Cool ride, bruh. Cool kicks, yo.
The word itself – “cool” – dates back quite some time, to the 1930s in fact. The meaning has many interpretations and associations.
Are you cool? Am I cool? It’s so cool outside! (Except it’s not, because it’s Florida in the summertime.) Look at the ocean, what a cool shade of blue. Those guys need to cool down some. Oh, cool!
You get the idea. When we decided to compile a list of the “coolest people” in Vero Beach, the names began flying left and right. In a town with so much passion and personality, there’s inevitably a plethora of “cool” residents that choose to call Vero Beach their home. We chose them based off what they do for a living, their personalities, and how they engage with the community. And this is most-likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Take a look at these names and faces, read a little bit about them, and check them out if you’re interested in getting to know more.
Vero Beach’s very own Geoff Moore, by day, can be found working as a physician liaison for 21st Century Oncology. The “on-air” version of Moore can be found on iHeart Radio 107.9, 1370 and 101.7, as well as streaming live online via The Geoff Moore Show Facebook page.
Next on our list of “cool” is known around Vero Beach as the Vero Beach Mermaid, Brandee Anthony. She hails from Boca Raton originally, spent 19 years in Wisconsin, and has been making colorful and beautiful mermaid waves here in Vero Beach for the last 4 years. Brandee is the owner of a social media agency where she offers content creation for brands and individuals, social media consulting and training, and does portrait photography. She even takes great joy in turning others (of all ages) into mermaids for photoshoots.
Cindy O’Dare is a Broker Associate with Premier Estate Properties, and her “coolness” factor is evident just in speaking with her about her past experiences in the real estate industry, all the way through her recent success in the business. A mother of two daughters who O’Dare says has always been blessed with having their respect, she calls her own Vero Beach home her ‘little piece of paradise’ where she enjoys serenity and relaxation in the times she is not working. She cherishes her time there, along with her French Bulldog named Clarabelle – who, by the way, boasts her own Instagram account.
Another real estate Broker Associate who lands on our list of cool people in Vero Beach is Beth Livers, who has lived in the area since 1996. She is now with the Sand & Land Team and specializes in golf course communities. Sand & Land Team is recognized for being in the Top 20 in Indian River County Sales for over seven years.
Local artist Dan Bennett doesn’t think of himself as a “cool” guy but considers himself a better man over the years. His work is scattered locally and throughout the country, cherished by all of those who embrace the beauty and uniqueness of his talents. Those who know him admire his dedication and passion for the arts, specifically his talent for restoring historic interior paint schemes, as well as restoration of stained glass.
Not only is this next cool person a female entrepreneur with a slew of projects and responsibilities, she has branded herself not only on a local level but national and worldwide levels as well. Tamara Darress, owner of The Parisian Hostess Boutique in downtown Vero Beach uniquely talented pinup model who basks in the glory of how people lived and admired beautiful women in years past. She has taken initiative in driving her passion for Parisian style, pinup model-etiquette, and love for travel and created a variety of ways to share those passions with the Vero Beach community and the rest of the world.
Chef Beam Tk
Siam Orchid Thai & Sushi, located at 762 21st Street in Vero Beach, is a local treasure that has been around for 18 years. While the establishment itself is pretty awesome, the man behind the establishment – and the sushi – is our next cool guy. Chef Beam TK (trust me, this nickname is there for a reason as his actual name has lots of letters and syllables in it – Thanasan Kulthepbandid), is an incredibly humble business owner, husband, and father of a 2-year-old. He works seven days a week and loves to make his guests laugh as he’s preparing food for them. Chef Beam TK took over ownership of Siam Orchid two years ago, though he has worked in the restaurant for nearly 12 years.
If you’re no stranger to the Vero Beach networking community on Facebook, chances are you’ve seen the “Vero Beach Foodie” pop up with some mouth-watering food photos throughout the local groups and pages. Talk about a man who gets to actually indulge in his work – Thomas Miller is the city’s most popular “Foodie,” and it’s with great pride and professionalism that he shares his experiences, his ample knowledge of food, and his marketing expertise with Vero Beach residents, both online through social media as well as out and about in public.
