The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get!
Fritz Lauritzen is a Fresno native and has lived in Fresno almost his whole life. He served his country in the Air Force, and even had to fly through nuclear clouds during his service. After leaving the Air Force, he worked as a consultant for sunflower seeds and raisins before going into real estate. He’s done commercial real estate since 1977 and started his own company, The Lauritzen Company, in 1998.
From Raisins to Real Estate
Lauritzen was working as a consultant for sunflower seeds when he got a call from the president of Sun-Maid, who asked him to do some raisin consulting work for him. He made Lauritzen an offer he couldn’t refuse, but didn’t tell him where he would be working until Lauritzen agreed. It was Afghanistan. Lauritzen arrived in Kabul three days later, and stayed in the country from January to July of 1977, where he bought raisins from bazaars, had them processed in plants in Afghanistan, and shipped to Amsterdam.
Some of Lauritzen’s friends back in Fresno convinced him to consider going into real estate. His degree was in animal husbandry, and he’d taken seminars in business school, but he wasn’t qualified for much of anything besides being a commercial pilot, which he wasn’t interested in. His friends sent him a real estate book to study, so when he got home to Fresno in July of 1977, he was ready to take the exam. He went straight to work at Charles Tingey Associates.
Find Your Niche
Lauritzen only does commercial real estate. “You can’t be everything to everybody in all areas,” says Lauritzen. “If you do something real well in a niche, the rumor gets around in the business.”
Lauritzen started out doing only sales. When his team formed a retail specialty group, he decided to go into the leasing part of it and became a leasing specialist for about three years before being asked to manage the company. For the next eight years, he was the executive vice president of Charles Tingey Associates. Instead of competing with the others for sales, he was responsible for their training. “And that’s where I think I excel,” says Lauritzen. “I like teaching what I know.”
He also taught classes at Craig’s School of Business at Fresno State. “I enjoy it. I know the subject, and I think the students get more out of it when you have a passion for that.”
Some people don’t want to give their knowledge or help others unless they’re getting paid for it. Lauritzen likes to help because he enjoys it, and because what goes around comes around. He treats everyone the same. If someone is buying a small building now and he makes sure they are very happy with his service, in a few years they may be back to buy a big building. “I like helping people, and it’s not because I’m looking for compensation. It’s because that’s what I enjoy.”
It’s also how he’d like to be remembered. “We all have an end-of-life, and at my memorial service, I would hope … that people will say ‘He was not only a good guy, but he helped of a lot of people,’” says Lauritzen.
Lauritzen prioritizes his physical and mental health above all else. If his health suffers, the rest suffers as well. His next priority is his family, followed by having a passion for what he’s doing. Only after these other priorities is money a concern.
It can be difficult to work in a corporation where your superiors don’t share your priorities. “I learned that in a corporation, the higher you go in the organization, the harder it is to be able to stay there, because you may be reporting to somebody that has the authority to be able to hire and fire you, but is also somebody that you may not get along with,” says Lauritzen. “And if you don’t get along with that person and support his goals and ambitions and all the priorities that he has, that isn’t going to last.”
That was part of what sparked Lauritzen’s desire to go into business for himself and follow his own priorities. Now, at eighty-three years old, he still goes to work because he still loves it.
Advice to His Younger Self
Follow your dreams. Don’t do things you’re not happy doing, and don’t settle. “If that’s what you want to do, do everything you can to do that,” says Lauritzen. Be passionate about what you do, and don’t make it about the money.
The Hard Times
“Life is a series of ups and downs,” Lauritzen says, but every time you fall down, you must get back up. You have to learn from your mistakes and failures. Failures are necessary to appreciate the successes, but learn from them.
Lauritzen’s routine is hard work. Nothing works better than just working hard and doing the very best he can every day. “The harder I work, the luckier I get,” he says.
Contact Fritz Lauritzen
The best way to get in touch with Lauritzen is to give him a call at 559-696-3611.