BentleyForbes Invests Across Diverse Range of Commercial Real Estate Properties

BentleyForbesAs top investors accumulate further knowledge about the real estate market, one message rings loud and clear. According to BentleyForbes, the uncertain nature of the U.S. economy requires a skilled approach to investment matters. BentleyForbes and its sterling team of professionals understand viable alternatives that can ameliorate future risk and pave the way for greater successes.

By monitoring the latest real estate trends, BentleyForbes is uniquely positioned to speak about commercial real estate investment and its wide range of opportunities. Although there are challenges with every project, BentleyForbes has the necessary tools to overcome them.

BentleyForbes affirms that commercial real estate is a powerful investment vehicle that can potentially reap innumerable benefits for today’s investors. Unlike a majority of investment classes, commercial real estate is a relatively stable option that can produce high yields. In 2014, BentleyForbes has observed numerous investors who are seeking to take advantage of these possibilities. [Read more…]

Kris Krohn: The Conscious Creator

Kris KrohnKris Krohn is a well-known real estate investor, investment coach and author. As the founder of Strongbrook Direct, he has developed real estate investment formulas that have helped people achieve financial stability by generating residual income. Here Kris Krohn discusses concepts from his bestselling new book, The Conscious Creator, co-authored with Stephen Palmer.

A Gathering of Experts: Kris Krohn, thank you for talking with us.

Kris Krohn: It’s my pleasure.

A Gathering of Experts: Your new book is making a lot of waves. One Amazon reviewer states, “I’m impressed by how effectively The Conscious Creator teaches the principles of success. In my opinion, it is the best book in the entire manifesting genre.” That’s quite high praise.

Kris Krohn: Well, I am humbled by the response we’re getting, but more importantly I am very excited about the positive impact the book is having on people’s lives!

A Gathering of Experts: In a nutshell, tell us what the book says.

Kris Krohn: Absolutely. Basically, we have discovered that there are “Six Laws of Conscious Creation.” Our future doesn’t just happen to us, we participate in creating it.

A Gathering of Experts: Can you break them down for us?

Kris Krohn: Yes. The first law is what we call the law of attraction. You attract into your life what you think about most. Your dominant and persistent thoughts eventually manifest as physical reality.

A Gathering of Experts: You’re using the word “manifest” to mean “appear,” right?

Kris Krohn: Yes. What you think about most eventually becomes reality.

A Gathering of Experts: And what’s the second law?

Kris Krohn: It is the law of purpose. Your desires and actions must be manifestations of your “true self” to achieve your highest potential. Your true self embodies the highest, most accurate truth from which you can create at your greatest potential. Conscious creators know who they are and what they were born to accomplish.

A Gathering of Experts: That is profound. Where does that take us next?

Kris Krohn: It leads to the third law, the law of choice and accountability. Your perception of reality is a choice, not a condition, and your experience is your creation, whether you realize it or not. The more accountability you take for your reality, the greater power you have to change it.

A Gathering of Experts: And that leads to a next step? 

Kris Krohn: Yes, it necessitates the law of alignment. Everything you think, say and do must align with what you want to manifest. The more closely your beliefs are aligned with truth, the greater power you have to manifest your creations.

A Gathering of Experts: This kind of thinking requires positivity, I would suppose? 

Kris Krohn: Yes, it does. It requires faith, as in the law of faith. Conscious creators work with complete faith that they can manifest their desires, and they act on that faith with courage, despite having little or no evidence from past accomplishments.

A Gathering of Experts: What about those inevitable setbacks that occur?

Kris Krohn: They require patience. The law of gestation tells us that there is a natural gestation period for all acts of creation. The greater the goal, the longer the gestation period.

A Gathering of Experts: What other ideas have sprung from this mode of thinking?

Kris Krohn: Basically it’s like this: You possess the power to call anything into creation that you want. So if you want more success, diagnose where you are now in life and learn how to go to the next level. It requires some introspection. Learn who you are and what will fulfill you.

A Gathering of Experts: And how does this affect your work world?