Her name is as unique as her passion, and her spirit and drive for bringing positivity and healthy living choices into the community that she now calls ‘home’ is awe-inspiring. Esther Chin, originally from Malaysia, has made her presence very well known in Vero Beach since moving here in 2017. Creator of “Garden of Esther,” Chin offers fresh pasta products to the community. “Be the difference” is one of the mottos that she chooses to live by and makes efforts every day to do so.
She’s probably well-qualified to write this feature on her own, however it’s likely her humble nature wouldn’t quite define how outstandingly beautiful and awesome she actually is.
We consider him a cool guy. He considers himself more of a “proud geek.”
One of the friendly faces at the heart of Vero Beach’s locally owned and operated cell phone and electronics repair shop, Cell Medic, is Zak Jenness. “I used to think of myself as a cool guy, and tried to act as such,” Jenness explained. “Then I realized how lame that was and decided to be my own nerdy self. I’m much happier now!”
He’s a man who loves nature and all things that support the eco-system. So much so, that he’s chosen a career that he can not only profit from but also use as a tool to educate others and aid the environment.
Pittsburgh-native Cole Pfautz is Powur’s Solar Sales Manager for the State of Florida – a position that he embraces to the fullest in an industry he loves.
This woman may appear to be just another average person walking on this planet, living in this town, but the fierceness within her is bursting at the seams once you come to know her.
Kim Artlip is the owner and promoter of IGNITE Wrestling – the Treasure Coast’s only professional wrestling company. That’s right – wrestling.
One thing is for sure – when someone in a local Vero Beach Facebook group asks the question, “Where can I go to get my phone repaired?” – Chances are, one of the first couple of responses will be a comment tag with either Cell Medic or Joseph Tarzia in it. And then likely another five people will recommend the same. It’s true. Try it yourself.
He’s often seen with his camera in hand and words of gratitude and giving coming from his lips. Local marketing, networking, and nonprofit supporter Steve Glaser is another widely recognized cool personality in Vero Beach.
Having grown up in New Jersey, Glaser has proudly been in the profession of photography with his younger sister, Julie, since their early teenage years.
Diego Giraldo is a multi-talented Veroan who seeks out the good in people, the beauty of his surroundings, and gratitude in every situation he has encountered in his life thus far. Originally from Columbia, Diego and his wife of 20 years, Ximena, have called Vero Beach home since 2006.
You ever wonder who the mastermind behind Vero Vine is? The man who is spotted here, there, and everywhere in the Vero Beach area? Who IS he? What’s his story?
That man, Vero folks, is none other than Stacy Cook. By popular demand, here’s a glimpse of why he is considered (humbly) a “cool personality,” and how networking and Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie have become self-taught successes of his. Not only is he the Community Manager of Vero Vine and Vero Beach Foodie, he is also the CEO of Vero Beach Marketing, and part-owner of TC Savor.
A cool personality and a busy, busy man, Vero Beach local Bob Craig has been commended on his enthusiasm for the love of the land on more than one occasion. Whether developing communities alongside his wife, Joyce, or selling others real estate properties, to managing his multiple (and I do mean multiple) groups on social media, Craig lets nothing get in his way of success. In fact, favorite quotes of his define the very premise he lives by: “Too much is not enough,” and “We know no NO.”
Dan and Kelly Johnson
Kelly and Dan Johnson are quiet, pleasant, and eager to make a difference. Their mission: Hidden Sanctuary Village (HSV).
Their non-profit started as a dream and is now becoming a reality, slowly but surely, with their hard work, focused efforts, and getting the word out in the community.
The beauty of Danielle Wynkoop – and why she’s so cool – is her obvious love for Vero Beach and her natural desire to help those who live in the community. And her passion for pizza. We’ll get to that later.
David Moshier isn’t worried about what anybody thinks of him – he’s focused on contributing to society and staying modest and grateful.
“Frankly, I believe that what other people think of me is none of my business,” the former New Yorker said. The publisher of City Guide for three and a half years, Moshier encourages residents of Vero Beach and Sebastian to “shop local” and offers “affordable advertising opportunities.”
