Office Hours: Brent Celek, Owner, Pando Mortgage

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Welcome to a new episode of Office Hours: a podcast with Front Office Sports CEO Adam White and figures from the sports industry. This season is focused on athletes, both current and retired, who have found success in business endeavors off the field.

On today’s episode, we’re joined by Brent Celek, former NFL tight end turned real estate investor and owner of Pando Mortgage.

After 11 seasons in the NFL, Celek retired after winning a Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2017. Now focused entirely on his real estate business, Celek has big ambitions for that, his ability to help other former players, and the children’s book he is currently working on.

Edited highlights appear below:

On learning from his family (2:25)

Growing up in a family where not only my mom and dad were business owners, but my grandpa was a business owner and my uncle was a business owner, you learn a lot in those situations. I just think that they handled situations the right way. My mom technically is the leader of a team. And so watching her lead that team, how she was a member of that team and how she influenced all the people that worked for, was very influential in my life and in football as well.

On players and their business interests (11:22)

In the locker room, guys are always talking about their investments and the ones that are doing great. You don’t really hear about a ton of the bad ones, but I’ve had some bad ones. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve learned a lot and all those deals helped me get better. What I would like to do in the future is help young guys that are interested in real estate and want to put money to work in real estate, get into the right deals and understand the risk.

On the origin of his company name (16:17)

Pando is the largest and longest-living organism on the planet. It’s a group of basically Aspen trees in Utah where the root system is just one organism. So as you see thousands of acres of trees, the roots are literally all just one organism. When one of the trees die, the roots grow up another one in its place. These trees live at an elevation where seeds won’t grow.

The idea is on a team or inside an organization when one person can’t get it done, it’s gotta come from within and we gotta find a way to get it done. The year we won the Super Bowl, us as tight ends, we used to always break it down on Pando when one guy was hurt because, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter if one of us was out, the other guys had to find a way to get the job done.

On his business idols (22:00)

I think I have an engineering mind. And I think the greatest engineer of our time is Elon Musk. The things he’s doing at Tesla to me are out of this world. I just love what he’s doing with Tesla. I’m a huge fan and a huge supporter.

Locally, I’ve got a good friend, Jonathan Brasington, and another good friend, Steve Meyer, who are two guys that I really look up to and guys that I can talk to on a daily or weekly basis. We’re not in business together, but they’re just great, great friends.

On his best advice (24:36)

In life, you’re going to have great successes and you’re gonna have great failures and you’re going to learn a lot from those failures. Just never give up, just keep moving and find ways to continue to get better. If you can do that, when you look back on your career, you’re going to be, you’re going to be proud of it. And I think if you do that, you will have no regrets.

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