Sean’s our VP of Business Development and a Senior Mortgage Advisor. That means that he’s helping grow the overall business on the west coast while personally helping families achieve the dream of home ownership. If you think that’s a lot to have on your plate, wait until you hear how he spends his weekends. Hint: It’s not on the couch.
CHM: How long have you been on the CHM team? Since the beginning of the year, but I’ve known people in the company for a long time. We’re a great philosophical match. I’m excited about being part of Commerce Home Mortgage. We’re in a good position to grow.
CHM: How so? In the natural environment, habitat supports the population. When there are little resources, the population dies. When there’s abundance, it thrives. Commerce is in a state of abundance, because we not only have the basics to help people, but we’re also using the latest technology to simplify the process for everyone, bringing greater value. This helps our customers, agents, and our loan advisors work extremely well together.
CHM: What got you interested in the mortgage business? I fell into it. I originally wanted to be a game warden. I studied Forestry at Feather River College, near Chico, California. At 19, I was back at home in Pleasanton talking to my mom about the work she’d been doing in the mortgage business for the past 18 years. She told me that she knew someone at Washington Mutual who needed an assistant. I got that job and the next day he left to play golf, giving me little instruction.
Of course I got frustrated, but talking to my mom, I agreed to give it 90 days. What I discovered is that I love helping people. I love solving problems. For those reasons, I’ve been in the mortgage business ever since. Over the past 15 years, I’ve only worked for four companies. I like developing long-term relationships with people and helping them over the years. I think that’s why I’ve been successful. I was one of the top people in sales when I was 20. It was funny because I couldn’t go out for drinks with the other top sellers.
CHM: What attracted you to CHM? I’ve known Faramarz, our SVP of Sales & Production (or FMZ as I call him) for years. We’ve always looked at the industry in the same way. In 2014, I wanted to up my game, so I started looking for opportunities. It really came down to philosophy. In a world of instant gratification, Commerce is not only about speed, but also I admire the commitment to service that our company has.
CHM: It sounds like you’re already loving it at Commerce. What do you do when you’re not helping people realize their dreams? I have two passions: rock climbing and free diving.
CHM: What’s free diving? It’s snorkeling, but going down to deep depths. I also do spear fishing while diving. Lots of people worry about being under water and holding their breath a long time. I find that it’s a good reflection of life. If you have self-control, you can have good work/life balance. Deep free diving teaches you self-control.
CHM: Often snorkeling takes people to exotic locations. Where have you gone diving? I have 12 year-old and 8 year-old kids, so I stay close to home. The guys who got me into it are some of the best at it. I knew them in high school, but wasn’t into it then. Five or ten years later I went to Hawaii and went snorkeling out on a reef. I just loved it. I came back and talked to my friends about diving with them. I mostly dive in Carmel, Big Sur or Santa Cruz, I’ve been to Baja, Mexico. I’ve been down 140 feet there and the water’s amazingly warm and clear – just beautiful.
CHM: What about rock climbing? I started climbing when I was in high school. I go to Castle Rock in the Santa Cruz Mountains and climb at Mount Diablo once or twice per week, if possible. Just like diving, I keep it local.
CHM: How do these activities influence your work at Commerce? The reason that I love them is they force you to live in the moment. When you’re free diving, you’re aware of how long a minute is. That’s created a philosophy that I work by. Don’t worry about the finish line. Get done what you need to get done every day. That’s how you’ll get to the finish line. I also do obstacle racing. It’s the most similar to mortgages.
CHM: Obstacle racing? Obstacle course racing. It’s kind of like what you see in military movies when they show basic training. You go from obstacle to obstacle as fast as possible. It’s most similar to the mortgage business because you’re getting to the next point in the process in the most effective and efficient manner. It’s a great way of working.
CHM: This sounds like a third passion. How did you get into obstacle races? A friend of mine suggested I try a Spartan race called “The Beast”. I didn’t know anything about it, but said, “Yes”. The race is a half marathon with military style obstacles. I wouldn’t want to run a half marathon – too boring. But running from obstacle to obstacle keeps it interesting.
Since I didn’t know anything about the race, I didn’t train. On the day of the race it was 40 degrees out, raining sideways, and I brought the wrong shoes. I learned a lot that day. As I got near the end, I could hear the crowd just around a corner. When I rounded the corner there was a hill and competitors were carrying sandbags up the muddy hill. I thought to myself that I would try it and then I was going to quit. Instead, I finished the last of the obstacles and the race.
I learned when I go through a miserable experience, one that sucks while I’m doing it, the sense of accomplishment when I finish is great. After crossing the finish line, I can’t wait to do it again.
CHM: It sounds like an incredible experience. It may have saved my life. I recently went spearfishing and lobster diving. We went out kayaking all night near Santa Cruz Island. I came up at 2 A.M. realizing that I had to paddle back two hours to the campsite. I remember thinking, “I’m an idiot for being out here.” Just like an obstacle race, I just thought about getting from buoy to buoy. It took me two and a half hours. Once I got back to camp, I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to get back out there.” There must be something wrong with me that enjoys misery. *laughs*
CHM: Maybe it’s the sense of accomplishment. That sense of accomplishment is similar to the mortgage business. But the mortgage business is even better. I love helping others. When people tell me I can’t accomplish something, nothing is more motivating. When things are tough is when I thrive the most. To have people be thankful, to help people get into a better situation, that’s rewarding. It’s what I love most about this business.
CHM: How are you meshing with the CHM crew? They’re incredible. I feel like I’ve worked here forever. A company culture’s all about the people. They’re what truly makes it work. Even though I’ve only been here a short time, people stop to help me. We all work as a team. Some companies say that, but these guys live it. I get help with forms or anything else that’s new to me here. It’s so smooth that my first transaction took an effortless two weeks. I’ve never had that happen anywhere else.
CHM: And we’ve never chatted with someone so well equipped to help people get over the rough patches and bumps on the road to home ownership. We’re excited to have Sean on our team and looking forward to his further adventures and the growth he envisions.