Kris Krohn: In short, if you manifest what you think about, why not make a living doing what you love? That ensures maximum success.

A Gathering of Experts: Leave us with a few final thoughts. 

Kris Krohn: The Conscious Creator is a parable for your life and path to success. A paragraph from the book puts it well: “Living your passion and achieving your dreams is not an easy path. It’s a path full of struggle. It comes with its share of heartache. But it’s what you were born for. It’s the only path worthy of your heritage. And with all my heart and soul, I promise you this: The journey is worth it.”

Real estate investor and entrepreneur Kris Krohn attends conferences and seminars across the country promoting The Strait Path to Real Estate Wealth, his simple but effective guide to financial strategy.

Scott Safadi: An American Success Story

Scott Safadi

Scott Safadi

Scott Safadi was born in Damascus, Syria. When he was 2 years old, Scott Safadi and his family moved to the United States. Scott Safadi worked hard to achieve the American dream. Scott shares about his story with A Gathering of Experts.

A Gathering of Experts: Thank you for meeting with us today, Scott. I’d like to hear about your achievements firsthand. It sounds like a very interesting story.

Scott Safadi: It’s nice to meet you. Thanks to my father, I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunities I’ve been granted.

A Gathering of Experts: I think you’re being modest. You have achieved much and I’m sure your father is very proud of you.

Scott Safadi: My father was tireless and resolute about my education. He didn’t make a lot of money, but he was determined that I attend good schools. I attended a private school until second grade and it gave me a good foundation upon which to build.

A Gathering of Experts: You didn’t attend private school after the second grade?

Scott Safadi: No. My father couldn’t afford the private school, so I had to change to a public school in the third grade.

A Gathering of Experts: How was that—the public school?

Scott Safadi: The private school had been so stimulating, and it provided me with such a good foundation, so I was bored in public school. I didn’t learn much in school for the next couple of years.

A Gathering of Experts: What happened to change that?

Scott Safadi: When I finally told my father about the situation, he decided to do whatever he could to get me into a better public school system.

A Gathering of Experts: Was he able to do that?

Scott Safadi: Yes. At the end of my fifth grade year, we relocated from San Jose to Los Gatos and rented a very modest apartment in a good school district.

A Gathering of Experts: It sounds as if your father is very resourceful. Did your mother have a problem with moving to a different city?

Scott Safadi: My parents were separated when I was very young and my father had custody of me. My grandmother came to the U.S. to help my dad raise me.

A Gathering of Experts: That must have been very difficult for her. Does your grandmother speak English?

Scott Safadi: Yes it was difficult, but she had nothing left for her back in Syria. All of her children were in the States. Neither she nor my parents spoke English so I suppose Arabic would be considered my first language. I am fluent in Arabic, but it’s certainly not as good as my English. By the way, I learned to speak English while watching Sesame Street.

A Gathering of Experts: Sesame Street? I suppose that means you were truly “Americanized” by the time you started kindergarten.

Scott Safadi: I believe I was—up to a point. One stumbling block was my first name. It is “Ghais.” Americans had a great deal of difficulty with that pronunciation. The summer before sixth grade I asked my dad if I could have a middle name to go by instead my unpronounceable first name. He said yes. I chose the name “Scott” and the name stuck. Now everyone knows me as Scott Safadi.

A Gathering of Experts: That’s a great story, Scott. Was that school a good fit for you?

Scott Safadi: Yes, things were better after that. My dad definitely made the right decision as far as my education was concerned. Once again, school was a challenge and I truly enjoyed it. My senior year in high school, I learned I had been admitted to Dartmouth College—my first choice school. I was thrilled! Then a problem came up and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to attend after all.

A Gathering of Experts: What happened?

Scott Safadi: My father suffered a major back injury and had to have several surgeries. After that, it was very difficult for him to work and he was forced into bankruptcy my senior year of high school. Living in an expensive town to put me in a good school helped me greatly, but it put my father in an impossible position.

