Daniel Barres, 35

5 Posted by - October 15, 2015 - 2015, Lee-Collier

CEO, Soaring Sky

Every school has an entrepreneurial kid, the one who sells you candy at a handsome profit.

Daniel Barres was that student.

“I would put reserved place mats on the bleachers and rent them out at games,” Barres laughs. He sold the good seats at basketball and football games for $2 a pop for a full year until school administrators found out and put an end to his entrepreneurial scheme.

So it’s no surprise that Barres has always had a knack for launching new ventures. The latest is Soaring Sky, a company that uses drones to provide aerial services such as cinematography.

In addition to being the first drone operator in the area to obtain an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly them, Barres is also working with public schools in the area to train students as operators. “Those kids are trained video-game players,” he reasons. “We’re building our future workforce.”

Barres got into the drone business from ventures in real estate. Property owners are using drones to survey or prepare their properties for sale, Barres says.

Barres says he’s been involved in numerous ventures, not all of them successful. For example, an effort to establish a call center in the Philippines was a bust.

But those setbacks never deterred Barres, and he learned valuable lessons along the way. A big lesson: “It always came down to people and finding the right managers,” he says.

And Barres says he’s careful to balance his personal life today, scheduling date nights with his wife and time with friends. “Otherwise, I would burn out,” he says. “There’s always something to do.”

— Jean Gruss

Q&A

Name: Daniel Barres

Age: 35

City of residence: Fort Myers

Twitter handle: @Daniel_Barres

Employer: Soaring Sky (drone technology), Asset Quest (real estate investment management), plus other multiple businesses.

Title: CEO, entrepreneur

Birthplace: Florida

Years on the Gulf Coast:  17

Marital status/children: Married, with one daughter and another little girl on the way

Alma mater: Florida SouthWestern State College

Best place to network: Inter Drone and IMN Events

Coolest business experience: Successfully negotiating and closing a nine-bank, multimillion dollar deal. Everyone said it couldn’t be done, and I was able to prove them wrong.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Stay connected with your team. As I grew more businesses and became crazy busy, I realized our culture was changing and how out of touch I became with my team, which led to performance issues. If you are going to grow fast, have a plan to maintain the “why” behind your culture.

One website that makes your job easier: SuasNews.com and Inman.com

One community group you’re most involved with: Lee County schools, creating drone technology curriculum.

Favorite off-hours activity: FPV drone racing, boating, enjoying friends and family

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Timothy Ferriss, Tony Robbins

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Racing in the Baja 1000

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: While vacationing in the Keys, we almost sunk our boat. We were stuck on an island for four days and had to be rescued by the coast guard.

What’s at the top of your bucket list:  Buy a seaplane and go island hopping

What new skill would you like to learn: I would love to learn to kite board.

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Matt Damon

If I had a magic wand I’d: Increase percentage of brain capacity in humans and cure disease

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