November 22, 2009

101 Reasons Why I Am Here - Part I

This post marks my 101st addition to The Realtor's Toolbox blog. From my very first post back in March 2008 to the brink of a new decade in a few weeks, it's been a learning experience, a chance to share ideas and thoughts with many people and, oh yeah...a ton of fun.

2010 will be my 13th year in the real estate industry. From my early years (born in Billings, Montana 1967, lived in Ithaca, New York and moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1970) to my first job as a busboy and now my current role as The Director of Agent Development with Coldwell Banker King Thompson in central Ohio and Coldwell Banker West Shell in the Greater Cincinnati area, I kind of agree with The Grateful Dead when they sing "what a long strange trip it's been."

I'd like to use this 101st post (and 102nd and 103rd) to recognize and appreciate the 101 Most Influential People in my Life. These are the people who have gotten me to where I am at today. While there is no way to rank these in order of importance, some of the names will deserve some extra words, disclaimers or words of appreciation.


1) Jot Carpenter - My father passed away unexpectedly nearly 10 years ago and I often wonder what he would think of me ending up as a teacher. I am sure he would be proud of me... He always was, regardless of what I did. It certainly is more evident now that he's gone how much influence he had on me and those he worked so hard to reach when he would teach. The number of former students that my brothers and I spoke to at his funeral that said my Dad helped them be what they are today has left a desire in my heart to always strive to make people around me better. Thanks for everything Dad!

2) Claire Carpenter - A lifelong teacher, Mom has been my biggest fan and supporter. If there's any specific influence that she has bequeathed to me, it's the constant encouragement to achieve your dreams. There's an old saying that "leaders are readers" so anyone who knows my Mom knows what type of a leader she is. Thanks for everything Mom!

3) Ronda Carpenter - My wife of 16 years and friend of 25+ years (we met in high school art class). She's someone who has supported me and been a much needed grounding wire in my fast paced world. While she prefers to stay "behind the scenes" she is amazing at helping me "do my thing."

4) Riley & (4) Ryan Carpenter - Two of the best kids in the world. Thanks for understanding that I work so hard so I can help you enjoy life and be whatever it is that you want to be. I love getting a chance to be young again with you. You are both wonderful.

5) Jot Carpenter, Jr. & 6) Kevin Carpenter - Two awesome brothers, two awesome friends. I easily rank as the third smartest son in the family. They have always been the best supporters of me in whatever it is that I have done. Kevin was my #1 client when I was an active agent (along with his wife Elizabeth) and for that, I am very grateful. Many great "real-life stories" that were created have allowed me to speak with genuine sincerity with my students. (For the record, I am sure that if Jot lived in central Ohio, he would be a great client as well)

7) Grace Dunn (My Nana on my mom's side) - Everyone has that special grandparent. Nana was mine.

8) Jane Wamester, (9) David Wamester and (10) Jay Wamester - Aunt and cousins on my mother's side. Tremendous amount of business ethic and skills from this family. Dedication and passion for what they do has made them great examples of hard work to me throughout my career.

11) Jot T. Carpenter (My "Pop" on my father's side) - With all due respect to Og Mandino, my Pop was "the greatest salesman in the world." A lifelong salesman for Florsheim and Clarks of England, my grandpa could sell. I got to spend a summer with him "working the stores" throughout Florida and his skill and attitude with his clients helped me develop my philosophy of success in real estate - Build relationships...solve problems...and have fun.

12) Uncle Peter & (13) Aunt Jane Carpenter - Two of the smartest, most compassionate people on the face of this earth. Their willingness to help people is contagious.

14) Jonathan Carpenter - I am in awe at all that my cousin Jonathan has accomplished in his lifetime. Harvard education, travelled half the world, worked in the other half of it. He is one of the smoothest dudes I know. It would not surprise me to see Jonathan running for...and being elected President of the United States sometime soon.

15) Ron & (16) Sharon Turscak - My father and mother-in-law. They have been so supportive of me for the last 25 years, first as the protective parents to my girlfriend and then, from that day I asked for Ronda's hand in marriage, as my second set of parents.

High School Buddies

17) David Dilenschneider & (18) Matt Allaire - I know it's hard to believe that out of a class of 500+ graduates that I would only list two people here. Until Facebook brought me back in touch with many of my classmates, these are the two guys who I have kept in the best touch with since those days back at Upper Arlington High School - Class of '85. They were in my wedding and I appreciate all the years of friendship we have shared.

Here Come the Gators

19) Carl Bergeron - The Resident Advisor in my un-air conditioned dormitory (Rawlings Hall) at The University of Florida. Carl invited me and some fellow residents to a cookout the first evening we arrived. That cookout turned out to be at his fraternity house - Delta Upsilon. Looking back, that cookout had a major impact on my life and allowed me to add the next 18 people to this list

20) Tom Sandberg & (21) Marc Jackson - Fellow Rawlings Hall residents and two of the funniest guys I know. Tom is a true friend who is perhaps one of the biggest Gator fans alive. Marc was the first black friend I ever had. He really showed me that the color of your skin has nothing to do with the content of your character.

22) Matt Corey, (23) Tim Burch, (25) Jim Daniel, (26) Rick Marshall & (27) Norm Cuadra - Five members of the "Fall '85" Pledge Class of Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Of course there were others in that pledge class, but these guys were some of the best buddies an out-of-state kid could have ever had.

28) Brian Marmaud - My DU "Big Brother" - Not sure where is is now, but I hope he's doing well. He really helped me acclimate to college life and find my voice as a future leader in the fraternity. I hope you're well River Dawg!

29) Joe Amos & 30) Andy Hallums - Joe was the Pledge Education Officer and Andy was the President when I joined Delta Upsilon. I hope that my son gets introduced to two guys as cool as these two when he heads off to college.

31) Jim Mullaney - It's certainly hard to assign the title of "best friend" among a "band of brothers" like the men in this section of the list without offending the others, but Jim is probably that guy. One of the smartest people I have ever known, his loyalty, sense of humor and quest for knowledge is incredible. Jim rode "shotgun" on some of the most outrageous adventures and road trips ever travelled. All Hail, Artemis Stanos!
32) Bill Loehle, (33) Tim Logan, (34) Pete Reichert, (35) Todd Meininger, (36) Pete Blank, Jr. &

(37) Ross Bilbrey - Much like the Fall '85 list, I probably could have added many more names here, but this core group of men, along with the others listed above, made my college years in Gainesville what it was - A memorable, thrilling experience that rewards me with pleasant memories almost daily. I'll look forward to more opportunities we'll have to gather together over a football weekend, family vacation or any other reason we can come up with. "Son, you know you got a beer box on your head?"

Same Fraternity...Different School

38) Joe Estes - One of the wonderful things about being a part of a fraternity is the lifelong relationships you can create. Joe was a DU from The University of South Carolina and he happened to be the Chapter President the same year I was the President of the Florida Chapter. We met at a regional leadership event and the rest is history. It's just a bonus that he and his lovely wife live on the way down to our summer vacation spot in Hilton Head, SC so each year there is a reason to visit.

Wow, the first 22 years of my life went by quickly, didn't they?

In the next segment of this post, I'll recognize some of the people who have influenced me in my different careers.

Click here to jump to Part II of III