John Wohlwend, 28

0 Posted by - September 26, 2014 - 2014, Sarasota-Manatee 2014

Chief Financial Officer, Crush-It Inc.

John Wohlwend played around in the big cities, Los Angeles and New York, but he eventually found his way back home to Sarasota.

Wohlwend now helps run Osprey-based Crush-It Inc., a concrete and asphalt recycling business that handles more than 2 million tons of materials a year, mostly in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Wohlwend by title is CFO, but he says the job is really “anything that needs to be done in the day.”

That can be anything from working on technology upgrade projects to closing deals with clients. The firm, run by Wohlwend’s stepfather, Dave Richardson, has 43 employees and a recycling yard in Tampa. “Our focus,” Wohlwend says, “is how we could be the best crushing company out there.”

Wohlwend initially was going to crush it in his career anywhere but Florida. He landed an internship, then a job, in programming with CBS Sports in New York City after he graduated from the University of Florida in 2007. Connections Wohlwend made there helped him land a job in L.A. with Creative Artists Agency, the famous Hollywood talent management firm.

The work was exciting, exhausting and full of lifetime experiences. But Wohlwend soon sought something different, where he could have a bigger impact. “It was fun for a little while,” he says, “but eventually I wanted something that was more personal to me.”

Wohlwend found that at Crush-It. While the work is a world away from L.A., there are some similarities in the way Wohlwend approached his tasks. “The agency business is all about people,” says Wohlwend. “And my job now is as much about people as it is anything else.”

— Mark Gordon


City of residence: Sarasota

Twitter handle: @Crushitinc

Birthplace: Jacksonville

Years on the Gulf Coast: 29…with a 10-year hiatus in Gainesville/NY/LA

Marital status/children: In a relationship/no children

Alma mater: Go Gators!

Best place to network: I like just popping in on customers at their job sites. Impromptu meetings often times generate the best results.

Coolest business experience: My first day working for Jim Toth at CAA, his client Chris Evans closed his deal to become Captain America. This was a big moment on the heels of Robert Downey Jr.’s (also Jim’s client) success as another Marvel Superhero.  It set the tone for a really cool year.

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Honesty and integrity are the most important foundations on which to build a business.

One website that makes your job easier: I travel a lot to see clients and setup new jobs so Google Maps is a huge help.

One community group you’re most involved with: Sarasota Young Professionals Group

Favorite off-hours activity: Anything athletic and going to the movies at Burns Court.

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Branson.

Best award you ever received: This one is pretty cool.

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: My stepdad (and boss) and I went snowmobiling across Yellowstone National Park with my uncle and cousins this year. We rode through the park in the dead of winter for several days seeing things I couldn’t have imagined existed in nature and getting maybe even a little closer to the wildlife than we should have. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Whitewater kayak some big rapids.

What new skill would you like to learn: I’m working on learning Spanish but it’s taking a lot longer than expected.

Who would play you in a movie about your life: I’ve been told I look like Kyle Chandler but my friends would be pretty upset if I didn’t go with my other doppelganger, Freddie Prinze Jr.

If I had a magic wand I’d: Rid the world of suffering.

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