Category Archives: Celebrity Spotlight

Local Celebrity Spotlight: John Spence

spenceAre you from Gainesville? If not where and why did you move here?

I was born and raised in South Miami, I am a fifth-generation Floridian, I moved to Gainesville in 1984 to go to Santa Fe College and then the University of Florida. I graduated from UF in 1989 from the College of Journalism and Communications with a degree in Public Relations.

How do you relax?

Fly fishing, typically for freshwater trout in Colorado or New Zealand – My wife, Sheila and I also have a boat that we take to Cedar Key and Steinhatchee quite often. I also like to garden and I’m learning to paint landscapes and painting with acrylics.

Do you have pets?

We have an absolutely wonderful Vizsla named Suri – which is short for “surrender” because we surrendered our heart, our wallet and our yard to her. She’s a show dog and a national level champion. She is the smartest and sweetest dog we’ve ever owned.

What gadget and/or app can’t you live without?

The voice recognition software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I use it to dictate all of my memos, emails and the last three books I’ve written…or spoken.

What don’t we know about you?

My mother was one of the top lady anglers in the world. She caught the first 500 pound blue Marlin in Key West after Hemingway and was the Commodore Bimini.

What is in your fridge?

Fresh vegetables from our yard, fresh eggs from her next-door neighbor’s chickens, and Noosa yogurt from Australia……. it is so delicious.

What has your best financial investment been?

In self-learning… books, audiobooks, and seminars – anything and everything that would help me improve in my business and life.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“You become what you focus on and similar to the people you spend time with” – John Spence

Who inspired you as a child?

Leonardo da Vinci – his work still inspires me.

What is your favorite thing to do in Gainesville?

Go to the downtown art shows or events at the Phillips Center and Santa Fe College.

What type of music do you listen to?

I mostly listen to books and news, but acoustic guitar and jazz are my favorite types of music.

What is your favorite movie?

Monty Python’s quest for the Holy Grail – I have it completely memorized.

What drives you crazy?

People who do not do what they say they will do.

What is your favorite meal?

Grilled steak with baked potato and garlic spinach.

Where is your favorite beach and why?

The beach on the east side of Bimini, I spent a lot of summers there and it’s never crowded.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

I worked as a mate on a charter boat in the keys, and I learned the importance of customer service. It was a menial job, cleaning toilets, cleaning up the boat, bringing food to the customers and I learned that if you treated them great, even if we didn’t catch fish they had a good time.

What was your first car and what do you drive now?

A black Ford Bronco and now I drive a Chevy Tahoe – I’ve always driven trucks my entire life.

Local Celebrity Spotlight – Gil Levy, President of Tioga Town Center

levygil1-When did you move to the US and why?

I moved to Jacksonville, Florida in December of 1978, hired by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

2- How do you relax?

Sometimes a cigar and single malt scotch while grilling a nice steak, other times going to the beach with Becky, or listening to music.

3-Do you have pets?

Yes, a 10 year old African Grey parrot named Vito.

4-What gadget and/or app can’t you live without?

I shouldn’t admit to this, but I am not a gadget/app guy. The closest item would be my iPhone and the Pandora App. I listen to music in the car; it’s a form of relaxation as well.

5-What don’t we know about you?

I am one of 50 or so first cousins. My mother had 11 siblings, so my family is large.

6-What is in your fridge?

Fresh local fruits and vegetables, orange juice, soy milk, lots of spices and spice mixes, free range eggs, butter, and organic chicken and beef. No desserts.

7-What has your best investment been?

My family, and close friends. They have yielded the best reward. From a financial point of view: I bought GE, APPL and MOT stocks before the big rebound. They have done well for me.

8- Do you have a favorite quote?

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” Mohandas Gandhi.

9-Who inspired you as a child?

My mother, without a doubt. If I can be half the person she was, I will consider my life to have been accomplished and successful.

10-What is your favorite thing to do in Gainesville?

Gainesville is such an eclectic town, with a variety of things to do. We enjoy the many nice restaurants, walking through UF now and then and the many concerts by local artists.

11-What type of music do you listen to?

A bit of everything, although Latin Music is my favorite, followed by classic rock and jazz.

12-What is your favorite movie?

Forest Gump, mainly because of the great soundtrack and cinematography. I have visited a number of the places depicted in the movie.

13-What drives you crazy?

Complaints without solutions. I am a results oriented person; bring me solutions if you feel something is not working right.

14-What is your favorite meal?

Roast Pork, Rice and Beans and fried ripe plantains (Lechon asado, arroz con habichuelas y maduros)

15-Where is your favorite beach?

Siesta Key, followed closely by Canaveral National Seashore.

16-What was your first car and what do you drive now?

I had a 4 speed Oldsmobile while in college, a 6 speed BMW 550i now.starfire