A native of Sarasota and first generation American, I grew up with my family on a much younger and more modest Siesta Key, after my family arrived to the US from Holland. An Out of Door Academy graduate, I attended UCF with a business degree in Hospitality Management. Returning to Sarasota, I went on to run well recognized restaurants including Cafe L’Europe on St. Armands circle, Cafe on the Bay on Longboat Key, and Fred’s Restaurant in SouthSide Village and Lakewood Ranch. Under my management and with an amazing team I had assembled, these restaurants won numerous awards including “BEST OF” Sarasota.
After gaining valuable experience in hospitality, I wanted to pursue a lifelong dream of being a police officer. Though vastly different from the restaurant industry, I took a leap of faith and left my comfort zone to be sworn in as a police officer with the Richardson Police Department in Texas, the Salutatorian of my class, now serving 125,000 residents. Assigned to the patrol division, I responded to 911 calls while enforcing local, state, and federal laws.
Back in Sarasota, having served others in the private and public sectors, I felt it was time to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. Today I work alongside my brother as cofounder and manager of TTJ Investments, LLC in the areas of development, technology and venture capital investing while continuing to give back to my community.
Due to the Heroin epidemic here in Sarasota/Manatee Counties I have started a speaking tour at local high schools to educate students on this dangerous drug based on my professional training and experience as a former law enforcement officer.
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When looking into a Venture Capital deal, it is high risk and high reward. NOTHING is certain nor guaranteed. Therefore the basis of an investment is, “Do I believe in this product? Is there a need? Do I believe in this person, their vision and their work ethic?” In exchange, I become an equity partner and advocate.