One of our immigrant investor clients, John Smyth, recently announced his new company website and initiative to expand a property services business.
Mr. Smyth earned a degree in agricultural engineering and participated in a MBA management program. Then, Mr. Smyth co-owned two engineering distribution and services businesses for 14 years in key sectors for food, whisky and power generation. The businesses grew from start-up to earning multi-million dollars in revenue. He plans to use that experience to build growth into his investment in the United States.
He chose to invest in Florida because of the tremendous opportunities present in the area that will allow the business to grow in the property sector.
The company’s mission is to be the most trusted provider of exterior cleaning, maintenance, repair and renovation in Florida.
The business provides a range of service, including:
Exterior pressure washing
Pool Screen & Lanai Cleaning
Driveway Cleaning & Sealing
Concierge Service for Absentee Owners
Recently, the company launched its Forever Clean Program. This program provides an annual service for a low fixed monthly fee in exchange for a comprehensive cleaning and maintenance program that is specifically designed for each property owner.
A & B Property Services was built on exceeding customer expectations, adding value, and building long-term and trusting business partnerships. Their goal is to develop a one-stop shop approach, where clients will be provided with a dependable turn-key home maintenance solution.
The business provides Property Maintenance to residential and commercial properties in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Bradenton, North Port and Venice.
For a free estimate on their Forever Clean Program or for other inquiries, please contact John Smyth at email@example.com or 941.488.9200
Founded by a Florida immigrant, LED USA is a new Florida enterprise that provides commercial lighting solutions with the goal of reducing costs and environmental impacts for your building. ImmigrationSarasota.com recently spoke with Ric Robideau of LED USA to learn more.
Discover LED USA on Facebook. Click on the image.
The company was formed in April 2014 by Giovanni Giannini, an architect from South Africa. Ric, an electrical engineer who’s worked on projects for Tervis Tumblr and other major corporations in Florida, is the projects manager.
Ric and Giovanni noticed a problem. Commercial building owners were wasting money on outdated and inefficient lighting (lighting costs can reach up to 70% of a building’s electric bill). Moreover, owners were going to have to switch their lighting eventually as the government is actually phasing out incandescent and fluorescent lights. But there were few providers with the expertise and business savvy to properly help them. They decided to become the solution.
For their first project, they took on the landmark Palm Towers in downtown Sarasota. Palm Towers was using a combination of fluorescent and incandescent lighting. With a free energy audit, LED USA found that the building could save $.9 per lightbulb. In addition, LED USA found they could introduce smart technology to further lower energy costs. They estimated the retrofit would cost $60,000 but the savings would begin immediately; $39,000 in savings per year to be exact. In only 2.1 years the savings would pay for the initial investment. What’s more, LED lights have a warranty of 10 years so the savings would continue. By the end of 10 years the building should save a net of about $312,000 on its energy bills.
LED USA has also performed an energy audit on a nearby restaurant. The bill for that retrofit would come to $3,000 but the savings would start at $4,300 per year; producing an even quicker return than the Palm Towers.
Today, LED USA is quoting companies on projects of up to $250,000.
LED USA rests on the quality of its products. They offer GE or Cree LED lights, which meet the highest underwriting standards. There’s no compromise on the amount of light. In fact, some would argue that switching to LEDs improves the light quantity and quality in a building, as these before and after photos show.
LED USA is also a LEED qualified lighting provider, the most widely-recognized environmental vetting a company can achieve.
Financing is available for projects up to $3 million. Even with financing charges, companies still see positive cashflow after their building starts saving energy.
For more information feel free to contact Ric (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Giovanni (LEDGiovanni@verizon.net).
We recently learned that Sabadell Bank, a Spanish bank with offices in Florida, is offering some mortgage products and loans where credit record and income are not checked, which is useful for new permanent residents or nonimmigrants. Here are the details:
JUMBO & SUPER JUMBO PRODUCTS
* 5/1, 7/1 & 10/1 ARM’s STARTING AT 2.875%, 3.125%, AND 3.375% RESPECIVELY WITH NO POINTS AND NO PREPAYMENT PENALTY
* NO PRICING ADD ONS FOR LOAN AMOUNTS THAT ARE SUPER JUMBO’S, (WE CLOSED A 20 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN IN MIAMI SAME PRICING)
* NO PRICING ADJUSTMENTS FOR REFINANCE OR CASH OUT REFINANCE.
