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!”
Born in Beverly, MA, Zak moved to Vero in 1997 at the age of 14 with his parents and little brother, Aaron. He graduated from Vero Beach High School in 2001.
He sees the most unique part of the Vero Beach community as its diversity in population.
“I try to give the community dependable and reliable repair,” Jenness said. “I truly understand what a personal connection we all have with our technology these days, so when someone hands me their device to fix, I treat it like it’s my own.”
As an electronics technician, Jenness works on repairs of cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, iMacs and all sorts of game consoles.
“These aren’t just devices, though,” Jenness continued. “When a woman hands me her tablet or laptop, it’s possibly her business and memories of her kids or family and friends. Or it’s a child’s access to education. It’s a human’s life, more or less. I try to build personal relationships with my customers. A lot of people just want to come in and get their phone fixed and then get out, but an equal number of folks will stay and talk. When they do, I make sure they know that I understand what their device means to them and that I handle it with care and respect.”
Zak and his coworkers spend a LOT of time at the shop. Often, many of their customers are walk-ins and are frequently referred from previous customers or referred from a Facebook neighborhood recommendation.
“My coworkers and I get along like we are a family,” Jenness said. “Because we are.”
While the guys don’t always see eye to eye, they are professional and courteous enough to listen and communicate with one another and give respect to each other’s perspectives.
“We acknowledge our own strengths and weaknesses and work based on that acknowledgement so that as a unit, we are greater than the sum of our parts,” according to Zak. “We split our tasks based on our strengths and reinforce each other when it’s needed. Each one of us have fields we excel in, and we take the time to share our knowledge and experiences with each other so that we all make the effort to grown and learn. It’s that teamwork and mentality that gives us belief for Cell Medic to grow in the future.”
Even though their business is open seven days a week, Jenness has Mondays and Tuesdays off. In those days, he enjoys a variety of hobbies and spending time with his girlfriend, Stephanie, and her six-year-old son, Emerson. His hobbies include walking or jogging at the beach, soaking up the sun and staying in shape, as well as the weightlifting and cardio at the gym. Zak also admits he is no stranger to video games, which is part of the reason he enjoys helping others when their gaming console needs repair.
“I’m an avid, lifelong gamer,” Jenness stated. “I play all sorts of video games on most consoles. I’ve done this my whole life and regret nothing!”
Zak’s passions encompass everything that is his professional role and his family, not in that order necessarily. His mother, Jeannie, and father, Michael, along with his little brother, Aaron, are some of his biggest supporters that he says have been by his side through thick and thin, at his lowest points in life and also at his best. “My mom has five brothers, five sisters, and my dad has three sisters, so I have tons of aunts, uncles, cousins and so forth,” he explained. “I’m part of a huge Italian family and we are all over the world.”
He credits his loved ones with never losing faith in him and giving him the encouragement he needs to be the best version of himself. As far as his professional influences and support folks go, Jenness gives his boss, Joseph Tarzia, much praise.
“Joe opened the door for me to get into this business and taught me proper technique so that my do-it-yourself (DIY) repairs started changing into professional repairs,” Jenness said. He also credits other professional influences as being Shaun Whightman and Glen Gramling, both of whom are professors at Indian River State College. “They taught me about 3-D animation and graphic design and helped me earn my BA. Even though it’s a slightly different field, the knowledge I gained about technology from them and the commitment and passion they helped me develop has been immeasurable. I am incredibly grateful for their tutelage.”
Cell Medic is located in the South Vero Square shopping plaza, 762 S. US-1 in Vero Beach. Their phone number is 772.584.3868. They can be found on Facebook or visit their website at www.cellmedicfl.com.