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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jun. 14, 201810:26 AM EST

‘Mayor of Ponte Vedra’ finds new career

Experience in commercial lighting and fitness instruction prepared Robin Chapman for a new career in her hometown.
by: Maggie FitzRoy Contributing Writer

Unincorporated Ponte Vedra Beach doesn’t have a mayor, but if it did, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network agent Robin Chapman might well be the one holding the gavel.

“I know so many people, my children say I should be the mayor of Ponte Vedra,” Chapman said. “I never met a stranger.”

Until now, the commercial lighting executive-turned-Realtor was better known to her fellow Ponte Vedra Beach residents as a yoga, Pilates and spin class instructor at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club.

For more than 20 years, Chapman’s career in the commercial lighting industry required long hours and frequent travel around the region and across the country. It wasn’t unusual for her to finish a presentation at 5 p.m., rush to the airport to catch a 7:30 p.m. flight to another city, arrive in the middle of the night, then get up the next day and do it all again.

She met with mayors, city council members, engineers and real estate developers to help design modern, energy-efficient and cost-effective road projects. In her spare time, she taught fitness at the popular beachside club in her hometown.

But as the new year began, Chapman launched a new career, joining Berkshire Hathaway’s Ponte Vedra/Nocatee office.

Working many hours in a demanding profession — with a side job that also required much physical stamina — prepared her for real estate, she said. So did the social aspects of both professions. She still leads fitness classes, which raises her presence in the community in which she lives and works.

During her lighting career, she was involved with high-profile Northeast Florida projects such as San Marco redevelopment, the Dames Point Bridge and Nocatee Parkway, the latter planting the seed for a real estate career.

“I was in Nocatee when it was just dirt and trees,” she said. “I would be out with developers all the time. I thought, ‘Why not just get into real estate?’”

Changes in the lighting industry prompted that move. She enjoyed success working for Philips Lighting and Asset LED, during what she said were good years to be in that business. But then the industry evolved, Philips moved on from lighting, encouraging Chapman to turn those those thoughts about real estate into action.

She enrolled in real estate school in 2017, while also working toward Pilates certification, which required 500 hours of training. By the start of 2018, she was certified in Pilates and had earned her real estate license.

A resident of Ponte Vedra Beach since 1988, Chapman also is a Pilates instructor at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club,

A resident of Ponte Vedra Beach since 1988, she knows the area and the people. She lives with Cary Hart, owner of the Sawgrass Village restaurant Aqua Grille, who enthusiastically supports her new career.

So do her fitness students. When two of her Pilates students learned she was getting into real estate, they recommended her to Kevin Waugaman, managing broker of the Berkshire Hathaway office in Sawgrass Village, where those students also are agents.

Waugaman said he was impressed that she came to him highly recommended. With her strong ties to the community of Northeast Florida, he said he is positive she’ll succeed in real estate.

Chapman admits it is daunting to go from a six-figure salary to a commission-based income. “But I’m excited about what I am doing,” she said.

Ongoing training has included “Incubator Training” classes at the Berkshire Hathaway’s corporate office in Southside, as well  as  doing “Ninja Training” at the Ponte Vedra office. She plans to earn Nocatee sales certification, and has begun attending open houses, doing floor time, canvassing and networking.

“Here at Berkshire Hathaway, they are so generous, so collaborative,” she said. “This is such a super team. Very positive energy. I really feel like I am where I am supposed to be.”

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