A Gathering of Experts: You obviously made it to Dartmouth. How were you able to do that?

Scott Safadi: Because of our financial situation, Dartmouth stepped in to assist with my educational expenses. I thank my lucky stars every day. If not for my father’s determination and belief in me, along with Dartmouth’s assistance, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever indebted to both of them.

A Gathering of Experts: You made it to Dartmouth—then what?

Scott Safadi: I graduated Dartmouth in 2003 and then returned to the Bay Area. I moved to Saratoga, Calif., and began working in property management. Three years later, I had my own property management company, Cal Bay Property Management. Now 10 years later, I have a beautiful wife and daughter and a thriving business. My dreams have come true.

Scott Safadi holds a CCRM (California Certified Resident Manager) designation and is the president of Cal Bay Property Management located in Palo Alto, Calif. Scott Safadi and his wife, Rachel, have a 1-year-old daughter named Sophia. Rachel, Sophia and Scott Safadi live in Saratoga, Calif.

Travis Jones of Rush Properties on Why Johnson County Is a Great Place to Live


Travis Jones Rush Properties

Travis Jones Rush Properties

Travis Jones, Rush Properties founder, says residents in this Kansas County enjoy remarkable education, access to major highways, and a location central to the entire U.S.

According to Travis Jones, founder of Rush Properties, the Kansas City area is unlike any other. He is specifically fond of Johnson County and resides in Stilwell with his family. Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports that the entire county has an exceptional school system, many beautiful and easily accessible parks and museums, and plenty of activities for both families and singles alike. Travis Jones of Rush Properties notes that the real estate market for JoCo, as locals refer to it, is one of the strongest in the Midwest.

Golf and recreation

Travis Jones of Rush Properties notes that Johnson County is home to the Heritage Park golf course and Tomahawk Hills golf course. Heritage Park, explains Travis Jones of Rush Properties, is a par-71 championship course that utilizes the natural beauty of the area in its design. Eleven of its 18 holes are built around three lakes and/or the picturesque Coffee Creek. According to Travis Jones of Rush Properties, the fairways of the course are lined with zoysia grass with the greens being bentgrass. Tomahawk Hills is ranked as one of the best public golf courses in the area. According to Travis Jones of Rush Properties, Tomahawk is also the most challenging.

There are ample opportunities for hikers and bikers in JoCo, says Travis Jones. The Rush Properties founder explains that there are miles and miles of paved shared-use trails, paved walking trails, hiking trails, and mountain biking trails throughout the county’s four regions.


Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports that Johnson County is one of the most easily accessable locations in the U.S. Major highways include I-35 and I-435. Linking Johnson County with neighboring Douglas County is K-10 and US-56. According to Travis Jones, Rush Properties founder, Johnson County also boasts the historic Shawnee Mission Parkway, which passes through Shawnee, Marion, Oakland Park, Mission, Fairway, Westwood and Mission Woods as well as Kansas City, Mo.

Educational opportunities

Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports that Johnson County has six unified school districts and four universities. Notably, Travis Jones of Rush Properties points out that JoCo and surrounding area residents may enjoy the Johnson County Community College, the Edwards Campus of the University of Kansas, the Olathe Campus of Kansas State University, or Mid-America Nazarene University.

JoCo in pop culture

According to Travis Jones, Rush Properties founder, the popularity of this region is demonstrated by its predominance on the small screen. He notes that Johnson County and its cities have been featured in popular television series like Switched at Birth, High School Confidential, the United States of Tara, and Married to the Kellys.

A haven for history

Travis Jones, Rush Properties founder, says that Johnson County has almost two-dozen properties and/or districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Overland Park is home to Overland Theater and the Broadmoor Ranch House Historic District. And Travis Jones of Rush Properties reports that the small town Olathe offers visitors the chance to step back in time with the Ensor Farm, the Albert Ott House, and the Mahaffie farmstead—a gift shop and museum located on 40 acres of land that commonly hosts Civil War reenactments. Notably, the farmhouse is built of limestone blocks quarried from its land, says Travis Jones of Rush Properties.