Cool or not? Perception is in the eye of, well – each individual.
He’s usually home every night, and on weekends. He completed a 30-year career in the newspaper business in 2014. His marriage is nearly in it’s 23rd year at the end of October.
If you’re a believer in reincarnation, it wouldn’t be a far stretch of the imagination to assume that Vero Beach local Joe Semkow was likely a dolphin or a sea turtle in a previous life.
“Nothing is more satisfying then feeling free and being in the ocean surrounded by so much water and unknown,” Semkow shared, citing one of his passions in life as being under the water.
Tim and Anna Burklew
They’re true believers in local supporting local. Family-oriented through and through. And when it comes to facing life catastrophes, Tim and Anna Burklew do not accept defeat without putting up a fight with a great deal of faith and compassion.
Beauty and art go hand in hand, and an artist’s canvas can be pretty much anything, anywhere, and in Mink Tyner’s eyes, anyone. She is doing what she loves to do, living a life she is grateful to live, raising a family she is an influence on, teacher to, and protector of, and living in a community that has been home to her since Day 1.
His is a true story of a small-town boy with big city dreams come true, and how he ended up in Vero Beach is a culmination of small town, big city passions and desires, plus a little bit of puppy love and a dose of Canadian beauty.
Captain America by day, Batman by night… and pastor on Sundays. He’s not your ordinary Super Hero, but alas, is cool nonetheless. He’s real, and he’s passionate about God, Christianity, his family, his community, Disney, Marvel comic heroes, and Star Wars. He’s the whole package – at least that’s what his kids, wife, and congregation think.
Addiction and homelessness are two serious issues that society faces. In 2019, those issues of humanity are ones that are difficult to talk about, because the reality of either is becoming more and more personal to so many through their own personal journey or that of a loved one.
Have you ever been sitting at your job, going through the mundane day-to-day descriptors of your job role, waiting for lunch time, waiting for quitting time, dreaming of where you pictured your life being at, at this point in your life? Chances are, unless you’re living your dream, you’ve been in this position before. Wondering what your next career move will be, whether you’ll win the lottery and forever travel the rest of your life… It happens, more than one might guess. Mike Bushman, a Vero local since 1987, experienced career FOMO and corporate lack of enthusiasm at one point. He is Vero Vine’s next “Coolest Personality” and the owner/operator of Recycled DVDs, located at 937 7th Avenue in Vero Beach.
This cool personality’s name has a ring to it. A lustful, creative scoop of coolness and artistic professionalism. Christopher Sweeney’s talent and dedication to paying it forward in the community he lives in speaks for itself – through his artwork, his students, and through his admiration by so many individuals of all ages throughout Vero Beach and beyond.
Sweeney is a cool personality in many ways. An artist, a teacher, a writer, and a man who loves to express love in all that he does.
Annabel Robertson is a face of giving, a face of gratitude, and a believer in community. Vero Beach is “definitely home,” she said. Robertson moved to Vero Beach in 1994 after her graduation from law school.
Robertson is the Executive Director of United Against Poverty of Indian River County (UP-IRC), and has been with the organization since 2012. She is walking, living, breathing proof that when someone sets their mind to something, no matter how small or large their mission, with determination and help from the community, anything can be done.
You know his name – you’ve likely read his news stories or opinion pieces before. Larry Reisman, the community editor and columnist for TCPalm and the Press Journal, has been a local news journalist since long before journalism branched into digital format.
Dr. Chris Festa
She’s known around town as ‘Dr. Chris.’ She has saved lives, and inspired the lives of many. Through and through, she is a true doctor. Technically, a Doctor of Nurse Practitioner, or DNP. She is the primary medical provider at River’s Edge Direct Primary Care in Sebastian, an office that features an IV Lounge, Wellness Walks, and Regenerative Therapy, among so many other patient care abilities and techniques.
A true Vero Beach native, that’s who she is, and yet just a small part of what defines her.
Her name? Jillian Jackson. Where you may recognize her from if you’re a beachside dining extraordinaire – Ocean Grill, where she has worked for nearly five years. Yes, she’s a server, but again – only a small part of what defines her.
So who is she, and what makes her cool?