Richard J. Janson: Biography

Richard JansonRichard J. Janson was born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 31, 1937. Both of Richard’s parents, Otto and Caroline, emigrated from Germany to the United States before and during the First World War. His mother, Caroline Diebold, was born in Germany in 1900. She emigrated to the United States with her parents and three siblings before the start of WWI.

Richard’s father, Otto Janson, was born in Germany in 1889. He served with the German army during WW I, was captured by the allies and sent as a prisoner of war to the Carteret, New Jersey prisoner of war camp. While in Carteret, Otto met Caroline. They married and moved to St. Louis, Missouri.

Richard and his wife Phyllis live in Austin, Texas. They were married on August 7th, 1987. Richard is quick to say that he is “lucky to be married to his best friend!” Richard has three children, two sons and a daughter; and Phyllis has two daughters. Between them, Richard and Phyllis now have nine grandchildren to spoil!

In his youth, Richard attended St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey, which was run by Benedictine monks. He played football and was elected to the all-county team as an end. St. Benedict’s was undefeated two years in a row. During his senior year, Richard played in the National Catholic Prep School Championship game against St. Benedict’s in Kansas, where his team prevailed in a memorable 6-0 win during a snowstorm.

Richard was 6’4″ and 220 pounds when he graduated from Prep School at age sixteen. Although he was offered college football scholarships, he chose to join the Marine Corps instead. He convinced the recruiters that he was of age, and soon found himself in advanced infantry training and was sent to Korea. This was to be a short-lived assignment, however, as his parents promptly demanded that the Marines take their under-aged son out of a classified war zone. Since his seventeenth birthday was quickly approaching, Richard was subsequently sent to Yokosuka, Japan and given a thirty day pass to spend the remainder of his sixteenth year in Japan. His next assignment was Kaneohe, Hawaii, and he later served in the Philippines and Japan. Richard continued his football career in the Marine Corps until he left the service.

On his return to civilian life, Richard talked with Upsala University’s football coach and was able to get his football scholarship offer reinstated. The scholarship allowed him to begin attending college, but in the third game of the first season, an injury stopped his football career. Richard continued on in college under the G.I. Bill, attending both day and night classes while working for Edison Voice Writer selling dictation machines. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University, summa cum laude, in three and a half years with a business degree and two minors, one in accounting and one in real estate.

After graduating college, Richard went to work for Haloid Xerox Company, the predecessor company to Xerox, selling copy machines. He had a successful 24-year career with Xerox, starting in sales and moving through various management positions to achieve Operations Manager. He later worked for Data Phase as VP of Sales and Marketing. The company, using Compaq and IBM equipment, automated libraries in the international marketplace. Richard traveled the world in this position. The corporation’s objective was to position the company so it could be sold within a five-year timeframe. They were able to accomplish this goal within two years, and Richard was recognized for his contribution to the company’s success with a generous golden parachute package in October of 1985.

On the advice of a friend, Richard took his Real Estate Agent exam while still at Xerox. Two years later he took his Broker’s exam and was licensed as a Broker many years before he left the corporate world. The same friend suggested that he enter the commercial brokerage business as his next career. He was also advised to take CCIM courses to help him quickly learn commercial real estate.

Richard commenced his real estate brokerage career in Texas during the 1985 market downturn. This was an interesting time to be in real estate in Texas! Interest rates were very high, and the State of Texas had been redlined by the lenders, so commercial loans were hard to find. Brokers were starving out of the business, and developers were declaring bankruptcy in mass numbers.
But Richard quickly learned to work successfully with the RTC. He was able to make a name for himself in the apartment market, and he built a loyal client base. Among those clients, he developed a relationship with The Prime Group early on in his career. They were a large scale investment/development company, and Richard closed high volumes of business with them in the apartment market. During this time period, Phyllis owned her own residential brokerage company and The Prime Group hired her to set up the leasing program for a large upscale retirement center they developed called “The Island at Lake Travis”. In later years, The Prime Group expanded their business interests to include the development of manufacturers’ outlet centers. Richard traveled extensively, locating sites on which to build these outlet centers.

By 1991, Richard and Phyllis had opened their own brokerage firm, JaNar Consulting, L.P. Today, Phyllis serves as President to that company, where she runs the business operation and keeps up with the various partnerships and LLC’s that they are involved in. This frees Richard to pursue new development opportunities, along with some brokerage and “build to suit” projects. Richard also works on projects utilizing his specialized expertise in obtaining tax credits and bond funding for apartment project development.

Richard achieved the prestigious CCIM designation in 1991. Within a year of receiving his pin, Richard was recruited to serve on the Board of Directors of the CCIM Central Texas Chapter. In 1997 Richard served as President of the Chapter. During his term as President, he instituted a process for Board Officers to proceed through the various chairs in preparation to serve in the role of Chapter President. This process is still in use by the Chapter today. In 2008, Richard received the “CCIM Connection Award” from the Chapter for completing the highest number of brokerage transactions with fellow CCIM members during the year.

Richard has also received multiple Dedication and Leadership recognition awards for his continuous service on the CCIM Board from 1992 to the present; and for his contribution to the growth of the Chapter, from 240 Members in 1992 to its present Membership of 370 in 2009. In addition to his Board Service, Richard uses his S.E.C. training to produce a one-day marketing session for the Chapter every year. When asked about his long years of CCIM service, Richard expresses his pleasure at having the opportunity to “give back” to his professional community.

The most pivotal event in Richard’s real estate career occurred in 1995, when Bob Elder invited him to attend his first S.E.C. meeting in San Francisco, CA. Richard remembers his first three meetings vividly as being very exciting, but also very confusing! He remembers that people were talking about “cranking” this and “third legging” that. Although he started learning the ins and outs of the equity marketing world right away, it wasn’t until he had been attending meetings for well over a year that Richard realized the true significance of the S.E.C. opportunity.

This took place when Richard brought a 38-acre land package to an S.E.C. meeting in the hope of brokering the package. Jeff Drinkard took him aside to suggest that they buy the land and partner on the development project. Richard wisely accepted the invitation and the project was, by anyone’s definition, a Grand Slam Home Run. Richard traces the start-up capital he used to launch his successful development business to the profits generated from that first partnership with Jeff, which Richard says could not have happened without his participation in the Society. Over the years, Richard has partnered successfully in many other projects with Bill Warr, Chris Dischinger and a few other S.E.C. members. With years of experience to guide them, Richard and Phyllis have made a conscious choice to partner only with other S.E.C. members for their projects. Their best successes have always come from “keeping it in the family,” and they consider this to be a very rewarding way of life.

Today, Richard keeps a very busy schedule with his family, and his many real estate projects. For recreation, he loves football, golf and poker—especially “Texas Hold ‘Em”! And by the way, if he invites you to join him at the poker table, you should know that he has won a few poker tournaments in his time!

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