During the day, Jared Moore, operations manager at Pensacola, Fla.-based master distributor J & M Valve, makes a difference by helping his customers get the industrial PVF products they need.

Away from the shop, Moore has made an even greater impact over the years through his work with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwest Florida chapter that covers the five westernmost counties in the state. The group celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015. A recent story in the Pensacola News Journal notes 563 children are enrolled in the local chapter.

Moore, 34, provided long-term mentorship to a young man named Fernell. The two were first paired together when Fernell was eight years old. “Big Brothers Big Sisters has two different tracks,” Moore explains. “One of them is where they pair an adult up with a kid and you spend time with them. You try to be a positive influence in their life.”

Moore first became involved with the group after he graduated college. “My parents were very involved with a drug rehabilitation center. They were helping people turn their lives around,” he says. “You should have some degree of responsibility for your community.”

Moore tries to downplay his contributions to the program, which he says provides an extremely important service to the community. “A lot of times kids don’t make the decisions that result in the environment they are raised in,” he says. “They don’t choose their environment. In these situations there is a parent or guardian who has enough sense to know the child needs a positive role model. I wanted to spend time with Fern. What did I do for the kid other than hang out with him and put him in situations to practice interacting with people? I don’t feel like I had a huge substantial impact on him.”

But Moore admits based on feedback from Fernell, he did make a major difference in his life. “Fern considers it an impactful situation. He can verbalize how a guy picking him up every weekend made him feel significant,” Moore says. “He said he had a lot of fun hanging out. He improved his grades in middle school and high school.”

Fernell recently turned 19 and aged out of the program. “He’s a great young man. He’s been working two jobs and going to school full-time,” he says. “He has a vision of what he wants to do with his life. I consider him part of the family. My kids call him Uncle Fern. We still stay in contact.”

Back in the office, Moore didn’t intend to get into master distribution. He was a public school teacher prior joining the family business in 2007 (his grandfather started J & M and his father now runs the company). “I always said I never wanted to come here,” he says with a laugh. “But it’s a multigenerational thing and it was great opportunity.”

Moore, who is married with three kids and recently was informed his family has been matched to adopt a 3-year-old boy, notes J & M enjoyed a prosperous 2015.

“Business has been very good,” he says. “Our first quarter (in 2015) was probably the best quarter in the history of the company. The summer slowed down a little with gas prices dropping. It’s been great at the pump, but tough on the industry. We don’t do anything with oil fields. Not being tied directly to the oil field, it hasn’t hit as hard as some of the other companies we deal with. We’re still hitting all the numbers we need to hit.”

— Mike Miazga