When Gabe Burczyk moved his innovative financial services firm WrapManager out of San Francisco and into Mill Valley in 2018, he did for the best of reasons: his firm was in San Francisco but he’d moved his family to Mill Valley in 2009, and his distance from his wife Barbara Fabbri and his two sons during the long work weeks gnawed at him to be present more often.
“I didn’t want to be the non-existent dad and I really wanted to become a greater part of the community here,” he says. “We have a 100 percent cloud-based company. We could be anywhere.”
Burczyk didn’t stop there. He bought the 5,000-square-foot building at 319 Miller and made it WrapManager’s headquarters, spearheading a lengthy renovation and turning the building’s lobby into a space for local nonprofit organizations to use and host events.
Burczyk joined the Mill Valley Chamber and quickly became a true force of nature in town, a source of infectious energy and a community leader in the 94941. Conversations between Burczyk and Chamber leaders focused intently on ways to use the disruption of the pandemic as a springboard for the inception of a new event that would build on the wonderful vitality created by landmark local events like the Fall Arts Fest (Sept. 17-18), Mill Valley Film Festival) Oct. 6-16 and Winterfest on Dec. 4, among others.
Those discussions birthed the inaugural Mill Valley Music Festival (MVMF), featuring live music and local eateries and retailers and putting a spotlight on Mill Valley as a destination for both residents and guests. Burczyk wore a multitude of hats in launching the event, all to the benefit of the community and the Mill Valley Chamber. And in a perfectly “Gabe” moment, he hosted a heartfelt, exciting pre-MVMF teaser event to showcase the wonderful elements attendees could expect on the big day.
Burczyk helped introduce many to the natural beauty, world-class restaurants and enticing retail shops located here. In addition, MVMF reminded local, longtime residents how special the community of Mill Valley truly is. Thanks to the relentless, positive energy of Gabe Burczyk, the Mill Valley Music Festival was a huge success, which is why Gabe truly exemplifies the Spirit of Marin.
Burczyk will be honored at the Spirit of Marin Awards on Sept. 23 at Marin Center Fairgrounds, 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael. Legendary Rolling Stone music journalist Ben Fong-Torres serves as this year’s keynote speaker. He is the subject of the award-winning documentary, Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres.
Spirit of Marin Award organizers say that the philosophy behind the award can best be explained by this quote from George Bernard Shaw: “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatsoever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake, Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.”