a b o u t m i k e
so you wanna know more about me? well, here goes nothing, hope you don't mind some reading....
I am originally from Northern Virginia, Falls Church to be exact. I moved to McLean, VA during 8th grade to graduate from McLean High School in the Class of 2000. I was born at Fairfax Hospital, Fairfax, Virginia on January 25th, 1982. My mother is 100% Italian, and my dad is 50% Puerto Rican, 25% Cuban, and 25% Japanese, making me 1/2 Italian, 1/4 Puerto Rican, 1/8 Cuban, and 1/8 Japanese - yet another reason I love import cars as much as I do! Being as diverse of a person and growing up on the outskirts of our nation's capital has provided me with many benefits, and challenges as well; for example, there aren't as many successful Hispanic business owners out there as there should be.... I got my interest in the aftermarket automotive industry from working on my first car, a 1994 Acura Integra LS which was totaled on May 14th, 1999. After totaling the Integra, I began working on my NEW car, which I received May 2001 - a 1998 Honda Accord EX V-6 Coupe - the ACC0UPE as it came to be known as.
I started my freshman year at Clemson University in General Engineering in the Fall of 2000. I chose CU, because, well, Virginia Tech didn't accept me - take it as you will, I took it as an act of fate; it was my fate to go to Clemson and succeed in whatever I choose to do. And anyways, Virginia Tech's engineering department isn't as recognized as Clemson is when it comes to Motorsports - i.e. does VT have their own NASCAR by Roush Racing? Was VT recognized as the Offical College of NHRA, and soon to be the Offical College of NASCAR? I don't THINK so! I was accepted into Clemson early action, and since then, my blood has turned SOLID ORANGE, and I have loved every minute since! I changed majors after 3 semesters in Engineering (and taking a semester off) to Business Management, and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in May of 2005.
Soon after coming to Clemson, I met a like-minded individual who grew up and had a lot of the same circumstances as I did as a child. We became good friends, and then business partners. I had literally hundreds of people ask me over the years where I had bought a certain part for my car from, or how I did something, and realized how much money I was losing out on by simply passing the information over and not charging them for the knowledge I had worked very hard to obtain myself! We formed Fast Lane Tuning, Inc. in early February 2002, and within a year, he moved on to date a girl, get engaged, separated, went a little crazy, and after 9 years of undergrad, has not graduated yet. But that's another story for another day...
Anyways, since he left the business, Fast Lane Tuning, Inc. joined forces with some friends of mine who had a [horribly named] business to create P.S.I. Motorsports, LLC in 2003. PSI typically stands for Pounds per Square Inch, but we represented it using the terms Performance, Style, Innovation. After a while, they all dropped out as well, and left a business partner and I to fend for ourselves. In July of 2003, I customized the purchase of a brand new BMW MINI Cooper S from their website, and had it ordered for me - picked him up on August 25th, and his name is S Car G0 (like the snail). We had created five brand names under the PSI name, most notably RX7TRIX, as well as Eclipse Parts, 240Tuning, 350Tuning, and my very own MINI performance tuning company, The New FastLane (weird how I came up with that name!). I've stuck with the screen name FastLaneTuning for a lot of websites and still have the same windshield visor on my car ever since to show my respect for the spark of my entrepreneurial career.
When we started PSI, I had no idea it would blow up like it did. We did $414,000 in sales in our first year of operation! We expanded to two locations eventually, one based in the Clemson area for me to manage while still in school, and one in Charlotte, NC. I was doing 15 hours of school and 70 hours of work every week - it was a busy life to say the least.... It was one of the best times I've had, but the hardest as well; no one ever said life was easy! I got to finally enjoy the benefits of it in 2005 when I received the South Carolina Collegiate Entrepreneur Award's First Place prize from the Small Business Administration. A quote from The College Connection, the newsletter of the College of Business and Behavioral Sciences at Clemson University:
CLEMSON ENTREPRENEURS TAKE TOP HONORS IN COLLEGIATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITION (PDF file - pgs 10, 11)
Clemson University students have taken the top two awards in the 2005 South Carolina Collegiate Entrepreneurship Award (SCCEA) competition, sponsored by the Spiro Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Mike Garcia, a senior business management major from McLean, Virginia, received the $2,000 cash prize for his company, P.S.I. Motorsports, a compact sports car modification company... Garcia [was] recognized at the U.S. Small Business Administration's Small Business Week luncheon in Columbia on April 21. In his acceptance speech before an audience of over 250 people, Mike Garcia told an inspiring story of the encouragement he had received from his parents when he was accepted at Clemson University and their concern when he decided to start a business while in school. With the success of his business and his graduation from Clemson set for May, the SC Collegiate Entrepreneurship Award adds to the list of reasons for Garcia's parents to be proud.
I sold the business a month after graduation (during June 2005), and moved to Orlando, FL in July. A lot of my family resides here, so its good to be around them since I had never been down here for more than a week at a time previously. After taking a crap job for 10 months to get to know the area and meet new people, I started up my own business again doing online advertising and event promotion, and worked for a non-profit organization based in the Parramore area of downtown Orlando. The sponsor of the organization is probably the strongest woman I have ever met, despite being a double-minority (a black female). I helped her with programs around the city, as well as web design and other computer stuff. I have since left the non-profit. My cousin started a really cool manufacturing business that I am the President of, and I can't wait to see how far we can go with that business as well. I love Florida, love what I do, and will stay here for as long as I can without getting too bored or sick of the BIG big city like I did with DC.... Next stop? Further south....
Hope you've enjoyed the read because believe me, it took a long time for me to type it, longer than it did for you to read it at least! You can contact me via a number of ways, see below! Also listed are my websites, so enjoy those as well....
mike garcia - [ GarciaM25@gmail.com ]
facebook me! i'm really starting to use this thing since i've been out of touch with some people for 10+ years!TunerEVENTSTunerSHOPSwww.Tangent25.com
we've only scratched the surface..................da55 = class (coming soon)