Athlete to Agent

Sports are often useful in providing metaphors for life. Regardless of the particular sport, the lessons taught by coaches and teammates extend far beyond the field. For Travis Bond Tripucka (‘07), this is certainly the case.

Coming from a storied athletic family, Tripucka forged his own path for success in multiple sports. He began as a three-sport athlete at Mountain Lakes High School. After graduation, he attended the University of Massachusetts, excelling in both football and lacrosse at the Division 1 level. While most athletes hang up their cleats after high school or college, Tripucka was not finished yet. He proceeded to play in the National Football League for both the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams, a level of play dreamt by many but seldom reached. Although his playing days have now come to a close, he has taken the same mindset that enabled his sports success to a new game: real estate.

Recently, Tripucka gave us some insight on his success and what he plans to do going forward.

MLAA: What exactly are you currently doing in real estate?

TP: LEARNING! Educating myself and absorbing every bit of knowledge to become well rounded and confident. In time I will be proficient; an expert in my field. Being successful in the practice of real estate isn’t about passing a licensing test. Too many would-be real estate agents obsess over the licensing test, then fail in their first two years because they didn’t develop a plan and follow it for success in becoming a real estate agent. They passed the test but failed to understand the business, to develop a budget and a business plan, or to learn the ropes that aren’t taught or covered in the test.

MLAA: What motivated you to get involved in this industry?

TP: I love the freedom, money and control this industry offers. Real estate agents have a lot of freedom because they are their own boss and make their own schedule. They can work as much or as little as they want. You have to have a great work ethic to make yourself work hard and create a business as a Realtor. If you want to be a Realtor, you have to treat it as a business, not a job. You are the boss, so you have to make big goals, plan well, work hard, and great things will happen. As a real estate agent and business owner, I can keep hiring people and growing my business as big as I want. The only ceiling present is the ceiling I put on myself. I can keep hiring staff to meet increased workloads as I grow. A real estate career also allows you to invest in real estate easier. I think most of us know how the corporate world works. You work your butt off to rise through the ranks of the company. You get raises with each promotion and usually, you take on more responsibility and more work. You work for a salary; your hours are dictated by your boss and they can be daunting. I know many successful people in the corporate world who work 60, 70 or 80 hours a week! Since they are salaried workers, they don’t make more money the more they work. Hopefully, at some point, they will be rewarded for that hard work with another promotion. That promotion may mean even longer hours and less time with your family. Twenty years down the road, maybe they will become a top-level manager or CEO. That assumes the company they are working for still exists and they enjoy working 80 hour weeks for the twenty years leading up to that “dream job.” The crazy thing is this is the route I was taught to take in college. They made it seem glamorous and the expected thing to do when you graduate. Thank goodness I was not paying very good attention in school!

MLAA: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in real estate so far?

TP: A property market that seemingly slumped to all-time lows, a crackdown by the banks on bond approvals and dramatic changes in the required educational standards have forced many real estate agents to leave the industry for good. And yes, while the pie may indeed be bigger for those who remain – the challenges associated with earning a decent living have changed and will continue to change the real estate landscape forever more. The biggest challenge thus far is finding leads. I am having to be proactive, frequently canvassing the area by walking from door to door with leaflets, by phoning potential sellers, and by making my name known through adequate marketing and networking in a given area. The good agents today will make use of the Internet to advertise themselves through blogs and social media.

MLAA: What are some of the biggest rewards you have experienced in this industry?

TP: In my short time so far, I’d say it is the fulfillment of working with people and providing great customer experience and service.

MLAA: When did you graduate from MLHS?

TP: Seems like forever ago…I graduated in 2007.

MLAA: What sports did you play in high school?

TP: Football, basketball, and lacrosse.

MLAA: Tell us about your college sports experience.

TP: I was very fortunate to be able to compete in two Division 1 sports—lacrosse and football—at the University of Massachusetts. I was a three-year starter on defense for the lacrosse team, appropriately nicknamed the gorillas. Conference champions and made NCAA Tournament sophomore season. And was the starting long snapper all four years for the football team.

