We visited our Orange County Clerk of Circuit Courts Eddie Fernandez, which agreed to speak a little about himself so we get to know him a little better
His name is Eduardo Fernández, known by everyone as Eddie Fernández, 33 years old and a Community Man, happy to serve Orange County and proud of his accomplishments.
Eddie was born in Puerto Rico, lost his father very young, and was raised and inspired by his single mom and grand parents, that came to the US as Cuban refugees. Later in life the family moved to Orlando and the City Beautiful became his home. Always an over achiever became an Attorney, practiced at Shutts & Bowen’s, until he was nominated to his position in Orange County by Governor Rick Scott to substitute the late Orange County Clerk of Circuit Court Lydia Gardner.
For us it was a great honor and pleasure to speak with such a young powerful and dedicated community young man.
Here is what we spoke of.
As growing up in Orlando, raised by a single mom and grand parents, do you think that this is one of the main reasons to your success or it was just a consequence of your constant hard work?
Eddie: I always worked hard and I got scholarships, that helped me through college. My mother has given up everything to raise me with my grandparents help, I always felt the need to give back. I was fortunate to be able to later on support my grandparents financially. This dedication has given me the power to succeed and accomplish all I have.
In your role as a Clerk of Circuit of Court you will be able to reach out and help a lot more people than in the private law practice. Is this something you planned and envisioned yourself doing or it came as a surprise?
Eddie: This position is tailored for me, it involves Law, I took the Florida CPA Exam, before I went to Law School I worked in Banking in the administrative field and this position is in the Legal Area with an Administrative role, dealing with the public, helping the Community, and this is what I always wanted, to be able to help as many people as I could
How did Governor Rick Scott reached out to you during the selective process?
Eddie: I knew Lidia Gardner, I admired her and her work and I had lunch with her in February, when she passed away in May, it was a sad surprise. I could never imagine she was sick, she was in the Office for many years. When they started the process to choose her replacement, about mid year 2013, I thought about it and thought it would be interesting to have the position and I shared my interest with a few people in the community. One day I got a call from the Governor that mentioned he had many candidates but he have heard I was interested, and he would like me to apply. After many interviews, in a very competitive process, I got the phone call saying I got the position.
Being so young, many professionals at your age have not accomplished what you already did. What is your motivation? Giving back ? Or there is more?
Eddie: I think there is more, Orlando is a very welcoming community, I had the opportunity to live in Miami and other places, and the mentality is like, “you are not from here”. In Orlando is not like that, it is friendly and warm, no matter where you come from you are welcome, and the opportunity to serve in Orlando was perfect, plus the fact that it involved the Legal, Administrative and Public roles, serving the community. The reach of this office is of thousands of people that we serve every day.
Do you think your deputy clerks were surprised by your nomination due to your age? Or this was just an incentive, to work with a young and fresh mind. Tell me your impressions.
Eddie: I suspect yes, this office is an office where people usually don’t start a public career, when you look at the appointments for orange County positions, the administrative is older.
So when you come with a lot of energy, new ideas, it is a positive shock to the system.
As our community grows, a significant number of Brazilians are moving to central Florida. They are investing, buying houses and opening businesses. In most cases they are not well aware of the laws and procedures, even knowing that the Orange clerk.com has translation to Portuguese, to facilitate understanding, do you think that this is enough to educate the people, and avoid a generation of problems in the future?
Eddie: No, not enough at all, I think we have a lot of work ahead. I have been in contact with many communities, and principally with the Portuguese speaking community, there is so much to be done, because they don’t know what we do, what we offer, so we need to get out there and get involved. If don’t go out there, people won’t know what we offer. One of the things I want people to be aware of are job openings, so we have people that will speak not only Portuguese but other languages, and we will be able to do a lot more.