Born in the great state of Texas, Brandon attended Sinclair Elementary School and Texas A&M University before moving to Colorado to live and enjoy the mountains for 4 years. He stumbled upon Durham with intentions of a brief stint, but still loves it almost seven years later. He loves the people, neighborhoods, trees, restaurants, nearby lakes/mountains/ocean, and all-around genuine feel----not to mention having met a great girl here. After 4 years of traveling for work, he was drawn to Real Estate as a vehicle to spend his time in Durham and to connect with more people: in local organizations, businesses, and ultimately spending more quality time with said great girl, Laura. They married in April of 2011 and live in Durham with their dog Sam, who enjoys: sleeping, rabbits, trail running, barking, and tagging along just about anywhere - whether in a kayak or at a restaurant.
What did you do before real estate? I worked for ADT Security where I helped people design security systems for their homes. I enjoyed meeting with well over 1,000 people from Durham to Coastal NC in my time there. Among other things, I learned in rural NC that the correct pronunciations of "siren" and "Kerr" are sigh-reen and car, respectively. Before ADT, I worked in Guest Services at the Chateau Residence Club in Beaver Creek, CO where I arrived for work by bicycle in the summer and skis in the winter (it was, in fact, a rough way to live). However, the front-runner for my all-time favorite job is the bicycle* delivery position I held at Burger Boy in College Station, TX. I was actually given compensation to ride my bicycle for 20 hours each week delivering various fried foods across campus. As a hungry and poor student, I could often be found taking advantage of the generous 40% employee discount. My boss, George Sopasakis, taught me a lot about running an exceptional business while caring for people, both employees and customers.
*When I first got into Real Estate, I was determined that I would be a bicycle agent. I soon realized that it wasn’t feasible, at least at this point, but I still have hopes of an all-bicycle transaction, or conducting neighborhood bike tours, among other things.
What do you do outside of work? I spend a lot of time with my wife Laura, and Sam, our [almost] 4 year-old Lab mix. We enjoy daily walks/runs/rides on the streets and trails of Durham, water sports (like kayaking or wakeboarding) on Falls or Jordan Lake, and trips to the beach or hiking in the mountains. If I was forced to pursue recreation as a career, I would, in no particular order: fly-fish mountain streams and coastal marshes, ride my mountain and road bikes, backpack/camp/hike, whitewater kayak, travel to Asia and South/Central America, surf, play tennis and guitar, learn piano, ride a Harley on country roads, telemark ski, and cook/share meals with the people I care about.
What organizations get your time and money? D3 Community Outreach, The Coalition to Unchain Dogs, and Zidisha.org. D3's mission is "to foster a healthier community by developing a healthier child." They offer four main options to the youth of Durham: a summer basketball program, financial/entrepreneurial training, mentoring, and a GED program. I was drawn to D3 after hearing about them on The State of Things on WUNC and connecting this radio show with images I had taken in while driving through urban areas of Durham. Malcom is the founder - he has a huge vision and the drive to match. Tutoring volunteers and donations are always appreciated.
The Coalition to Unchain Dogs does incredible work for dogs and their owners every week through building fences. They have freed well over 1000 dogs from chains, and also focus on building lasting relationships with their owners. If you love dogs and/or people, please check them out!
Last, I also support Zidisha entrepreneurs globally since I dream to someday help out in rural, underdeveloped communities in isolated parts of the world with a mentality similar in books like 3 Cups of Tea. All in all, I want to be better at connecting with people locally and around the world - it’s really work in progress.
How would you spend $100 in Durham? I would start my day with a breakfast with Laura from Joe’s Diner ($5). If you haven’t been to Joe’s and like good breakfast, please go there. After breakfast I would occupy a sidewalk table or the upstairs loft with a green tea at Joe Van Gogh ($3). Lunch would take me by International Delights on Ninth St. for Gyros ($7), and some stuffed grape leaves ($5) before taking it to Laura's work to share.
Dinner plans* would include some Texas brisket, sweet potato tater tots, and creamed spinach provided by the Q Shack ($8) [okay, so the Q-Shack has a wonderful Cobb Salad too and I’ve been trying to eat healthy, but this is make-believe and I’m getting the brisket plate. Plus, it’s not okay to mention getting a salad at a BBQ place. I would be judged] before stopping at the Green Room on Broad Street to grab a beer from their fine selection of unique brews ($4). If you like beer and Durham, the Green Room might just be for you.
*If this were our anniversary, Laura and I would actually stop by Nana’s for dinner (okay, that puts us over $100 alone, but is anyone really adding this up?)
Late night stomach grumblings would be addressed by a Torta filled with Asada from one of the three taco-stands-on-wheels situated along Hillsborough Rd ($6). Throughout the day, I also would consider spending the money at Old Havana Sandwich Shop, Toast, Daisy Cakes, and a dozen other great restaurants in Durham. I love to eat. I may or may not have spent $36 one evening at Chirba Chirba this past summer.
Your most recent restaurant visit? Dulce Cafe with Laura and Sam. Great patio, food, and people.
What book are you currently reading? I just got a book yesterday called Love Does, which seems really cool. I also read a lot about business, marketing, Real Estate investing, and ideas/initiatives which help people (check out what Goal Zero is doing.)