Poster of GRUPE Huber with some quotes

Choosing Happiness, Having Hope in the Future, and Other Observations

Choosing Happiness, Having Hope in the Future, and Other Observations

by Kevin Huber, President & CEO
February 8, 2022

“Happy New Year!”

We’ve all said that, or heard it spoken to us, in a greeting over the last few weeks…Do you feel happy is my question?

With all that is going on in the world today – the Omicron variant, rising inflation, geo-political instability, roller-coaster stock market moves, national political division, and our own business and family issues – one could see why being happy might feel elusive.

So, why is it that during times of crisis, some people seem naturally happier than others, have less stress and seem more clear-minded with better self-control despite their circumstances?

Many of the skills that Sandy and I have learned to deal with stress were learned from Sandy’s father and mother. We also believe that having faith in a positive future gives you the power to deal with the crisis of today. Lessons like these have allowed us to weather adverse conditions with our happiness intact.

I recently remembered an article that Sandy’s father Fritz wrote several years ago (33 to be exact) that resonates with me today just as much as it did when it was written. Some of life’s lessons are timeless, so I thought I would share that article with you and hope that it helps you to develop or improve the skills that will help you find happiness amongst all the issues of today.

Just to put things in perspective and demonstrate that there were plenty of stressful issues when Fritz wrote this article, let me remind you what was going on around 1989. The Cold War was still going on. The Berlin Wall didn’t fall until November of ’89. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill occurred. The Loma Prieta Earthquake killed over 60 people. The Iran-Iraq War had just ended, but tensions in the Middle East persisted (ultimately leading to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the Oil Price Shock/Recession of that time. It was the tail end of the Savings and Loan Crisis which redefined how The Grupe Company would finance projects going forward, and the 30 Year Mortgage rate was a whopping 10.3%! (Imagine how that would affect home purchases today!). Certainly, there was plenty to be worried about. You’ll also note that Fritz’s article has a “second installment” which was also one of my favorite articles about leadership skills that are innate and those that can be taught. I’ll share that with you in a future Newsletter. I hope you enjoy Fritz’s article as much as I did.

All of us at Grupe Huber sincerely wish you a happy 2022.

Fall 1989

Greenlaw “Fritz” Grupe, Jr., Chairman/CEO

Recently, I was called upon to speak before the University of the Pacific’s Business Forum. The audience was to be a mixed group of 600 experienced managers, professors, and students. Therefore, I tried to tailor my remarks so that each group would derive some “take home value.” Because the feedback was so good, I thought I would try to summarize it for two Blueprint articles; this being the first one. I hope my thoughts here trigger a new idea or reactivate an old one.

The excellent managers of the 90’s are going to be the happiest ones. Since happiness is a by-product, not an end in itself, how will managers achieve it.

First, I submit that life won’t get any better than it is today. This is it. You’ve arrived. Are you happy? Are you in control? If you’re in control, you’re a winner. Only losers place the blame.

Socrates said, “If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart”.

Second: It is important to distinguish between accomplishment and accomplishing. Accomplishment, such as the winning of a race, gives short term good feelings. Those good feelings don’t last. The process is the key; it is the continuation of accomplishment which produces the lasting good feelings.

Third: You have to distinguish the urgent from the important. You can get trapped in completing only urgent things and end your career having accomplished nothing important.

Fourth: A balanced life is a clear route to happiness. As Yogi Berra said, “90% of the game is one half mental.”

In regards to balance, I want to discuss stress. How do some people deal better with it than others? First, let’s understand stress:

1. It’s a matter of perspective. Is it really going to make a difference 100 years from now?

2. Symptoms of stress:
a. If I’m so successful, how come I don’t feel I have it made?
b. How many colds or illnesses do I have?
c. Do I feel I’m always in the slow lane of traffic or at the grocery store?

Controlling stress is imperative because stress decreases your energy and your passion for other things, yet makes you feel you’re working harder than anyone else. Most important, you become insensitive to the feelings of others and as a result drive people away from you. Relationships, so important to everyone’s future, cannot be built on guilt or martyrdom.