About Travis Jones and Rush Properties

Travis Jones, Rush Properties and Cherry Park Properties founder, has had a passion for real estate for more than 15 years. His current focus is revitalizing areas hit with foreclosure in the economic downturn of the mid-2000s. Currently, Travis Jones of Rush Properties works with Homeowner in foreclosure, offering alternative options.

Larry Starr, Sarasota Businessman, Discusses Florida Vacation Rentals

Larry Starr Sarasota

Larry Starr Sarasota

Larry Starr, Sarasota vacation rental expert who heads Resort Vacation Accommodations, understands the many considerations families and individuals face when securing rental properties. In the following interview, Larry Starr, Sarasota resident and entrepreneur, offers advice on choosing vacation rentals and some suggestions on what to do and see in the area.

Gathering of Experts: Thanks for joining us! Can you start by telling us what a vacation rental is?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Vacation rentals are a dozen steps up from staying in a traditional hotel. Vacation rentals are usually houses, condominiums or townhomes that offer more living space, privacy and freedom. The best part is that many of the rentals are located near or directly on the beach!

Gathering of Experts: Where are your Resort Vacation Accommodations properties located in Florida?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Resort Vacation Accommodations has hundreds of gorgeous rental properties to choose from in the Southwest Florida region from Bradenton to Venice.

Gathering of Experts: Which cities might be familiar to readers?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Currently, vacation rentals are located in Anna Maria Island, Bradenton and Bradenton Beach, Longboat Key, Sarasota, Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key and Venice.

Gathering of Experts: What should vacationers consider when choosing a vacation rental?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Each vacationing family is unique and should think about what will suit them best. For example, consider whether beachfront or beach access properties would be most pleasing. Sarasota’s properties and the surrounding rental’s amenities can vary greatly; consider how much personal, onsite services are ideal. Also, think about the amount of space that will be needed and the proximity to area shopping, restaurants, and attractions that is desired.

Gathering of Experts: With seven gorgeous locations, how does a vacationer choose between them?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: You’re right, Sarasota and the surrounding area has much to offer to every different type of vacationer! The best way to research is to visit the Resort Vacation Accommodations website to learn more about each area and the available properties offered.

Gathering of Experts: Which type of vacationer would enjoy Southwest Florida?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Southwest Florida is unique in that while it is both a beach lover’s paradise. It also offers golf, fishing, shopping, fine dining, and more–all in close proximity to the beaches. If golf and luxury dining are on the agenda, vacationers should consider Longboat Key. If vacationers are looking for adventure and great nightlife, Sarasota mainland or Siesta Key may be the choice. If “just off the beaten path” rings true, consider Anna Maria Island, which is close the hustle and bustle of the city, but not too close, explains Larry Starr, Sarasota ’s biggest fan!

Larry Starr, Sarasota and surrounding Southwest Florida vacation rental expert, has been involved in the travel and vacation industry for 25 years. He owns AutoXotic, a luxury vehicle rental and ownership company, a natural extension of his vacation services. Larry Starr’s Sarasota community contributions include activity with the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau and membership with the Sarasota County Arts Council and many local Chambers of Commerce.

Tiffani Von Alvensleben on Staging Properties

Tiffani Von Alvensleben

Tiffani Von Alvensleben

With over 20 years in the real estate business, Tiffani Von Alvensleben knows there’s much more to selling a house than ‘curb appeal.’ Here, Tiffani Von Alvensleben leverages her know-how in interior design and answers a few questions about staging a home for market:

Q: How would you define staging?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Staging a property is the final step in making it more appealing for potential buyers, similar to a model home in a new subdivision.

Q: You have a lot of experience with staging in your real estate investment business?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Yes, after the remodeling crew and cleanup are done.

Q: So Von Vesting focuses on reselling houses, then?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Correct. We buy foreclosed and distressed properties, remodel them and sell them.

Q: Let’s pretend you’re a consultant for staging homes.

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Okay!

