Sebastian Alvarez On Wheels To Succeed and Giving Back

Sebastian Alvarez of Alvarez Construction

In a time in which accumulation of wealth and tangible items dominate the actions of many, both business owners and large public companies alike, the Alvarez family continues to give as much if not more than they take from the community. for over 25 years Alvarez construction has built this area’s St. Jude Dream Home and this year marks the 13th year of the wheels to succeed “No Such Thing as Impossible bike ride” found by Jairo Alverez in 2008. today Local Leaders: The podcast Host Jim Chapman sits down with Alvarez Construction’s chief operating officer Sebastian to discuss this amazing nonprofit and how you can help!

Transcript (Beta)

hi this is tiffany c card with homekey mortgage and you’re listening to local leaders the podcast every business owner has a story let jim chapman tell yours

hi it’s tricia johnston residential realtor with ladder and bloom with your real estate tip of the week just this week i’ve had two different buyers asked to see houses and then once they drove past them changed their mind i can’t stress enough how important curb appeal is here are my top five recommendations for sellers to easily help improve curb appeal first pressure wash all concrete brick and siding second clean out gutters third replace any damaged wood fourth put on a fresh coat of paint and fifth clean and freshen up your yard and gardens spending a weekend taking care of these things will not only help it photograph well it’ll also make a great first impression on buyers who are driving by if you have any real estate questions at all please don’t hesitate to reach out to me i’m tricia johnston with ladder and bloom and i’ll be back here next week with another real estate tip for you the father and son team of robert and ray bazaron have over 40 years of experience in the personal loan industry if you need fast cash premier credit corporation can help premiere credit corporation has been serving denim springs and surrounding areas since 1997. fast friendly and efficient service is what you can expect all on a personal level cash for any reason because when others say no they say yes visit them at

