Meet Thomas Paterek!
Thomas is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, traveler and environmentalist. A University Of Tampa graduate, he is originally from New Jersey. Watching and helping his father restore vintage Porsches for a living helped mold him for a small business & entrepreneur career which he now enjoys. He is a partner at Stevie & Fern, a downtown St Pete branding firm. Stevie & Fern works with local businesses like Jannus Live, Brick Street Farms, Glazer Family Foundation & St. Petersburg Distillery. Additionally, Thomas works with local charities like CASA & Habitat for Humanity through Stevie & Fern’s community program, “Waves of Change.” Thomas is also Chair of the local Surfrider Foundation & past President of the Crescent Heights Neighborhood Association. With Surfrider, he helped in passing a ban against single-use plastic straws in St. Pete. Thomas has also worked in Nicaragua & other Central American countries implementing clean water projects. An avid surfer since he was 12, his surfing adventurers and philanthropy have taken him around the world a few times over.
Thanks for sitting down with me Thomas!
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “ The right time and right place. If you asked me 10 years ago what I was going to do for a living, I would have had no idea. My passion to start my own business lead me to my career. My father has had the biggest impact on me in my career but I have also had a lot of mentors along the way.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Downtown St. Pete, and what do you love there?
A: “Brick & Mortar. Really good, small business, quality, you can tell every dish has love in it. They make sure you’re happy. In a world of speed and convenience, it’s nice to go there and slow down and enjoy a nice dinner there.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Downtown St. Pete?
A: “St. Pete……off & on for 13 years. My current stint has been for 5 years.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Downtown St. Pete?
A: “Bob Devin Jones, he’s the owner of The Studio@620, he’s a director, writer & actor. If you were to summarize the personality of St. Pete, it would be Bob. Such a great human.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “New Zealand because of the combination of hiking and surfing. The country looks pristine.”
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “Back to the future. My parents loved it, so I was forced to watch it on replay as a child.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Find a mentor. Then find another one and another one and another one. Then start mentoring other people. That is how you create a strong community.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Own a property in Central America. El Salvador would be my first choice.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “Music is one of my passions. Having gems like Jannus Live give me the ability to see great music all of the time. That being said, my favorite type of music is Psychedelic rock. Three bucket list bands that Id love to see that are no more… Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd & Jimi Hendrix. “
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Downtown St. Pete?
A: “Jannus live without a doubt. It is my favorite music venue and I have been there hundreds of times. Every experience is amazing and unique based on the type of energy that the band brings. “
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Downtown St. Pete?
A: “ The culture. It is honestly only one of the communities that genuinely support one another without trying to step on one another. “
Q: Choosing anyone in a non-relative with whom would you love to have lunch?
A: “Elon Musk, because he is a fascinating human…..he is not from this planet. I would love to pick his brain on where humanity is going in the future.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: “ I have no idea. And that’s how I like to see it. Five years ago I had no idea where I would be now. All I care about in the future is waking up stoked and working on projects that I am passionate about.”
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “When booking surf trips, I take a surf book, close my eyes, flip the pages and whatever page I land on, that is where I go surfing. Two years ago was Peru. Last year El Salvador… this year who knows? ”
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Supportive, purposeful and vulnerable”
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “ A Coach… mentors are the best thing you can invite into your life.”
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: “Matthew McConaughey or Paul Rudd. Both guys seem weird, ridiculous and I am sure they would be fun to hang with.”
The Faces of Downtown St. Pete was created to showcase the diverse community we live in & the wonderful people that make it so special. If you would like to nominate someone interesting for this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.