“The best way to learn from anything is just to jump in” – is a motto that has carried Tom Schneider from the college football field to his work in the residential property management industry. As one of the first employees at Oakland-based Waypoint Real Estate Group, Tom’s eager approach to learning and doing has helped the company succeed.
Waypoint has rehabilitated hundreds of homes and supports responsible residents achieve the dream of homeownership since its founding in 2008. Tom has been involved in many aspects of the company’s growth, from the Acquisitions team to his current job as Application Developer for Waypoint’s portfolio management team.
Though he never intended to become a real estate industry professional, Tom’s transition into the industry was a natural one. His former kicking coach at Cal, Doug Brien, the Waypoint Managing Director, invited him to join their team.
Coming into his senior year, Tom suffered a season-ending injury. While sitting on the sidelines, he started documenting game action with a camera and thus began what would become “Inside the Huddle,” an inside look at the life of the Cal football team in a photo-documentary coffee table book. Producing, funding, and selling the book ended up being an invaluable experience in business, he said.
As starting kicker for the Cal Berkeley Bears, Tom knows a thing or two about hard work as well as managing a full plate (he maxed out on the number of units he could take as an undergrad while getting majors in Legal Studies and City Planning).
Raising the bar and excelling in an otherwise depressed situation is what Tom is all about and why the mission of Waypoint fits him so well. As a lease-to-own portfolio management company, Waypoint rehabilitates homes lost to foreclosure and helps get them back into the community. The focus is not only on the structures, but the people as well. Their credit building program has helped get people on the path to homeownership, reducing resident delinquencies and rewarding residents for good financial planning through their credit building system.
“In these times when people are in trouble, it is really meaningful to the homeowners and stakeholders to get these homes back into the community,” Tom adds.
Extending the values of hard work and positivity, Tom participates as a reader for classrooms in the National Education Association’s Read Across America and as a mentor for the nonprofit, BUILD, an organization that provides a four-year entrepreneurial curriculum for underprivileged high school students. The program incorporates traditional curriculum while challenging the students to start their own business and eventually channeling efforts toward college acceptance.
Tom describes working with the students and watching them grow as rewarding, “When I first started doing it I didn’t know what to expect. After a day of work it is a great way to turn on the other side of the brain. A very good change of gears.”
Tom is the ultimate team player, planning events outside the office to foster collaboration and camaraderie. His enthusiasm for teamwork is a great asset for Waypoint and drives his other pursuits outside of work.
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Learn more about Tom:
What is your favorite type of music?
I enjoy all types of music and change gears regularly. February is African American History Month, so lately I’ve been jamming to Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, The Roots, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane
What is your favorite book of all time?
My favorite book is anything by Michael Lewis. Michael Lewis has an innate ability to tell interesting and character driven stories on relevant issues.
What kinds of food do you like?
I like diverse foods. One of the greatest perks of living in San Francisco is the dining selection. In the last year I’ve eaten Indian, German, Cambodian, Korean, Ethiopian, Mexican, Guatemalan, Italian, Meditation and Mexican food.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled?
I’ve sailed to “The Devil’s Teeth” aka the Farallon Islands. The Farallon islands are the most densely naturally populated area of Great White Sharks.
What do you like best about your job?
I love being challenged everyday. There is always lots of fun stuff to do and I’m never bored.
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or historical, who would it be?
I would have dinner with the United States founding fathers.
Each day is a gift. Be present and make the most of it.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I am ambitious with an entrepreneurial spirit, so when I grow up I’m going to start a company to revolutionize an industry.
Do you speak any other languages, and which ones?
Java (computer language)
If you could own one piece of famous art, sculpture, memorabilia or historic artifact, what would the item be?
If I could own one famous piece of art it would be a painting from Albert Bierstadt. His fantastical painting of the Sierra Nevada’s blended with the Swiss Alps never fail to inspire me.
What are some things on your bucket list?
Win an Olympic Gold Medal (curling), Bowl a 300, Hit a Hole in 1, Travel to the 7 wonders of the world, See the Northern Lights and Sail across the Atlantic Ocean.
What athlete or sports figure do you most admire?
Kerri Strug. I still get goosebumps watching Kerri Strug finish her routine on a broken ankle, such determination.
What online sites do you visit?
Yardi, Salesforce.com, Google Reader, Tech Crunch, Reddit, Popurls, LinkedIn
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Flight would be cool, or instant ability to learn and master new things.
What’s something about you that few people know?
I’m a champion Foosball player.