most of you who have traveled in and around denham springs in the past five years may have noticed something several residential developments in the area bearing the name alvarez construction for those of you who may be unfamiliar with alvarez construction you are in for an eye-opening episode today it’s just a few miles down the road in baton rouge this family-owned home building company was started by haro alvarez an absolute legend in the home construction business in 1991 since that time the alvarez family has risen while seeing huge success building what is in my opinion the highest quality production homes you can find anywhere in the country that is really only a small part of who the alvarez family is in a time in which accumulation of wealth and tangible items dominate the actions of many both business owners and large public companies the alvarez family continues to give as much if not more than they take from the community for over 25 years alvarez construction has built this area’s saint jude dream home and this year will mark the 13th year of the wheels to succeed no such thing as impossible bike ride founded by haro alvarez in 2008 today i have the honor of sitting down with alvarez instructions chief operating officer sebastian to discuss this amazing non-profit and a whole lot more so welcome to local leaders it’s an honor to be here what a what an introduction yeah i think i almost teared up a little bit i really appreciate you coming on the show today i’m excited to discuss the non-profit that you are heavily involved in uh the wills to succeed no such thing as impossible bike ride which we simply cannot discuss without providing a heavy emphasis on your father that’s right that’s right jaro alvarez as i said founded the bike ride in 2008 so obviously everything kind of starts with him yep yep all his little seeds yes so give us a little history on your dad’s love of biking and how it eventually led to his involvement in this non-profit well so uh cycling is probably one of the top uh sports in south america you know after soccer football yeah and so dad was raised in that little potato farm in sun sun colombia in the mountains and they had a a bike ride every year for the kids to climb up a mountain and see who’s going to win and dad always did that every year and he would always win so dad started cycling very young and then uh kept it through his whole career even whenever he became a top executive in colombia uh he rode uh part of this classic of executives which is like a bike race for executives in business yeah and so he would he would ride that as well so cycling’s always been kind of part of our family awesome and you know he has had uh had a just an unbelievable life uh you know you wrote a book on his life i mean you know you’ve had a great life when you write a book on it but he was member of the elite presidential guard right in colombia and actually exposed a coup that saved the colombian president that is true that is true that’s unbelievable he won a gold medal in the senior olympics yes many oh man he had a wall full of them yeah i mean it took his office wall was all full of his senior olympic medals unbelievable you know he authored a best-selling book entitled no such thing as impossible from adversity to triumph and uh numerous awards for his uh how do you say this philanthropy thank you yeah there you go yes that numerous awards i mean he was known for that yeah dad always gave back always set that example what a uh what a man yep right uh say the wheels to succeed program really just celebrates the life of har yeah actually it actually started for his birthdays so dad always wanted to do a birthday ride to celebrate his birthday so every year i don’t know what year whenever he was 65 we’d do 65 miles the next year we do 66 miles and then 67 miles and his birthday was january 14th so it was really cold cold weather and we would all suit up and and do this crazy bike ride with dad in the freezing temperatures and then you know dad passed away at 75 so we we left the route at 75 miles so it started by dad getting together with um with um with some local people from mcmanes uh and he just said hey we’re gonna do ashley ashley um leech and he told her hey i want to have a bike ride this year you know we’re taking off people are coming to my birthday ride but i’m going to make everybody buy into it and with all those proceeds we’re going to send it to the wilson succeed program at mcmanes and that’s how it started wow and i did not i didn’t read that part of it that’s really interesting so uh you know apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it well you kind of like bike stuff yeah i love a little bit yeah he and uh i’ll tell you i’ve actually seen some of the bikes you’ve rebuilt you rebuilt your dad yeah well so i rebuilt a 1977 kolnago super which it was inspired by a an italian bike my dad bought uh in in in the olden days european racers from colombia would come european racers from europe would come compete in columbia for the tour of colombia and so you’d have french riders italian riders and they’d bring their fancy italian bikes to colombia and then they wouldn’t want to ship them back so they would sell them off so my dad bought a 1977 kolnago super um and he had that over the years and of course you know bikes kind of wear and tear and we actually gifted that bike um to someone else but i wanted to build a bike that paid homage to to my dad’s 1977 clonago super so i did a uh historical replica of a 1977 italian race bike and it’s beautiful that’s cool i’ve actually you helped me with it yeah you helped me with it with the paint selection yes yeah it is an amazing bike and i actually sebastian actually let me touch it which is crazy but uh i’ll tell you it’s interesting it’s light as a feather yeah it is one finger if you were racing a professional bike in 1977 that’s the bike you’d be on or want to be on oh that is so yeah yeah that is 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so uh so love of cycling was obviously passed down to you what a fantastic thing that you then uh you know took over his his non-profit and uh and really got behind it full force that was uh so dad whenever uh whenever dad got sick with cancer uh before he passed well after he passed mcmains knew that dad was a significant player and will succeed program and helping raise funds with that bike ride so immediately um mcmains contacted me and they put me on their board as soon as possible like hey we need you on the board we need some of your dad still here and uh and so yeah i’ve been on the board for mcmanes probably for now 14 uh maybe almost 10 years i’ve been on their board yeah and uh been helping out with that non-profit too and so mcmains has a program within uh their their building is called will succeed and that helps with the adaptive bikes for for the children with regard to wheels to succeed which you just mentioned let’s discuss kind of what the nonprofit is all about just give us a general overview of what they do well so we’ll succeed provide specially adapted bikes for these children that need it right so um not every not every family can afford the luxury of of a bike right and it’s silly to sound that sound that way because these parents are trying to figure out how to teach their kids how to eat teach their kids how to breathe how to talk how to get into bed how to use the bathroom because these are kids with physical mental disabilities so you don’t want to just completely ignore their physical aspect too of exercise and having fun so what this program does is it provides an adaptive bike and we grant that bike to someone so say there’s a kid with cerebral palsy we’ll grant a bike to that family and the neat thing is is we keep tabs on that bike so once that kit out grows it we get it back we refurbish it and we give it to another family so we have over 170 bikes now within the community that get rotated around so that’s in essence that’s that’s the mission of that nonprofit amazing and you know it sebastian it enhances their motor skills uh as we talked about the other day the respiration you know just being in shape in that respect and also you know let’s give some credit to self-esteem yeah right well i mean what happens uh us as individuals that we want to start working out yeah why because we’re feeling in a funk we want to get healthier we want to feel better and these little children they should have that too you know so and you can tell they their their smiles increase their cognitive abilities they’re able to talk more they’re able to do more you know they can ride a bike so guess what maybe they can get out of bed a little bit easier maybe they can brush their teeth a little bit easier maybe they can you know have more mental capacity i agree 100 and it’s all about kind of overcoming challenges for these kids and that kind of leads me to uh to something i’d like to quote from your dad’s book uh that really fits this situation uh but honestly it could fit anybody’s situation when it comes to overcoming challenges so he said i do not see problems i see life as a challenge full of opportunities the low points and the losses are simply learning experiences and reasons to move forward yep a strong yep that dad would turn if you came if you went in into my dad’s office and said i have a problem he turned me around like really quick yeah don’t i mean we weren’t allowed to say the word problem in the office yeah yeah yeah i mean it’s true yeah you don’t have a problem you have an opportunity to succeed you know some people see it as a problem but if you stay stuck on the problem then you’re stuck on it so move move past the problem yeah and start fixing it that’s good stuff that’s good simple it’s simple it it it is but you know sebastian not everybody grasps right they focus right they dig deep into that problem and they don’t really look at it as an opportunity to get better that’s true and uh so uh your dad that was a great quote from him stephanie berthelot and the crew at sr enterprise can handle it all from sheetrock to texture to paint give stephanie a call at

