Lacey Boy Uses Tech Savvy to Learn, Earn
Eighth-grader runs his own computer repair business
Gavin Rozzi, an eighth-grader at Lacey Middle School, took to computers as a young child and by the age of 6 began indulging a passion that would eventually lead to a lucrative job as a teenager.
He began working on the Dell computer his parents, Charles and Colleen, purchased for him for Christmas and has not stopped.
Gavin, 14, seemed to take to the world of computers naturally, teaching himself along the way.
"He just figured it out all by himself," Colleen Rozzi said. "No one ever showed him."
Gavin, the Rozzi's only child, began spending hours at a time in front of his new computer.
Gavin, she said, has always been an independent child, showing leadership skills at an early age.
"He always liked to take the leadership role," Rozzi said.
She recalled taking her son as a preschooler to storytime at the local library and being apprehensive about leaving him alone for the first time.
"But I turned around and he was leading the line of children into the room," she said laughing.
As his computer skills grew more adept he began doing research on the computer, learning about each new technological advance.
"I would ask him 'how do you know that?' and he would answer, 'I looked it up,' " Rozzi said.
He was so interested in his computer he would write about it and the things he learned on it in his daily classroom journal writing assignment.
His teacher at the time suggested maybe he should limit his time on his computer, but he firmly disagreed.
Rozzi agreed with her son and did not see a problem as long as he kept his grades up.
"It was his passion, computers and academics, and his grades were fine — he kept his end of the bargain," she said.
As he got older he continued to upgrade his computers, doing hours of research along the way.
His extensive knowledge of all the computer programs for both PCs and Macs is what led him to begin his business, Gavin Rozzi Technical Consultants.
So far it is a venture that has earned him almost $3,000.
“He already made $150 during the break,” Rozzi said last week. "It's been very lucrative for him.”
Although much of his business is word of mouth, he and his “associates,” friends who work with him, put up fliers around town as well.
"By age 12 he parlayed it into his business, people started asking him for help with their computers and viruses and how to save data," Rozzi said.
"One person just got a new disk drive and needed help with PowerPoint, it had to be re-installed," she said.
To keep his costs down Gavin frequents sites such as eBay and Amazon to find used parts.
He knows every program and how to navigate internet sites, and people will sometimes just ask him for help on how to use ebay or iTunes.
Gavin charges his customers sometimes according to the job being done or other times by the hour.
Gavin has been able to update his computers by starting a lease to own business, leasing items to own for himself as well as providing items for others to lease to own. His customers then pay him rent for their technology.
"I don't like paying for things," he said.
Having a computer whiz in the family is really nice as well, said Rozzi.
"It's really helpful, at home if we need help we ask him and, bing, bing, bing, it's done," she said.
Gavin is also a savvy investor. He frequently switches banks looking for the right rates.
"I keep changing banks because the interest rates change. I look for the highest rate and the lowest minimum balance," he said.
Gavin has big plans for himself- think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, hoping one day to open his own technology company.
"His classmates all tell him he's going to be the next Bill Gates," Colleen said.
What kind of company and with what technology is yet to be determined, however.
"Whatever the pace of innovation follows and whatever is marketable at that time probably," Gavin said about his future plans.
Gavin has also had a keen interest in politics and after writing a letter to Doug Forrester when he was running for governor of New Jersey in 2005, Gavin was invited onto the campaign’s tour bus to do some campaigning.
But being governor would not satisfy Gavin.
"He wants to be president," Rozzi said. "His school friends tell him he's going to be president."
Asked about seeking the highest office in the land Gavin says simply, "I wouldn't rule it out.”
His interest in politics garnered him an invitation by former Mayor John Parker to attend a township committee meeting where he was invited onto the dais to take part.
But his talents are not limited to the computer and politics. Gavin also plays piano and says classical music is his favorite. "The kind you hear on the Weather Channel."
Next year he is heading to Lacey Township High School where he has already signed up for a computer programming course.
“He is thrilled,” Rozzi said.
He is already thinking of college and although he says he is not limiting himself, he’s looking at Princeton and MIT.
Even during his leisure time, technology is not far away.
Aside from going to the beach at Long Beach Island or Spring Lake where his mother’s family lives, Gavin often spends time in his yard or local park with his collection of remote controlled devices.
One is a Quadra Copter with two cameras installed.
"It flies pretty high, I have a lot of pictures," he said.
He said when he goes to the local park to fly his copter people have a tendency to gather.
"I get a small audience," he said.
Gavin has already analyzed the current state of computer technology and can see where improvements are needed.
"I see a need for innovation, the desktop operating system is unacceptable, it needs more security; it's fragmented and susceptible to viruses,” he said.
With Gavin’s interest and experience it seems likely that he will be researching the matter and may in fact be one of the people to come up with new ways to secure home and business computers.
After all necessity is the mother of invention and having a vision is the first step toward innovation.