Six prominent men share their back stories and guiding principles that led to success. They’re fathers, sons, brothers and spouses. They give time to their families, their careers and their community. So join us in highlighting some of the Space Coast’s greatest guys, pictured with the vehicles of the American Muscle Car Museum.
Lieutenant with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Adjunct Professor for Barry University
Born and raised in Brevard County, Stephen Fernez is a third generation law enforcement officer. His grandfather worked a total of 50 years in law enforcement between the Suffolk County Police Department and the Indian Harbour Beach Police Department and his father worked 34 years for the Melbourne Police Department.
“We understand the importance of police work and how blessed we are to serve our community,” Stephen said. “It is in our blood and I really enjoy carrying on that family tradition.”
While the father of two has received many awards throughout his career, including a Medal of Valor and Deputy of the Year, he has also found time to give back in big ways as well. He received a Community Service Award for his work with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. He also started a nonprofit, LEOSA, with friends Sergeant Brandon Gish and Agent Troy Deavers that began as a way for law enforcement families to come together and enjoy the beaches. It later evolved into a means of educating parents and children about the dangers of drug abuse.
“Our goal is to educate people in an effort to prevent addiction rather than react to it,” he said.
So what is the inspiration behind all that dedication? There are many people but the biggest inspiration is his family.
“Most importantly, I get my inspiration from my children. They remind me why I am here and why I do what I do.”
President and Owner, A Mother’s Touch Movers
The father of five daughters, Sean admits he always wanted a boy, but wouldn’t trade what he has for anything.
“Having all girls has been a true blessing,” Sean said. “To see how they’re all so different yet so much alike.”
His daughters range in age from 29 to 6 years old. The family has lived here since 2002 when they relocated from Atlanta for the weather and small town life. His business, A Mother’s Touch Movers, offers packing and moving services, residential and commercial moving services, long-distance and local moves and licensed, bonded, and insured movers.
“What I love most about my profession is meeting new people every day and the satisfaction of knowing they are 100 percent satisfied. My girls are the reason I work hard.”
After arriving to the area, he started giving back almost immediately; he created the His Place Community Toy Drive eight years ago. Last year, they collected over 10,000 toys and helped close to 3,000 children in Brevard. Through his business, they also collect donated furniture which is then supplied to homeless families when they move into a house. He also assists Serene Harbor when the organization needs to move furniture out of a home due to domestic violence.
With all the commitments to family, his business and the community, a way to unwind and recharge is crucial and he has that too. “To unwind and recharge, I like to jump on my Harley and just go for a long ride.”
Playing different characters is an escape for singer and actor Johnathan Shepherd, like experiencing a performance is an escape for most audience members. His talents have inspired admirers and theater-goers locally.
He first performed in the 8th grade and a few years later he was asked to be in a show again and he was hooked. Originally from Danville, Illinois — the same town where Dick Van Dyke grew up and who Johnathan counts as one of his inspirations — he started studying music education at Illinois State University before switching to computer science. He relocated to the Space Coast to help out his grandmother who had retired here. Starting off in a new place, he wanted to get involved in community theater and began with a Google search. He found the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse and has now played Tom Collins in “Rent” there and starred in his own solo concert shows.
“I find theater is something that keeps me happy.”
He is now investing in professional voice lessons and dance classes and being a member of the actors’ union, Actors Equity, all while still giving his time to the local community. His ultimate goal is to perform on Broadway and he has plans to move to New York to pursue this dream in the near future. In the meantime, he’s staying busy co-directing and producing “Dream Girls” at the Cocoa Village Playhouse. The award winning Broadway classic will run from June 24 to July 3.
General Contractor, Real Estate Broker
Born and raised in Brevard, Stan loves the coastal lifestyle and beauty of the Indian River. Being Broker/Owner of Curri Kirschner Real Estate Group, with partner David Curri, and owning Kirschner Construction, has allowed each business to share knowledge and reach new heights.