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now your dad was really way ahead of his time on personal accountability yeah too right uh one of my favorite podcasters is jocko willing he wrote a book called extreme ownership right um but your dad was really practicing these principles way before jocko yeah yeah i mean that was always inspired by you know the the the personal talk speakers of of his time too i mean he was big into nightingale covenant all those programs you know dad as far as self-help i mean i think those are the types of things that really got him through these these the tough times that he had you know looking for other mentors that could help him through challenges so even though he was super ahead of his time but he also paid attention to who was teaching the correct things around him too read his book people it’s just unbelievable i’ve read it and uh and i don’t care who you are you learn some valuable lessons in that book um we talked about earlier these bikes buy these are adaptive bikes obviously there’s a cost what what is the cost so typically a bike can cost anywhere from 2500 to 5000. i mean depending on the physical disability i think last year was the first time i ever saw a bike that was made adapted for conjoined twins oh that’s amazing yeah yeah wrap your mind around that wow yeah that’s just amazing yeah so some of these kids can’t um peddle a bike with their legs so we we figure out adaptive pedaling with with the hands and also the bikes have a break so the parents can also break and steer the bike so it’s adaptive to for the parent to have full control and for the kid to enjoy himself too that’s fantastic and you know unfortunately the bikes aren’t cheap and so that’s that’s another great thing about this non-profit and why you love and i love and we want to really shed a light on it is uh is we we want the help of everybody to you know like sebastian said all of these kids deserve to have a bike and deserve to uh to go out there and challenge themselves like like all of us like to do uh you’re a biker you’re a you’re a cycling guy let me ask you this do you like street cycling or do you like off-road so i like all aspects of cycling but lately i’ve been doing a lot of what they call gravel cycling yeah um so uh basically getting off the road a little bit getting back into gravel roads where cycling actually really started yeah if you think about it so it’s not a new thing but yeah so i enjoy all disciplines but gravel cycling lately has been one of my my fun highlights yeah yeah do you compete i compete so i haven’t competed because i covered my last race kind of got canceled but before that i went to emporia kansas and did a race called the dirty concept i remember that you remember that and it was a hundred miles of uh flintstone gravel uh and i have a video on it actually that i did i kind of documented the whole whole process so it was something it was a goal that i worked towards uh probably for about a year yeah and i had some mechanical issues so i finished it in about 10 hours but my moving time was like under seven hours so i would have been top 25 in my age category right so it was fun yeah yeah was it as challenging as you thought or more or less it was more as a learning curve because with gravel cycling it’s a little bit different you’re you’re self-supported road cycling whenever you do a race in in road cycling you have support like a support vehicle with new with extra tires or people are giving you you know your nutrition and everything but with gravel cycling you’re on your own so you have to bring your own nutrition your own tools your own patch kits and be prepared for for the worse literally you sign up for these races they they say no one is coming to help you oh wow that’s amazing and and a great way to challenge yourself oh yeah for sure i love that challenge yeah yeah so um we talked about earlier the amount of bikes that wills to succeed has donated since its inception it was i actually had the number 177 77 yeah and then amazing yeah i lost count of 170 so now i’m just going by 10 so once we get to 180 i can start using the 180 number well it’ll be this year too that will hit 180. yeah i’m we’re we’re raised up to 47 000 i broke all my records that’s amazing i broke all my records wow amazing just just a beautiful thing in fact the wheels to succeed program has done a lot of great things for kids uh over a half a million dollars in total raised in that program from my research and uh and this is done exclusively through donations and sponsorships right yeah so i’m i’m lucky to have a huge uh vendor base through my construction company you know like farrell calhoun has helped every year and other companies so i reach out to all all the vendors that we partner with and you know whenever we onboard a new trade partner it’s hey it’s average construction but it’s also will succeed and it’s also saint jude yeah so you know we we kind of partner with them and our trade partners have been so generous they get 250 donations or 5 000 sponsorships since it’s just amazing so the the the thank you to them for sure yeah absolutely