MLAA: How did playing sports prepare you for this part of your life?

TP: Being on a sports team teaches you to work well with others. You set goals and work toward accomplishing those goals, exceeding expectation. Sometimes you have to pick up the slack for a teammate who’s not performing well that day. Other times you may need to reach out to others when you’re the one struggling and in need of help. Either way, athletes know how to support each other and understand the power of a positive mindset. The best way to approach a difficult task is to believe you can do it from the get-go. The endless drills, aching muscles, and relentless coaches always seem worth it when your team is celebrating its victory. My point here is that sometimes things you don’t like are good for you. I’d be lying if I said I love the part-time jobs I’ve held since high school. However, I like to look at them as practice for when I finally achieve my dream career. Phones ringing off the hook, dealing with angry customers, hours upon hours of mind-numbing data entry…all experiences that are not particularly fun but are all necessary rites of passage. If you can view the things you don’t like about your job as “practice” for your future success, the half-empty glass suddenly seems half-full; add a little hard work in there, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for career victory!

MLAA: You have a storied athletic family. What can you tell us about your family background?

TP: My grandfather, Frank, played 14 seasons of professional football. He was selected in the first round of the 1949 NFL draft, playing 4 seasons with 3 different teams. He then took an 8 year hiatus in the Canadian Football League before returning to the AFL as the Denver Broncos first ever Quarterback. His number 18 jersey now hangs among three retired jerseys in Mile High Stadium. My father was an All-American basketball player at the University of Notre Dame and a first round NBA draft pick. He was a 2x All-Star over his 10 year career with the Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz, and Charlotte Hornets. My younger brother, Jake, also a Mountain Lakes graduate, was an All-American midfielder at Duke University where he lead his team to four Final Four appearances and 2 National Titles. He went on to play four seasons in the MLL for the Charlotte Hounds and NY Lizards.

MLAA: Few people have ever made it to the pro level. Who did you play for, how did you do it and what was playing in the NFL like?

TP: I signed as a Free Agent with the St Louis Rams in 2012 where I appeared in all four preseason games before being cut prior to the start of the season. New Years day 2013 I signed a futures contract with the NY Jets where I appeared in three preseason games and was cut before the season again. My stint in the NFL was unexpected but I ran with it, making the most of every day and enjoying the entire experience. How I did it? I perfected my craft, long snapping has become a specialty and a lot of emphasis is put on special teams. Games are won and lost in the kicking game and the battle for field position.

MLAA: What was the best moment of your sports career?

TP: Best moment has to be my first game in an NFL uniform, standing next to Chris Long for the national anthem at a sold out Lucas Oil Stadium. I was overcome with emotion and in awe of it all.

MLAA: Given your background in sports and real estate, what advice can you offer to the readers on how to be successful?

TP: Fail! And Fail often! All this means is that instead of hiding from failure, insanely successful people anticipate and integrate failure into their lives in ways that transform it from an end into a means. We all love a good secret. But the truth is, when it comes to success, there’s no such thing. So start small, but start today. Adopt the mindset that, things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.

MLAA: What is next for Travis Tripucka?

TP: Get my brokers license, start and build my own team in five years time, become the number one real estate agent in NJ, and then open offices in NYC, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. TAKE OVER!

MLAA: Favorite Music? Movie?

TP: It’s a toss-up between Country and Oldies. Grew up on the two, listening in the car as a kid.

MLAA: If you could invite 3 people to dinner, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would they be? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Donald Trump, and Tim Tebow.

 

At a Glance:

Name: Travis Bond Tripucka
Graduation Year: 2007
Position: Real estate agent
Company: Century 21
Website: www.century21.com
● Industry: Real estate

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At a Glance:

Name: Travis Bond Tripucka
Graduation Year: 2007
Position: Real estate agent
Company: Century 21
Website: www.century21.com
● Industry: Real estate

Athlete to Agent

Sports are often useful in providing metaphors for life. Regardless of the particular sport, the lessons taught by coaches and teammates extend far beyond the field. For Travis Bond Tripucka (MLHS ‘07), this is certainly the case.

