4411 W. Tampa Bay Blvd.
Tampa FL 33614
BRAND PRESIDENT, COLLEGE HUNKS HAULING JUNK & MOVING
HOMETOWN: Kingston, Jamaica
ALMA MATER: University of Tampa, bachelor’s, MBA and master’s in accounting
AT THE OFFICE: Cowan was recently promoted to brand president after leading College HUNKS’ executive leadership team as COO and overseeing the company’s finances as CFO. “From a very young age, I dreamed of becoming a ‘serial’ entrepreneur,” Cowan says. “Throughout high school, I dabbled in several ventures that ranged from hilarious to very meaningful — all of which taught me many lessons, particularly that great marketing was often more important than the actual product or service quality. As I matured, I found mentors who helped me understand the importance of being able to effectively manage finances. Those experiences helped to set my focus in college on a double major of marketing and accounting. I wanted to be able to understand how to get customers to buy, as well as how to transparently track how well a business is doing.
“As I started to work in ‘official’ roles in my early career, I realized I was particularly good at problem solving — particularly finding more efficient ways to do things to make work easier (I call it working smarter vs. harder). This led me to wanting to further my education with an MBA, and by that point my path focused more on accounting due to my immigration status, so I added a MS Accounting to my postgraduate studies. This also allowed me to earn the required credits to sit for my CPA certification.”
GIVING BACK: This year, Cowan spearheaded the HUNKS’ initiative to offer free moves to survivors of domestic violence. “It was one of the first things my wife and I discussed when the COVID-related lockdowns started back in April,” he says. “After discussing this idea with our founders, they quickly mobilized and became the much-needed engine that drove this program. Our HUNKS and franchise partners who executed these moves are true heroes, and I can’t say enough about what this has meant to me that we committed to doing this: saving hundreds of survivors from their most difficult situations.”
On an individual level, Cowan is a member of the Drew Park CAC, part of the neighborhood’s CRA responsible for approving how public funds are utilized in that area. He is also a founding member of Make It Tampa Bay, a group formed to work in conjunction with the Tampa EDC to help spotlight and further develop the Tampa Bay region through smart deployment of public resources.
“I grew up being exposed to domestic violence (thankfully not in my immediate family), and each instance made a lasting impact on me,” Cowan says. “Events such as this scarred me as a young man and often left me feeling very frustrated and powerless.
“Holding an influential position at an amazing organization where we are committed to ‘Moving the World,’ this was an easy effort for me to focus on. I had felt that the hard part would have been getting our brand and our franchisee partners to commit to doing ‘free’ jobs during such an uncertain time. But I was once again left in awe of College HUNKS and our heroic team as we all rallied around the effort, and the results have been life changing.”
WHEN I’M NOT IN THE OFFICE, YOU CAN FIND ME… With my wife and child at a park outside laughing (during COVID) or with friends and/or family outside somewhere having a great time (not during COVID).
WHEN I WAS A CHILD I WANTED TO BE… A conductor on an old-school Jamaican bus. They handled all the money and were always hanging off the side of the bus, greeting new passengers and seemingly having the time of their life.
DO YOU HAVE A MOTTO OR PHILOSOPHY YOU LIVE BY? I have a few that are equally meaningful to me: “The grass is green where you water it,” “Never stop learning,” “Stay humble,” “Keep perspective,” “Have a generous mindset,” and “Live and let live.”
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? Paraphrasing here, “If you did the best you can, don’t stress about it.” This has allowed me to sleep well at night despite having what some might consider a high stress job during unusually intense times. I used to overthink a lot of things, even when I did my best, but this perspective has changed that for me. I find that I am usually at peace with this mindset.
THE BIGGEST LESSON I’VE LEARNED THIS YEAR WAS… The biggest lesson for me is staying true to the “being generous” philosophy that I try to live by. I recently watched a documentary called The Social Dilemma that has helped me navigate many of the thoughts and feelings I was having about people that I’ve previously judged for saying, sharing or posting things online I deemed to be extreme or false. Being a fact-based individual, I often find it difficult to see opinions being shared as facts, particularly if those “facts” can influence others.
I had to be introspective and remind myself that someone else’s perspective and their personal experiences often drive why they speak and act as they do. Typically, I’ve encouraged those around me to be more generous when thinking about differences they may have with others. Yet during a year with so much social unrest and political tension, I found myself not being as generous as I’ve recommended. This is certainly something I identified and have worked on throughout this year.
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT TAMPA IS… It’s hard for me to think of just one thing I love about Tampa. Though I certainly love the weather, the cost of living, the beaches and the awesome social venues, what stands out above all of this for me is the fact that I can do so much here without thinking about crime.
I am from Jamaica, an amazing country where the culture, food and people are second to none. While I would move back to Jamaica for a variety of reasons, the one thing I personally experienced and witnessed due to growing up in the relatively poorer areas of the country was a level of crime that left a lasting impact on my mindset and approach to life. With a family of my own now, I find that the safety felt in Tampa has been more impactful for me than I imagined. It makes all the other great things about Tampa so much easier to enjoy!
MY SECRET TALENT OR SKILL IS… I will drop what I am doing to race anyone who challenges me to a foot race (sprinting only).
THE BEST THING I WATCHED THIS YEAR WAS… The Social Dilemma. This documentary, though not as entertaining as Tiger King, gave me a lot to think about in terms of social media use and how it is impacting our society. It was particularly telling that many of the developers of the softwares either did not use it or did so in a limited capacity.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM VACATION? Anywhere warm with great food, fun and affordable activities for friends and family to enjoy. So, Jamaica.
4411 W. Tampa Bay Blvd. , Tampa, FL 33614