Mentors, coaches valuable in business world

My wife Mary and I moved to Vacaville in 1988, leaving our hometown of San Francisco with our four young children. Besides a couple of relatives on her side of the family, we knew no one else in town, and very little about its history and culture. We knew about the Nut Tree, nearby Travis Air Force Base and Charles Manson’s stay at the state prison here. The strong onion odor wafting from the Basic American Food Plant had greeted us as it once did other residents and motorists going about business in a bygone era for Vacaville. What brought us here was the promise of affordable housing and schools that were probably going to be better than the ones in San Francisco. It was around this time, I started my career here as a loan officer for a business called Weyerhaeuser Mortgage Company. Although I had 10 years of experience in the mortgage business, there were some new challenges for a transplant from the San Francisco-San Mateo mortgage market: I had never seen a VA loan and knew nothing about FHA loans. These were not products needed in the city or on the peninsula. Nevertheless, my boss assured me the key to my success was meeting and building relationships with Realtors and sent me out in the field to find some. I visited every real estate office in northern Solano County, dropping off rate sheets, shaking hands and memorizing the first names of every receptionist possible. Receptionists are the guards at the gate of every office and a good relationship with them could be the difference in getting your foot in the door. I recall one of my stops in particular. It was the office of Dick and Judy Cardosi of Century 21 Cardosi Real Estate, where I would bring flowers and candy. One day I dropped off a simple note that read something like this: “Dear Mr. Cardosi, my boss Maria Murphy and I would like to take you and Judy golfing anywhere in California other than Pebble Peach.” We later took them to Silverado Country Club for a day of golf. So began a relationship that continues to this day. After doing a good job for a few of Cardosi’s clients, I became his preferred lender and was introduced to his agents as well as many great Vacaville families. Elizabeth Fry was one of his top sales people and along with Judy Cardosi was a huge producer in the county. It took me a while to earn the business of Liz Fry, but Judy was the listing agent on the new homes at Candy Cane Lane in North Vacaville. She introduced me to a boatload of native Vacaville folks. Dick Cardosi became a mentor and business coach to me and by far my biggest and most influential client. We became close friends at work, off work and on the golf course, where we’ve competed in tournaments over the past 25 years. He’s taught me how to be a good loan officer, a business leader and a better father and husband to my wife and family. He continues to be an inspiration to me and my Solano Mortgage team. Mary and I love him like a father. A couple of weeks ago, Dick, now 77 years old, and I came in fifth place at the Green Valley member golf tournament. That’s not too shabby considering our combined age is 132. I always knew Dick was shot down while serving in Vietnam but it was only a couple of weeks ago I learned he was awarded a Purple Heart. Over the years, I have been blessed with great coaching and mentoring from many great real estate professionals and business leaders. But none have been more influential than Dick Cardosi. To all you young people out there, I strongly recommend learning from your elders and respecting their wisdom. Most successful people are willing to teach and share what’s made them successful so jump on those opportunities when they arrive. You will be a better person for it.