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He watched celebrities spend $50k a night on liquor!!!

posted May 30, 2014, 4:17 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated May 30, 2014, 4:46 PM ]
You might know Shun Wakita as PSAR’s South County representative to the Sandicor board of directors (Sandicor is San Diego County’s regional multiple listing service that is owned by three REALTOR® Associations, including PSAR, North San Diego County Association of REALTORS® and the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS®). Wakita also has served as a member of Sandicor’s Rules Committee since 2011.

But, did you know that the 30-year-old worked for four years at the San Diego Harbor Police, followed by nearly two years overseeing security at a new luxury hotel in Downtown San Diego before he joined his father in the real estate field? Today, Shun operates two Chula Vista-based companies, including Home Team Property Management that manages nearly 300 residential, commercial and retail properties, and Wakita and Associates, a real estate sales company.

“I wanted to make sure that real estate was the field I wanted to be in,” said Shun. “It was something I knew growing up, watching my dad, but I wanted to work in some other fields like government and hospitality and see what I really enjoyed doing.”

While working at other jobs, Shun still kept an active interest in the real estate field, obtaining his real estate license in 2004 and a broker’s license in 2009. “In a way, I was expecting to end-up in real estate, which eventually happened,” said Shun.

His father, Shuzo Wakita, was an executive at Tariam, a San Diego-based real estate development company that worked with Japanese investors. The company ceased operations in the early 1990s, and Shuzo transitioned to residential real estate sales, which he still practices today as part of Wakita and Associates.

An often-asked question to Shun by his clients and others is about his first name. Shun is named after a Chinese emperor, even though Shun is of Japanese descent. The Chinese Emperor Shun, sometimes referred to as the Great Shun, served as an emperor from age 53 until his death at 100 in ancient China preceding the Xia Dynasty, which began in 2100 B.C. “I didn’t really recognize the significance of it until some of my clientele from China brought it up in conversation,” said Shun.

Shun grew up in Bonita, attending Bonita Vista Middle School and Bonita Vista High School (class of 2002). He attended Southwestern College and San Diego State University, but left college to run a painting company. At age 19, Shun was responsible for the estimating, purchasing and running the business. “It was my first experience running a company, making budgets, HR and marketing. At one point, we were one of the most productive branches in the state,” said Shun.

He joined the Port of San Diego’s Harbor Police in 2003, and worked in the investigations and administration departments. This is where a lot of Shun’s interest in information systems and technology started. “It was exciting to see the process that law enforcement used to gather data and the application of it,” he said.

Then, in 2006, he decided to look into the hospitality field and accepted a job in security at The Ivy, a luxury urban hotel at 6th Avenue and F Street in Downtown San Diego. He worked there while the hotel was under construction and during the May 2007 grand opening, as well as the hotel’s first year in operation (today, the property is called the Andaz Hotel).

“The hotel was a reflection of the amount of money flowing through the economy at that time,” said Shun. “It was not uncommon to see bar tabs in excess of $50,000, and the biggest-name celebrities staying there. The money they spent was over-the-top. It was like a modern day snapshot of the Great Gatsby. But, as the economy began to enter a recession, uncertainty started to show and on Thanksgiving night in 2008, there were two guests staying at a 148-room hotel.”

According to Shun, “I learned a lot of important management and leadership lessons from my previous bosses and mentors, including my father, Harbor Police Chief Sanfilippo and my first broker Joe Harrison. Each of these jobs provided me some valuable lessons that I apply to my professional life every day.”

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Stand by for next week’s story. Hint: He nearly got swept overboard by a rolling iceberg!!!