I was born in a town called Bessemer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in April of 1940 but my father moved the family to Detroit when I was a little over a year old. He needed work and there was damn little to be had in Bessemer. It had had its day as a mining town.
I grew up in Detroit as the eldest of 4 children. When you’re the oldest kid in a second generation Czech family you have a lot of responsibility and absolutely no authority, which, of course, the younger kids take gross advantage of every minute of every day. I spent a lot of years wishing I had been born an only child.
After graduating from high school my father said that going to college was a great idea as long as I had the money to pay for it. So I went to work as a junior art director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising, which at the time was the largest agency in the world. There I got more than a college education.
They loved me and, after 5 years transferred me to the head office in New York. I was newly married and my wife also worked for he company. They loved her as well so she got a transfer, too.
For a guy who had never been in a restaurant or a barber shop ‘til he was 17 years old (my father didn’t believe in wasting money that way) the move from Detroit to New York was, in no uncertain words, culture shock of the highest magnitude.
I stayed for two years and never did get used to it. It was just a little too much of everything. It never eased up or slowed down. I worked in the International Division and was offered jobs all over the world, all of which I turned down. Hell, New York was a foreign country to me and I couldn’t handle that. I have since traveled to many countries in Europe and, of course, loved it. I also love everything Italian and can’t believe that I once turned down an opportunity to live and work there and actually get paid for it!
After two years I went back to Detroit and shortly after I got there I said “Who can live in this hick town!” Evidently New York made more of an impression that I thought.
So I went to Chicago where I spent the next 25 years working in a number of ad agencies including my own which I ran for 10 years.
Shortly after arriving in Chicago my marriage went the way of all marriages that were once the liberation from a dysfunctional family (My ex and I are very good friends to this day). My wife and I agreed that we would jointly do all that we could to raise our daughter Jessica to be the well-rounded and capable individual that she is today. She got all the education we did not. She graduated with honors and a double major from the University of Michigan and got her Masters in Costume Design from Boston University.
Today she’s a Costume Designer in Los Angeles and has been second in command of the costume department on all three Pirates of the Carribbean movies (Watch the credits, you'll see her name). She currently works on the hit show "Glee". She is also happily married and I have 2 fantastic grand kids.
In 1990 I turned 50 and sold my business to move to Santa Fe to write and paint while I was still young enough to do it.
From that point until today I have painted 200 paintings, written most of a book on relationships, dabbled in the real estate business for a few years, and reduced my golf handicap to one digit. I also make assemblage jewelry, which is sold in several stores in Santa Fe.
I have always had an insatiable curiosity and interest in just about everything. I have never been bored. There’s just too much to do. As a result I have many and varied interests.
I am an avid golfer (I believe that golf is the one true metaphor for life) and an enthusiastic skier.
I am a gourmet cook who knows he was an Italian in another life.
I have a pilot’s license, which has enabled me to rise above this land and see things from a new perspective.
I have an abiding love for animals and immediately distrust anyone who doesn’t. My dogs have taught me more about life than most people I’ve known.
I’ve dabbled as an actor and love most forms of music, especially opera. I played the classical guitar for many years.
I also believe in giving something back. I spent many years doing crisis work with suicidal and homeless teenagers in Chicago and am actively involved in men’s work in New Mexico. I volunteer as a child advocate for the Children’s Court and have given service to the Hospice Center of Santa Fe.
I greet each day humbled by the knowledge that there is so much that I don’t know. And I’m motivated by the belief that if each of us aspired to be the best that we can be the world would be a better place, we will have made a meaningful contribution and our life will have counted.
I have more than 20 years experience as a real estate agent and have written two books on the subject.
I think every agent would agree that the best way to generate a consistent income is to compile a “sphere of influence” list (friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, past clients, etc.) and then maintain regular and consistent contact with them.
The very best way to do that is with a well-written newsletter. I write such a letter each month and have done so for the last eight and a half years.
In my experience I have found that nobody cares about real estate until they are in the market to buy or sell a home. But they are interested in a lot of other things and that is the key to an effective newsletter.
My newsletter gets read! It gets read because it contains all kinds of interesting articles, how-to information, fun facts and trivia, a trivia question that can be answered for a prize, all kinds of information to make life better and more fun and a little real estate as well. I designed it using my extensive background in direct response advertising. It talks to people on their level and they love getting it.
A number of agents around the country use it and I'll gladly send a sample to anyone requesting it.
Each month, I write the best newsletter for real estate agents available today. It's by far, the best and most cost-effective marketing tool an agent could have in their marketing arsenal.