Q: Where would you tell a client to put the emphasis?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: The whole house is important, but bathrooms and kitchens are a special focus for potential buyers.

Q: Where would you say is a good starting point for staging?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Get rid of the clutter. I realize that it’s all “your stuff,” but you want the house to no longer be “your house.” Clutter shrinks a room, so de-clutter.

Q: What about living rooms?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Don’t just shove furniture against the walls to try to maximize space. Regroup furniture into conversation-oriented arrangements. Make it cozy.

Q: What about colors?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Dark colors always shrink a room. Go with warm, neutral colors on the walls, and by neutral I don’t necessarily mean white.

Q: What about little-used rooms?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Try making that formerly spare room into a cozy office or study. Put a little bit of furniture, some décor and some books or records in it to make it more inviting.

Q: Do you have any tips on lighting?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Yes, the rule is 100 watts of lighting for every 50 square feet in a room. Also, remember accent lighting and task lights can make a room seem warmer.

Q: Is staging something that can be done on a budget?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Absolutely. It’s really just cosmetics, and things like fresh paint can help present a house much more positively.

Q: What are some other key elements for staging a home?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: Things like curtains, fabrics, textures, and above all, a clean house.

Q: What would be your advice for a home seller?

Tiffani Von Alvensleben: When you’re to this point of the selling process, staging your home, you need to let go of your emotional connection. Think of it as not even being your house anymore; it’s a home that’s soon going to be someone else’s.

Tiffani Von Alvensleben has a background of over 20 years in the real estate field. Over the years, Tiffani Von Alvensleben’s resumé has included direct sales, property management, real estate investment, marketing and more. Tiffani Von Alvensleben is a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman in the greater Sacramento, California area.

Q&A with NCAA Official Frankie Bordeaux

Frankie Bordeaux

Frankie Bordeaux

Frankie Bordeaux is an NCAA basketball official with fifteen years of experience and more than 400 games under his belt. Also a businessman and youth advocate, Frankie Bordeaux is proud of the impact that his job has on the lives of young people. Recently, A Gathering of Experts sat down with Frankie Bordeaux to ask him about the life of a referee.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of being a referee?

Frankie Bordeaux: It’s the attention to detail. You have to focus on the game 100% of the time, because if you lose focus for even a split second, you can miss a big call and significantly impact the game.

Q: Is it stressful to know that you have the power to decide the outcome of the game?

Frankie Bordeaux: It is stressful at times, but I’m confident in my ability to make the right calls and enforce the rules of the game of basketball.

Q: Have you ever made any calls that you wish you could take back?

Frankie Bordeaux: I think all referees have experienced that in their careers. We’re human–just like everyone else. When it happens, we go back later, review the call, and learn from it.

Q: Is it difficult to stay neutral in games?

Frankie Bordeaux: No, it’s not difficult to remain neutral in games.  That’s a big part of being a referee—I can’t choose sides! Games can definitely get heated, but it’s a part of my job as a professional to stay completely neutral and call the game as I see it happening in front of me.

Q: How does it feel to make a difficult call?

Frankie Bordeaux: It can be hard. There’s sometimes pressure to take a hands off approach, but as a referee, my job is to make sure everyone plays by the rules—and that can mean making difficult decisions that can influence the game.

Q: Do you feel pressure from the fans, coaches, and players?

Frankie Bordeaux: Of course! They are passionate about their team and they want to win, and if they don’t like a call, I hear about it all night. But at the end of the day, they respect the rules just as much as I do. It’s part of the game.

Q: Do you get to interact with the players during the game?

Frankie Bordeaux: I do. As an advocate for young people, I try to use it as an opportunity to calm them down and get them to refocus on the game. I’m not there to distract them—I want to encourage them to play good basketball and set good examples.

Q: What’s the greatest reward in officiating the games?

Frankie Bordeaux: For me, it’s making a difference in these young people’s lives. I like to know that I was a small part of helping them accomplish their dreams in some way. It’s very rewarding.

Q: When did you become a referee?

Frankie Bordeaux: I officiated my first game in 1988.

