George Bocaranda is our Employee of the Month for April 2023. George is a delightfully candid, expressive, and energetic man, and that shows throughout his story. He came to the United States from Venezuela in 2000 when he was around 25 years old. He took classes in English and then obtained an MBA from Nova Southeastern University in 2002. (He had already obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration before he left Venezuela.) George’s girlfriend, Jacqueline, joined him in Florida where they were married.

After he received his MBA, they went to Reno for 4 years, where he served as the liaison between North and South America for International Game Technology, an international company that specialized in gaming equipment for casinos. In 2005, George and Jacqueline moved to San Luis Obispo on the central coast of California, where George got into real estate.

They made the move back to South Florida in 2006, where George continued to work in real estate and with a trading company until 2008, when the recession hit. Between 2008 and 2015, he continued to worked in real estate, did some consulting for casinos, and took on the most important job of his life.

2009 is when George Jr., or Georgie, as his parents call him, was born. Little Georgie was a preemie, born at 26 weeks. “He was only 2lbs and we were in the NICU for 3 months.” George didn’t work during the following two years because his son needed constant surveillance and therapies to make sure that he was developing as he should. “It was hard…I don’t like to remember that time.” Georgie is now an energetic 13-year-old with big dreams. “He’s fascinated with all things WWII. We’ve been to a lot of museums so he can keep learning! We spend a lot of time flying RC planes, drones, stuff like that. He wants to be a Navy aviator or an aeronautical engineer and work for Northrop Grumman or Lockheed Martin,” George said laughing.

As for how George came to IA Stage, he started working with us in Miami and the South Florida area as a project coordinator in 2015. He had been friends with Rafael Sanchez, an IA Stage employee, since kindergarten, and Rafael suggested George to the company when the PMs in Miami needed some help in the field. For anyone who has been to Miami, you understand that parking can be a bit of a challenge. George told me, “I lost 6 pounds just walking from where we had to park to the work sites!” He filled that role for about a year and a half, until Jacqueline, who works with AT&T, was transferred to Lake Mary in 2016. “We thought, maybe it’s a sign!” he said.

The family moved to Lake Mary, and George continued supporting IA Stage in the field. Remember, this is a man with an MBA, but he had no problem getting into the trenches, so to speak, because “I like to do it – because I like to learn. You can read as many books as you want, but doing something out in the field is always different from what you’ve read.” He particularly enjoyed working with Gregory “Killer” Keatley, now retired, whom he refers to as his mentor. George affectionately said, “There’s the hard way, the easy way, and then there’s Killer’s way.” In 2018, IA Stage brought George on full-time.

As we were wrapping up, I asked what he would like people to know that I didn’t ask about. He said, “I really care about this company. I’m grateful that Mark gave me the opportunity when I needed it. I’m a project manager but I don’t see a division between myself and the shop. I’ll help in whatever way I can.” He’s absolutely sincere. George is genuinely committed to doing his part to help IA Stage succeed and helping his colleagues succeed.

And just one more thing. “My name is George, not Jorge.”