Getting to Know You: Frank Farricker, President of Lockwood and Mead Real Estate

Frank Farricker is an entrepreneur and real estate professional, currently designated as the Principal of Lockwood and Mead Real Estate, LLC.

A graduate of both Columbia University and George Washington University, Frank began his career in New York City in the early 2000s, where he concentrated on building apartments for people living on fixed incomes. After some time, he had the notion to repurpose some of the historic buildings located in Brooklyn and Queens into condominiums, and in so doing, helped to transform many lower-income neighborhoods into prosperous communities.

Frank created Lockwood and Mead in 2008, after moving to Greenwich, Connecticut. As the Founder and President of the firm, Frank Farricker focuses on what he likes to call “special situation real estate,” which is a term he applies to affordable and low income housing. Lockwood and Mead has a significant presence in the housing tax credit markets throughout Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Northeastern and Southern Connecticut, as well as parts of New York. A major part of the company’s mission is to de-stigmatize affordable housing in areas opposed to its development. Lockwood and Mead has been involved with more than 2500 residential units in the last year alone.

In addition to his day job, Frank Farricker has taken leadership roles with numerous charities and political entities. In the past, he was the Chairman of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, as well as President of The Mary Fund, a hospice care nonprofit organization. During his spare time, Frank loves to have fun with his family. He is also an avid fan of cricket.

What do you currently do at your company?

As the President of Lockwood and Mead, I have a hand in all aspects of our business, especially things like long-term development strategy and fundraising. During the course of my daily duties, I communicate with a lot of people. I take a lot of meetings, make a lot of phone calls, and write a lot of emails. I also spend a significant portion of time in real estate negotiations. 

What was the inspiration behind your business?

When I was young, I owned a bar in Washington, DC. One day a man showed up and started talking with me about selling the place. At the time, he looked old to me, but truthfully, he was probably about as old as I am now. Anyway, he wanted to build a Kentucky Fried Chicken on the location, and he offered me $150,000 for the property. However, I was just a tenant, so I didn’t have the authority to make that kind of deal. So, I told him he would have to buy us out of our lease and directed him to have a word with our landlord. I don’t know if he ever did, but I do know that the deal didn’t go through.

But that initial exchange definitely made its mark on me. I was fascinated by the idea that someone would pay $150,000 just to own the rights to our lease. And this was in 1994, so that was pretty big money to someone in their 20s. From that point on, I was fascinated with the real estate market, and I made the decision to dedicate my career to it. The rest is history.

What defines your way of doing business?

I think compassion plays a big part in how our firm conducts business. In addition to being real estate developers, we are also staunch advocates for the building of affordable housing. In fact, a lot of our efforts are dedicated to fighting the stigma of affordable housing within communities that actively oppose it being built. It’s something I’ve always thought to be important. After all, we’re all human beings. People who don’t make as much money as others deserve a place to live, too.

What keys to being productive can you share?

In my case, the biggest key to productivity is simply keeping the right mindset. No matter what comes up, I just try to make sure all of our projects are moving forward by doing whatever it takes. So, I suppose maintaining my focus and always keeping the desired end result in mind is how I stay productive.

What would you tell your younger self?

I consulted with my wife about answering this question, and she had a fantastic response: “Only date redheads!” I couldn’t agree with her more. 

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work? 

Aside from spending time with my family, which is my primary joy in life, I am an unabashed cricket enthusiast. Although it’s a wonderful sport, it’s not a major one here in the United States, so watching a match can prove a little more challenging than, say, watching an NFL or NBA game. Still, I find ways to keep up with it. 

How would your colleagues describe you?

Probably with some variation of the phrase ‘tough, but fair.’ The word ‘determined’ might crop up. I would also like to think that people would describe me as a humanitarian, as well. 

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

I don’t think I could effectively run my business without access to digital spreadsheets, so my answer is a computer loaded up with the software Microsoft Excel.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Early in my career, a colleague of mine once said something to me that I’ve always remembered: “You can never be too prepared.” He was, of course, totally right. Since then, I’ve always made sure to study hard before undertaking any project. I suppose it’s lucky for me that I happen to like researching properties and reading up on the competition.

How do you measure success?

Professionally speaking, one of the ways I measure success is by how many projects we complete on time and under budget. I believe that follow-through is one of the strengths of our firm, and our numbers more than bear out that claim. Personally speaking, the answer is almost the same, but looked at from a different standpoint. I measure success in part by how many families we help out by building them decent, clean, sturdy places to live. In fact, that’s a major motivation behind many of Lockwood and Mead’s operations.

What advice would you give to aspiring to succeed in your field?

Beyond the usual real estate-related stuff, I suppose I would give them some advice that would apply to almost any industry: Work hard, treat your clients and employees with respect, and don’t underestimate the competition.