Q: How many games have you officiated?

Frankie Bordeaux: I’ve presided over more than 400 games in 27 states since I became a referee.

Frankie Bordeaux is a loving father and husband. Frankie and Faye Bordeaux have five children.  Frankie and Faye, enjoy spending quality time with their family and friends as well as with their church.




Rich Von Discusses Tough Times in the Housing Market

Rich Von

Rich Von

Rich Von has more than a decade of experience in purchasing and flipping over 1700 distressed properties. During this time, Rich Von has lived through an economic rollercoaster, observing that the economy can have an extremely discernible impact on the real estate industry. Below, Rich Von answers a few questions about the effect of tough economic times on American homeowners.

Q: Why are so many houses remaining on the market for years at a time?

Rich Von: Mostly, it’s the fact that the properties are not priced right—or there is something wrong with them (structurally) that requires significant investment to bring them back to market standard.  Plus, with such a high unemployment rate in our country, many would-be homeowners simply can’t qualify for a mortgage, decreasing the number of potential buyers. This has all contributed to creating a stagnant market.

Q: Many homeowners are now “underwater.” What does that mean?

Rich Von: A homeowner becomes “underwater” when he or she owes more on a home than it is worth. The homeowner can’t sell until home values increase, unless he or she can afford to pay the bank that owns the mortgage the shortfall, or difference between sales price and amount the bank is owed.   In this case, of course, many homeowners negotiate “short sales” with the bank—whereby the bank waives the shortfall and promises not to pursue the owner for the difference.

Q: But isn’t this the best time to buy a new home, with interest rates so low?

Rich Von: The fact that interest rates are at an all time low makes it a great time to buy; but because of the Great Recession of 2008, banks are wary—which makes it very difficult to qualify for a home loan.  Gone are the days of stated income—today, you need a full time job and the ability to document that you can really afford the mortgage before a bank will loan you money to buy a house.  So,  yes, interest rates are low, but it’s tough to qualify for those interest rates—which is why the number of renters in our country has grown, and will continue to grow, so dramatically.  And one more thing—for those that qualify for mortages— many are not buying more expensive properties—but are instead choosing to refinance and make improvements on their existing homes.

Q: Has the increased number of foreclosures have a negative impact on the real estate market?

Rich Von: Yes, these foreclosures have flooded the market with properties for sale. Making matters worse, these properties often sell for low dollar amounts, lowering property values overall in these neighborhoods.

Rich Von points out that the real estate market has always been cyclical, so this downturn is likely to change in the coming years. Meanwhile, renters are in a great position to buy, with interest rates and home costs at all-time lows, concludes Rich Von.

Rich Von is the Operations Manager of Von Vesting, a full-service distressed property business. Along with partners Tiffani Von and Kale Flagg, Rich Von and the team at Von Vesting specialize in sourcing, purchasing, comping, performing title checks, and selling distressed properties. Rich Von and Von Vesting have contributed to the revitalization of areas that were in need of an economic boost.


Conversation with Peter F. Spittler on Energy Conservation

Peter F. Spittler

Peter F. Spittler

A Gathering of Experts Blog sat down for a conversation with Peter F. Spittler of Forum Architects today. Peter F. Spittler is an architect and designer with a considerable track record in energy conservation, green-building and sustainable designs.

Gathering of Experts: Welcome, Peter F. Spittler, thanks for taking some time with us today.

Peter F. Spittler: Certainly, glad to be of help.

Gathering of Experts: To begin, how would you respond to someone who said building construction or refits to energy-conservation specs can be expensive?

Peter F. Spittler: That’s a pretty common misconception. Yes, there are things that can cost more money on the front end, but that money is more than made up for over the years, in terms of energy savings and ROI. Also, many building product and system manufacturers have caught up to the Green movement and today product and systems are more available and less costly.

Gathering of Experts: I’ve heard a lot about LEED. What exactly is LEED?

Peter F. Spittler: LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Gathering of Experts: What does LEED do?

