Name: Daren Pietsch
Family: Wife, Angie; daughter, Caroline
Years in the Golden Isles: Approaching 30 years. I moved here in 1987, and have been here the majority of the time – other than when I was away for school and several work assignments.
School: Georgia Institute of Technology, B.S. Mechanical Engineering; University of Oxford, Master’s Business Strategy & Innovation (and some other studies in between)
Occupation: Business leader, president, Torras Properties
Describe your roles as president and member of the boards of the Torras Family Companies? Torras Properties is a family-owned management company that oversees eight companies and the foundation that were either acquired or founded by Bob Torras Sr. and his teams beginning in 1968. The more prominent businesses in Glynn County include Kut Kwick Corp., Brunswick Landing Marina, Atlantic Southeast Enterprises and the West Point residential development. In Marietta, where Mr. Torras started what has become Torras Properties, we have Torco Inc. and Kennesaw Mountain Office Park. As president, I work with the directors, some of which are family members, and the leadership team to establish the objectives and oversee the companies. On any given day there are many activities and challenges that require attention, but it is very rewarding to work with such a great team to provide products and services across such diverse market segments.
What business opportunities do you see for growth in Brunswick? I am truly excited about what the future holds for Brunswick. It has clearly been a challenging year and recognizing there have been a number of tragic events not even including the pandemic, we are working hard to move forward in a positive way. I don’t mean to suggest we have addressed all the issues, and there is a healing process that can’t be overlooked, but we definitely have a critical mass of community leaders and residents that are determined to prevail. I spend much of my time in Downtown Brunswick, and it is so exciting to see investment in new businesses such as the Silver Bluff Brewery and what is being planned for the Kress Building. A number of individuals and companies are investing so that more people can live in lofts and apartments downtown. This will help the businesses already there to grow and give incentive for more businesses to come. We constantly hear from our customers at the marina about how much they love what is happening in Brunswick and some are actually buying property to start businesses right now! To me, this is a true indication that we are onto a winner!
What do you like to do in your free time? I love to ride bikes with my wife to our favorite local haunts. We also travel near and far as time permits. I also enjoy sailing and just about any water sport you can think of.
Favorite landmark in the Golden Isles: Jekyll Island Club – I absolutely love to have a place so close that is so beautiful and makes me feel like I am stepping back in time.
What brought you and your family to the Golden Isles? My wife and daughter were born and raised in the area but I actually followed my parents and sister here after they moved from Whitehall, Mich. We first visited the Golden Isles in 1982 when my father was on a temporary assignment at FLETC. We loved our brief time in the area so much that later, when he had the chance to return to FLETC on a permanent basis, my mom, sister and I campaigned for him to take the job here, instead of taking another in Washington, D.C. I had been accepted into a Coast Guard college program and was in Yorktown, Va., for navigation training at the time. Although I had decided to study engineering, it wasn’t until they moved to Georgia that I decided I would apply to Georgia Tech. As it turned out, I was accepted and I was assigned to perform my weekend and summer duty at Coast Guard Station St. Simons, so it felt as though it was meant to be. Needless to say, I feel very blessed that I ended up here and still have many family members so close.
What is the latest project you have enjoyed working on? Earlier this year we launched the newest Kut Kwick SM-T4E slope mower, which was a very rewarding and exciting experience. Despite all the challenges we have dealt with this year thanks to the pandemic, this has been a great addition to the Kut Kwick line of equipment and we have many new customers already. We are also in the process of constructing a new dock structure at the marina which will serve as both a wave attenuator and a floating dock for additional boats. South Dock, as it will be called, is the 17th dock, and it will both protect the other docks when a storm comes in from the south (and) add space for an additional 15 vessels, bringing the total to 360 wet slips at the marina.