3. Success is when you feel safe; many don’t feel safe without stress. If everything is going smoothly, they’ll go in and stir up the pot or take on a new challenge.
Why do people allow themselves to get stressed out?
a. Many people just want to be stressed. It’s exciting. The adrenaline flows. Have you seen the sign: If you’re not stressed, you just don’t understand the situation?
b. Many enjoy acting like a martyr. “Look what I stand for in the face of everything.”
c. Some can act more important. “Look at all I’m doing.”
d. All businesses cause stress; it’s hard to step out of your “business” culture. (In ours, it has been popular to work excessively, stressfully.)

Here are some things that will increase your stress level:
1. Waiting for someone else to change.
2. Waiting for justice.
3. Waiting for people to know you’re right.

Here are some ways you can decrease stress.
1. Exercise.
2. Start and end the day on a happy note. (most morning newspapers and television news programs present negative news. Wait until the evening to catch up on the news.)
3. Make sure the patterns of your days please you, and include activities for which you have a passion.
4. Evaluate the amount of bliss and passion you experience. Make up a list of things that may not require anyone else to make you happy. Here are some of mine:
a. Music
b. Dreaming/visioning
c. Solitude
d. Views of the environment
e. Smells
f. Knowledge
g. Sports
h. Business
i. Raising animals
j. Meditation, a relationship with God

Remember, if you won’t give yourself a little bliss, you won’t allow others to have it either. If success is when you feel safe, and if you don’t feel safe without stress, you’re going to have a real problem with success.

We all must accept responsibility for the pace, quality and balance of our lives.

In summation, there are eight things I believe managers in particular and really everyone should consider:

1. A balanced life (spiritual, family, work, personal time, personal health);
2. Relationships, intimacies;
3. Passions, bliss;
4. Success without undue stress;
5. Continuing education;
6. Leadership versus the traditional boss; doing the right thing versus doing things right;
7. Communication of a clear vision of the future to co-workers and family;
8. A clear vision of our global environment.

So, to conclude this segment, I wish you happiness because I know it is the by-product of a successful contributing person in society.

In my second installment in our next Blueprint, I’ll address the question: is leadership an art or a science? If it is partly art, which part then can be taught?

Painting of persons talking on a topic

Real Estate Development as a Science & Art

Real Estate Development as a Science & Art

by Kevin Huber, President & CEO
October 13, 2021

For almost 35 years in early December, I made Italian sausage and salami with the Cortopassi and Avansino families. For many of those years, Dino Cortopassi was also making wine (much of which we consumed during our lunch on Salami Day). I remember Dino telling me that making wine takes two disciplines – science and art. Dino explained that the “science” of making wine was to pick and crush grapes that had ripened to a certain level of sugar, place that juice in a container and let the sugar ferment into alcohol – voila! You have wine. The “art” is making that science experiment taste good.

Since then, I have often thought about how real estate development and construction also include elements of science and art. Civil engineering, structural engineering, traffic engineering, Title 24, all the federal, state, and local codes, title matters, and legal matters are all part of the technical or “science” of real estate development and construction. Creating a project that is architecturally appealing to buyers or tenants, one that blends with the landscape and environment in a harmonious way, creating a sense of arrival and place, having it be the location where people want their wedding, prom, or graduation picture taken; these elements constitute the “art” of a project.

Long-term projects almost always face changes in the economy, demographics, buyer/tenant tastes, and political or legal dynamics that require the developer to adapt and make course corrections. The final project seldom looks the way it was initially envisioned. Adapting to these changes and being financially stable enough to weather them is also necessary to bring a project to fruition. Much like a winemaker adjusts each vintage based on that year’s growing conditions and other environmental influences on the wine while it is being fermented or aged, continual adjustments are made in the development and construction process in hopes that the final product is perfect.