william waldrop of twfg insurance in denham springs can service all of your insurance needs offering auto life health and commercial insurance william waldrop of twfg insurance is a proud supporter of local leaders the podcast how proud are you uh of all these baton rouge you just said i mean you’re hitting a record here and how proud are you all these businesses kind of banding together and saying hey we’re going to support you yeah it’s nice i mean it’s it’s nice to know that as a company through outreach construction everybody knows that you know we help the community but our focus is not only the community but the kids so we focus on kids charities i mean we help on other avenues for sure but i think that everybody just enjoys that aspect you know with saint jude we’re helping the kids you know cure of cancer and with with cycling you know we’re bringing you know health back into the community and making these families happy so it’s just uh i am proud i’m proud of all the trade partners i’m proud of everybody that that that allows me to to help them participate in things that’s me meaningful for them as well yeah yeah i agree 100 and uh what i’m going to do is i’m going to link a sponsorship package to the bottom of this video awesome and that way people that are watching it and if you’re listening to it just go search for the video but people that are watching it can just go and click yeah actually even if you just go to no such thing as impossible bike rod it’ll it’ll pull up but of course come to the podcast and click on that link yeah i love it last year’s event the bike ride was unfortunately cancelled due to covert right um so while that was disappointing i’m sure um on the flip side of that how pumped are you about being able to do it this year yeah i’m super excited it’s like we’re all kind of back to normal we’re gonna have that point marie yes again so uh two years ago we had it at point marie for the first time super success i was i was happy to bring the bike ride back to baton rouge because we were having it in saint francisville historically but i felt that due to certain certain events and just the the location aspect of it it felt like we were just kind of bringing the bike ride back home um so we’re able to have it in point marie which the guys at point marine have been super generous with us as well yeah beautiful area over there and they hold concerts there they do all kinds of things so point marie i’m sure everybody’s familiar with and uh and so that’s where they’re holding it now let me get to the other side of this non-profit and that is the receiving side so sebastian let’s say someone’s listening uh to this and they have a need for an adaptive bike what are the steps they would take to them so you come first off come to the event yeah immediately you know the nice thing about the wheels to succeed event it is a kind of a qualifier so we will have the physical therapists out there qualifying children and seeing what the adapted need is and then we basically get them on a waiting list and that’s it so i think you have to attend two events and then register with with mcmanes and and put them on the list and we’ll get them a bike it’s really that simple fantastic yeah that does make it easy and uh and it as we said it’s at point maureen which is 14200 river road uh and it’s on sunday may 16th that’s it so uh convenient day convenient place uh so look for that whether you want to support it or whether you are in need of well and i want to mention something too jim that um you don’t have to ride a bike to come to the event we have a 10 mi we have a one mile 10 mile 45 mile and 75 mile route but just come enjoy the music enjoy the good weather the food and uh try to connect with some of the kids from mcmanes you know so no bike needed just come and have some fun there you go and and i’m assuming you’re going to do the 75 mile actually uh my wife and i are building a house right now so my fitness is not where it needs to be so i’m going to probably do the 45 mile there you go there you go he’s gonna finish first

