Unique Personalities

By Ken Weingartner

Enjoying Ice Cream, Relationships and Work

David Findley’s down-to-earth approach is a hallmark of his success.

DavidOneBWFinal_WEBMany mornings, while spending his early childhood years on a farm in Northeast Missouri, David Findley joined his grandfather for breakfast. The menu always included one final course: Neapolitan ice cream.

“He got up at 4:30 and I’d join him around 5 for breakfast,” says Findley, a founding partner in Los Angeles-based Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage & Acquisitions, who in 2008 was ranked 13th of agents in the U.S. by The Wall Street Journal. “If you’re going to get up that early, you should make it worthwhile and enjoy it.”

Findley’s breakfast encounters might not have unlocked the secrets to success, but in his eyes they provided an essential component to a thriving career: Enjoy it.

“The most important thing is the relationships I develop,” says Findley. “To me, it’s not about the transaction; it’s about the relationship — always. My clients are like family. The great thing about developing these deep relationships is that I don’t feel like I go to work. I feel like I go play with my friends. It makes it fun and really rewarding and worthwhile.”

Even when market conditions seem unfavorable, Findley remains upbeat and focused on connections.

“When the market shifts, it’s crucial to find a way to adapt to market conditions and keep my attitude positive,” says Findley, who has nearly three decades experience as a Realtor. “I strive to make my business about what I can give rather than what’s in it for me. If people sense your motives are pure and your intentions are clean, then developing deep and trusting relationships is easy and natural.”

True to his roots, Findley hopes to develop his own organic farm someday. As for Neapolitan ice cream?

“It’s still my favorite,” he says.

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Architect Goes Back to School for Condo Redesign

Mark Ginsberg called on his theater and lighting design roots as he planned a public school conversion.

meg mario 9-03_WEBWhen Mark Ginsberg went back to school, his education came in handy. Ginsberg, a founding partner in the New York-based firm Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, recently led the modern redesign of a public school in Harlem that created 75 condos ranging from studios to three bedrooms. Sales for the project, known as PS90 Condominium, began in September and initial occupancy is expected this year.

The collegiate Gothic-style building, constructed circa 1905, was originally designed by Charles B.J. Snyder, who was the superintendent and chief architect for New York City public schools from 1891-1922. Ginsberg’s redesign sought to take advantage of the property’s courtyards, ornate exterior features (including gargoyles), high ceilings and large windows.

“This building a hundred years ago was cutting-edge,” says Ginsberg. “New York was building the most innovative schools around. It’s given us some real opportunities in the reuse of the building. When you go into these apartments, you have these very high ceilings that you don’t see in almost any new apartment buildings and these gorgeous big windows, many of which have arched tops. It gives it real character.

“We’ve been able to reuse almost all the exterior ornamentation, which I think is phenomenal. It’s fun and has a sense of humor. It’s something that I think is very special.”

Ginsberg double majored in theater and government while at Wesleyan University. He has been involved in historic preservation as well as designing schools and multi-family residences — but never previously converted a school into a residential development.

“This project brought together a lot of my interests and our firm’s experience,” says Ginsberg, a native New Yorker. “I think a lot of what I’ve learned in government and urban policy issues, and theater design and lighting design, have stood me in good stead as an architect.”

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