When we start a project we take into account topography, surrounding land uses, existing infrastructure, transportation and access, the market and expected demand for the proposed uses, the existing general plan and zoning designations, which designations are needed for the intended use, and what the architectural look should be. I’ve been asked many times, “with all of the things you have to consider, how do you know what you are going to plan and build on a particular site?”

“The Sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

– Michelangelo

We get a lot of projects presented to us, many of which we pass on immediately, and many of which we do further investigation on only to conclude that we don’t believe it makes sense to continue pursuing the project. When the Grupe Huber team has determined that we do want to pursue a project, we develop a philosophy and vision for what that project should look like when it’s complete. 

We then take all the aforementioned issues into account, and through our discussions with our architects, engineers, attorneys, city or county staff, and market studies, the vision begins to take shape. We begin to see the renderings of that vision in land plans, building elevations, landscape plans, and color schemes. This is where the dance between science and art truly emerges. Often, elements of your design are not feasible for one reason or another, so we push, pull, and tweak until we arrive at a plan our whole team approves. However, by holding true to a certain set of guiding principles led by our vision for the project and by the core values of our company, what we hope finally emerges is a project that was “meant to be”, and one that not only we are proud of, but that the entire community is proud of. If we accomplish this, then we feel like we got the “art” part right. 

I feel proud that Grupe Huber Company has the experience and expertise, the patience and perseverance, and the financial stability to undertake the projects we build, always with the mission to improve the communities in which we live and work.  

CategoriesCommunity Involvement

Stockton Rescue Mission’s ‘New Life Program’ Commencement Speech by Phyllis Grupe

JULY 11, 2021

Welcome and congratulations to the New Life Graduates, families, and future graduates. 

Thank you, Quail Lakes Baptist Church (my old stomping ground – as you have heard).

Thank you to Wayne and Carol Richardson, and Britten – all the heroes who live and breathe the Gospel Rescue Center. 

Thank you, Dennis, for your kind introduction. Dennis, you have been boots on the ground long before the public, the politicians, and the front page of the newspapers paid attention to the broken hearts and lives and the plight of the homeless. 

Dennis & my relationship goes back about 50 years to the “Pass it on Choir.” The kids wanted to call it “Grupe’s Groupies,” but somehow, I didn’t think that would sit well with the parents and the pastor, so we opted for the song that became our symbol, “Pass it on.”

Words to Pass it On:

It only takes a spark to get a fire going, 

But soon all those around will warm up with its glowing. 

That’s how it is with God’s love, once you experience it, 

You want to sing, its fresh like spring, you want to pass it on! 

And here we are today! A very special day! It’s all about you graduates and those who love you!! Believe me; they are experiencing the same excitement you are – what you have done for yourself, you have also done for them! There are a lot of answered prayers in this room!! 

You are graduation from the three phases of the New Life Program. At a minimum of two years of commitment and hard work. You have made choices that others only wish they had the courage to make. Keep on the narrow path you have chosen. You cannot walk down two trails at the same time. Stay on your path with all your strength and energy remembering to call on the power of God “Fear not, I will always be with you!” 

As you walk along your path, each day will bring new challenges and choices. 

Your thoughts lead to choices

Your choices lead to actions 

Your actions can lead to a miracle 

Yes – your actions can be a miracle, and that is what I’d like to share with you today. First, I’d like to share with you the true story of a real miracle worker. Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa story: 

I was fortunate to attend an outstanding meeting in India where Mother Teresa was the Keynote Speaker. At the end of her incredible story, she opened the session to questions. A woman asked, “Mother Teresa, how is it such a simple nun who has taken the vows of poverty has been able to do so many great things?” Mother Teresa answered, “Oh my dear, there are very few great things, mostly only small things done with great love!!”

SMALL THINGS DONE WITH GREAT LOVE – that is the story of Mother Teresa. 

You, too, can be a miracle; Here are four ways you can become someone’s miracle. 

Miracle #1 – 

Smile – 

We all have many seemingly trivial chances of meetings that present us with a choice. Do we pass along the spark of hope in a smile or not? This is your invitation to perform a simple act of love – a little spark of hope and humanity in what otherwise might be a very difficult, sad day in someone’s life. Give the miracle of your smile! 

