Exclusive Billionaire Interview with Wayne Huizenga

Family Values Trump Everything

Wayne Huizenga is the President and Founder of South Wake Capital. Prior to founding the firm, he worked as the director of sales and operations at Rybovich Superyacht Marina, the largest superyacht marina in the world.

In 2020, he led the sale of Rybovich to Safe Harbor, constituting the largest marina acquisition in history. Wayne spent a large portion of his time at Rybovich identifying and evaluating roll up targets for the company.

Wayne was a founding board member of the Water Revolution Foundation, an organization focused on evaluating the impact of yachts on the environment and setting a universal scale for assessment and improvement of the fleet. Wayne and his family continue to invest in and operate several private companies through Huizenga Holdings, known for founding five Fortune 500 companies.

1) What is #1 insight you could share with other families who have recently come into the public eye for selling a business, or going public, and are figuring out the basics of how to manage expectations and rules within the family for the next generation? In other words, what works really well on keeping the family aligned and together within successful families based on your experience?

Within most family offices, members take various levels of involvement in the day-to-day and long-term activity and decision-making process. That said, establishing clear communication and shared values within the family, regardless of their level of operational involvement, are prerequisite to functioning well. This involves regular family meetings where all members are encouraged to voice their opinions and concerns and expectations are regularly updated or reiterated. We also emphasize the significance of education in financial literacy, responsible wealth management, and shared family values from an early age.

2) Many people never get a chance to get to know families such as yours, they simply read about them online, or in the newspaper. What do you think is the top misconception others have about being part of a family with a long heritage of success and leadership?

One common misconception about families like ours is the belief that we make business and financial decisions in a sort of vacuum. In reality, our choices are significantly shaped by our family’s values and belief systems, which have been developed and nurtured over many decades.

When evaluating investment opportunities, for example, we look beyond the surface-level financial prospects. We consider the broader impact of each investment and how it aligns with our core principles. If an investment, despite being financially lucrative, conflicts with our deeply held beliefs or compromises something we hold important, we choose not to pursue it.

This could involve supporting ventures that we believe have a positive impact on communities or more often avoiding investments in industries that may have adverse effects on society.

3) You must get approached by the hour or at least daily with a new startup that wants funding, a business that needs capital, or an investment of some sort. What small niche area are you focused on, or how do you clear out 99.99% of that noise and what types of messages or offers of value break through all of that clutter for someone in your position?

We try to begin with the end in mind. Each of the members of the family has their own individual goals and objectives, both financial and non-financial, that can then be combined into strategic objectives for the family as whole. With the bigger picture and end goal in mind, we will work backwards and determine what types of investments would help us meet those goals. Working backwards this way helps us create clarity on the types and characteristics of investments we need.

For example, if we have identified that we need more high cash flow, early return of capital investments compared to long term high growth investments, this helps us filter the types of opportunities we spend the most time and focus evaluating.