uh so as sebastian said there’s a 75 a 40 a 10 and there’s also at 11 o’clock at kids fun uh kids fun bike ride at point marie so check that out if you have some kids and bring helmets for sure bring helmets good point yeah yeah we want everybody to be safe of course uh is registration still open you can register now or just show up there you go and i’ll link that also to these videos very generous people can just click there thank you you’re welcome uh let me ask you something personally and um you know how proud sebastian does it make you to continue your father’s legacy of ensuring every children knows the joy of riding a bike which was his exact word yeah well you know it’s it’s an interest interesting question uh jim so i’m very proud to keep you know what they say that dad’s torch in that but the neat thing is is as we’re all evolving it’s like now we’re kind of taking our own ownership of it and even growing it even more yes you know i mean so that’s the neat part about it too so it’s great that dad has that legacy there for us you know that foundation and that easy avenue to like continue to help so i am proud very very proud and i’m proud that we’re also now at this point making it our own and growing it just like dad would want us to i agree 100 on that and it kind of leads me to my second quote of your father on this episode that i’d like to mention he said it’s not the material things that you leave it’s the footprints that you leave on humanity so i’d say you you are leaving quite a footprint yeah that that’s probably one of my dad’s favorite quotes yeah absolutely it’s a beautiful quote you know he he said it a lot and more and more towards the end of his life but and i think that as he started going through his his career and building the business and starting to help people more towards the end of his of his life yeah you know he’s felt that more and more so i’m gifted that i’m doing i can do that so early yeah you know and not wait because dad financially couldn’t help that much yeah at the beginning because he was still building a business so it’s it’s interesting yeah yeah and you know i’ll tell you a quick little story on on my experience with that and when you’re looking for leaders you know it’s hard to look past uh the alvarez family right and and i’ll tell you um my my belief on leaders when i was young and we’ve known each other a while wow uh i’m in the sales business so it was always important to be first right and and it still is to this day it’s of course i’m competitive and i want to be versed right but besides all of that um i joined a couple of years ago a leadership livingston program that uh we do through the chamber of commerce here and every every chamber has this leadership program um and i’m going into it and i’m like i’m going to learn more lessons on how to be a leader first you know uh and let me tell you it was nothing about that you know what it was about is about giving back and it clicked to me that uh leadership really isn’t about where you finish it’s about how much you give back to your community um i’d be hard-pressed to find any leader true leader that doesn’t do as much for his community as he does for his business right yeah i mean you you have to all aspects right so you have to give to your community and then you have to give to your employees you got to give give back i mean you’re right being a leader is is uh not a selfish type of endeavor for sure correct and you know it took me uh 40 years over 40 years to learn that yeah but i’m glad i did and it’s a lot of the reason i do this show i make sure i spotlight non-profits a lot because that’s my way of giving back right um now typically at this point we jump into a bunch of fun facts on on whoever i’m talking to um but i thought it best to provide an address that uh your dad made to the supporters of wheels to succeed he wrote shortly before his passing yep well yeah so it was a letter it was the first bike ride that dad was not able to attend because of his chemo treatments yeah and it was strong he wrote a letter and then every time before every ride we read the letter yeah yeah so i i’d like to worry if with your permission i’d like to read it it’s a beautiful the listeners and the and the viewers of my podcast and this is uh this is strong folks uh so it’s my dear friend i want to thank you for supporting and coming in to share and realize the dream of bringing the joy and happiness of bike riding that we all feel children’s developmental center and its wills to succeed program i reassure you that i’m spiritually with you during all with you all during this moment you are there and with every i am there with you with every stroke of the petals in our lifetime we have moments which we must take into account what we are leaving on this earth in these moments we learn what truly matters and we learn what genuine happiness comes from not counting the the material possessions we have acquired but from evaluating what we have done for humanity that’s a big point what counts is the tears that we drive the pain that we sued for hunger the hunger that we sated the joy love and compassion we have given the examples we set the people young and old we have helped all of these religions are eternal the rust fades away and have no value in comparison but the smiles enjoy you seeing the children of mcmains today the smiles and joy you have helped create and the happiness and gratitude of their parents will last in our hearts and minds forever that pretty much says it all yeah i mean could you imagine the weight on my dad’s mind starting chemo treatment and not being able to be there and saying these words i mean it was almost like writing a letter that he was already like on his exit i mean imagine that yeah you know it’s bizarre who does that you’re dead right