Miracle #2 – 

Encourage, hope, and dream – 

What gives us the courage to live, change and move forward with life? Hope!

Hope is based on faith and positive actions. 

In my life, it has been my cheerleaders who have brought out the best in me and helped me move forward in a positive way. It’s the folks who have been in my balcony cheering me on and encouraging me. Basement people and negative voices bring us down. Let the power of God work within you – this power enables us to do far more than we could ever imagine doing alone. Encourage others to reach their dreams as well. Hope gives us the courage to live, change and move forward with life – no matter the circumstances. Encourage others, give them hope!

Miracle #3 – 

Gratitude – 

Give gratitude to all who help – be a compassionate warrior who gives love and kindness and helps others face and solve their problems. 

A simple thanks with love and enthusiasm can work miracles. We all thrive with gratitude. It’s like water on a wilting plant on a roasting hot day. Give thanks to friends, family, co-workers, teachers, pastors, and service providers of all types. A simple word of thanks costs nothing, yet it is a precious gift and it can be the miracle you perform in someone else’s life. Give thanks! 

Miracle #4 

Have compassion – 

Look for the good in others. If not for them, do it for yourself! Did you know aging actually slows down, and your immune system is boosted when you do a kind deed or are compassionate to one another? The burning question is, “will you take advantage of other’s weaknesses, frailties, or faults, or will you share the miracle of compassion and support them?”

 Let me share with you a profound story of compassion. The story told by a father of his child – a developmentally and physically challenged boy who receives the gift of compassion. 

Shay’s Story: 

“Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father, I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. 

“I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs, and the game is in the eight inning. I guess he can be on our team, and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’ 

“Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. 

“In the bottom of the eight inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. 

“In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and prayed in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands. 

“In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. 

“However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognized that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. 

“The first pitch came, and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back at the pitcher. 

“The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out, and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all teammates. 

“Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first!’

“Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. 

“Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’ 

“Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second”, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. 

“By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head. 

“Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay!’ 

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!’

“As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and spectators were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’ 

“Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.” 

“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.”

Be someone’s miracle – be compassionate 

Be someone’s miracle – 

    1. Smile 
    2. Help others reach their dreams 
    3. Give Gratitude 
    4. Have Compassion 

Wrap these four gifts in love and tie them with a ribbon of kindness. Choose to smile, choose to dream, give thanks, and have compassion. 

Christ said, “Love one another as I have loved you!” 

As I close, I encourage you – 

Be someone’s miracle – start right now. The job will never be finished. You cannot change the world, but you can touch your little corner of the world one person – one miracle at a time! Remember – you cannot outgive God! 

Let us pray: 

May God bless you and keep you. May you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul. May you go forward in your life and perform these miracles as God has performed a miracle in you. 

Amen and Congratulations, Graduates!! 

Thoughts inspired by “Be Someone’s Miracle” by John Shimer. 

Picture of Grupe Huber official building

Hybrid Offices: Building a Remarkable HQ

Picture of Grupe Huber official building

Hybrid Offices: Building a Remarkable HQ

August 3, 2021

Hybrid offices are on the rise, offering the chance for on-site or remote work to their workforce. After a year of remote work for many, the struggle to find a comfortable transition has led many businesses to opt for the flexibility of both options or a mix of the two for their team. If headquarters has become the place for in-person client meetings and team get-togethers, it only makes sense that a team’s homebase needs to be an environment where community, unity, and inspiration are felt. For instance, Grupe Huber Company has been a pioneer in the Stockton community, moving our headquarters from a traditional office “A” class space to a historic remodel in our signature redevelopment project, University Park.

