Solano Real Estate Scene: Military training helps real estate professionals

Retired broker owner Dick Cardosi was a U.S. Air Force navigator for 15 years. In 1972, he was flying over Laos when his C-130 gunship was hit carrying 15,000 pounds of ammo. Lucky for me the plane was hit in the wing and the fuel tank was protected by some type of fireproof foam. He and his 12 crewmates were able to jump out of the plane and parachute to safety and, again, lucky for me, all 13 guys were rescued by chopper after 10 hours on the ground in enemy territory. The reason I jokingly say lucky for me is because when Mary and I moved to Vacaville from San Francisco with our four kids in 1988, we knew nobody, and we were pretty much financially starting over from scratch. Dick and Judy Cardosi owned Century 21 Cardosi. Elizabeth Fry worked there, along with around 10 to 15 other agents. Judy and Liz were two of the top Realtors in the county and, lucky for me, I convinced Dick to give me a chance as his preferred loan officer. His office instantly became my biggest client and Dick became one of my best friends and mentors of my life. He helped me and my family financially through his referrals and even made me the preferred lender for the new Shady Glen neighborhood back in the early ’90s we now all know as Candy Cane Lane in Vacaville. All I had to do to win Dick’s trust and his business was always serve his clients’ best interest and give 100 percent effort. Many successful real estate brokerage owners here in Solano County served our country before serving their real estate agents and clients. Jack Kelly, Steve Kappel, Paul McGuire, Steve Spencer, Bob Dorsett, Ed Rapisarda and Brian Stumbaugh were military prior to becoming real estate broker owners. There are dozens of other successful local real estate agents and brokers here in our market like Fidel Morales, Joshua Anello, Joseph Garcia, Michael Castenada, Jimmy Castro, Dennis Abramowics, Tamara Hansen, Bill Burns, Hal Alpert and Northern Solano County Association of Realtors president-elect Marc DeContreaus, just to name a few. I asked a few of these veterans why military training has helped them in their successful careers. Stumbaugh attributed the U.S. Air Force training he got for his four years right out of Fairfield High School, which was like going away to college. Spencer, who was in the final draft in 1972, did two years in the Army until they let him out to go to law school. He said that real estate agents need self-discipline and his agents who are former military seem to have this trait. DeContreaus told me that the military teaches soldiers to prioritize and focus on what is most important. Abramowicz, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, says that he is checklist-oriented and pilots needs to be structured with an ability to multitask, which makes sense to me considering he flies and teaches new pilots how to fly a plane that costs several hundred million dollars. Finally, Cardosi told me that when you are shot down over enemy territory and nearly killed, losing a listing to a competitor isn’t that big of a deal. This also makes sense to me because Realtors and loan officers must have thick skin, and when you get knocked down or shot down you gotta get back up. Thanks for your service.