Peter F. Spittler: LEED sets best-practice guidelines and benchmarks in place for energy-efficient building designs. LEED is a third-party, market-driven system, and awards certifications to building designs that meet their marks.

Gathering of Experts: Aren’t there incentives available for LEED compliance?

Peter F. Spittler: Yes, the federal government extends incentives for builders who meet LEED benchmarks. The deal can be sweetened further with incentives from state and local governments.

Gathering of Experts: What other sorts of misconceptions have you come across in green building?

Peter F. Spittler: One of the most prevalent ones is the idea that all solutions are high-tech! Things like skylights to let in more natural lighting, reflective white roofing material that doesn’t absorb heat, or shade trees to protect buildings during the hottest part of the day…those are all great green building ideas that make a real difference.

Gathering of Experts: Those actually sound like fairly old-fashioned ideas…

Peter F. Spittler: They are. Some of those designs were incorporated into buildings hundreds  of years ago, and we lost sight of them.

Gathering of Experts: Is LEED certification mainly for new construction?

Peter F. Spittler: No, we’ve done plenty of refits of old buildings to bring them into compliance.

Gathering of Experts: Such as?

Peter F. Spittler: The building for the Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio is a great example. That building is upwards of 70 years old, and we managed to do a complete overhaul that made it much more energy-efficient without sacrificing the building’s heritage and character.

Gathering of Experts: That’s a great idea!

Peter F. Spittler: Yes, the owners of the paper felt a commitment to their community and didn’t want to leave an abandoned building in the middle of town, so it worked well for all involved.

Gathering of Experts: Thanks for taking some time with us today.

Peter F. Spittler: Absolutely. Glad to do it.



J Kale Flagg Answers “What Is Success?”

J. Kale Flagg

J. Kale Flagg

J. Kale Flagg has made a pretty good success of himself over the years. Flagg is an alumnus of Yale University, and has hosted seminars on the secrets of success. J. Kale Flagg also serves as General Partner of the American Redevelopment Fund, a real-estate investment group that focuses on distressed property in the Western United States. J. Kale Flagg has given a lot of thought to the formulas for success over the years, and in this brief Q&A he provides some of his views on what makes a person successful.

Q: Looking back in history, who do you look up to for his or her success and business acumen?

J. Kale Flagg: I’d say that Andrew Carnegie is a perfect example. Carnegie moved over here from Scotland in the 19th century with pennies to his name and became one of America’s first billionaires at a time when staying a hotel cost about a nickel per night!

Q: What was Carnegie’s formula for success?

J. Kale Flagg: That’s a good question; it’s something that Carnegie himself reflected on a great deal.

Q: Didn’t Carnegie make a study of it?

J. Kale Flagg: Yes, he did. He hired a young man named Napoleon Hill, who went and interviewed men like Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Ford and William Wrigley. After two decades of research, Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich…

Q: What were Hill’s conclusions in the book?

J. Kale Flagg: Napoleon Hill broke it down into a formula of two groups: 97% who are the “worker bees,” and 3% who are the “rulers.” When the 3% control so much of the power and wealth, the 97% may wonder how things shook out that way, but that’s a topic for some other time.

Q: What is it that the 3% do differently?

J. Kale Flagg: Bottom line is that the 3% think differently then the 97%.  The look at opportunity instead of requirements.  Napoleon Hill talked about OPI (other people’s ideas), OPM (other people’s money), and OPE (other people’s efforts) all playing into the successes of the 3%.

Q: OPI, OPM, and OPE?

J. Kale Flagg: Yes, you could re-frame it as credit and investment, duplication and hard work, and a proven system. And if there’s one thing that ties many of those stories together, it’s the willingness to take big chances against measured odds.

Q: So what would be your takeaway, then?

J. Kale Flagg: Successful people don’t necessarily need to invent anything or make any grand discoveries. What they do is read the signs, get the lay of the land, and seize opportunities when the timing is just-so. They find or develop a great product at the right time, and then recruit and convince other people to get on board with you to help bring it to market.