Fred Senra of the Miami Lakes AutoMall is a long-time civic leader in town. He currently serves as president of the Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce and is vice commander of American Legion Post 144.
He is also a member of the Miami Lakes Planning & Zoning Board, a body he has volunteered with for 11 years and is a former chair and vice chair. Senra, 75, is also a planner and sponsor of the Miami Lakes Veterans Day Parade for more than a decade and said he is a sponsor of such charity events as the B Fore Pink Golf Tournament; William “B” Graham Memorial Golf Tournament; Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church’s Festival and children’s fashion show.
He also supports events at Barbara Goleman Senior High School, and the auto dealer holds an annual toy drive at Christmas.
A recent passion project for Senra was reproducing musical recordings made by his late father Fernando Senra, which were performed mostly by musicians in Cuba. Senra sells them via internet streaming services.
Q: Where are you from, and what is your background?
A: I was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. in 1961. I attended Miami Jackson Senior High School and a two-year program through the Archdiocese [of Miami] at Barry University, to become a Lay Minister. I was in the service from 1966 to 1972, in the U.S. Army as a Sgt. E5 Instructor in the Signal Corps. I also have a degree in Business Administration from Summerset University’s distance learning program. I’m married to Maggie Senra and we have three children: Michelle Peral; Mylene Casamayor and Fernando Senra and one grandchild, Matthew Casamayor.
Q: What do you most like about Miami Lakes?
A: I like the small-town atmosphere where everybody knows each other, pretty much. We’re familiar with all the restaurants in Miami Lakes, and we like to dine out as much as we can here.
Q: What do you dislike about the town?
A: I don’t really dislike anything about this town. I love Miami Lakes, really. There is nothing to not like.
Q: What are the demands/responsibilities of your current position and what do you hope to accomplish?
A: My demands and responsibilities are very few at the AutoMall since I semi-retired from my post as general manager four years ago. My goal is just to continue as long as I can wake up in the morning and walk and talk, continue going into the office my three mornings a week and continue working at the [Miami Lakes] Chamber [of Commerce] until we have a new president. I want to make sure when I leave that the Chamber is healthy and has fulfilled the obligations that it should have accomplished. Our main goal is to increase the membership base.
As for the planning board, I like being there as I think it’s a very important, non-political board in town. We keep the town clean, from neighbors maybe not following the code regulations on their properties and that helps property values stay up and things like that.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment, in your personal life or your career?
A: My biggest accomplishment has been having a great wife and being married for almost 55 years and creating a fantastic family.
Q: What is your fantasy career?
A: To become a car dealer and I did that.
Q: What books are you reading, any podcasts that you’re listening to lately?
A: I read “Daily Word;” “God Calling” by A. J. Russell and the best book of all, the Bible. Some of these spiritual readings I share with close to 400 people thru Facebook, Telegram and Messenger, Monday through Friday. I listen to [Mayor] Manny Cid’s podcast [“305 Vox Populi”] every week. It’s always somebody interesting. We funded the launch with the equipment and we’re also a sponsor.
Q: What have you binge-watched on TV?
A: I love the “FBI” shows on CBS. “Bluebloods” is our favorite. We’ll watch marathons of it too.
Q: Where did you last travel to on a vacation?
A: Caravelle Beach on [U.S.] Highway 98 in the Panhandle, for Thanksgiving. It’s near Apalachicola and is called the Forgotten Coast.