7 Questions with Armando Ibanez
1 How did your automotive career get started? I came into it as a means to an end. In order to put myself through school, I worked and soon ran a small restaurant where I learned the “ins and outs” in hopes of opening my own someday. I was studying accounting and I saw an ad that caught my eye in the automotive field. I went for an interview on Feb. 14 (easy day to remember). I figured I would do this and save enough money to open up my own restaurant. Here I am, 27 years later, running a large, upscale dealership. I couldn’t be happier with how that decision turned out.
2 You grew up in Miami. What is your fondest memory of your early years here? Great question! I’ve been a lifelong baseball fan and have some great memories from my Little League days in Flagami and Tamiami Park. I also carry a lot of exciting memories from my playing days at Sunset High, where I helped my team win a few games in dramatic fashion, which was a lot of fun! Coaching my little brother in Little League was also a lot of fun; and, of course, later seeing him play in the Majors was a real treat for me and my family.
3 What is new at Lexus of Kendall in 2015? We will be moving into our new service department later this month as phase one of the construction is complete. A complete gut and demolition was done a few months ago, and all our employees are extremely excited to move in. So far, they have experienced the noises associated with construction. They have all been terrific, but I know they are ready to experience the artist’s rendition firsthand. It is absolutely beautiful and has a number of new amenities our guests will certainly enjoy.
4 Tell us about your family and your new addition. In February, we were blessed with Camila Grace, and she’s been a sheer joy. My wife and I are amazed at the good nature and temperament she was blessed with – or, should I say, WE were blessed with. She seems to be a real trooper and quite the curious soul, as we’ve been able to take her to Heat, Marlins and Hurricanes games. Her older brothers and sister are completely head over heels for her. My wife has been very supportive in my career and understands the sacrifices of my long hours. She is my rock star.
5 Your faith plays a big role in your life. What church do you attend and what makes it special for you? My faith plays a huge role in my life and in my home in particular. I started attending a church in Doral called Spring of Life Fellowship over eight years ago. There is someone at my church that stamps his email with “I am the blessing”; when you have that awareness – that you can be a blessing to those around you – it changes your actions toward others. My church is not large, but it has many missions and has helped thousands in Latin America. I’ve gone on a couple of missions and have seen many unkindly things that are the everyday reality for many. It is easy to be humble and thankful for what you have been blessed with.
6 Tell us something that no one knows about you? I love to sing. I’m sure my neighbors love the fact the Lexus I drive has plenty of sound-dampening materials around the passenger cage.
7 What’s the best part of living and working in Pinecrest? I love the fact I am literally minutes away from work. Every time I have to drive more than 5 miles from my home or office, I appreciate my neighborhood that much more. It is very family-oriented and pleasing to the eye. I came to Miami when I was 8 and watched it grow into the booming international city it has become, with a variety of nicer resorts, sports teams, hotels, restaurants, clubs, etc. But it is nice to know that when you come home, you KNOW you are home.