By Gayle Guynup / Portrait by Matthew Holler ’11
Victor Young is a very busy man.
He is not only the co-owner of BMW Sarasota, Lamborghini Sarasota, Jaguar/Land Rover of Ocala, and Auto Spa, but also the owner of two other companies – Digital Caviar, which handles primarily film production work, and Global Metropolis Media, a company dedicated to marketing and content creation and development. He and his wife, Tia, have three daughters, one of whom, Taylor, is in her freshman year as a game art major at Ringling College of Art and Design.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this local entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Young was born in Tampa, the youngest of seven children. He would spend summers on his grandparents’ farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. This experience apparently stuck with him, as today he owns a small ranch of his own in the Ocala area in addition to their home in Sarasota.
His professional journey began in the radio and television industries, working in the production side of the business for a Tampa station. With his smooth, deep voice, he soon became an on-air personality. However, when the media companies began consolidating, Young says, “I went from being a pretty big fish in a small pond, to just being a fish in a pond.”
Young had always had really nice, fast cars from the time he was a kid. “I raced go-carts and mini-bikes and worked on cars with my dad. I am a pilot, and have my skipper’s license. If it moves fast, I am ready to go,” he said.
He was at his last live remote event when a guy came up to him and told Young how great he thought he would be at selling cars. Young took his card, thinking that nothing would come of it. A few weeks later, he found that card and was hired as a car salesman. It was March of 1993, and Young thought it was just a temporary gig until he found a better job in a bigger media market. In six months, he was manager of that company, then general manager, and the rest, as they say, is history. He never left the automotive business.
In 2009, in the throes of the recession, Young says he realized he was almost totally invested in the automotive industry, which is when he decided to branch out with his first media production company.
Young first heard about Ringling College around 2008. He got his first look at the campus in 2009. He was next exposed to the College when he became involved in the Sarasota Film Festival. “I met some Ringling students through that connection. I ended up investing in one of their student films. I had become pretty ingrained in the Ringling College world at that point,” he said.
“Everything I did seemed to be pulling me closer and closer to Ringling College. I met Larry Thompson in 2009, and in 2010 BMW Sarasota became a sponsor of the College golf tournament, something we have done every year since,” he said.
Victor describes himself and Larry as “kindred spirits,” adding, “He is a hybrid like I am. He’s got the business side down and he understands the arts, and he can walk both sides of the street.”
Since becoming involved through the golf tournament, Digital Caviar has worked on Ringling College projects, and the company has hired Ringling students as interns on some of its film projects.
“Ringling is this special place that allows people who see the world through a different lens to really grow and create,” Young said. “Today, Ringling students are all over the world creating content in every media imaginable. The students become very engaged at Ringling, and they stay engaged, which gives them the opportunity to grow into the artists that they were destined to become.”
As for Taylor, Young says, “What’s really impressive is watching her level of excitement about her classes. Her level of engagement is off the charts,” he added. Things had always come very easily for Taylor, her dad says. The problem is, when success comes too easily, it can hinder your growth. “When she was in high school, she won a summer scholarship to Ringling College, where she met kids from all over the world. It was such an eye-opening experience to see how amazing some of these artists were. So, Ringling College has given my daughter a new benchmark, something to aspire to. And that’s a wonderful thing,” he said.