This past year has brought on significant changes in the way people approach their work environment. A recent report from Accenture cited that 83% of workers they surveyed preferred a hybrid model.1 High-growth organizations have taken note with 63% of them enabling productivity anywhere workforce models.2 As the popularity of hybrid offices continues to rise, it becomes increasingly important to invest in spaces that will captivate the team when they come together and facilitate in-person collaboration that is essential to the success of every business. The need for office space is not going away, in fact, it is now an even more critical piece to establishing company culture, workforce engagement, and increasing productivity. “While some level of remote working is going to remain with us, the best future innovation and products will come from the teamwork and collaboration that is derived from face-to-face teamwork with colleagues,” stated Kevin Huber, President and CEO of Grupe Huber Company. New office projects focus on creating a sense of openness, a place that invites teams to congregate while also maintaining more private spaces for individual work.

The days of big walls and siloed cubicles are long behind us. Amenities are an important factor when recruiting new talent, because companies are expected to contribute to larger lifestyle aspirations in order to stay competitive. A headquarters should offer a standard slate of amenities including a modern but functional kitchen, warm common areas, fun break out spaces, and more. It’s essential to provide amenities that are functional, yet aspirational for workers and tailored to the overall company culture. Just as a medical office prioritizes patients, a tech company prioritizes innovation so each of those office spaces needs to reflect the business’ mission and values accordingly. It’s also a chance for the company to show some personality. The Grupe Huber headquarters located at University Park does just that, balancing modern design and layout with archival pieces that nod to tradition and legacy. The right amenities help to establish a healthy and engaging work environment that encourages workers to feel invested, and pay forward that investment with their dedication to the work.

A historic remodel property offers a great approach for building a headquarters that is modern and forward-thinking, while maintaining the history and character of the community – a truly unique office. In a Capital One workplace survey, 79% of full-time office employees agreed that a company cannot encourage innovation unless their workplace environment is innovative, and bringing a fresh perspective to an existing space can help build that foundation.3 Workers want to feel like the place where they work with their team and achieve their goals is special. It is impossible to replicate authenticity, you have to build it from the ground up.

Revamping a historically significant building is also an incredibly effective way to show respect for tradition and signal a long term investment in the community. Oftentimes, historic buildings that are optimal for a remodel are located in areas that have been somewhat overlooked by the surrounding community and are in need of something new. A historic remodel can serve as a new hub for continued investment, bringing new businesses, jobs, and foot traffic that can revitalize an entire neighborhood. It is important to consider the history of the land, its existing tenants, and the overarching needs of the community in order to make a historic remodel successful. Grupe Huber’s University Park, a momentous, 20 year remodel project, brought over 20 new and thriving businesses to a site that dates back to the 1850’s. An era when, following the Gold Rush, Captain Charles Weber donated 102 acres of land to the city of Stockton to provide hospital care to those who were struggling with mental illness. “By marrying modern technology and design with public artwork, a world-class rose garden, historic features and a contiguous 102 acre campus, we have been able to create a truly special place where people work, learn, heal, and play” commented Mr. Huber. University Park doesn’t shy away from history, it’s an integral part of the project’s mission.

A remarkable headquarters is essential to building a successful business and Grupe Huber approaches each project with a deep understanding of how physical space can impact people. We approach every project with fresh eyes and a modern point of view, understanding that as the workforce continues to move to the future, we are here to help build it. We are developers who partner in every step of the process, committed to shaping spaces that reflect your business’ story.

A man standing and smiling at camera

Focused on the Future

A man standing and smiling at camera

Focused on the Future

by Kevin Huber, President & CEO
March 29, 2021 

As I reflect on the last 12 months, I am reminded that on average it takes 66 days of a behavior change to form a habit. Think about that… 66 days, yet we have all had our behavior disrupted for over 360 days. If you are like me, there are definite changes that you’ve accepted as your “new normal.” Some of these may be positive changes, and some may be ones you hope to change “post-COVID.” Everyone has a story the past year and, just as I am, you are likely fatigued by all the COVID commentary, which is why I want to talk about the future and how I intend to think about it going forward.

I want my future to consist of at least these 5 things:

    • Maintaining a strong foundation.
    • Focusing on what is truly needed for success.
    • Taking care of people.
    • Having goals beyond financial success that improve the lives of others.
    • Taking risks.

