Our people make an impact not only within our firm, but also in their communities. Recently, we sat down with Assistant Controller Manny Quiñones to discuss his recent victories as baseball coach of the Levy Park and Winthrop Park Little League Baseball teams who won the Cal Ripken World Series.
Tell us about yourself and how you came to Thomas Howell Ferguson (THF).
I’m originally from Tampa (FL). I transferred to Tallahassee in the Fall of 2021 to finish my education and play baseball at Florida A&M University (FAMU), where I received my Accounting degree. I have been married to my wife Alisha for 11 years, and we have a 9-year-old son. I enjoy spending time with my family and attending various sporting events. I was at my previous company for 11 years. I came across an opportunity with THF, so I decided to look into it. One of the things that piqued my interest was that THF is one of the best accounting firms from numerous sources, including Forbes. This opportunity has been a blessing; not only do I enjoy what I do for the company, but it also allows me to have an outstanding work/life balance and have more time with my family.
Since you coach a Little League Baseball team, I assume you previously played baseball. At what age did you start playing baseball, and how long did you play baseball?
I started playing tee ball at five years old. I played baseball along with other sports through middle and high school. I finished up my baseball career playing collegiately at FAMU. Before FAMU, I also played baseball at Polk Community College(currently Polk State College) and Hillsborough Community College.
How important was it that both Levy Park and Winthrop Park Little League Baseball teams made it to the championships for the players?
When kids hear the word “championship,” their eyes light up! These kids see College Championships, the MLB World Series, and the NFL Super Bowl on TV. The word “championship” is very special to them. They can be at school in PE class, and you can say, “this is a championship competition for the day,” and it will ramp things up. Now you take that feeling, and it’s much more special because these kids were All-Stars representing their park, city, and state. They had an opportunity to play against other cities, states, and in our case at Levy Park, other countries. More importantly, these kids could see the hard work they put in all summer which allowed them to see results with a Cal Ripken World Series Championship, all while having fun traveling to Lake City (FL), Virginia, and Ocala (FL). My hope as a coach is that they learn that this hard work approach resonates on and off the field.
What is your responsibility as Assistant Controller at Thomas Howell Ferguson (THF)?
I am responsible for producing our financial statements for THF. Other areas of focus include tax reporting/filing and various internal reports that reflect our company’s production details.
What is an enjoyable part about your position as Assistant Controller?
Honestly, I can say there isn’t one specific thing that I enjoy more than the other. I love the grind of coming to work and accomplishing tasks that put the company in a better position. I do enjoy putting pieces of the puzzles together to make them whole. That’s probably the best way I can describe my satisfaction with my role. I enjoy the people and the atmosphere here at THF, and I am still blown away by the great culture here. One thing that does stand out for me is the work/life balance here. Many companies reference it, but here, it is the real expectation and culture. In my opinion, a piece of the Cal Ripken World Series Championship is a credit to THF for allowing such flexibility for me to coach the team.
As a parent, baseball coach, and Assistant Controller, how do you manage your work/life balance?
I can balance these things by compartmentalizing each area. Also, this has been my lifestyle since I was a kid. I would play one sport at one park and then play another sport at another park on the same day. Being a high school and college athlete, I had to maintain my school work while playing at a high level. Today there’s no difference. It’s just how I’m working and coaching but also a sign that I’m getting old (lol). The bonus is that I get to coach my son and get to be a dad at the same time. The conversations we have to and from practice/games are priceless and won’t appear on any box score. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by James Baker, former Secretary of State on the 5 Ps. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. I relate this quote to each part of my life to retain a great balance.
What would you encourage anyone considering taking on an additional responsibility alongside raising a family or having a career?
Go for it! If there is no negative effect on your family or career, go all in. It won’t be easy, but to even consider an additional task, you most likely have an interest in this area. If you have kids, then this will reflect determination, discipline, and responsibility that your kids will see as you lead by example.
Motivating people is a challenging job. What’s the secret sauce to motivating these kids to work hard, practice, and show up?
My process for motivating these kids is first for myself to come with a lot of energy. Kids can and will feed off of it. Another step in the process is to be detail-oriented. Kids absorb what you give them for better or for worse. I don’t let them get away with any unnecessary things. We tell them all the time, “You’re creating habits. The choice is yours if the habits are good or bad.” I don’t care how old they are, they are responsible for their actions because this is bigger than baseball…it’s life. Lastly, winning is a great way to see the dividends of hard work. Another message to the team is that winning isn’t our focus, but winning is just a byproduct of the hard work that these kids have put in. 16-1 in All-Stars combined with travel ball, they went 53-5 for the 2021-2022 year. Having this type of success promotes an easy buy-in on the hard work and detail-oriented culture that Levy Park has created.