LA real estate entrepreneur eyes statewide market

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Realtors > Mergers kick off Zia Group expansion

By Arin McKenna

Zia Realty Group Broker/Owner James Chrobocinski shrugs off the suggestion that he is a “mogul in the making.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” he said.

But Chrobocinski’s expansion into the Los Alamos real estate market has been meteoric and his plans are undoubtedly ambitious.

Chrobocinski’s Los Alamos roots run deep. His grandfather, James Bramble, moved to Los Alamos to work on the Manhattan project.

LAPD Cmdr. Randy Chrobocinski Foster is his brother and his other brother Joe Foster, and his sister Jennifer Foster King, also live here.

Chrobocinski moved to Corpus Christi with his father just after junior high.

“I have been trying to get back here ever since,” Chrobocinski said. It took him 26 years to reach that goal. He and his wife Jacqueline, decided to move here with his son JJ in June 2011 in order to take care of his grandfather.

Chrobocinski’s career path echoes his mother’s, Jeannie Bramble Foster, who worked as a registered nurse in Los Alamos for a number of years before becoming a real estate agent for the Pat Rogers Agency.

Chrobocinski was in healthcare management when he ventured into real estate in Corpus Christi eight years ago.
He became so successful he opened the Corpus Christi Realty Group-Padre Island and was able to retire from healthcare management two years ago.

His son Tyler now runs that agency.

Management seems to be in Chrobocinski’s blood.

He started as a registered nurse, but within two years had moved into healthcare management. Prior to that,

Chrobocinski was in restaurant management and has also owned a number of small businesses.

“I’ve had a number of businesses in my life, and I really enjoy putting those things together. And I’ve found some of them have been a success, some have gone very well. Some of them didn’t," Chrobocinski said.

“But I always enjoy the challenge of putting a business together and I’ve had enough experience in my life now that I think that this one has gone very well so far.”

Chrobocinski opened Zia Realty just a couple of months after returning to Los Alamos. By January of this year, he had acquired the real estate sales branch of Real Estate Associates PVW, LLC.

Broker Pearl White retained ownership of Real Estate Associates PVW, LLC as a property management brokerage, in addition to becoming an associate in the Zia Group.

“It seemed like a good idea to team up. He has a lot of energy and I thought it would be good for our companies to combine talents,” White said. “I think it was a good move for us and the community. There’s a lot of talent here, good people with a lot of people skills. They care about not just selling but taking care of clients.”

Chrobocinski’s goals include making sure his agents are successful and running an ethical company.

“I preach to my people that we’re going to treat everyone with kindness and respect, whether they’re our competitors, our co-workers, our clients, vendors, everybody,” Chrobocinski said. “The kindness and respect is the key for our office.”

Chrobocinski acquired the real estate branch of Los Alamos Properties earlier this month.

LAP Owner David Horpedahl joined Zia as an associate broker but will continue to operate Los Alamos Properties as a consulting and property management firm.

“I think the important part with David is that he has been very successful. He wanted to make sure we understood this,” Chrobocinski said. “This was not Los Alamos Properties going out of business. This was an enhancement to Los Alamos Properties. Because they had a very successful year, and I think this is just going to make it better.”

“I never felt I was meant to be an office manager,” Horpedahl said. “I always liked to be out and about, not sitting at a desk checking everyone else’s files. This gets me out from under the liability of making sure everything is in order.”

Chrobocinski is expanding rapidly toward a goal of expanding statewide within seven years.

The agency is currently looking for office space in Española, expects to be in Santa Fe by May and is in discussions in a couple of other cities.

Zia Realty Group is located at 4525 Trinity Dr. and can be reached at 662-8899 or online at ziarealtygroup.com.