the man that could do it as an example yeah it’s an example i mean it touches me every time yeah me too and and the first time i heard that you were reading the words and it was uh it was on a youtube video where you kind of read that for uh in place of him and uh it was amazing how many times i had to pause that or freehand it but i was really struck by that yeah that’s that’s that’s amazing we needed a video uh because we we it has become tradition now to read that letter before sending off all the writers yeah because that that letter was to for to die to all his friends that like hey i’m sorry i can’t be there with you yeah like i’m dealing with something right now yeah yeah what a man now everyone this is what i want you to do i want you to click on all those links that i just mentioned and let’s show our support uh for this amazing non-profit uh really get out there and you know livingston parish wake up folks listen let’s support them make sure your neighbors yeah and and speaking of that i mean you do a lot for this community here yeah we do part of our our company mission is to to you know help the nation’s economy and and and grow communities so we’re here in this community uh making an impact on the on the local economy you sure are and you’ve got a a subdivision south creek right we have three we have three subdivisions yes sanctuary cellar gardens and south creek just kicked off right across from greystone so south creek’s gonna be a nice and it’s right across from the flagship community here in in denham springs and and uh you’re just making good things happen all over livingston parish we hope so and us lp folks really appreciate it well lp has been very good to us as well yeah let’s let’s be honest yeah i’ll make a great a great house there’s no doubt about it as a matter of fact at some point i’d love to have you on again and i want to discuss alvarez construction absolutely your company and uh and really dive deep into that and and get your thoughts on all kinds of things when it comes to home building sure so uh you know a little bit about that a little bit just a little bit the hard way yeah yeah did you have fun today beforehand i did thank you so much um i’m gonna link everything you need to know as i said the information and and all of that in the comments so look for that i do want to thank everyone out there for viewing and listening to local leaders of podcast please continue to like comment subscribe and share local leaders on all social media platforms as we strive to shine a spotlight on all our businesses and all our non-profits in the area beautiful just like mcmains uh thank you to all our sponsors including premier credit corporation tricia johnston realtor big mike’s boring grill giotts plumbing alyssa varette interiors in custom workroom buddies barbecue sport and center black sheep creative sr enterprise painting and william waldrop of twfg insurance i couldn’t do any of this sebastian without those folks they really helped me out until next time i am jim chapman reminding you love your community support local business and keep leading thank you

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