If you’re opening a new business in Miami Lakes, you’ll likely have Jorge Alvarez on your welcoming committee.
Alvarez, 55, chairs the Town of Miami Lake’s Economic Development Committee.
The group of 14 volunteers tries to connect entrepreneurs with resources to help them launch new businesses and make sure existing ones stay afloat.
Alvarez has served on the committee for five years and became chair in early 2021. It hosts and co-hosts events including networking socials; business expos and webinars.
A young professionals’ podcast is in the works for next year, he said.
The town also holds a “Best of Miami Lakes” contest to feature and promote Miami Lakers’ favorite eateries, shops and service providers.
Alvarez is married and has three adult children. He is senior vice president of South Florida commercial real estate lending for Seacoast Bank, based in Stuart. He has three decades’ experience in the industry, he said.
Q: Where are you from and what is your background?
A: I was born in Cuba, but my parents immigrated to this country when I was about a year old. I’ve lived in South Florida ever since. I grew up in Hialeah, and I’ve been living in Miami Lakes for about 25 years now. I went to elementary school in Hialeah at Immaculate Conception [Catholic school], then I attended Monsignor [Edward] Pace High School. I had a lot of friends that lived in Miami Lakes, so I’ve been in Miami Lakes since I was a kid, pretty much. But I’ve actually lived as a tax-paying [town] resident for 25 years.
Q: What do you most like about Miami Lakes?
A: You walk around town and you see people that either you know well or people that you just see and everybody waves. It’s a nice feeling of family and community. The fact that you have that many [11 volunteer] committees with 10-to-15 people [each] we’ll call it... that’s a lot of involvement for a small town. That just says that everybody is invested in the community. And we want to make sure we maintain what’s made it great. I’m just proud of our sense of community.
Q: What do you dislike about the town?
A: Traffic is one thing. It’s challenging sometimes and it’s coming back after the pandemic. As of late, the blasting has really gotten more noticeable as people have worked from home. It normally goes off late morning. You feel the house shaking and it’s not a comfortable feeling when you’re there.
Q: As chair of the town’s Economic Development Committee, what are the challenges and what do you hope to accomplish?
A: I don’t like to look at things as challenges. Obviously, it’s trying to reach all the businesses and trying to make sure there are resources for them. The Economic Development Committee has come a long way in the last couple years as far as getting on social media, trying to promote and come up with things for the businesses. Networking is a main one … finding professionals to put up educational seminars for our businesses. You’re always trying to [bring] something fresh to provide for them.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment, whether in your personal life or career?
A: I’ve been consistently working in this industry since the 80s. I really haven’t taken more than a couple of weeks off between jobs. I’ve been able to raise a family. We have three kids. My sense of family… and living a good, faith-based life. You try to be fair and do good without expecting anything in return.
Q: Do you have a fantasy career?
A: It would probably be real estate-related, where I could travel and spend time with family. Real estate investment either domestically or abroad.
Q: What are you reading, what podcasts are you listening to?
A: I read a lot every day, but mainly industry-related, real estate or construction, the South Florida Business Journal. I read The [Miami] Laker as well. But more industry-related information and financial type of information.
Q: What are you binge-watching on TV?
A: Not a lot of time. I just watch football whenever I can, college football specifically. It’s a good time of the year for it.
Q: Where did you last travel to on a vacation?
A: The last trip we took was about a month ago. We actually took a road trip into Nashville. And then North Carolina. Our son recently relocated to Raleigh and we went to visit him and see the grandkids and his new house.