Buck Martinez ‘80
Bachelor of Business Administration
Where are you now and what are you doing?
After working at Florida, Power & Light (FPL) and Nextera for 35 years, my daughter and I started a not-for-profit organization, Student ACES, dedicated to inspiring and developing high school student-athletes into men and women of honor, character and integrity. Aside from the non-profit, I also founded a separate organization, ACE Leadership Group, which is a for-profit company dedicated to working with businesses, young professionals and universities on developing winning strategies, leadership and character.
What do you like most about what you are doing?
I love working with student-athletes! It’s an honor to watch them use the tools we teach them to reach success on the athletic field and grow into men and women of strong character.
How did your experience at St. Thomas University shape your career path?
I was a student-athlete when I attended STU. With my team and in the classroom, I had access to coaches and professors that provided me with wisdom and guidance consistently. The low student-to-faculty ratio was monumental to my life because it allowed me to get a personalized, high-quality education. I was also fortunate to represent the baseball team as team captain for 3 consecutive years which was instrumental in helping me develop a strong foundation of leadership.
Share your favorite St. Thomas University memory?
It was a midnight and I had just returned to campus from a road trip. I had a statistics exam the following morning but I was clueless on the subject. My statistics professor was a priest and lived on campus so I summed up the courage and knocked on his door. After chewing me out, he spent a few hours tutoring me and making sure I understood all the main concepts. The next day, I passed my exam. I was so thankful for Father Geyser’s willingness to help me. He had a tough and grumpy outer appearance, but he would do anything for his students and the STU community. In that moment, I knew more than ever that I had made the right choice in selecting a small university like STU. The professors really did care for their students and had the opportunity to give students the individual help they needed.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were attending St. Thomas University?
One of my most valuable lessons was to treat people with respect and understanding and that everyone should be valued. As a Christian, it is important to understand that we all share a strong purpose of giving and serving, especially those that are in the most need. St. Thomas University embodies strong Christian principles and I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend this great institution.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
Regardless of the profession they seek, my advice would be to follow the principles of our ACE program; have a work ethic second to none and be prepared to always outwork the field, learn how to command respect and earn trust by being a person of strong character and integrity, be prepared to sacrifice in your profession and your personal life(eliminate the distractions and focus on your priorities), and be ethical and moral; however, the most important advice I would recommend is to be humble and place God at the center of everything you do.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
My passion is my work. I enjoy spending time working with student athletes to help them find their purpose and achieve their dreams. The rest of the time I enjoy coaching my grandchildren.