As I sit in my office at University Park, I am watching the new 50-bed post-acute care rehabilitation hospital start construction. The first thing they have done is remove between 6’-10’ of soil and replace it with new soil and base rock that will allow for a much stronger foundation. This reminded me of the importance of a strong foundation. In our lives, I believe that a personal foundation mainly consists of four components: our Family, our Friends, our Faith, and a Good Education. When these components are bound together, they create the basis for a strong foundation. Without a strong foundation, anything we build can crumble.

When I reflect on past learning experiences, I am reminded of when my CFO/CTO for the corporate housing company I sold to Marriott in 1999 was designing a proprietary software for our company with an outside firm. When she presented the preliminary outline and budget, she broke it down into three categories. The first were things we absolutely needed to include, which became our base budget. Next were features that she felt would be nice to have and had the potential to add some value to our services, and that added an incremental increase. The third was what she called the “cool factor” which included features that were not necessarily going to add value, but that would seem cool. Of course, this added a third layer of cost. Since we were running on a tight budget, we chose the features that we needed and the ones that we had confidence would add value. We passed on the “cool factor” features. As I think about my personal and business decisions, I plan to focus on what I need and some things, that by having them, I am confident will add value. I’ll leave the “cool factor” for people cooler than me!

Through the pandemic, we did not layoff any employees, we created a new 401k plan with a safe harbor match, and an improved menu of health benefits. I have had multiple employees pull me aside and thank me for helping them make it through this past year and improve their financial situation. I know in my heart that if one of these people were recruited by another company, unless the opportunity was substantially better than their current situation, they will feel as loyal to us as we feel to them. Taking care of people when they need it will result in them taking care of others when they need it.

Our family has a history of community involvement with a variety of educational, charitable, and community organizations. Some of the most rewarding experiences and relationships we have built are through endeavors that aim to serve others. If your goals are focused only on you, then you will be the only one working on them. When you help others reach their goals, you’d be surprised how you find yourself reaching your own goals along the way. I plan to continue having goals that improve the lives of other people, not expecting anything in return. I have found that when I have done so, the reward is always returned to me in some meaningful way.

Finally, I believe that taking risks is part of what creates meaning in our lives. In a speech that I heard Senator Alan Simpson give he said “if you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t- then do!”.

Senator Simpson went on to quote Leo Buscaglia’s thoughts on Risks, which goes as follows:

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out to another is to risk involvement,

To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.

To love is to risk not being loved in return,

To live is to risk dying,

To hope is to risk despair,

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.

He may avoid suffering and sorrow,

But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.

Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.

Only a person who risks is free.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. I plan to continue to take risks and experience another year full of meaningful experiences.

I hope my thoughts have helped you think about your future. What will you focus on? Share it with us on social media! 

My Warmest Regards for a bright future!


Painting of a girl holding a basket of fruits
CategoriesThe Beauty Of

The Beauty of the Bounty

Painting of a girl holding a basket of fruits

The Beauty of the Bounty

by Sandy Grupe Huber, Principal 
March 29, 2021

This summer, I watched as the plums ripened on the fruit tree outside my parent’s garden. The warmth of the sun brought a deep purple hue to the fruit and I observed that the changing of the seasons continued as normal. This felt particularly grounding in a year that shook my stability.

My Mom grew up in Oakland during World War II and my engineer grandfather was gone for three years, serving his adopted country in the Aleutian Islands. Mom remembers sitting with her mother, hearing warning sirens and feeling cocooned by darkened windows. She has memories of boarders who worked building battleships to guard the Pacific living in their home, the grate of their boots on the stairs, and sharing their kitchen table and meals. There was a Victory Garden planted in the backyard, and Mom recalls how it fed them. They grew vegetables and fruit trees in harmony with the seasons and collected their bounty which made its way onto the dinner table and into jars stacked neatly in rows in the big pantry. Each can had its own story to tell about the season that harbored it, the water that fed it, the hands that collected it, and those that worked to carefully seal it into the jar for future use.