Coming from a storied athletic family, Tripucka forged his own path for success in multiple sports. He began as a three-sport athlete at Mountain Lakes High School. After graduation, he attended the University of Massachusetts, excelling in both football and lacrosse at the Division 1 level. While most athletes hang up their cleats after high school or college, Tripucka was not finished yet. He proceeded to play in the National Football League for both the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams, a level of play dreamt by many but seldom reached. Although his playing days have now come to a close, he has taken the same mindset that enabled his sports success to a new game: real estate.

Recently, Tripucka gave us some insight on his success and what he plans to do going forward.

MLAA: What exactly are you currently doing in real estate?

TP: LEARNING! Educating myself and absorbing every bit of knowledge to become well rounded and confident. In time I will be proficient; an expert in my field. Being successful in the practice of real estate isn’t about passing a licensing test. Too many would-be real estate agents obsess over the licensing test, then fail in their first two years because they didn’t develop a plan and follow it for success in becoming a real estate agent. They passed the test but failed to understand the business, to develop a budget and a business plan, or to learn the ropes that aren’t taught or covered in the test.

MLAA: What motivated you to get involved in this industry?

TP: I love the freedom, money and control this industry offers. Real estate agents have a lot of freedom because they are their own boss and make their own schedule. They can work as much or as little as they want. You have to have a great work ethic to make yourself work hard and create a business as a Realtor. If you want to be a Realtor, you have to treat it as a business, not a job. You are the boss, so you have to make big goals, plan well, work hard, and great things will happen. As a real estate agent and business owner, I can keep hiring people and growing my business as big as I want. The only ceiling present is the ceiling I put on myself. I can keep hiring staff to meet increased workloads as I grow. A real estate career also allows you to invest in real estate easier. I think most of us know how the corporate world works. You work your butt off to rise through the ranks of the company. You get raises with each promotion and usually, you take on more responsibility and more work. You work for a salary; your hours are dictated by your boss and they can be daunting. I know many successful people in the corporate world who work 60, 70 or 80 hours a week! Since they are salaried workers, they don’t make more money the more they work. Hopefully, at some point, they will be rewarded for that hard work with another promotion. That promotion may mean even longer hours and less time with your family. Twenty years down the road, maybe they will become a top-level manager or CEO. That assumes the company they are working for still exists and they enjoy working 80 hour weeks for the twenty years leading up to that “dream job.” The crazy thing is this is the route I was taught to take in college. They made it seem glamorous and the expected thing to do when you graduate. Thank goodness I was not paying very good attention in school!

MLAA: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in real estate so far?

TP: A property market that seemingly slumped to all-time lows, a crackdown by the banks on bond approvals and dramatic changes in the required educational standards have forced many real estate agents to leave the industry for good. And yes, while the pie may indeed be bigger for those who remain – the challenges associated with earning a decent living have changed and will continue to change the real estate landscape forever more. The biggest challenge thus far is finding leads. I am having to be proactive, frequently canvassing the area by walking from door to door with leaflets, by phoning potential sellers, and by making my name known through adequate marketing and networking in a given area. The good agents today will make use of the Internet to advertise themselves through blogs and social media.

MLAA: What are some of the biggest rewards you have experienced in this industry?

TP: In my short time so far, I’d say it is the fulfillment of working with people and providing great customer experience and service.

MLAA: When did you graduate from MLHS?

TP: Seems like forever ago…I graduated in 2007.

MLAA: What sports did you play in high school?

TP: Football, basketball, and lacrosse.

MLAA: Tell us about your college sports experience.

TP: I was very fortunate to be able to compete in two Division 1 sports—lacrosse and football—at the University of Massachusetts. I was a three-year starter on defense for the lacrosse team, appropriately nicknamed the gorillas. Conference champions and made NCAA Tournament sophomore season. And was the starting long snapper all four years for the football team.

