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Monte Froehlich

Monte Froehlich

Monte Froehlich grew up in a large middle-class family in the small town of Norfolk, Nebraska, about two hours north of Lincoln. His father, Virgil, worked for a grocery distribution company. His mother, Janice, was a homemaker. There were six children. Rick is the oldest, then his sister Jean, another brother, Clark, and then Monte, the fourth, was born in 1958. Following Monte were two sisters, Sue and Sally. Except for Rick, who lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and Monte, who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, all the other siblings remain in Norfolk.

Monte grew up in Norfolk, playing a couple of years in almost every sport. He played the tenor saxophone in band until his junior year of high school. He was also a self-described nerd, as evidenced by his Math Club membership and competing in math competitions. He must have been somewhat popular—he served as his senior class vice president. He graduated from Norfolk High School in 1977.

After high school, Monte was off to Lincoln to attend the University of Nebraska. He received a Bachelor of Science in Food Science in 1981 and then stayed to get an MBA in Finance in 1983. After college he took a job with Gillette Dairy in Norfolk as a management trainee. After dating for about four years, he married Lisa on May 7, 1983—37 years ago. They moved to Lincoln in 1985. There he worked for Meadow Gold Dairy as Quality Control Manager for eight years. Then he worked as a financial analyst for a pharmaceutical company until he went full time into real estate in 1995.

Monte and Lisa have four children. All are married. Adam married Claire in 2018, and they live in Denver. Adam is in cybersecurity sales. Summer married Colin Nabity in 2015, and they live in Omaha. Summer is an oncology nurse, and they have a boy and a girl. Jared married Sarah in 2014, and they live in Lincoln. Jared is a commercial broker at NAI FMA Realty, and they have one boy. Jared has been to several S.E.C. meetings. Jasmine married Keenan McCurdy and lives in Lincoln. Jasmine is in nursing school and expects to graduate in 2021.

Monte got into real estate as a hobby, purchasing his first rental home in 1988. In 1993, he bought a commercial property. Monte finally went full time into real estate in 1995. Most people probably start out as brokers and then become investors; Monte started out as an investor and then became a broker, earning his CCIM designation in 1999 and his SIOR designation in 2005. He mixed brokerage and investing for a while and now primarily handles his own properties. He received his S.E.C. designation in 2005.

Outside of real estate, Monte enjoys snow skiing, hiking, hunting, and watching a variety of sports. He loves traveling with Lisa, and sometimes the kids join them. He has been active in the local Chamber of Commerce and local commercial real estate groups. He has served as an elder in his church for over 20 years. Monte has served as a Board of Counselors member at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Further, he and Lisa enjoy leading Alpha groups, especially with younger people who are 20 to 35 years younger than they are. Alpha is a discussion group that is a safe place to discuss deeper issues in life like faith and philosophy. The slogan is “For life’s deeper questions, try Alpha.” They are currently leading their third group. They have found that people from all backgrounds—Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist—have enjoyed these conversations and that there are safe places to discuss differences in beliefs. Every meeting involves food and beer or wine, so it doesn’t get much better!

Monte wants to “make sure my children are inspired to live for what matters” because the last he checked, no one gets out of this life alive. We leave it all behind. Lisa inspires him to keep life in balance, and her heart for people challenges him often. Monte says about Lisa what most of us who spend time with him already knew: “We make a really solid duo.”

When asked about his business goals, Monte gave a unique answer: “We have some giving goals. We actually measure how we’re doing as a company by how much we give each year. This has helped us not to get too worried or focused on any particular real estate deal.”

Monte’s business philosophy also centers around giving. “I’ve learned so much from so many giving people. The best organization I’ve ever joined was the Society of Exchange Counselors. I’ve found that helping each other is part of the DNA. It aligns with the famous saying, ‘you reap what you sow.’ With the COVID issue that has swept the country, it’s even more clear how relationships matter.”

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Monte feels his strength is in making decisions fairly quickly. “Our previous record from verbal agreement on terms to closing was nine days, but we surpassed that this year with a transaction that took six days. Sometimes, quick counts, and at the same time, it’s important to be careful.” His weakness is this: “I struggle with understanding some of the creative formulas that come so naturally to others.” (That made me feel better. I thought I was the only one.)

When asked about his best moment in the real estate business, his answer was surprising. It wasn’t a great and profitable moment, but something far more important. In his words, “I didn’t realize how significant a meeting with a local bank in 2010 was going to be. Ron Bowden and Larry Browning (S.E.C.s), who were serving as board of advisor members for US Property, also attended a meeting set up with my local bank and their participating bank. When the three of us walked into the bank conference room, there were seven bankers waiting to meet with me. I had no idea what I would have walked into on my own. I was there at the bank’s request to discuss their refusal to fund the remainder of the construction costs to complete a spec 170,000 sq. ft. industrial building in Lincoln. It was intended to be a show of force and intimidation. This was a bank that I had done business with for over 20 years with no issues. I never would have imagined they were capable of intimidation, but it was 2010, and this bank had realized that they were too small to be involved in this size of a construction project . . . and they wanted out. I would have walked into a seven-on-one meeting.

“Ron and Larry made it very clear to the seven that if they refused to fund the remainder, that they had instructed me to hand them the keys. They also helped the bank realize that I was their best local solution. This had never happened before, and I was in way over my head. That’s when you realize the importance of relationships!

“Ultimately, the bank funded the completion. The bank never lost any money, and the property has become an important distribution hub for the Mars division of IAMS pet food. I will always be grateful to Ron and Larry and to the S.E.C.—this is just one example.”

The most significant event in Monte’s life is powerful. “You know how sometimes you don’t realize how significant decisions are until later? This would be the case for when I decided I would make a bigger mess of my life without Jesus in the lead. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a long way from perfect, but perfection is what I used to strive for. It can lead to misery, and in my case, it did, regardless of measures of success. I still struggle with mistakes, but grace is a good thing, and I’ve found a LOT of it!”

Monte’s most significant event in S.E.C. is this: “I can’t wait for ‘normal’—when this virus is no longer the shaper of the way we live. I have been very active and have attended more than 80% of the S.E.C. meetings, and one of the good things that this virus has done is that it’s driven the importance of our meetings even deeper. The most significant event in S.E.C. is the NEXT meeting! I can’t wait to see you all there!”

Author’s note: My first encounter with Monte was at the Dallas meeting in March 2015 at one of those “S.E.C. marketing session speed dating” sessions. He told me he liked buying 100-year-old buildings and refurbishing them into mixed-use projects. I asked, with concern, about whether he has challenges with some of the building systems (water, sewer, electrical) because of the age of the building. He told me that he always plans for two surprises on every deal. That nugget has come in very handy. When I bought my first building on my own, I planned for two surprises. When a problem was found with the fire sprinkler system for $13,000, I felt that was okay—surprise number one. When the sewer had a challenge costing $8,500, I said that was okay as well—surprise number two. Thank you, Monte for that helpful nugget allowing this beginner to keep my sanity. During the process of this brief bio on Monte, he addressed one of the questions in a curious way. When asked about Lifetime Awards, he said, “I don’t have much in the way of awards.” Maybe he does not have trophies, plaques, medals, ribbons, or certificates, but I would have to disagree. When I consider his faith, his marriage, his family, and his business success, I see real success that honors God, makes his parents proud, unites his family, and inspires his friends. What more could a man want?

Editor’s note: This bio was written by David Jackson as part of his Candidacy requirements.

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