Steve Fithian

Biography

187 MPH!!!! A fun fact about Steve: he has driven his Audi RS7 187 MPH! (Legally.)

Steve Fithian was born in Kansas in 1955 but moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, shortly after he was born. When Steve was 11 years old, his family moved to Orange County, California.  They moved because his father, Harold, served in the military in Korea, and when he returned home, he went to college in Oklahoma to become an electrical engineer. When he graduated, all of his job offers were in California. Harold worked on the first handheld calculator with Rockwell International. Steve’s mother, Ruth, who passed away in 2002, worked for the school district in Orange County until her retirement. Harold currently lives in the Oklahoma City area, near Steve’s older sister, Anita.

Career

Steve went to Claremont McKenna College, a liberal arts school in Southern California. Steve’s initial education was in accounting, and he became a CPA after graduating. After college, he worked for Ernst and Young, which was a great training ground to learn about business. He worked for Ernst and Young for approximately three years before becoming a controller with a private company. In 1983, he started working for Coldwell Banker Corporate as controller of their residential division. In 1986, he obtained his real estate license, and in 1988, he started his own brokerage company. In 1988, he began to obtain his CCIM designation and started focusing on commercial sales.

In 1991, he moved from Orange County to the Dallas Fort Worth area.  He met Bill Stonaker at a local exchange meeting and was invited to an S.E.C. meeting. He attended his first meeting in Dallas in 2002. He became a regular attendee in 2007 and a member in September 2011.

A significant moment for Steve in the S.E.C. is when an older member hammered him with questions about a property. That member ended up doing the deal with Steve. He feels one of the greatest aspects of the S.E.C. is being able to learn as a frequent guest.

One of Steve’s greatest moments in real estate was doing his first syndication deal. He bought a multifamily property and was competing against a REIT to acquire the deal. He turned the property into a condo conversion in 2002 and the units sold well. He held the remaining units during the downturn and sold the balance in 2014. For this transaction, Steve received the coveted Lone Star Award, which is the top commercial transaction award for the year in Texas. This transaction also taught him a significant life lesson, which is how to survive downturns.

Steve’s business philosophy is that it needs to be a win-win situation. The small, incremental steps in business create a much larger person and deal.  He enjoys getting up every day and making transactions and loves working with clients, but he has fired clients who are not any fun.

Family

Steve married his wife Vicki 36 years ago. Steve was living in Orange County when they met. Vicki came out for a month after graduating high school and stayed with her aunt and uncle. After Vicki went back to Fort Worth, they wrote letters to each other to stay in touch. The romantic part is that Vicki recently found all those letters while cleaning out the house in preparation for moving.

They have four kids. Jason, who is 33, lives in Denver and works for an industrial REIT. Jason is a big cross-country runner and recently ran the Pikes Peak marathon. Jessica, who is 30, loves all animals, especially dogs, and did gymnastics growing up. She is a deputy sheriff in a detention center in Aurora, Colorado. She is married with no children. Amanda, who is 27, lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with her husband Zach, who is in the military. They have two kids, Braydan and Bryce. Ashley is the youngest at 26. She lives in San Antonio and teaches kids with special needs. She was a gymnast and pole vaulter growing up.

Growing up, Steve loved the outdoors, especially skiing, and he participated in martial arts for years. He has been running for years and has completed three marathons, including the Fort Worth Marathon. (I have personally seen Steve on many early morning runs at S.E.C. meetings—especially a beautiful morning run along the coast in Kennebunkport, Maine.) Steve’s current hobbies are car racing and racing schools. He drove his Audi RS7 187 miles per hour in a speed test at an airport in Victoria, Texas, and was regulated and safe. He has also completed a three-day open wheel racing class at Simraceway in Sonoma, California.

Steve is also active in his church and is part of the security team. He also helps with special needs kids. Steve loves to travel now and recently returned from a two-week ocean cruise in Europe. He also has a home in St. John US VI that many other S.E.C. members have enjoyed.


Editor’s Note:
This biography was written by Stewart Scovil, S.E.C., as part of his candidacy requirements.

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