ADVANTAGE BUILDER: DAVID FREITAG
As a kid, David Freitag learned early on to apply painstaking research and analytical rigor to every decision. He credits his rocket scientist father for instilling this discipline. At age 14, for example, David planned to use money he made washing the neighborhood cars to buy a particular mountain bike.
“I had to give my dad a presentation on why this was the best bike for me,” he recalled with a laugh. “I researched frames and shocks and disc brakes, and found out it really wasn’t the best bike, or the best price. The shop owners had to order the one I chose, and after seeing it, decided to stock that model because it was such a good bike.”
“I enjoy using my background in engineering and technology to leverage different tools, identify and illustrate key market drivers, and help clients grow and expand.”
Today, David applies this methodical approach and passion for knowledge to achieve the best possible outcomes for his clients at CBRE, where he works as a tenant representation specialist. His occupier clients come from a wide scope of industries, including health care, technology, finance, law and education.
“The tools that have evolved over the last few years are revolutionizing the way we analyze data and create solutions for our clients,” he said. “I enjoy using my background in engineering and technology to leverage different tools, identify and illustrate key market drivers, and help clients grow and expand.”
A GOOD SPORT
David grew up in Manhattan Beach, just south of Los Angeles. His dad worked for an aerospace firm, and his mom was a former nurse and talented technologist who installed the first computer system at her hospital. She left her job to home school David and his two older sisters. “Looking back, I’m grateful for the experience. What normally would take a class an entire day, my sisters and I could finish in a few hours, giving us a lot of time to pursue our passions,” he said. “I loved being outdoors -- skateboarding, surfing, basketball, soccer -- and playing guitar. I never stopped moving.” He swam competitively for a number of years, and fondly recalls neighborhood game nights and camping trips to national parks.
Learning at his own pace, David surpassed the high school curriculum and took courses at the local community college. By the time he enrolled as a freshman in the mechanical engineering program at UCLA, he had already completed nearly half the credits needed for graduation. David also played Division I volleyball for the legendary Al Scates, whose 50-year coaching record is one of the best in collegiate sports. In the summer he interned with an aerospace firm, figuring he would follow in his dad’s footsteps.
AN UNEXPECTED HURDLE
Working out in the weight room, running sprints up stadium stairs and playing in matches with his teammates, David felt he was in the best physical shape of his life. Then in his junior year he came down with a lingering flu he couldn’t shake, which included a severe cough and night sweats. Concerned about his symptoms, his mother took him to the doctor. David was immediately diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and started an aggressive regime of chemotherapy.
“I never let myself think, ‘oh gosh, I have this life-threatening disease,’” he said. “I just continued my classes and pushed through it. I looked on it as a problem to solve, pursued that path wholeheartedly and decided not to dwell on it. I’m really appreciative of the way my family, friends and team supported me.”
Seven years later, David is cancer-free, and is still processing the experience. “As I reflect back, what seemed so personal at the time, is truly a storyline experienced by many,” he said. “I went from feeling young and invincible and moving a mile a minute, to slowing down and connecting with people through these shared hurdles.
“I’m deeply interested in every person I meet, in what makes them tick, and in listening for ways I can be of help.”
“I know now that if you’re moving too fast, you’re not able to engage with people and really listen,” he continued. “I’m deeply interested in every person I meet, in what makes them tick, and in listening for ways I can be of help. A lot of times it’s not real-estate related.”
COMBINING ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING SKILLS
David eventually leaned into writing and communications and graduated from UCLA in 2011 with a degree in American Literature & Culture. He took a position as an analyst with CBRE in the downtown L.A. office, and eventually joined one of the top leasing teams. “I’m a numbers guy at heart,” he said. “But real estate enabled me to align my analytical skills with emerging strengths in writing and business development. I ended up falling in love with the metrics and the process.”
“My parents have always been the most positive guiding force that shaped my direction”
“My parents have always been the most positive guiding force that shaped my direction” he said, “I also feel very blessed to have had a lot of mentors at different points in my life. One of the moments I am most grateful for is the support and guidance I received from Lew Horne when I was venturing out onto my own”.
Outside the office, David is still an avid volleyball player and surfer. He and his girlfriend Kelly enjoy concerts, traveling and playing music. He still lives in Manhattan Beach and enjoys getting together with family.
David recently had a full circle moment, when he was meeting with a cancer research firm that offers advanced tools for early detection and treatment of the disease. “It was surreal to be sitting down with doctors who are so passionate about what they do, thinking, ‘I am the product of your research,’” he said. “Recognizing that I could play a role in helping them to help other people -- it was an incredible moment.”