“It’s been a good life, and I learned a lot along the way,”
Marty Traber admits he sometimes has trouble spelling the word entrepreneur — but his track record, however, would suggest that he knows the word inside and out.
“I didn’t always take the ‘right’ path,” Traber said, “but I got to a good place, somehow.”
Traber’s childhood wasn’t anything fancy. He grew up in a steel town outside of Chicago where his father put in hard labor daily to make sure Traber and his older brother were provided for.
“That was the norm back then,” Traber said. “We didn’t think anything of it, really.”
Because trade jobs were the typical path to take during that time, Traber said he envisioned himself likely walking in his father’s footsteps. Academics, he said, weren’t of paramount importance because working with your hands was the likely career outcome.
After graduating high school, however, and working a few years to pay his way through college, Traber found himself taking a path that he didn’t necessarily expect. He was earning the title of “college kid,” and he was about to become a successful law student, too.
“I don’t think I ever passed a test in my life, until I passed that one,” Traber said of taking the Law School Admission Test. “It just all made sense to me.”
Traber had found his niche — and, even if he didn’t know it at the time, his future was beginning to look bright. For the next four decades, Traber, who graduated magna cum laude and first in his class from Indiana University School of Law in 1970, worked in securities law and corporate finance. His list of accolades is lengthy, and looking back on his many years of experience, he said he doesn’t think he would do anything differently.
“There have been mistakes along the way, but I don’t think I would change a thing,” he said thoughtfully.
In early 2017, Traber became chairman of the Capital Markets Group of Skyway Capital Markets LLC, an investment banking firm, which specializes in the middle market, located in Tampa, Florida. And, since 2006, he’s served as director of HCI Group, Inc., which is also headquartered in Tampa and is a New York Stock Exchange Company. He’s also the founder of Tampa-based NorthStar Banking Corporation and in 2010 was recognized by the Legal 500 as one of the leading lawyers in the U.S. for mergers and acquisitions.
And although his resume might read “retired,” Traber shows little sign of slowing down. At age 71, he said he’s still looking for opportunities to stay engaged with his community and make an effort to contribute his skills in any capacity.
Specifically, Traber said, he’d like to see skilled workers find easier entry into the jobs field.
“That’s something that I don’t think gets enough attention,” said Traber, who in many ways has his skilled jobs to thank for paving the way for his successful career and work ethic.
Aside from providing his two cents on business-related matters, Traber also frequently writes for several journals — offering his knowledge on mergers and acquisitions.
“It’s been a good life, and I learned a lot along the way,” he said.