I Do Not Choose to be a Common Man

It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence, the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for the beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done.

By Dean Alfange

This is what it means to be an American!

Try as I may, it’s not easy to find a silver lining in the pages of the newspaper, as I listen to the morning news, or as I scroll through reports on the internet. The chatter from savvy business people from my town, and towns just like yours across the nation are hearing the “T” word when it comes to government spending, but I’ve not heard of a single instance where anyone I know has seen a dime of those trillions thus far.

My ray of hope comes from the fact that week of March 19th; I was amidst men and women from across the nation who specialize in ferreting out opportunity. The Society of Exchange Counselors is the think tank of real estate, and it was great to participate in the exchange of ideas. We had over 80 members and guests registered to attend this meeting and it was a meeting full of focused energy.

The Stimulus Package that President Obama has been doling out on a near daily basis will hopefully start showing up in the business world that you and I live in very soon. In Tulsa, Oklahoma at our second meeting of 2009, we are starting to unearth more ways in which each of us discover pockets of opportunity just waiting to be harvested.

Personally, I caught a glimpse of this kind of recession in the 1980’s. The low interest rates and the slashing of prices that we’re currently seeing present some remarkable prospects. When is the last time you have seen the opportunities that are available at prices we can leverage almost 100% and still see cash flow? This “perfect storm” provides an unprecedented potential to benefit from this unique combination of circumstances. Bringing together a collection of our resources through syndication, capturing some of the guaranteed loans, grant money for research and development, and putting solutions together with problems will be a primary focus of our meeting in Tulsa.

Earlier this month I asked each of you to send me a brief synopsis of where you saw opportunity in our current markets. Once again, your perspectives were optimistic, creative and resourceful and we’ll expand on those thoughts throughout the coming months. Here are some highlights of those thoughts:

Jobless = No Money
No Money = Problems
Problems = Opportunities
Opportunities = S.E.C.

The Wolf will always appear from the shadows if the opportunity is right.
-Mark Johnson, S.E.C.


  1. Talent is more important than property and money.
  2. Secondary Paper is a big business.
  3. Auctions are a viable disposition alternative.
  4. Look for Improved Property with a Problem.
  5. Infrastructure in place has significant value.
  6. SBS, HUD, and other federal programs work …. use them.
  7. Be a secondary lender.
  8. Property Management and Brokerage are the Keys.
  9. The “Equity Market” is the only viable market today … use it.

Stephen D. Barker, S.EC.

Surface and minerals – not long ago we were only seeing deals offered without the minerals. Now we are seeing the minerals thrown back in. Be careful how you value the minerals. Watch out for mineral leases that allow the lessee to put the gathering system anywhere they want to – it could hamper the use of the surface.
William E. Stonaker, S.E.C.

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