Last night, I was surprised to receive the Tampa Bay Business Journal‘s Up and Comer Hall of Fame award for the Under 40 category (which I’d rather refer to as the “30-39 category”). It’s been rewarding to get to know Tampa this past year or so, even though we’ve been here 9 years. A year ago Robyn and I decided to make a concentrated effort to get to know the people of Tampa, really in hopes to grow Because of Ezra. We expected it to be kind of annoying, and tons of work.

What we found out is it IS tons of work – but it’s also been a lot of fun. As we’ve told our story over coffees, lunches, dinners and drinks, we’ve enjoyed the warmth and openness of people we connect to. And really – across all fronts. Whether we’re sharing the story of how Robyn and I met, being excited about Fuse and what Laicos is doing in Tampa, talking about ModMyi and the community of Apple fans Cody and I have built, letting people know how Because of Ezra is working toward a cure for childhood cancer, or talking about Charles and adoption, we’ve noticed people wanting to partner up and further each other’s passions. And wanting to introduce us to others! As a person who is fiercely proud of my friends, I love when other people are as well.

We joked last night you should talk to us when we get the “arrived” award, but seriously – it was an honor to see the city of Tampa rallying around our passion and recognizing us for it. Robyn and I can’t wait to keep building great things here. Thanks, Tampa, and thanks to the TBBJ as well.

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Kyle Matthews