Jamie McDonnell: The man, the myth, and now the legend
What makes this type-A serial entrepreneur tick?
Jamie McDonnell is a passionate and driven man who is committed to those nearest and dearest to him. Whether it is his family, friends or charitable giving, he is truly one of a kind. If you ever see Jamie, you might notice the fancy cars he drives, his outlandishly glitzy clothes and sparkling jewelry, but his heart of gold outshines even the brightest of gems. Jamie was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth or a Rolls Royce key in his pocket. Growing up in Lynbrook NY, Jamie’s parents divorced when he was 5 years old and he spent most of his childhood in and out of trouble. Finally, after failing the 9th grade, his mother decided to move him and his brother to Florida. He attended the University School and graduated in 1981, Jamie attempted to follow the scholastic road by attending a semester at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, but ultimately entered the “school of hard knocks”. Jamie became involved with drugs and crime, as a result, spent four years living at The Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco; a world renowned residential drug treatment facility. While in treatment, he learned carpentry skills that he still uses to this day as a hobby. According to him, this was the best thing that could have happened because it set him on the road to success.
He is the true definition of a serial entrepreneur. Jamie worked his way up from the bottom of the ladder starting his original business, Professional Laboratories (PRO-LAB), in his garage 17 years ago and since then, has started several very successful businesses. In 2009, Jamie received a businessman’s dream; he was inducted into the Nova Southeastern University’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Never one to forget where he has come from, Jamie is quoted as saying, “who would have thought a person with my troubled background, who had never completed college would have his portrait hanging on the wall in a major university.” Although he will never forget where he has been, he is constantly thinking of where he can go.
“I only sleep four to five hours a night because my mind is constantly churning and thinking about my next new great idea or business,”
says Jamie. From working out of his garage, to owning multiple properties throughout both the United States and Canada, Jamie attributes his success to his keen entrepreneurial spirit. Having ADHD, street smarts, a ton of common sense along with the fact that he is a roll-up-your-sleeves, do it yourself, actively involved owner, allowed him to have a clear pulse on his entire operation.
“When I pull into the parking lot at my office I am reminded daily that I am living my dream,” boasts Jamie proudly. Hence the reason why a 12-foot statue stands at the front door of his world headquarters that states,
“Live Your Dreams.”
In 2010, it was proven once again for Jamie just how successful he had become and how he is living his dream when he was showcased on the late Joan Rivers show; “How’d You Get So Rich?” When asked what he feels has been the most glamorous benefit of his success, his response was, “I have received many invitations to private parties and events where I have been able to form a relationship with a numerous amount of celebrities. I love having a portfolio of pictures to look back at to remind me of the good times I have had.”
Jamie has been a Broward County resident for over 37 years and a Weston resident for the past 20 years. Jamie believes strongly in his causes and delivers the same kind of passion and intensity to his own community as he does to the businesses that he serves. While Jamie provides assistance to countless community organizations and supports multiple national organizations, his true passion is working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County (BGCBC). Jamie is a board member and the Founding Chairman of The Boca Raton Councours d’Elegance and the only person in BGCBC history to belong to every affinity group. Jamie is an Admiral and a Leader of the Pack, a Big Wheel, a Cattleman and a General. In November, Jamie received the highest honor obtainable from the Boys and Girls Club; he was inducted into the Dream Maker Society. In order to become a Dream Maker, you must be committed to the organization for at least ten years, play a vital role in the development of a program or an event (Concours d’ Elegance), and personally donate funds in excess of one million dollars. When asking Jamie why he feels such a strong attachment to the organization, he responded by saying, “I wish I had had a place to go growing up, like the Boys and Girls Club. To me, the club is a safe haven and a place for keeping kids off the streets”.
For more information regarding
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward
County Visit: bgcbc.org
Follow Jamie on Instagram @thejamiemcdonnell
portrait photography by James Acquaroli