What are The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale?
The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale is a Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America. The mission and purpose of the organization is to improve the quality of life while enhancing educational and economical opportunities for African and Caribbean Americans. This mission is accomplished through our Four For The Future programs that are geared towards Mentoring, Economic Development, Education, and Health and Wellness. We strive to make a difference within the African\Caribbean American Communities. I say Caribbean because South Florida has a very high Caribbean population.
How did you become involved with the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale?
I was searching for a way to give back to the community. I was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale. I grew up in the Northwest section of Ft. Lauderdale, which is primarily an African American low income area. I wanted a way to give back to my community. I began the search for organizations that shared my common interests, goals, principals, and philosophies. I ran across a very good friend of mine that is a member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale. He invited me to a meeting that involved what the organization was trying to accomplish within to the community.
How did you become the president?
I became the Chapter’s president based on sheer passion, my desire to want to give back to the community, and my close community ties. Growing up in the area brings understanding and the commitment to want to make a difference. I believe that my leadership abilities lead me to the board of directors for the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale and then on to the presidency.
How did you start Simply IT?
I will tell you how I came up with Simply IT. I am a third generation business owner in the Northwest section of Ft. Lauderdale. That is where my grandmother started her first business in 1954. She has passed away, my father has passed away, and I have inherited the property. Like mentioned before, I am looking to give back to the community and to increase the economic status within the community. The community has digressed because middle class families have relocated. Since their departures, there have been negative impacts to the community. For example, traffic is designed to run through the community. In my opinion, it is no longer a business district. They are trying to bring business back to the community through various revitalization efforts. My Grandma started this in 1954; here we are today in the 2000’s. What is the major contributor, the biggest initial component to any successful business? The answer to that question is Information Technology. This is where my profession lies. I have a degree in Management of Information Systems. I have worked in the Information Technology industry since 1993. I have been very successful in the Technology industry. I am going to utilize the knowledge and the success that I have acquired throughout the years and give that knowledge back to the community in which I was raised. That is the concept of Simply IT. My goal is to implement Technology based solutions. The convenience of having a technology entity within the community will bring businesses back to the community through revitalization efforts. To accomplish this goal, I will build intelligent office spaces and business centers. We want to promote entrepreneurship to the African American Community. One way to promote entrepreneurship is by providing an easier way for entrepreneurs to focus on the business talents that they have. My primary focal point will be on the technology aspect. The Technical Business Centers will provide internet access, email capabilities, website hosting, computers, and every technology component necessary to run your business is included in your office space.
How did you come up with the name?
I was speaking to a very successful, long time entrepreneur. I asked him, are you advertising your business now on the web? I wanted to know what he was doing from a technology perspective. He stated that technology is very complicated and overwhelming. If he spent his time attempting to learn technology, he wouldn’t have the time to make money. He believed that he had two options. He could learn technology and not do what was necessary to make money or continue to run his business and forego the technology. This gentleman is in his fifties; therefore, it is understandable that technology is more of a challenge for him. Simply IT’s concept is: We are going to present successful entrepreneurs with simple technology approaches that they can absorb and grow with.
At the Technology Business Center, Simply IT will consult and counsel you as a client on different technologies that you can use to further promote your business. We are not trying to use technology to intimidate you. We want to ensure that you fully understand and appreciate the numerous benefits that technology has to offer.
Ok, so Simply IT is going to allow these companies to eliminate the IT department more or less by making things easier especially for a lot of individuals who have been in business for a long time and who may not want to adapt to the new wave, the new future, or the new technology.
First of all, Simply IT is not going to eliminate the IT department. Most of the individuals who progress know the importance of technology. They will either outsource their technology needs or find technology consultants to assist in accomplishing their needs. The Technology Business Center is a one stop shop. It will provide system backups, anti-virus protection, Microsoft Office products, hosting of websites, email capabilities, amongst a host of other technology products and solutions necessary to make a successful business. My goal is to level the playing field for small businesses. For example, I have a Royal Caribbean (my current employer) and a Simply IT business card. By looking at those business cards you can not determine whether each company is large or small. Because Simply IT’s email address is either AOL or Bellsouth, it indicates that it is a small company and that the company hasn’t made an investment in technology. The Royal Caribbean email address is associated with the company’s name; therefore, indicating it is a large company.
If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?
I am 36.
Ok, so you are still young and kicking. You know, I am always interested in talking to people with what I do. I was rather impressed because, you don’t come across many young guys trying to be involved within the community for starters and trying to run a successful business. A lot of people tend to just want to do things for someone else when in actuality they can do it for themselves.
People have that fear of stepping off that ledge onto the grass. They want to sit back and just have everything handed to them. I admire the fact that you re out there, you are trying to do what you do for you, and at the same time support the community that you grew up in, that’s kind of cool.
Definitely. To me that is the true sense of success and accomplishment. I do not measure success by how much you make, what kind of car you drive, and the materialistic things that you have. Success is being able to live comfortably and being able to help other people. If I can help the next generation, then that is the true meaning of success. That is what our ancestors did for us. A lot of our ancestors did not die rich. Some died poor or middle class. What they went through in order to make it possible for us to accomplish our goals is immeasurable and defines the true meaning of success.
Is there anything else that you would like to add for your interview that I can go out there and talk to the people, you know, anything that you would like to throw out?
I would like to encourage people to go out there and give back. Try to reach your audience and work with them; search for ways to continuously give back. We have a lot of very, very talented youth out there. If we keep making investments in our youth, they will continue to progress in the African/Caribbean American Communities. We are going forward and giving back to the community. Simply IT is going to make that investment in the community through hard work, dedication, and talent. We have incredible kids and incredible minds and we want to continue to encourage them to do incredible things.