NAUGATUCK — Businessman, entrepreneur, talent manager, philanthropist. These titles can all be claimed by 22-year-old borough native Adam Lopez, who this fall plans to launch his own music management company and ramp up his “Fans for Cans” charity, in which he raises and donates money to purchase food for local soup kitchens.
Lopez harnesses the power of Twitter, a popular online network in which users post—or “tweet”—short blurbs which comprise what are known in some circles as “microblogs.” Each month, Lopez says, he counts how many new members have signed up to “follow” his Twitter feed and personally donates a canned food item for each one.
This aspect of the Fans for Cans campaign he calls “Food for Followers.”
“We want to get kids involved,” Lopez said of using Twitter and Facebook, another popular social networking site. “A lot of charities are geared towards the older crowd; I want to get the 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds involved and try to give them a sense of helping the community and trying to put their hands into something that’s really positive.”
Lopez, who wears a warm amiability as easily as he wears his vintage Pittsburgh Pirates hat and black wristband reading “ruthless,” said he left To Write A Riot, a local power-pop five-piece, when he figured he’d “bring more to the table” as a manager than as an artist.
The band visits middle schools and high schools and speaks to students in an effort to promote a positive message of hope and inspiration. Lopez said he enjoyed doing that, but launched Fan for Cans do help people more tangibly.
“With Fans for Cans, I want to do something that has a very literal impact,” he said, “something that’s incredibly tangible—which is, you know, donating cans and helping people out.”
Lopez plans to organize food drives and sell small retails items to supplement his own personal donations as the charity becomes more popular.
“I hope it grows to the point where I have no idea how to produce enough money to buy all these cans,” he said. “I should hope it gets to that point. … But there are a couple different avenues that generate income to purchase cans, and I’d like to do more. I’m always trying to conceptualize new things.”
Lopez said he got to thinking about soup kitchens and food drives when he found out many people he’d met—including friends from school—had come to rely on food banks or soup kitchens during the recession.
“You realize that everybody’s hurting,” he said. “I just want to help out the people who need it the most. Even if nobody ever went to the Twitter site and we donated one bag of groceries, that’s still one more bag that wouldn’t have been there that a family can utilize, that might take one more day of stress off of them, because they know they can eat that night.”
If Lopez doesn’t seem the typical philanthropist, he seems even less the picture of your average businessman—at 22, he radiates sprightly, youthful vigor, his facial hair cropped close but not all too neat, a large inner-arm tattoo peeking out from under a stylish v-neck tee shirt.
But Lopez’s youth and lack of formal education in business haven’t stopped him from trying to learn the ins and outs of management.
“You have to have a great deal of business knowledge in order to run a company successfully, which I’ve gained through talking with people at other management companies,” he said. “Running a management company is everything from going out and trying to find a producer to being buried in Microsoft Excel sheets making sure all your budgets are lining up.”
Eventually, Lopez hopes to relocate to New York City and run his business from there.
Right now he’s working from home, “getting all [his] ducks in a row” and preparing for an official launch of New Age Media Management in November.
“It’s a busy fall, a very busy fall,” he said. “But I’m very excited about it.”