* HIGH NET WORTH CLIENTS CAN USE LIQUID ASSETS TO QUALIFY, (TWICE THE AMOUNT OF THE LOAN AFTER CLOSING IN LIQUID ASSETS AND WE HAVE A VIRTUAL NO INCOME QUALIFIER)
* 30 YEAR FIXED AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASES AND NO CASH OUT REFINANCES, CURRENTLY STARTING AT 4.75%, 1.5 MILLION MAX
* 15 YEAR FIXED OK FOR CASH OUT REFINACES UP TO 20 MILLION DOLLARS RATES STARTING AT 3.375%
* NO LIMIT ON CASH OUT REFINACES (CLOSED A REFINANCE WITH 4.9 MILLION DOLLARS CASH OUT)
* BRIDGE LOANS AVAILABLE FOR 24 MONTHS INTEREST ONLY @ 4.00%. SUPER JUMBO OK
* NO MINIMUM CREDIT SCORE FOR APPROVAL
* NO ESCROWS AND NO CHARGE FOR WAIVING ESCROWS
* PREFERABLE FOR LOAN AMOUNTS OF ONE MILLION DOLLARS PLUS.
* CAN BE USED FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS THAT CAN DOCUMENT WEALTH IN LIQUID ASSETS
* 24 MONTH CONSTRUCTION PERIOD
* ONE TIME CLOSE AS A 10/1 ARM
They also have some loans for foreign nationals looking to buy vacation homes or principal residences (and not investment property). Here are the terms if you know anyone from abroad looking to buy a home here:
FOREIGN NATIONAL LOANS
* 60% LOAN TO VALUE FOR LOAN AMOUNTS UP TO 3, 5, OR 10 MILLION DOLLARS OR HIGHER
* EASIEST QUALIFIER IN THE INDUSTRY, 2 BANK REFERENCES AND VERIFY LIQUIDITY AT TWICE THE LOAN AMOUNT
* LIQUID ASSETS DO NOT HAVE TO BE U.S. ACCOUNTS OR MOVED TO THE U.S. (The advantage of being an international bank)
* REQUIRES A SABADELL ACCOUNT WITH 6 MONTHS PITI (principal and interest payments)
* NO CREDIT REPORT AND NO INCOME VERIFICATION
* 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 AND 15 YEAR FIXED. STARTING AT 3.00%, 3.75%, 4.50% AND 4.75% RESPECTIVELY
In short, if a borrower can show they have double the amount of the desired loan in liquid assets (e.g. bank and investments accounts) in the U.S. or abroad, then the bank will be interested in giving a loan. Generally the loan to value is 60/40. This means that the borrow must put down 40% of the purchase price or the actual appraised value, whichever is lower.
Sarasota Immigrant from Czech Republic offers home theater installation and explains why more and more Czech immigrants are calling Sarasota-Bradenton home.
Roman Jasek is one of 1.5 million people who immigrate to the United States every year. What’s more, he is an immigrant who came to America to work and build a business. Recently, we sat down with Roman to talk about his story. Please enjoy.
ImmigrationSarasota.com: Tell us about your background.
Roman Jasek: I come from the Czech Republic. In university in Brno I studied electrical engineering. But even before college I had started a clothing wholesale company and after college I began modeling and doing catwalk shows.
IS.com: That’s a departure.
RJ: Yes, but I was good at it. I even won the Mr. Czech Republic in 1995. Unfortunately, in 1997 I got into a car accident and wasn’t able to do any modeling after that.
IS.com: What did you decide to do then?
RJ: I decided to follow up on my childhood dream to come to the United States.
IS.com: Why that dream?
RJ: I had always wanted more than what the Czech Republic could provide me. I remember as a teenager telling my parents that I wanted to leave the Czech Republic, that was before the fall of the Communist regime. With the interruption of my modeling career I decided it was time to realize my goal. I sold or gave everything away. When I arrived in the US I had $800. I didn’t speak any English.
IS.com: What do you do now?
RJ: I run a company called Audio and Communications Experts. We install home theaters, home automation systems, lighting control, central vacuum systems and more. I estimate we’ve worked on over 250 houses since we started. Our website is acesrq.com.
