WITH the popular Fiction night club and Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records under its banner, the KLE Group is redefining entertainment.
As its CEO, Gary Matalon is driven to always raise the bar. "Being number one is where everybody wants to be. We're making an effort to change the game. You have to figure out what is going to make you unique and make sure whatever that is, it's relevant to the market you're going after." Financing and operational challenges haven't deterred them and Matalon believes in the product.
"The beauty for me in getting into an organisation from the beginning that is - you have control over what type of culture you want to introduce. That for me has been huge because I've always had in my mind that this is how I would want my organisation to be."
But before KLE, Matalon did construction, returning to Jamaica in 1992 after his immediate family moved to the United States during the '70s. He did not lose touch with Jamaica, spending holidays with his paternal grandparents. Grandfather Moses Matalon was a major influence.
"Growing up, it was always in my head that I would join my grandfather and work with him. He was like my idol; I tried to emulate him as much as possible." But around the time he left high school, Moses died and Gary, who admits he didn't like school, worked with the family business WIHCON, in various roles.
"None very elegant," he joked. But having no college degree was a "wake-up call" so he did tertiary studies, even earning a masters degree. After a brief stint at Redimix, he returned to WIHCON, assisting with various projects including Angels Estates. With experience came more duties leading to his own project, Old Harbour's The Aviary.
"I was very nervous but excited. I always had ideas that I wanted to implement and ways of approaching things differently, but because it was never my show, it was always difficult to get that through." Over time, along with former WIHCON executive Dayton Levy, Matalon started Neustone Limited, now a renowned international project-management firm. That kind of big thinking led him to join the KLE group, which recently added new board members and has numerous projects coming.
"We're not losing sight of the formula that got us to here," he assured.