MLAA: How did playing sports prepare you for this part of your life?

TP: Being on a sports team teaches you to work well with others. You set goals and work toward accomplishing those goals, exceeding expectation. Sometimes you have to pick up the slack for a teammate who’s not performing well that day. Other times you may need to reach out to others when you’re the one struggling and in need of help. Either way, athletes know how to support each other and understand the power of a positive mindset. The best way to approach a difficult task is to believe you can do it from the get-go. The endless drills, aching muscles, and relentless coaches always seem worth it when your team is celebrating its victory. My point here is that sometimes things you don’t like are good for you. I’d be lying if I said I love the part-time jobs I’ve held since high school. However, I like to look at them as practice for when I finally achieve my dream career. Phones ringing off the hook, dealing with angry customers, hours upon hours of mind-numbing data entry…all experiences that are not particularly fun but are all necessary rites of passage. If you can view the things you don’t like about your job as “practice” for your future success, the half-empty glass suddenly seems half-full; add a little hard work in there, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for career victory!

MLAA: You have a storied athletic family. What can you tell us about your family background?

TP: My grandfather, Frank, played 14 seasons of professional football. He was selected in the first round of the 1949 NFL draft, playing 4 seasons with 3 different teams. He then took an 8 year hiatus in the Canadian Football League before returning to the AFL as the Denver Broncos first ever Quarterback. His number 18 jersey now hangs among three retired jerseys in Mile High Stadium. My father was an All-American basketball player at the University of Notre Dame and a first round NBA draft pick. He was a 2x All-Star over his 10 year career with the Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz, and Charlotte Hornets. My younger brother, Jake, also a Mountain Lakes graduate, was an All-American midfielder at Duke University where he lead his team to four Final Four appearances and 2 National Titles. He went on to play four seasons in the MLL for the Charlotte Hounds and NY Lizards.

MLAA: Few people have ever made it to the pro level. Who did you play for, how did you do it and what was playing in the NFL like?

TP: I signed as a Free Agent with the St Louis Rams in 2012 where I appeared in all four preseason games before being cut prior to the start of the season. New Years day 2013 I signed a futures contract with the NY Jets where I appeared in three preseason games and was cut before the season again. My stint in the NFL was unexpected but I ran with it, making the most of every day and enjoying the entire experience. How I did it? I perfected my craft, long snapping has become a specialty and a lot of emphasis is put on special teams. Games are won and lost in the kicking game and the battle for field position.

MLAA: What was the best moment of your sports career?

TP: Best moment has to be my first game in an NFL uniform, standing next to Chris Long for the national anthem at a sold out Lucas Oil Stadium. I was overcome with emotion and in awe of it all.

MLAA: Given your background in sports and real estate, what advice can you offer to the readers on how to be successful?

TP: Fail! And Fail often! All this means is that instead of hiding from failure, insanely successful people anticipate and integrate failure into their lives in ways that transform it from an end into a means. We all love a good secret. But the truth is, when it comes to success, there’s no such thing. So start small, but start today. Adopt the mindset that, things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.

MLAA: What is next for Travis Tripucka?

TP: Get my brokers license, start and build my own team in five years time, become the number one real estate agent in NJ, and then open offices in NYC, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. TAKE OVER!

MLAA: Favorite Music? Movie?

TP: It’s a toss-up between Country and Oldies. Grew up on the two, listening in the car as a kid.

MLAA: If you could invite 3 people to dinner, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would they be? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Donald Trump, and Tim Tebow.

 

It’s Your Turn! Tell us who you think should be the next Laker in the Spotlight.

Do you know a Laker who you feel deserves to be recognized for outstanding achievement? Are they doing extraordinary things that make you proud to know them? Do they exemplify Laker Pride?! If so, nominate them now to be our next Laker in the Spotlight!

Simply fill out the form below, and an MLAA staff member will contact you for details.

For internal use only
In case we can't reach you by email