In Search of Adventure
He was a nervous mother's nightmare. Even as a child in Brazil, Ivan Fairbanks Barbosa had so much unbridled energy that he made every trip to the beach a test of his mother's nerves. He jumped on the rocks. He dived for starfish. He constantly challenged the biggest waves.
As an adult, Mr. Fairbanks Barbosa raced cars, enjoyed scuba diving and even took flying leaps at the end of a bungee cord. "I was always with my heart in my throat," said his mother, Marilena, speaking from her home in São Paulo. But she said she saw his courting of danger as only a prelude to the confidence that led him to success. "He was a winner," she said, "and almost everything he wanted, he got."
Mr. Fairbanks Barbosa arrived in New York in July of 1999 when he was 28 to work on Wall Street. Eventually he got a job at Cantor Fitzgerald.
He preferred the sultry life of São Paulo, but he knew he could make more money in New York. His younger sister, Roberta, said he was impulsive by nature. "He told us on a Wednesday that he was moving to New York, and on Saturday he was gone," she said.
He followed the same pattern when he returned to Brazil in December 1999 to be married. He arrived on a Monday, married on Wednesday and on Friday he and his new wife, Valeria, returned to his apartment in Jersey City.
Mr. Fairbanks Barbosa always told his family he would return to Brazil when he had made enough money. And they expected to see him pop in one day, without warning, and announce that he was back to stay.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 14, 2002.