com. It grew larger and larger over the years. While attending Hillsborough Community College I submitted FinHeaven for Annual Technology Showcase and won 1st place as judged by the University of South Florida College of Engineering professors!
Shortly after that recognition, my best friend and mentor, my dad was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in October 2003. Between finishing up college and spending time with my dad, my attention to FinHeaven dropped and relied heavily on volunteers. On April 2nd, 2004, my dad passed away and left a huge whole in my heart. I put off a lot of emotions as I had to finish college and also do some upkeep with FinHeaven.
In 2005, the official Miami Dolphins organization brought in webmasters from a variety of unofficial websites. That year we also experienced significant growth and became the largest unofficial website with over 100k users. That year we were awarded with the “Best Special Features” and “Most Informative Site” award. As time went on, a lot of our volunteer writers, graphic designers, etc landed bigger gigs with ESPN and the Miami Dolphins organization. That was perhaps the most awarding experience for me. In 2006, I decided that it was time to move onto my next venture and sold FinHeaven.
Also in late 2005, I began my professional career in web development using .NET C# and MsSQL with Mobile Campus and dropped out of college.
From then on out, I’ve always had a few key values, lessons, whatever you want to call them.
I’ll always remember these two quotes from my Dad:
“If you’re going to do anything in life, don’t half ass it.”
While on a construction site (my dad sold tractors) one of his clients asked me if I’m going to be following my dad’s footsteps. He instantly replied and said, “Fuck no, he’s going to be doing something better.”
I love development, but also enjoy interacting with business team members, clients, etc.
I genuinely love helping people, also a trait from my dad.
My favorite “theme” for life is Hakuna Matata from Lion King.
I absolutely love bike riding. It helped me tremendously overcome my addictions in life that I experienced shortly after my dad passed away and most of my 20’s. A few days before Christmas in December 2009, I made the decision that 2010 was going to be the year for change. It’s definitely easier said than done, but I eventually overcame many addictions/obstacles and have created Active For Recovery and volunteer as much as I can to help others.
I’m an Aries. I enjoy good glass of whiskey or bourbon; beer wise I tend to stick to Belgian Quads, Bourbon Barrel Aged, or Barleywine. Oh, and I’m big into Marvel!
Before my dad passed away, I made the decision to tell him that I was gay. Midway through coming out, he stopped me and asked, “Are you trying to tell me that you’re gay? I’ve always known since you were little. You never wanted to see the cheerleaders!” I was 20 at the time.
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