As a rookie in the San Diego new home development business, it would have been helpful if Michael Schlesinger had met Ure Kretowicz a few years ago. As the CEO of Cornerstone Communities, Ure could have mentored Schlesinger and helped him to avoid the rough he is currently stuck in.
I know, because as a rookie cabinet manufacturers representative, Ure invested in me a long time ago. It was back in the mid eighties, and Ure was running Sunland Communities, an up-and-coming company building homes in Rancho Penasquitos. I sold his company a couple of cabinet contracts that were completed successfully. As a relative newby in the tract home building business, he and his team always encouraged me, and offered me tons of great advice.
Advice that I used latter. For example, I learned the importance of honesty.
After the recession of 1990, I took employ with a brand new Escondido cabinet operation, hoping to ride it up as the building industry rebounded. In 1993 I won a contract with a prominent San Diego based builder. Just days after struggling to install the four model homes, I went to their purchasing agent and told her I thought she should cancel the remaining contract, because I had no faith that the new company could properly meet its contractual commitments. I had watched the management flounder in the first delivery, and I now knew they were not ready for prime time.
She looked at me in bewilderment, and said she had never had a rep tell her to do such a thing. I said I would rather lose the deal than ruin my professional future by causing their company financial loses. She agreed, said they had planned to fire us anyway, and I left the new company the next day.
I had learned a tough lesson from Ure: Be honest with my clients, no matter what. No one wants to do business with liars. It was a lesson I never forgot, and I always felt Ure's advice was solid, and though it may have cost me some commissions later, I made it a habit to be brutally honest about what I said and how I represented my products and services.
It is a couple of decades later and Mr. Kretowicz is a leader in the San Diego building industry, and has managed to succeed and grow in a market that periodically suffers setbacks and that historically wipes out developers with impunity.
Ure does things right. Look at the latest example, his Old Creek Trails project in Carlsbad. The project has had it's share of issues, but the Cornerstone company has worked closely with many interest groups to find solutions that satisfy all of the parties involved. From density to product mix, from park and recreational amenities to the preservation of Native American artifacts, Mr. Kretowicz works with people!
Unfortunately for the people of the Escondido Country Club area, Mr. Schlesinger, the rookie residential developer from out of town, has been unwilling to collaborate with his new neighbors, to learn from the pros like Kretowicz, and the result has been, and is, a textbook example of how uncoachable rookies make things difficult for themselves.