Erik followed in his mother’s footsteps attending Princeton Elementary, Lee Middle School (now College Park Middle School) and Edgewater High School. Erik graduated from Edgewater in 1999 and went on to attend Rollins College that same year. Erik quickly embraced his independence in decision making and quickly joined the Rollins Crew Team and Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Erik was the first one in 60 years to successfully complete both the crew season and pledgeship without quitting one to complete the other. Being a person that enjoys bringing people together, Erik was encouraged by many to run for the Student Government Association, which he did even though he had only one day remaining to campaign. Despite only having one day to campaign, Erik lost by only a few votes. Erik made the Dean’s List, held multiple positions in his fraternity, attended the Dad Vail Regatta with his crew team, and volunteered for the Second Harvest Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity.
Upon graduating college, Erik spent a year working for Rissman, Weisberg, Hurt, Donahue, and McLain after which he attended Barry Law School in Orlando with the intention of building a real estate investment partnership. Continuing his pursuit in serving others, Erik ran for the Student Bar Association where the student body elected him to serve as a Senator for his class peers. Erik helped create the Social Events Committee and continued to serve his student body voicing and addressing its shared concerns and interests. Erik also worked part-time while attending law school to help pay for his tuition and collegiate costs proving a work ethic necessary to accomplish his goals.
After graduating law school, Erik worked for Coldwell Banker in Winter Park spending three years cultivating the experience necessary to complete his goal of building a real estate investment partnership. Unfortunately, the collapse of the real estate market did not allow Erik to bring this partnership into fruition. He then attended the Seminole State College Police Academy to follow in his father’s footsteps of serving the community as a professional police officer while also affording the opportunity to utilize his own education and experience. Erik quickly elevated to Squad Leader leading a squad of seven other candidates, received a commendation from the Director and graduated top of his class. After processing with a number of local police departments and sheriff offices over the next two years, Erik learned that his past juvenile history would prevent him from reaching this goal. At this time, he also learned that he was about to become a father and made the life changing decision to redirect his pursuit of becoming a police officer to a pursuit of a life in the practice of law. In the first few months after the birth of his son, Erik endeavored in his studies while maintaining his full-time employment, subsequently taking and passing the state bar exam.
Erik graduated from law school in 2007. After pursuing his goals of building a real estate investment partnership and of becoming a police officer, Erik passed the state bar exam in 2014, he accomplished this seven years after graduating from law school. After diligently pursuing a job with local firms, Erik opened up his own law practice where he represented his clients in circuit court for real estate foreclosures and in county court for creditor’s rights claims. Erik’s practice brought him throughout the Central Florida area attending hearings and trials in Orange, Osceola, Brevard, Seminole, Volusia and Lake counties. During the last year of running his own practice Erik also volunteered his services as a volunteer attorney with the 9th Circuit State Attorney’s Office in hopes of securing a position as an Assistant State Attorney. However, before receiving an offer for this position the Office of Appeal Hearings offered Erik a position as a Hearing Officer for the State of Florida under the Department of Children and Families Inspector General’s Office.
Erik presided over administrative public assistance hearings for the next three years gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience providing largely pro se (self-represented) litigants their day in court. He did this while empathizing with the parties, properly directing their emotions, and providing guidance as to the process and rules of a formal proceeding so that the issue could be fully developed and a fair formal decision made. Erik also became very experienced in making rulings on objections and motions before, during and after hearings with those appeals where both parties were represented by counsel. These appeals generally involved Institutional Care Program appeals and appeals involving the Agency for Persons with Disabilities where the amounts involved were often upward of $120,000. Erik maintained a docket of approximately 150 appeals that required a hearing be set, heard, and a decision made no later than 90 days and in some cases no later than 60 days from the date the hearing request was made; not once did Erik miss a deadline in his three years as a Hearing Officer.
In November of 2019, Erik was promoted to Hearing Officer Supervisor supervising four other Hearing Officers. As a Supervisor, Erik created a guide in the office’s handbook regarding findings of fact and legal authority citations of which he shared and taught to his fellow Hearing Officer’s for use in their final orders. In addition, Erik helped revamp his office’s procedures regarding Administrative Disqualification Hearings to ensure due process and compliance with federal regulation. Also, due to the pandemic, Erik aided his office in the creation of a virtual platform as an additional option for the conduction of hearings along with the applicable procedures. This option seems as if it will remain a permanent option for use in proceedings. Erik continues to be a point of reference by which his peers and colleagues turn for advice and guidance. He hopes to continue these ambitions and services into the county court.
Professional and Community Involvement
Erik maintains heavy involvement in both professional and community organizations. Affiliations in which he is involved include membership in the Seminole and Orange County Bar Associations; Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association; Paul C. Perkins Bar Association; Seminole Florida Association for Women Lawyers; Seminole County Inn of Courts; Seminole County Community Leaders and Elected Officials; and the Seminole County, Sanford, and Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chambers of Commerce.
Service organizations in which he is involved include sitting on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Education Committee with the Seminole League of Women Voters, and the Board of Directors with West Seminole Baseball; he is an Organizer and Ambassador for Heroes Strong; and he is a member of the Lake Mary Rotary.
In his spare time, Erik is a Den Leader for his son’s Cub Scout Pack. This allows him time to engage with his son and other youth as a guide to the path of Eagle Rank just as he had accomplished when he was younger. Erik also plays for a local softball team at the Seminole Softball Complex in Longwood.
This community involvement is what is at Erik’s focal point when he discusses his passion to serve in the judiciary. Erik has the ability to impact the lives of many, and impact those lives in a way that transcends race, color, class, gender or other. Service to others is paramount and one of the best ways Erik can serve his community is through election to county court judge.