Among her many areas of brilliance, my Mom has always loved the process of picking and canning. She learned it in part from her Maternal Grandmother, Nana, who lived with her until she was in high school. Nana, originally from Minnesota, canned everything from green beans to peaches and her primary rules in the kitchen were about having fun and staying safe.

This fall I received the gift of my Mother’s time and knowledge of being in the kitchen, and most especially about being in the kitchen as a family. Mom cares a lot about the blackberries and plums, but she cares about each of us much more.

My Mom is not a preacher, but with wisdom and gentleness, she preaches love and sustainability into our caretaking of the harvested bounty. There are enough cookbooks in the world, this is a recipe for togetherness. 

This year I had the blessing of canning with my Mom alone, with time to learn her stories. Stirring granola with my daughter Leslie and her partner Kendal while making adjustments to the recipe card using the modern technology of an IPad. Baking, cooling, and frosting cookies with daughter Meredith and eager young tasters, Clara Belle and Evelia Joy. Each experience was unique and beautiful. Four generations in the kitchen, laughing, learning, as we continued cooking and valuing The Bounty.

Here are some takeaways, and a recipe:

  1. Always move the canning jar to the back of the stove when removing it from the boiling pot of water. On occasion, jars have exploded. Keep it as far from your body as possible.
  2. Always wear an apron. I had no idea how many fruits would stain your clothes.
  3. Limit the guests in the kitchen to about four while canning. As in the old, but very true saying, that ‘too many cooks in the kitchen, spoil the broth’. 
  4. Expect canning to take more time than one would expect. Plan at least four hours. Expect to be tired after.
  5. The experience of slowing down, carving out time, and preparing a project requires effort; however, the benefits of love and learning are greatly rewarding and life-lasting.  We cannot pass down what we do not take the time to model. Look for the models around you and ask for them to share their wisdom. I bet they will be happy to pour themselves into you. As you get full, you will be able to share your bounty with others.

Click here for Phyllis’s Plum Jelly Recipe!

Picture of a building with yellow effects
CategoriesLatest News

Welcome Ernest Health & Vibra Healthcare to University Park

Picture of a building with yellow effects

Welcome Ernest Health & Vibra Healthcare to University Park

by Dan Keyser, Senior Vice President
March 29, 2021

Grupe Huber has been extremely fortunate in that over the past year our business has not slowed down. We’ve continued to partner with new tenants, start new developments, and are always looking for new opportunities. We are very excited to announce that earlier this year construction commenced on a brand-new medical facility at our master plan community, University Park.

San Joaquin County’s first medical rehabilitation hospital is planned to open its doors at University Park in the Spring of 2022. The 63,000 square foot, two-story, 50-bed medical rehabilitation hospital will be an Ernest Health Hospital, managed by Vibra Healthcare. This will be a specialty hospital that focuses on treating people who are recovering from debilitating injuries, illnesses, surgeries, and chronic medical conditions. When completed, this hospital will be able to bring up to 150 jobs to Stockton and extremely necessary services to the community as it is the first of its kind in the county. 

As many will tell you, the atmosphere of a facility can play a huge role in the healing process. Typically, hospital environments tend to be very stale, have lots of concrete, and do not feel like a place of warmth, comfort, or peace. When talking to Jennifer Selikoff, Chief Development Officer at Vibra Healthcare & Ernest Health, about why they chose to partner with Grupe Huber and build at University Park, she mentioned that all you have to do is walk out onto the University Park campus to understand why. Jennifer noted that “being able to build a rehab hospital on the beautiful lake, next to the rose garden, and with tenants like Welbe Health right next door, it’s kind of the ideal campus setting for us.” 

