Burgers Before Beer: 5 Questions For Funky Buddha Brewery Co-Owner

May 8, 2014

Before he went into the beer business, Funky Buddha co-owner KC Sentz (second from the left) was an electrical engineer at Motorola, though his first taste of the working life was at a McDonald's when he was 14.
Credit Courtesy of Funky Buddha

KC Sentz and his brother Ryan opened the Funky Buddha Brewery in June of 2013. It was the first production microbrewery in Broward County, and the best known in South Florida. The brewery added a bottling line recently, a milestone for craft breweries, and this May the Sentz brothers announced plans to expand.

Before seeing success as a brewery owner and manager, KC Sentz worked in engineering. But before that, he got his paycheck from Mickey D's.

What was your first job?
My first professional job was as an electrical engineer at Motorola. During my 13 years there, I was on a design team that developed two-way pagers in my early days to smartphones toward the end. I saw the company go through some major highs and lows. For the last few years of my employment, it was hard to focus on my future with the threat of layoffs. It was at this time that I realized I was not cut out for life at a big corporation, and I would have to either work for a small enough company to make a difference or start my own business.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?
I know it sounds obvious, but the best advice I was ever given was never to give up on my dream of owning a successful business. I had had my fair share (10-plus) of business plans before the Funky Buddha. Whether it was because of poor timing, bad partnerships, lack of funds or simply a bad idea, those plans didn’t pan out. Many times I was discouraged and felt the best for myself and family would be to drop the dream and continue to pick up the weekly paycheck. But I received this advice from a friend and boss at the time, David Johnston. Though I had heard it many times before, it was different coming from someone I admired so much professionally. He saw that entrepreneurial spirit in me and drove me to keep trying.

What do you look for when you hire?
I look for passion, personality and honesty. I want to make sure the candidate has a personality that matches our culture.

The last thing I want to hear in an interview is perfect, canned answers to each question. So someone who may have the best answer to each question may not necessarily win me over in an interview.

What's your favorite job interview question to ask?
The interview questions really depend on what I am hiring for. There are a few basics: your strengths, weaknesses, why us, why you. But the interview with me is a laid-back and open conversation. I don’t feel you can gauge the best of someone’s personality from a structured environment.

What's the biggest misconception about the business climate in South Florida?
I often hear that it is hard to find good, passionate, quality employees. In our case it hasn’t been difficult at all. We have been very fortunate to find very talented and passionate individuals to join our Funky family. Maybe it’s easy because we produce beer.