Ambassador of the Month: John Fleckenstein II

Name: John Fleckenstein II
Company: Sunbelt Securities
Title: Vice President Portfolio Manager

Why did you join the AYC?

I joined to meet new people, to get involved with my community, to meet the future business and community leaders of Central Texas, and to learn about the businesses in Austin from the people who work in those businesses and those that are creating their own businesses. AYC is an awesome avenue to get to know friendly people. You are strongly encouraged to walk up to “future friends” that you don’t know now, so that you can make more connections. That’s not available anywhere else. AYC is incredible at allowing it’s members the opportunity to participate in committees…from day one! You can’t find that anywhere else. AYC is a truly unique, non-coercive opportunity to interact with people from all over the country (most people in Austin are not from Austin).

How did you get to Austin?

I attended The University of Texas in Austin and decided to stick around for a little while. I was fortunate to get a great job with the Wells Fargo Trust Department and I started working right after graduation as an investment manager in the Managed Disciplined Strategies Group (formerly the Portfolio Services Group Plus).

What is your favorite lunch spot?

I love barbeque though I rarely eat it. Every once in a while I treat myself to Ruby’s barbeque (not Rudy’s though they are good too) on Guadalupe and 29th. I usually eat so much that I can skip dinner that night.

If you could have any super power, what would it be and what would you use it for?

My superpower would be knowledge/understanding transfer. I would be able to touch someone and they would be able to see/understand what I am talking about and/or how I view the world. Likewise, I could see their ideas with their permission. With it, we (those that are interested) would spark a renaissance based on trust, free market capitalism, individuality, freedom, and real genuine kindness, all of which seem to be fading into evanescence.

If you could have any celebrity live next door to you, who would it be?

Deceased = Milton and Rose Freidman. Alive = Jack Welch or Alan Greenspan would be awesome next door neighbors. We could hang out after work, drink scotch and debate socio-economic theories and philosophies every day…a dream come true.

What are your top 3 things to do/see in Austin?

1)    I love going to the Elephant Room. It’s my favorite dive jazz bar in the world.

2)    I like all the music events that are in and around Austin: BatFest, ACL, SXSW, The Hot Sauce Festival, Pecan St. Festival, Swampfest, Blues on the Green, Eeyore’s Birthday, and the KVET free music series to name a few.

3)    Explore: there are always new trails to find, new restaurants to try, new bars to see, and new bands to hear. If you get bored, just get out of your house, walk around, and you’ll find something.

If you played hooky for a day, where would we find you?

You wouldn’t find me because of my ninja skills. I’d probably be reading an epic book or buried away in current or past economic news, swinging in a hammock that’s off the beaten path along the greenbelt trail (a word to the wise: watch out for hobos and hippies). Or, I’d be volunteering for a worthy cause like Habitat for Humanity…so maybe you would find me.

When people ask you what you do for a living, what do you tell them?

Normally, I’m truthful and tell people that I am a portfolio manager. I manage a variety of traditional investments (stocks and bonds) and alternative investments (private equity and private reits) for a wide array of clients who enjoy witty humor coupled with serious research and real results from someone who will bend over backwards for their clients. Other times, I’m a cat herder, unicorn trainer, or a horse hockey coach.

What do you think is the best invention in the past 50 years?

The Laffer Curve. It proves that by cutting taxes, you can raise revenue. By cutting taxes, you speed up the velocity of money. With more transactions, governments collect more revenue. Also, as people have more money in their pockets due to lower taxes, they can buy more goods or services (sandwiches – good, back massages – service) which raises their standard of living and adds to more transactions, which equates to more revenue for the government. Art Laffer is still alive today…If you are listening, thank you ART!!!

Who was your first Facebook friend?

Good question! Probably whoever I told to sign up for it once I heard about it.

If you couldn’t live in Austin, where would you want to live?

I would live in the Texas Hill Country. I have been all over the US and many places throughout the world and there are few places that compare with the Texas Hill Country. It has beautiful countryside (hills, streams and rivers), the cost of living is relatively low, lots of festivals and cultural events, a smart and able workforce, and, most importantly, it has the nicest people in the world…For a simple guy like me, it would be perfect.

How do you give back?

I try to give my free time to worthy people, organizations, and groups. It stems from my upbringing as a Boy Scout and sprouts from there. I currently sit on AYC’s Community Committee (come join us!) doing various events that are so much fun I can’t believe it’s called volunteering, I built homes with Habitat for Humanity many a times, I have worked with Austin Partners In Education (APIE) teaching kids, Barrington Elementary and Zavala Elementary had an after school program for kids that I participated in for a couple years during college, I coach YMCA youth basketball, I go on Boy Scout high adventure treks when they are available, I do Volunteer Tax Assistance programs, I donated my hair to locks of love, and I have done trash pickups at Lady Bird Lake. There are lots of other events/organizations that I have participated in/with as I have varying interests and a tenacious desire to help worthy people and causes. What I have done so far is the tip of the iceberg for what I will do in the future…

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