Like father like son: Furgatch family heads business department Esther Animalu

When you look at their coffee-colored hair, chiseled chins and striking brown eyes, the resemblance is clear.

However, the father-son dynamic between 21-year-old Austin Furgatch and 59-year-old Andrew Furgatch stretches beyond the genes— they have also both worked as the business managers of The Miami Hurricane.

39 years before his son took the job, Andrew Furgatch worked as the business manager selling ads for the Hurricane.

“Sometimes I can’t believe it; it seems surreal,” said Andrew Furgatch, who graduated in May of 1982 with a bachelors in business administration and a secondary major in economics. “I am very proud of Austin. I feel that being a business manager is a great job and a great legacy to have."

He said watching Austin follow in his footsteps has given him the opportunity to reminisce on his time as business manager and relive those managerial moments.

“The fact that we both worked as business managers has created a platform for us to collaborate and work together in areas where we advise each other,” said Austin Furgatch, who is a junior majoring in management with a minor in sports administration.

As a sophomore, Andrew Furgatch started selling ads for the newspaper. He was then elected the business manager in the summer of 1980. Andrew Furgatch dedicated at least 40 hours a week to finding new advertising accounts for the paper, he said.

Austin Furgatch’s eventual ascent into the business manager position came 39 years after his father. He began as a sales representative his freshman year, became assistant business manager his sophomore year and now serves as business manager in his junior year. He said it's been helpful to have his father as a mentor throughout the process.

Both father and son recognize the benefits they share because of their roles as business managers, saying the position helped them stay connected on campus.

“There is a great diversity of people who I was able to build relationships with, some of them life-long,” said Andrew Furgatch. “I received access to many opportunities that I know I would never have gotten if not for that role.”

Austin Furgatch makes business calls and manages distribution of the paper from his office in the Shalala Student Center.

As The Hurricane continued to evolve and progress throughout the late '70s into the present day, its managerial staff and business foundation transformed as well. The Furgatch family emphasized that the development of the newspaper shaped their experiences and challenges as business managers.

With the advent of the digital era, Austin Furgatch said he has encountered additional hurdles that his father did not experience. He said that although he is able to learn from his dad’s failures and successes, there are a number of new roadblocks that he faces on a daily basis.

“The way business is now conducted has changed in comparison to my father’s generation because we are in a digitally-driven environment,” Austin Furgatch said. “We are reliant more on technology and less on labor, so there are now fewer student employees in the office."

Andrew Furgatch recalled the student newsroom as being more manual and tedious because they did not have the technological resources that his son’s generation has today.

“At my age, we had cutoff deadlines, and you had to then rush the production of your paper to the streets while the news was still fresh,” said Andrew Furgatch. “There was more of a certain timing and rhythm in the olden days. Dozens of people would come together on deadlines, everyone would be frantically working together to put up the best product that they could on a timely basis.”

Ultimately, the shared position has brought the Furgatchs closer together.

“It feels like a wonderful partnership because there are many pieces of advice that I’ve given Austin overtime, and he’s taught me a great deal in regards to digital technology and the way the newspaper operates today,” said Andrew Furgatch. “Through his current role, I’m learning about technology and social media which were concepts that I did not have to tackle when I was a business manager. In the end, he’s teaching me, and I’m teaching him.”


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