Background: Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael was a high school all-state basketball and football player and a serious student of martial arts. He went to Wisconsin’s Carroll College on an academic scholarship yet managed to make the All-American football team as a running back while graduating with majors in English and History and a teaching certification in secondary education.
Following college, Michael taught high school, played semi-professional and professional football, owned a Karate studio and competed as a nationally ranked freestyle fighter. He rounded out his outdoor activities by playing Rugby for fifteen years, making the representative (all-star) team in each of the three regions in the U.S. that his work took him to live.
In the early 1970’s Michael left Wisconsin for Denver where he became involved in a small electronics company of fifteen people who were working on a new medical diagnostic device.
Over the next decade he became a mainstay in the emerging field of diagnostic ultrasound, working with engineers to improve the technology, and helping physicians incorporate this new modality into their patient care practices.
In 1978 he was asked to join the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM). The members of this organization were the physicians in over seven medical specialties, using diagnostic ultrasound in their daily patient-care routines.
As the Executive Director for the AIUM, Michael worked with the National Institutes of Health on bio-safety and efficacy issues, participated on practice and reimbursement policy committees with medical specialty organizations, major insurers and the Federal Government and created the single major educational venue for physicians in all clinical specialties using diagnostic ultrasound to improve patient care.
Under Michael’s tenure as their Executive Director AIUM became an international organization recognized as the educational and representative arm for diagnostic ultrasound.
In 1986 Michael became the Executive Director for the Maryland Society and Potomac Valley Chapters of the American Institute of Architects. Representing the architects at local, state and Federal levels, Michael worked on practice, reimbursement and community issues, eventually becoming very active in the passage of the American with Disabilities Act.
In 1990 moving to Scottsdale, Michael worked as a consultant for local and national associations until settling into real estate, first in the title business and then as a full-time realtor.
In a relatively short time, Michael has become a recognized, respected and successful professional on the Arizona real estate landscape. Since moving to Arizona, the golfing bug has bitten Michael hard enough that he has managed to bring his handicap down to the single digit level.
Given his broad-based background we were interested in finding out why and how he chose real estate as a new career and how he applied the skills learned in decidedly different areas, to the practice of real estate.
RF: You’ve been in Arizona now since 1990. What brought you here?
Michael: I had lived in Denver for a number of years before moving to Washington DC. I always dreamed of coming back out West where the pace isn’t quite as frenetic and the weather more predictable. Even though I enjoyed my work in DC, I felt comfortable with what I had helped to accomplish professionally and was enticed by the opportunity to help a physician friend from my Rugby days develop another new medical technology, and that gave me the perfect opportunity to come out West again.
RF: Michael, it seems your interests, energy and professional pursuits have run the gamut. You seem difficult to pigeonhole. Is it just wanderlust?
Michael: While I admit to enjoying challenge, I don’t think I’d ever identify it as wanderlust. In retrospect, I see common threads in everything I’ve ever done that to my mind make every move seem inevitable.
RF: Please expand . . .
Michael: First of all, you have to take into account the context in which I grew up. I was a child of the 60’s. On the one hand, I wanted something for everyone and for everyone to “just live together in peace and happiness” and on the other hand, my athletic and martial arts training developed, discipline, control and a strong inner spirit and set of values.
RF: And how do you relate that to your career pursuits?
Michael: I discovered a long time ago that many voices speak more forcefully than a single voice. I realized that one of the greatest opportunities to make social change is through large organized groups working together on a single agenda. The years I spent first in medicine and then with major professional associations enabled me, as the executive director, to work with the leadership to plan an agenda that would effect social change through professions and industries, local and state governments and community organizations.
RF: With that kind of background, why real estate?
Michael: Again, to me it is a logical extension. Throughout my career I have worked to make a difference for people. To do this, one must work with many different personalities and issues and somehow develop a working consensus that will result in a positive outcome. Real estate is really a microcosm of what I was doing on a larger scale.
RF: How so?
Michael: For the individual or family, the purchase of a property and home is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, financial investment they will make in a lifetime.
As such, it is quite an emotional experience. And, once you add the complexities of both seller’s and buyer’s emotions and needs to all the details and coordination of working with inspectors, appraisers, lenders, repairmen, title companies and everyone else involved in a transaction, it really helps to have someone with the ability to not only coordinate the many details, but keep everyone involved informed and in sync with the process while, critically, making the entire process for your client as smooth and uneventful as possible. To me, this is a working environment that mirrors what I did with associations, the only difference is that instead of my clients being the entire membership of 50,000 or more, my clients are single individuals or families.
RF: Do you find it as rewarding working for a single client instead of for thousands at a time?
Michael: Absolutely! The time and effort necessary to accomplish something on a national or international level is incredible. So many people are involved, it can take years, and in the end, for those who participated, it is satisfying, but in a “detached” way.
In real estate, transactions happen within a specified time frame. And, while many professionals are involved, they are identifiable and usually remain the same throughout the transaction. When it is over, they can all share the satisfaction of having done their best in a more personal and immediate way.
For me, it is so much more satisfying to be able to look into the eyes of my clients and know I’ve done my best for them and see that they are pleased and feel that I have really done everything possible to help them through a major lifetime experience.
RF: So, you think you will stay in real estate?
Michael: Again, absolutely! I thrive on the challenge of successfully coordinating all the various facets of a transaction. I enjoy negotiating on behalf of my clients and effectively managing their transaction with the knowledge that I can literally save them thousands of dollars if they are my buyers, or make them thousands more if they are my sellers. Yes, I intend to help people and families in Arizona for a long time to come.