How I Got Here (I Am)

A devout German Catholic mother, a reserved Italian father, six siblings, a three-bedroom house. That’s how I grew up in the Baltimore neighborhood of Belair Edison.

We didn’t have any money growing up. I can remember waiting for social services to deliver a 5-pound block of cheese each week when my parents were particularly strapped.

My family taught me how to be competitive. With seven kids we had to fight to keep everything we got.

I started working at age 11 so that I could afford a pair of Jack Purcell shoes, and anything else a kid wants. I worked so I could buy my first car at age 16 — a 1969 Ford Fairlane. I wanted to find a way to get out of my circumstances so

I paid the tuition to attend Archbishop Curley, a private high school, rather than go to Poly, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, the public school nearest to my house.

I played baseball, and for me it truly was a field of dreams, a place where hard knocks meant the bat hitting the ball, not the struggles of a young man who became a dad at age 17.

It was tough, but I made it.

I attended college at Florida Atlantic University. I studied finance, and when I returned to Baltimore, I worked three jobs. I valeted cars. I was an entry level associate at T Rowe Price, and I helped a friend to deliver newspapers.

I was making $31,000 doing all three jobs, but I strove to reach my potential, and I let the inner flame burn. I was eventually rewarded with a great break.

In 1994, a route opened up, and I interviewed to get my own newspaper delivery agency for The Baltimore Sun. 3000 customers, 16 employees, we delivered to Pigtown, Locust Point, and Federal Hill.

Watching the city evolve, seeing renovations taking place at properties all around my route, I found my passion for real estate. I took the leap, I started investing in houses. I went to real estate classes and got my license in 2001.

Now I have a staff of five in my Keller Williams Gateway office. I have three children, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter.

I mentor new realtors and young people in my network of contacts. I coach my daughter’s basketball team. I have God in my life, and I find my inspiration in Him, as well as from personal growth gurus like Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, and Matt Kelly — not to mention AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Ozzy Osbourne.

I went from being a kid who struggled to take whatever he could to being a business owner and motivational speaker who feels fulfillment by impacting and improving the lives of others.

Learning to become the person you are from all that life offers is the purpose of living. From the narrow surroundings in which I was born to the abundance that I have attained — through wisdom, experience, and knowledge — I want to pass on to my clients and my friends more than a service. I wish to offer something greater than a job well done.

I want you to find the life you want to have, in the place you wish to be. If I can identify that physical location for you, I have succeeded in my career objectives. If I help you find a life fulfilled, then I have traveled farther down the path of my own spiritual journey.

I share this story with you not to impress you, but to impress upon you that I understand what it means to know the value of a dollar, to work for a living, to experience life. Life is not about a business, it’s not about selling a house. It’s about building relationships. Please let me know how I can be here for you or others looking for their next opportunity.