Editor’s Note: This feature is part of a series spotlighting people who’ve lived in Charlotte for less than a year. If that sounds like you, tell us your story. If you know someone you’d like to nominate, send them a link or call us at 704-442-1565.
Name: Leo Ortiz
Moved from: Miami, Fla.
How long: 8 months
Occupation: Manager, Microsoft Store at SouthPark Mall
Hobbies: I love fitness, so I like to stay in the gym. I’m also a father of three, and I love my children, so being a dad is definitely one of the things I most enjoy.
What brought you here? I relocated for my career with Microsoft. I joined a new company and had an opportunity to be a part of their growth story in opening this store. It was a great opportunity to relocate and get my family somewhere that’s family oriented, and Charlotte was ideal.
Most memorable moment: Running into Michael Jordan. I know he’s kind of a local favorite, being a North Carolina guy. Right here at SouthPark Mall, Michael Jordan drove by. I was at the light and looked to my right, and Jordan was right there in his Bentley coupe. I almost passed out. I was born and raised in Chicago, so when you have an opportunity to see Michael Jordan, you get excited.
What do you like best about Charlotte? The people. You get the mix of Southern hospitality with that big-city feel. So it’s a healthy balance. I have to be honest, the family and I were a little skeptical in the beginning, coming from Miami and being from Chicago, but Charlotte is a perfect fit. With my wife and my kids and the business I’m running right now, it’s an ideal fit.
What do you like least? Everything closes so early. I guess that’s the double edge to that Southern living. On Sundays, there’s no one on the streets; everyone is home or attending church service. It’s a very laid-back approach. I’m used to the hustle and bustle of the big city, so I’m still trying to adjust to it being a little quiet.
How have you gotten involved? Being the manager of the Microsoft Store, I’ve connected with the PAL (Police Athletic League) community service over in northeast Charlotte, which has been a huge benefit. We actually issued them a $50,000 grant when we opened the store. Also, the cancer walk that we had here most recently – the Get Your Rear in Gear cancer walk. So we really connected with the community in that respect. And the Ronald McDonald House over in north Charlotte.
How would you like to get involved? I’m looking to see if I can be a part of Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I’m trying to build my network with some of the individuals I’ve met. They definitely leaned me toward Big Brothers. I hear that’s a huge initiative here, so I’d definitely like to plug myself into that. Being the youngest of five, I’d like to be a role model to today’s youth.