PROFILE: Kristie Gundzik

May 19, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

BY SUE ERWIN – If you’ve inquired about renting a place at the Boca Grande Club over the past few years, you’ve likely met Kristie Gundzik, assistant property manager at the club.
Kristie was born in Rockledge, the oldest city in Brevard County.
Both of her parents, Wayne and Denise, are retired federal government employees. Wayne was a safety engineer for NASA for many years. Denise worked for the office of personnel management for NASA.
They grew tired of the Florida heat, so a few years ago they purchased a home in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
“It is so beautiful there,” Kristie said. “I don’t get up there as often as I’d like, but I look forward to going again soon.”
Her parents are both from Alabama and moved to Florida after they were married.
Kristie recalls visiting the Kennedy Space Center many times with her dad and visiting areas that the public wouldn’t normally be able to access. As she grew older and lived in other areas, she realized just how fortunate she was to have those experiences.
“I didn’t understand a lot about what he did, but I knew it was a privilege to visit his work,” she said.
When she was 10 her dad transferred to a position in Washington, D.C. and the family lived in West Virginia.
“It was a definite culture shock,” she said. “The closest town was 30 minutes away. But it worked out well for my dad, because there was a train station 30 minutes away that went directly to D.C. But I hated it, because all my friends were in Florida.”
Looking back, she misses the area and feels it was a very positive experience.
“It’s a completely different lifestyle. It’s very nature-based. There are a lot of hiking trails in the mountains and so many places to go rafting,” she said. “If the job market were better there, I’d definitely think about moving back.”
After high school, Kristie attended Shenandoah
University in Winchester, West Virginia.
She was a theater directing major.
Ever since she was little, she knew theater was always her passion. She had to audition for the program, since they only accepted a few people every year.
“I had to prepare a huge portfolio to showcase all of my work and perform several pieces in front of the program directors,” she said.
She practiced theater for four years in high school, and even directed a play during her senior year.
She wanted to go to Chicago or England after graduating, because she had met some professionals in college who had ties in both places. Also, she wanted to perform in smaller theaters as opposed going to New York City.
Unfortunately, a family tragedy occurred right after she earned her bachelor’s degree, so she ended up moving to Florida to be near her parents when she was 22.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” she said. “I have no regrets now, and I love my life. ”
She plans to do some volunteer work with local community theaters in the future and thinks that would be a fulfilling way to incorporate it back into her life.
When she came back to Florida, she worked for
Collegiate Funding Services in St. Petersburg, where she worked on student loan consolidations.
Then she moved to Port Charlotte and took a position in the office at Charlotte Engineering and Surveying.
She enjoyed working there and was the permits coordinator for several years.
It was right at the peak of the housing boom, and then the market crashed. The company was forced to downsize.
“It was so hard. I was there for four years and watched them jump through so many hoops to just keep their doors open,” she said. “We all pitched in wherever help was needed – it was like we were a family. It was sad, but heart-warming at the same time.”
After many sacrifices and staff cuts, the company survived and still operates today.
In 2010, she took a position as a services coordinator at an alarm company in Sarasota, but she wasn’t very fond of the long daily commute.
So after a year, she found a job right around the corner from her home at the Gardens of North Port. She worked for the CEO for many years. The owners had plans to open another facility, The Gardens of Venice. And that was Kristie’s project. She handpicked and planned everything at the new facility.
Four years later, she left that position to work at the Boca Grande Club.
She started out as an administrative assistant and worked her way up to assistant property manager.
“I realized it was a demotion in title, but I knew it was difficult to find a job in Boca Grande, and I really wanted to work on the island,” she said.
She realized during the interview that the job was exactly what she wanted.
“The people were very friendly and warm. It was a good feeling – it wasn’t a corporate, cold business environment, and I really liked that,” she said.
Since then, she has enjoyed meeting the clients and the families of her clients as well as the wonderful people who work at the club.
A big part of her job includes keeping up with the Florida real estate statutes and codes that the board needs to follow as well as continuing education that is required to keep her community association manager’s license.
“I think it’s very interesting, logical work,” she said. “I’ve learned so much, especially from the legal aspect of how to run an association.”
She said the Florida Sunshine laws are very strict and must be adhered to or there could be fines administered. And many of the rules can change when legislatures meet to discuss new laws.
She loves her job at the Boca Grande club because of the people.
“Everyone is so sweet, and I love the relaxed island lifestyle,” she said. “And they are a very caring bunch of people.”
Kristie has a son, Trevor, who is 16.
“He is 16 going on 40 – he’s very serious and very committed to being successful – he’s a good kid,” she said.
They live in North Port with her spouse, Jacinda.
When she is not working she enjoys going to the beach as much as possible.
Kristie really enjoys hiking and primitive camping – getting away from it all and just enjoying the peace and quiet of nature. She also loves to read and admits she is somewhat obsessed with Stephen King novels.
When asked about the person she admires most in life, she didn’t hesitate for a second and said it was her mom.
“She is the best role model,” Kristie said. “She’s a strong business professional, and she always taught me to do the best I can at everything.”
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a social member at the club, give Kristie a call at 964-2211.