Stan’s passion for the area helps others see the benefits of living on the Space Coast. His companies provide the knowledge and expertise needed to negotiate all aspects of real estate. Kirschner Construction enjoys a reputation for building exceptional quality custom homes, with Stan as a discerning general contractor.
Stan is also the proud father of: Grace, 12; Noah, 10; Christian, 5; and Eden, 2. He has been married to their mother, Stacey, for 16 years and they value time spent with their family above all else.
“Every time I get to spend one-on-one time with my wife and children is so special to me. Sometimes it can be a challenge with four but we juggle and get creative!”
“Professionally, I’m extremely thankful for my client base and the magnificent homes I have the pleasure to build for them,” he said. While there’s no denying that Stan has business smarts with two successful businesses, he has a few fun tricks up his sleeve as well – he can solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than three minutes!
Real Estate Agent
David’s real estate career started in 2000 when he began to invest in residential real estate. Growing up on the beaches, David enjoys the laid back lifestyle and people of this area and has lived here for over 20 years.
As an owner of Curri Kirschner Real Estate Group, he has built a family-oriented brokerage team. David and his team have been specialists in luxury waterfront properties since 2001. His company is ranked as one of the top producing, independently owned real estate offices in South Brevard County. He has been self-employed since he was just 21-years-old.
He is the father of four daughters — Courtenay, 24; Amanda, 18; Michaela, 16 and Lauren, 15. His favorite experience is traveling with his wife of 19 years, Cari, and daughters to experience new things. He loves to travel to unwind and spend quality time with his family and friends. Supporting the community in which he and his family reside is important so he supports Catholic Charities and many other organizations locally. He is inspired by his own father.
“My dad is the most faith filled, encouraging man I know.”
“The most important lesson I learned from my dad was ‘to laugh often and never to take yourself too seriously.’”
Pharmacist, Inventor, Scientist, Business Owner
One of the most important lessons that Mark Pieloch says he learned from his dad is: “To be successful in life you will need planning, dedication and hard work, plus ideally an excellent education.” The lesson was instilled in Mark and he passed it along to his four children.
Using his 11 years of college education, Mark has started and operated six different human and companion animal health companies. He developed, patented and commercialized Phycox, a companion animal arthritis product that has helped elder pets live healthier and pain-free lives. Today, he still owns PF Inc. — PetFlavors.com located in Melbourne. He has developed and helped commercialize over 20 other different companion animal health pharmaceutical products that have saved the lives of millions of dogs, cats and horses.
His time away from work is now spent mostly with the construction of the new American Muscle Car Museum, a nonprofit located in Melbourne.
“This new museum has a goal to provide charitable fundraising activities, car club shows and activities and education for the youth of this country.”
Additionally, he has donated over a million dollars for the construction of the Pieloch Pet Adoption Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. This “no kill” pet adoption facility saves thousands of dogs and cats each year. Two of his four children attend the University of Nebraska. His other two children are full-time students at Duke University and the University of Missouri.
American Muscle Car Museum
This new 123,000 sq. ft. complex will house the collection of Mark Pieloch, nearly 250 cars that range from classic 1960’s and 1970’s American muscle cars to modern “sophisticated” muscle like a 2016 Shelby GT350R.
This 501(c)3 museum, located on 42 acres in Melbourne, will include 90,000 sq. ft. of vehicle display area, an 18,000 sq. ft. showroom and an adjacent 15,000 sq. ft. maintenance and restoration facility for the collection. The private museum, to be located at 3500 Sarno Road, will not be open to the general public when completed in the fall of 2016. It will host non-profit activities, fundraisers and invitation car shows.
The collection itself, in addition to the cars, has vintage balloon tire bicycles, auto related neon signs, antique gas pumps, juke boxes, pedal cars, vintage soda coolers, motorcycles and more.
For more information, visit AmericanMuscleCarMuseum.com