Remembering Martin Buniva, My Mentor and Friend

My friend and mentor, Martin Buniva, died unexpectedly on December 23, 2019 at age 45.

Martin and I both began working at Sabre Systems (Sabre) in July 2009. I worked at the National Capital Regional Office (NCRO) in Alexandria, Virginia; Martin worked at the Headquarters in Pennsylvania. He was hired to be groomed as Sabre’s future CFO. I got to know Martin because I contractually managed the largest contract at the time for the $80M company. Needless to say, I received a lot of attention from the Corporate Office.

For those who were fortunate enough to work with Martin, know that he was an Accounting genius. Yes, he told me his IQ score. Martin was not bragging; he told me because he was upset because his younger brother, Justin, scored three (3) points higher than him. Actually, Martin did not even know how his IQ score compared to others or what it meant. For someone so brilliant, Martin was amazingly humble.

Coworkers at Sabre often requested that Martin set up a LinkedIn Account. I told him his colleagues should be careful what they wish for; as he may find himself inundated with prospective job offers. Martin’s sole social media account was Instagram, where his posts were both touching and hilarious. One could clearly see how much he loved his wife, Eileen; and children, Jake and Will; family of origin, extended family, nephews, Lakehouse family (my term), fraternity brothers, childhood and UCLA buddies. (I apologize if I l omitted any group. There were so many.)

When I resigned from Sabre in June 2011, Martin and I kept in touch. I would occasionally ask him business and/or accounting questions. While I am not an accountant, I like numbers and strongly believe that finance and contracts go hand-in-hand. Martin kindly and patiently answered my questions. And as he did with all of his friends, we would text each other about sports. Being a sports fan may have been a prerequisite required to be one of Martin’s buddies (his term). Martin was a UCLA (his alma mater), Villanova, Chargers (prior to moving to LA), Eagles, Padres, and Flyers fan; while I am a UConn (my alma mater), Redskins (now Washington Football Team) and to a lesser degree, Nats and Caps fan. We had fun ribbing each other. As one of his 50 closest friends, Martin gave me (and 49 others) a MJB Boating T-shirt he designed. (See picture.)

Martin made donations to Villanova, his father’s alma mater, and bought basketball tickets every year to see games at Wells Fargo stadium. Martin invited me to the UConn vs Villanova January 18, 2020 game, as his family members did not want to attend. Instead, January 18 was a Celebration of Life for him in his childhood hometown of San Diego, CA.

I will be forever grateful that I knew Martin, a friend and mentor, for 10+ years. Although for such a witty, generous, and caring person, his life was much too short. My hope is that everyone has a “Martin” in their life—and that it is for a longer period of time than “just” 10 years.

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