Home theaters are one of the many things that Roman Janesk can do.
IS.com: Tell us more about your services.
RJ: Our two most popular services are home theater design and home automation.
The first step to home theater design is determining if you want a traditional home theater or a dedicated home theater. A traditional home theater is set up in an area such as a family room or living room, so there’s already an existing space along with furniture. Clients choose from plasma or LED screens, projectors and speaker set-ups, and we discuss what audio/video selection will provide the best viewing & listening enjoyment.
A dedicated home theater features custom designed seating, lighting, sound and picture. We understand this is a big investment in time and money, so we work with you to create a movie theater feel right in your own home.
We start with a few basic questions about the design:
How big is the room you want to transform? This will determine the overall layout and sound design.
How many people do you want the room to hold? We work with contractors who create a custom designed seating configuration. You can choose from anything from stadium seating to all-leather couches.
Lastly, we need to determine how large a screen will fit in the room. Using a basic formula of the screen being one half the size of the distance from where you sit, we’ll help you pick the right monitor, projector screen etc.
Ambient lighting is important because it not only sets the tone of your home theater room, it also determines what kind of projector or television you purchase. Lighting can be as simple as using dimmers. We also install lighting to our clients’ specifications.
An example of a custom-built in-home theater
IS.com: Tell us more about home automation.
RJ: Imagine an iPad or touch panel that takes care of lights, drapes, HVAC, and A/V with one touch. A door that can tell you when your teenager gets home. A sprinkler system that knows the weather forecast and a garage door that remembers to close itself if left open. That’s what we call Home Automation.
There is no better or more economical time to design and install a home wiring system than while your home is being constructed. Don’t limit the dream home you are building today to technologies that will be obsolete tomorrow. With the proper design and materials, your new home will be ready for the future of digital technology.
Your home’s wiring is the skeleton upon which your future electronic lifestyle is built. Audio/video structured wiring solutions start with a centralized wiring panel that is organized, easy to service and able to be modified to cater to your needs and the design of your home.
Because future technologies are uncertain, the best way to ensure that your home wiring will be compatible is to design in a level of expandability from the beginning. With the right combination of Category 5 telephone wire, RG-6 coaxial cable and speaker wire you can be sure that you will have the right cable and available bandwidth throughout your home.
The most versatile wire you will install in your home is known in the industry as “Category 5″ cable. It is ideal for phones, fax machines, computer modems, computer networks, and as control wire for today and tomorrow’s sophisticated home automation and distributed audio/video systems. We only use the highest quality Category 5 cable in designs that consider present needs and future possibilities.
Because you live with your home’s wiring system for a very long time, selecting the right company for its design and installation is critical. Our highly trained and experienced staff of installation technicians will ensure that your home wiring is done properly the first time – on time and on budget.
We have the expertise not only in the wiring of your home, but also in the audio/video and home automation systems that must be made to work with that wiring. We can plan the system, pre-wire your new home, then do the final installation of your home theater, multi-room audio/video system, or even your sophisticated home automation system.
Home Automation is the wave of the future.
IS.com: We hear you have been very busy lately.
RJ: I am one of the few contractors who does what I do with an Electric Specialty License. This has really helped me get more work from builders. I’ve also noticed that the number of Czech immigrants to the Sarasota-Bradenton area has increased in recent years. When we first started I had close to 0 Czech clients, now Czechs make up about 20% of my clients. Of course, since I am Czech, this is a nice niche to be able to service.
IS.com: What do you think is bringing the Czechs to Sarasota?
RJ: Many Czechs are coming, buying houses, starting companies and patronizing local businesses. They are attracted by the affordable housing prices and the beautiful weather. As the Czech community grows and word of mouth gets back to the Czech Republic, more and more people decide to come.
IS.com: It’s a good self-reinforcing cycle. Roman, what would you say separates you from your competition?
RJ: We keep things simple and personal. I have two guys who work with me, no more. I stay on top of every project and give it my own undivided attention. I really think it’s that belief in customer service and the fact that I treat every house I work on as if it were my own that sets us apart.
IS.com: What are your plans for the future?
RJ: We plan on opening a showroom downtown. We want a way for customers to see and touch the changes we can make in their homes. We’re starting to put the numbers together now and we’re hoping to open this fall.
IS.com: We wish you the best of luck. Thank you for your time.
