By way of the Bahamas generations ago, Jason Beeman is a born-and-raised sixth-generation Conch. With a deep love of Conch baseball in his veins, he isn’t joking when he says he has 48 first cousins from Key West on his mother’s side.
The vice president of lending and credit services at Keys Federal Credit Union and graduate of Florida State University with a business management degree, he’s been a member of “THE” Rotary Club of Key West for more than 10 years, and is a former board member of Key West Chamber of Commerce. But, his heart is in the city’s baseball leagues, where he’s been coaching since 2003.
A graduate of Key West High School – “We are cool, we are fine, we’re the Class of ’89” – he prides himself in raising his Conch kids. He has three sons, Jacob, 22, Caleb, 17, and Joseph, 13, and daughter Ella, 18 months old. His sons are very good ballplayers. Jacob played for the Conchs until breaking his collarbone while on a snowboarding trip. Caleb is a senior at KWHS and has chosen the path of music production, and Joseph “Jojo” is in eighth grade and a second baseman. “We’ll see if he decides to continue on in high school,” he said. As for Ella, he’s guessing girls’ softball and ballet in a few years.
So, The Weekly asked him a couple questions to get to know him a little better.
One fun fact about you? I’m WAY funnier that you think.
What’s the most rewarding project you’ve worked on? Tricking my wife, Jana, into marrying me.
Working in the loan industry, what has surprised you about 2018? Americans are still in a borrowing mood, and our total tab for consumer debt could hit a record $4 trillion by the end of 2018.
How did Hurricane Irma affect this year’s outlook? At Keys Federal, we really went out of our way to help our community as much as we could, giving very low rate “disaster recovery” loans almost immediately to help people start getting back on their feet. We also shifted gears, trying to help members work through insurance claims on their homes and vehicles.
What does success look like? Being able to live and work in my hometown, having a happy and healthy family, and being able to share that experience with my lifelong friends from here that are doing the same.
What do you think your grandmother would consider the biggest changes in Key West? My grandmother, Elize Roberts, would find it crazy that we can’t catch jewfish (goliath grouper) or conch any more. She would also think that there aren’t enough “Key West families” left here, since a good number have exited in the last 10-15 years.
Proudest achievement? While serving in the U.S. Army during my younger years, I got the chance to shake hands with one of my heroes, Colin Powell.
What was your first job? I worked for Benny and Gilda Fernandez at Key West Chemical while in high school.
When you’re at work, what are you really wishing you were doing? On the kitchen floor playing with my 18-month old daughter, Ella.
Dream meal: you are sitting at a diner counter eating … who walks in and sits next to you? My mom, and we eat real conch fritters and drink an ice-cold beer.
Favorite Keysy thing to do? Taking my boys out to dive the reef.
Which TV or movie character is your alter ego? Jimmy Conway from “Goodfellas.”
What would your superpower be? Fix stupid.
Best piece of advice you ever received? If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.
What is your nerdiest passion? Is karaoke nerdy?
If you could take one item on a deserted island, what? why? Cell phone. Duh.
Favorite guilty pleasure? Golf. I mean … shopping with my wife.
If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you do/buy? I would buy my in-laws a home in London where my wife’s sisters’ family lives and a home here in Key West, so they can spend more time with their grandchildren.
What’s on your bucket list? Become a pilot.
If you could change the world, what would you do? I would, somehow, try to bridge the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the poverty-stricken groups.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to? I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, hands down.
Finish these sentences…
My wife, Jana, would describe me as … Her words are sensitive, funny and family-loving.
My autobiography would be titled … “Bee A Man.”
Key West is like … two words: Home, cuzzy!
I live by the motto … Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. – Omar Khayyam