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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Entrepreneurship stories are inspiring

February 02. 2013 10:31PM

We are surrounded by people from all walks of life who have excelled in their chosen career. In the world of business, the individual success stories of entrepreneurs give us ideas, inspiration and motivation. We are constantly searching for knowledge, and a real-life success story is one of the best sources for those that have a desire to continually learn and grow.

I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet Francis Fernando. Francis is a resident of Manchester, a devoted family man and a successful entrepreneur. He's the type of person who doesn't seek the spotlight, but I have always found his story to be quite unique and worthy of attention. My intent is not to make him blush, but rather to share his story as an example of something we can all learn from.

His education and background were among the first things that I was intrigued by when I met him. Sure he's a business owner, but I don't think he planned it that way. He studied at the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he earned his degree in electrical and computer engineering. Like many entrepreneurs, his education has nothing to do with the type of work he does today.

After graduating, Francis became an engineer at Verizon, where he worked for more than 10 years. During his career at Verizon, he dabbled in real estate and began purchasing rental properties. His desire was to build a steady income stream from his real estate investments, while at the same time continuing his career with Verizon.

As he began to search for a property management company to help him manage all of his investment properties, he recognized an opportunity. He couldn't find a property management company that he felt comfortable doing business with. And this is where his entrepreneurial mindset kicked in. He left his full time job at Verizon in 2006 and founded Total Solutions Property Management (

Francis grew the company from a small startup to a firm that today manages more than 500 properties from 75 unique customers. It's an amazing success story, but it gets better.

Recently, Francis recognized another opportunity. He noticed that the vast majority of his clients were individuals who had invested in real estate, hired his company to manage their properties, but also have full-time jobs. It was strikingly similar to the situation Francis was in when he was an engineer at Verizon. Except this time, Francis has experience, proven success and a long list of do's and don'ts for anyone interested in investing in real estate, while at the same time, maintaining their career. So guess what he did next?

Francis started to offer his expertise and services to people who have full-time jobs but want to invest in real estate. He recognized that so many people have this desire, but there aren't many of us who have the know-how and resources to actually make something happen. And that's where Francis and his idea come in.

Francis developed a process that holds your hand through it all. He developed a software program that allows you to financially evaluate the health of the property you are considering purchasing. It also produces all of the paperwork you'll need to pitch your bank for money, acquire the appropriate insurance and so much more. He also offers consulting and shares his expertise through speaking engagements (

This idea is brilliant, in my opinion. An entrepreneur recognized an opportunity that was based 100 percent on his own experience. Investing in real estate is complicated and risky. But if you're working with someone who has the experience and expertise, it can be extremely rewarding financially.

The story of Francis Fernando is inspiring to me. It's an example of recognizing an opportunity, working tirelessly, having a burning desire to succeed and most importantly, the fortitude to actually do something with the idea.

Christopher Thompson ( writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

Christopher Thompson's Closing The Deal

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