REMINDER: GRANTS FOR TRADE AND LOGISTICS TRAINING are still available!
Hillsborough Community College (HCC) has paired with Workforce Florida and Cross Border Partners using a Trade and Logistics Grant to provide you and/or your staff training on various trade topics. Grant funding is available to support training across a wide variety of topic areas from market selection, export documentation and compliance, tariff codes, legal aspects, etc. And, the programs can be tailored to individual company needs. These programs are available to all Florida for-profit companies that have been in business at least one year and are involved in any export-related activity. The grant generally covers 75% of training costs.
Organizer: Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of South Florida
When: Thursdays, February 13, 20 and 27 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (3 sessions)
Where: SBDC office at the Tampa Port Authority building, 1101 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602
Cost: $120. Includes 3 modules, 3 textbooks and valuable handouts. Website
Contact: SBDC at 813-905-5829
Description: Training modules run Feb. 13, 20 & 27. Includes: INTRO TO INTERNATIONAL TRADE – Feb. 13; DEALING WITH YOUR EXPORT MARKET – Feb. 20; EXPORT DOCUMENTATION AND COMPLIANCE – Feb. 27.
EXPORT CONTROL REFORM AND TECHNOLOGY CONTROLS SEMINAR
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service, Alabama District Export Council, BIS
When: February 12 & February 13, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Westin Hotel Huntsville- 6800 Governors West Rd NW, Huntsville, Alabama
Cost: $500 for two day seminar, $275 for one day, and includes materials, continental breakfast and lunch. Website
Registration Deadline: Friday, February 7
Contact: Robert Stackpole at 205-731-1331 or Robert.Stackpole@trade.gov
Description: This seminar will provide an in-depth understanding of the transition of items and export transactions from the USML to the CCL. Topics will address: realignment of the control lists, Commerce Control List order of review, the new “600” series, definition of “specially designed,” and license exceptions. The Technology Controls seminar will focus on the regulatory requirements relating to technology and software, including what is considered an export or re-export of technology or software; what technology and software is subject to the EAR; how to determine the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN); what license exceptions are available; and the unique application requirements of technology and software. BIS technical and policy specialists will also discuss important export control issues that may arise in the employment of foreign nationals and for foreign items incorporating, or produced from, controlled U.S.-origin software and technology. Presenters will include senior policy, regulatory, and licensing specialists.
WEBINAR ON EXPORTING TO THE CUSTOMS UNION BETWEEN RUSSIA, KAZAKHSTAN, AND BELARUS
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. (eastern)
Where: your computer
Cost: $15 Website
Contact: Rachel Kreissl at 727-464-4166 or Rachel.Kreissl@trade.gov
Description: Whether you are doing business or planning to with Russia or another Customs Union country, this webinar will brief you on the new customs union regulations and related technical standard changes.
AUTOMATED EXPORT SYSTEM (AES) SEMINAR AND WORKSHOP
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: March 5 (seminar) and March 6 (workshop)
Where: NOVA Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Cost: $225 (seminar) and $75 (workshop) Website
Contacts: Leandro Solórzano at 954-356-6647 or email@example.com; Martina Echevarria at 305-526-7425 x26 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: As of April 5, 2014, new export requirements will be implemented that amend the AES regulations published in 2008. This Export Compliance Seminar is an all-day program where officers from the Department of Commerce/Census will provide training on export filing requirements.
TRADE WINDS – THE AMERICAS 2014: Business Development Conference and Trade Mission
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: May 15-23, 2014
Where: Colombia (May 19-21), and optional stops to Panama or Ecuador (May 15-16) and Peru or Chile (May 22-23) Website
Contacts: Leslie Drake at 304.347.5123 or Leslie.Drake@trade.gov; Janice Barlow at 215.597.6126 or Janice.Barlow@trade.gov
Description: South American regional conference preceded and followed by one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, joint-venture partners or other key contacts.
CARIBBEAN TRADE MISSION & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago
Organizer: U.S. Commercial Service
When: June 8-12, 2014
Where: Dominican Republic, with optional stops in Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados, or Trinidad & Tobago Website
Registration Deadline: April 4, 2014
Contact: David Royce at 817-999-9757 or David.Royce@trade.gov
Description: Caribbean regional conference followed by one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, joint-venture partners or other key contacts.