By Gabrielle Fimbres
It’s what wakes him up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night – and what gets him up smiling in the morning.
“Being a father is a great privilege and an awesome responsibility,” said Omar Mireles, executive VP of HSL Properties and president of HSL Asset Management.
“Every minute you spend with these kids is what we all live for. It’s the most important thing in the world. Every little thing I do, I question how it will affect my family.”
Mireles is a 2014 Father’s Day Council Tucson Father of the Year. He and his wife, Amy, are parents of Emma, 6, Emerson, 4, and newborn daughter Emilia.
“The single most important thing that enables me to try to be a good father is my super wife,” Mireles said. “She should be the one being celebrated. Amy is the one that coordinates the whole operation that is our family. She sacrificed a successful career in order to devote herself to our family. She is a wonderful mother and a loving wife, and she sets up a perfect environment for me to try my hand at fatherhood.”
And what a job it is – shuttling kids to soccer and dance, weekend hikes with the family and lots of time spent playing.
“My son and I love to play dinosaurs,” Mireles said. “We become the dinosaurs. I’m Tyrannosaurus rex. He’s Argentinosaurus.”
Mireles feels fortunate to have strong father role models in his life. He spent his early childhood in Nogales, Son., and left home at the age of 10 to attend school in Tucson, living with his aunt and uncle, Czarina and Humberto Lopez, president of HSL Properties.
Mireles developed a strong work ethic early on, helping in his father Francisco’s curio shop in Nogales, and cleaning hotel rooms and carpets in Yuma with his Uncle Mario.
He attended St. Cyril of Alexandria School and Salpointe Catholic High School. He went on to Cornell University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics and housing, then became an investment banker in New York City.
“It was a wonderful experience,” he said.
But home was calling him.
“Uncle Humberto had been knocking on my door, asking me to work for him,” he recalled.
Mireles and his then girlfriend, Amy – a third generation Tucsonan – were marrying. “It made sense to come back to Tucson, and the stars aligned to come back home in 2003,” Mireles said.
Lopez has served as a role model for Mireles on the job. “Uncle Humberto is all about hard work.”
While the economy has been challenging, Mireles said the future looks promising. “We are very optimistic about what we see and what Tucson has in store for its future.”
He said HSL has captured the high-end, luxury rental housing market. “People are looking for a slew of amenities, and that is what we have to offer,” he said.
Mireles said it is important for business, government and the community to work together for the betterment of the city.
“Everyone has Tucson’s best interest at heart,” Mireles said. “We must cooperate to make the economy and the city the vibrant community it can be and has been.”
He serves on the boards at Salpointe, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Tu Nidito Children and Family Services, Arizona Multihousing Association and Tucson Airport Authority. He is a member of the Tucson Conquistadores.
“I have been lucky and blessed. It’s incumbent on us to give back and see how we can make our community a better place,” Mireles said.
He is happy to raise funds for research for type 1 diabetes. “It’s a devastating disease, and it’s so hard on children and families. You look at these diseases and see how they affect children – the physical and mental trauma. We must help fund research for a cure.”
He is humbled to be named a Father of the Year, and is thankful for the technology that allows him to be there when his children need him.
“Technology is a double-edged sword. You can be wherever you need to be with your family – but the phone is always ringing, and the emails are always coming.”
But being there is the best part.
“It’s an exciting journey,” Mireles said.