In Orlando, Veterans feel valued. Veterans are shown respect from elected leaders down to wait staff in restaurants and Central Florida’s high value of veterans and overall respect for military service is a big part of what makes a community great and helps it attract great companies.
That’s the philosophy of a member of Florida’s CCIM community who is being honored as military veteran who has made a difference to both his community and country.
Charles (Chuck) Mitchell Jr. is one of a select group of Central Floridian honored with the 2015 Veterans of Influence Award by Orlando Business Journal. The awards recognize military veterans who have made significant achievements in their careers, have a strong record of innovation or outstanding performance in their work and are actively involved in our community.
Chuck Mitchell is well known to commercial real estate practitioners. An active CCIM, Mitchell has over 30 years of success in commercial real estate activities in Central Florida, including leasing/sales, property management, asset management, development, loan workouts, expert witness and receivership. He is co-founder and President of First Capital Property Group, Inc., a full service commercial real estate company and an Accredited Management Organization (AMO®) that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
For Mitchell, the Veterans of Influence Award isn’t about his own accomplishments at all, it’s just another example of how Central Florida says “Thank You” to those who have served. His two-dozen employees however, are proud of Mitchell’s commitment to mentoring, giving back to his community and integrity. They nominated him and share that his life has included many forms of service: Growing up, Mitchell saw firsthand the honor and sacrifice of military service through his father and uncle’s Navy experiences during World War II. He set his sights on becoming a Navy Officer and joined ROTC while at the University of Florida. Mitchell’s military experience includes serving as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. His six plus years in the Navy included deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf during the Iran Hostage Crisis, for which he was recognized with the Navy Expeditionary Medal.
“My military training taught me that you manage resources and lead people,” Mitchell explains as he shares his empathy for today’s veterans who face the challenge of convincing an employer that military training and successes can translate to the civilian world. “I learned how to grow long-term relationships and how to make sure grievances are short-lived. You are taught, move on after conflict with someone and focus on the mission — these are critical lessons in business and in the commercial real estate world as well,” he shares.
In addition to the life experiences he garnered as a Navy officer, Mitchell admits that education has been key to long term survival. A graduate of the University of Florida, he also received his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is a Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker, a Certified Property Manager (CPM) and a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). He is a member of Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), the CCIM Institute, and Greater Seminole County Chamber. He is an alumnus of the Lifework Leadership Orlando and Business Force. His commitment to education continues into his business and he often awards scholarships to employees for CCIM classes.
Mitchell’s record of community service is something he shrugs off, maybe because he has plans to do more. He has already served as Chairman of the Seminole County Contractor Examination Board, District III Chairman of the Seminole County Republican Executive Committee, and several US Academy Selection Boards, not to mention volunteers as an Elder at Orlando Grace Church.
The future holds lots of time to mentor others, he hopes, and to “encourage businesses to hire vets, give them a chance,” — just like the chance he was given decades ago when he landed in Central Florida.
If you are going to get Mitchell to choke up, it’s not when he talks about his own accomplishments but rather how precious his family is to him. He beams when he shares details of his life with his wife, three grown children and four grandchildren. How fast kids grow up, he admits, was almost more than he could bear and a key motivator in leaving military service and beginning his life in Orlando.
“This Award shows me that the OBJ is serious about high-lighting the strength of the Central Florida veteran community,” he explains. “It shows that time in service creates better employees and later, better employers,” he says with a smile.” And its shows, he adds in closing “how great a community can be when they open their hearts and give a chance to a vet.”
– Carol Tanner, CCIM