Featured Colleague: On the Field and In the Classroom, Eldon Warfield Embraces Learning

By Dani Moritz-Long

Great teachers are essential, failure and success are both fundamental and life continues to go on.

These are the life lessons Professor of Property Management Eldon Warfield, who once played semi-professional baseball, learned from his days as on the field.

“I learned you needed great teachers,” Eldon said. “I was blessed with six of the greatest baseball minds growing up. That foundation of knowledge prepared me to accept winning, losing, success, failure, leadership, teamwork and more. There is nothing more exciting than hitting a home run and circling the bases in front of your family, friends and teammates and the world for a short few minutes. It provides and teaches you honor, dignity and handling it with class. Likewise, there is nothing worse than striking out and having to walk back to the dugout with all eyes on your personal failure. It’s terrible. But it also prepares and motivates you to gain redemption. These emotions, ups and downs, prepare you for later life and the real-world ups and downs. But you always know life goes on.”

Interestingly, baseball is also what ultimately set Eldon, whose career highlights include playing and coaching college baseball as well as playing and managing in the semi-pros, on the career path that eventually led to Valencia.

Recalling the transition from player to property manager (and, later, professor), Eldon said, “I accidentally got into property management one off season and decided to plant some roots in a new industry. My ability to lead a team translated well into property management and the rest is history.”

That history includes working as a community and property manager for several firms, founding and leading Warfield Enterprises, serving as president for the Institute of Real Estate Management West Coast Florida Chapter 44, director of asset management for Polaris Development and teaching at Valencia.

As a professor, Eldon, whose educational accomplishments include a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in business administration, draws on that 30-year property management history as well as the lessons he learned through baseball. Noting that he has “lived the material,” Eldon says he enjoys the opportunity to give back to the industry.

“I am excited to bring the educational world together with my industry,” he said. “I have always viewed myself as a coach, mentor, educator, developer, trainer. That’s still my role. Now at Valencia, I have an opportunity to reach more people. I enjoy the discussions and interaction with students the most. Listening to their experiences always prompts my real-life experiences that I can share. The student response I’ve received from this interaction has been very positive. I’m hoping my experiences and ability to answer their ‘trick’ situations give them confidence going forward as well as lets them know they have a source in me for guidance and mentorship if they choose.”

He’s also particularly excited to be a part of Valencia’s new Associate in Science in residential property management, which is the only degree program in residential property management in the state of Florida and the only two-year degree program in residential property management in the United States.

“Our program is an asset to the community, because there is a great demand for quality property managers, and our local industry and national partners, the National Apartment Association and the Institute of Real Estate Management, have backed and continued to support our efforts. We will have an opportunity that is far reaching with our program to develop and place qualified managers who will manage housing throughout Central Florida with expanded areas of growth throughout the southeastern U.S. and beyond. Property managers serve their properties as sort of a mayor and can provide high-quality services to many people, their residents. They will provide the living conditions and make a difference in many lives over the course of their lives.”

Commenting on Eldon’s service, Dean of Career and Technical Programs James McDonald said, “When we conducted the job search for his position, only 13 candidates applied for the job. I was worried about a low turnout since the residential property management field is not a traditional academic discipline and there are very few colleges with related graduate programs. I kept telling myself I only needed one person. Well, I hit a home run with Eldon. With limited batting opportunities, hiring Eldon was like knocking the ball out of the park on the first pitch. Eldon is widely respected in the industry, and he brings decades of experience into the classroom. I feel very lucky to have him on the team.”

Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.

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