Name: Matthew Barker
Where were you born? I was born in West Palm Beach, FL but have lived in Alachua County since I was 5.
What are your community activities? (church or faith-based involvement, local, regional and national professional organizations, non-profits, etc) I am a member of Church of Christ. I am on the board of Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida. I am on the board of associates for Meridian Behavioral Healthcare. I am also an active member of the Builders Association of North Central Florida and the Chamber. I am also a member of a local BNI Chapter. I am a member of the Gainesville Quarterback Club as well.
List any awards you have won for community service: Although I have been very active in the community and throughout the non-profit sector I don’t recall winning any awards.
What is your definition of success? Success for everyone is different. Sometimes a success for me is not getting aggravated in traffic when my wife is riding with me. However, whenever I think about success two things come to mind. First, don’t define yourself or your success by your stuff, who cares what you have or what you own. I live by that every day. The second thing I think about is the following phrase: Don’t have a bad hour because that leads to a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, and so on. Success for me is defined by the little things that we do to complete the big picture.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment? To date that would be the practice that I have built. I certainly have not done it all on my own but I do take some pride and satisfaction in what I have accomplished so far. By no means am I content, but I am excited about the progress and vision for the future.
How do you exemplify the spirit of a Forty Under 40 professional? I exemplify the spirit by the way I live my life on a daily basis by the commitment to my faith, family, clients, community and those around me. I strive everyday to be transparent and openly honest with everyone I come in contact with. I live life with no regrets and I am always willing to listen to those around me.
Businessperson who has most inspired you: I would have to say the late Steve Jobs. The vision and passion he showed in creating products and services that would change people’s lives is truly amazing. It hard not to admire a guy that starts his own company then gets fired from it and 11 years later ends up back at the company he started and takes it to being on top of the world.
Best advice ever received: Early on in my life and career I always thought talking and verbally expressing your intelligence was the way to prosperity but I have learned and was told by a person very close to me that listening is the way to prosperity. I have ingrained that thought and vision in my mind and throughout my business. I am a listener first then a talker. It always amazes me what you can learn by just listening.
Greatest professional challenge: In my line of work it takes trust and experience to build a book of business. Starting in my field at such a young age was difficult at first but has paid dividends already. Many people trusted me long before I deserved it and help me grow my practice and business to where it is today and I am grateful for that every day.
First job: My first paying job that actually counted toward Social Security was at the age of 15 for Winn Dixie. I was a bag boy. At that time the state would only allow you to work on the weekends and you could only work 8 hours on Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday. I did many other jobs such as picking watermelons, cleaning dog kennels, and mowing lawns before then but that was what we all like to call CASH MONEY!!
What color crayon would you be? Why? I would be blue. One reason is because I love the color blue but also because I think the sky is a beautiful thing. I always strive to reach for the sky and often encourage other to look towards the sky, reminding them that there are not many limits and the only thing holding any of us back is our self.
Favorite after-work drink: Ummmmm….Sweet Tea. Ok maybe it’s Jack & Coke!!
If I had a magic wand, I’d: Fully fund every Non-profit in our community so they could serve those in need of their services and support.
What is your favorite Gadget? My GoPro camera. Not only does the thing take incredible photos and videos but it gives me a way to see the world from a different view. It is totally awesome to record something and be able to relive the memory later while watching the video. Plus it provides for some pretty entertaining moments that are captured on camera.
How long have you been in Gainesville? I have been a part of Alachua County since I was 5. I went to Santa Fe High School and graduated from the University of Florida.
What do you love most about Gainesville/Alachua County? I love the fact that no matter where I am in this town I always run into someone I know. I enjoy being surrounded in the community by such great leaders, business people and friends. The spirit of togetherness and family that pours through this community is truly incredible. I also know that whatever I need is only a phone call away and everyone is so willing to help.
Three things people would be surprised to know about you: I have owned 12 cars since the age of 16…..yes I know it’s an issue. I was a former Student Body President of Santa Fe College. I hate napkins. Whoever knows me understands that I am a total clean freak and maybe a little OCD…..but I will not use a napkin until I am completely done eating!!
Advice you would give a younger you: Find a mentor. Find someone that you admire and that can help you get to where you want to go. Anyone who thinks they can do it all on their own is crazy. I have had lots of help and support along the way.