After detour, Garfield agent returns to real estate

Francis O’Shea had left in December to join wind power start-up
By Leigh Kamping-Carder | July 30, 2012 10:30AM

You could say he lost the “wind” in his sails. Shortly after declaring he would leave real estate for a wind power technology start-up, townhouse broker Francis O’Shea has rejoined his former firm, Leslie J. Garfield & Co.

O’Shea left the boutique brokerage in December for a sales and business development post at Wind Analytics, a Brooklyn-based start-up that develops software for wind power sites, as previously reported.

“Being a real estate broker for the rest of my life just wasn’t for me,” O’Shea told The Real Deal in February.

O’Shea, 28, had applied to graduate school at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs to study environmental science and policy. He said then that he was interested in joining a more innovative industry than the “mature” business of real estate.

But earlier this month, he made the switch back, after realizing how good he’d had it – a job that let him make money while setting his own schedule, alongside supportive co-workers. “For a young salesperson that can sell, it’s a really great product to sell,” he said.

O’Shea said he will return to covering his old territory – townhouses in the East 60s – and is working to get some listings lined up for the fall. “I left on good terms with everybody, so it wasn’t a bad situation,” he said.

Cullen Kasunic, a product manager at Wind Analytics who worked with the broker, said there was no bad blood after O’Shea quit, and that the real estate business makes sense for him.

“What we’re doing here has some technical aspects to it,” he said. “He was just really good at a certain part of the sales process, and I think that would fit well for real estate.”

O’Shea’s return brings the headcount at Leslie J. Garfield up to nine agents, all of whom work out of the firm’s office at 505 Park Avenue. The company is the No. 2 ranked boutique firm in Manhattan, according to The Real Deal’s annual ranking, based on dollar volume of Manhattan residential sale listings.

Jed Garfield, the owner of the brokerage, noted in February that O’Shea had left just as he was starting to generate returns for the firm.

He had also started to handle bigger deals, Garfield said, including the $23 million sale of Irish investor Dennis Quinlan’s 25-foot-wide townhouse at 20 East 64th Street, which closed in August 2011.

O’Shea joined Leslie J. Garfield in early 2008, after working jobs in construction and sales and studying government at Skidmore College. He said that he plans to pursue an MBA in the future, going to school at night so that he can continue to sell real estate by day.