When creating a master plan community, like University Park, developers have to come up with a vision for all the different uses that they want to see happen over the years. At University Park, we have adapted our plan to be one that provides a continuum of care. Our focus on healthcare has put us in a unique position to strategically partner with tenants that will serve our community and not be in competition with one another. We have relationships with tenants that go 30+ years because we truly feel that their success is our success, and so we foster environments and projects for them to be successful in. We are excited that with the addition of the Stockton Region Rehabilitation Hospital, we will be adding on to the continuum of care that is provided to the residents of our community and located at University Park. 

Jennifer explained to us that rehab patients stay an average of anywhere from 12-14 days and that when a patient is in a hospital for more than a day or two, and are encouraged to get up and move – their environment is incredibly important. She shared with us that “the University Park campus provides an opportunity for an outdoor therapy courtyard and we’ll be able to take advantage of the walking trails, providing space for our patients, their loved ones that come to visit, and our staff. You couldn’t ask for a better location.”

The salvation army official image with some people image
CategoriesCommunity Involvement

Salvation Army: Serving our Stockton Community

The salvation army official image with some people image

Salvation Army: Serving our Stockton Community

by Sandy Grupe Huber, Principal 
March 26, 2021

The Salvation Army is an organization that is familiar and appreciated by many of us recognizing that the services that they provide to those in need are essential to our communities. The Salvation Army assists approximately 23 million Americans annually including many of our local Stocktonians. 

At the end of last year, I had the pleasure of getting to know Lieutenant Mony Oregel (pictured above). Lieutenant Mony serves alongside her husband, Lieutenant Juan Oregel, at the Salvation Army Stockton Corps, located on Weber Avenue,  right down the street from our Grupe Huber headquarters. I was fortunate enough to meet Lieutenant Mony this past holiday season when we, along with some of our University Park tenants, participated in their annual Holiday Toy and Food Drive. We felt that it was a wonderful opportunity for Grupe Huber to give back to our community in a tangible way. You can read more about our successful Food and Toy Drive on the University Park website here. 

As in other communities across America, the Stockton Salvation Army has recently seen a tremendous increase in families needing support. The Stockton Corps reports a spike in over double the amount of people reaching out to them for aid, many of which had never requested food or assistance before the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am grateful for organizations like the Salvation Army, which provide services to our community of Stockton,  that are truly life-altering and potentially life-saving. Services like disaster services, domestic violence services, food & nutrition programs, community recreation programs, and so many more are vital to our community. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and know those serving our Stockton area and want to continue to champion them in the incredibly important work that they do. 

Thank you to all of the generous donors, volunteers, and staff for helping the Salvation Army serve the most vulnerable members of our community. If you would like to learn more about the Salvation Army Stockton Corps or would like to donate, please click here.  

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CategoriesPartner Spotlight

Patmon Company Inc.: A Committed Partnership

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Patmon Company Inc.: A Committed Partnership

March 29, 2021

Grupe Huber is grateful that over the past few decades, we have been able to find incredible businesses to work with on many of our development endeavors. It is important when looking for companies to partner with, that your goals align and there is mutual trust amongst the parties. Patmon Company Inc. (PCI) is one of Stockton’s finest property management and development firms, and we are proud to be working with them.

Charles G. Patmon III (Pat), a lifelong resident of Stockton who began his construction career in 1965, founded the company while attending the University of the Pacific. (Go Tigers!) Pat and Fritz Grupe, Sandy’s Father, have a friendship that dates back to 1965!

Fast forward a few decades and today, Pat’s youngest son Jeff Patmon, and Fritz Grupe’s grandson, Fritz Huber, have a friendship of their own and just completed their first project working together last month, on a $34mm, 156 unit apartment complex.

PCI brought Grupe Huber onto the StoneBrier Apartment complex project in 2017 when they were searching for a company that would be able to function as the project’s construction administration team. Grupe Huber, alongside PCI, was able to work through the process of taking a project from bare land to apartments. 

We’ve enjoyed getting to work with PCI on the recently completed StoneBrier Apartment complex in Stockton, CA, and are looking forward to beginning the next project, the Eight Mile Apartment complex with them this coming summer!

A poster with a cup and milk packet image and some words
CategoriesLatest News

Covid Care Package

A poster with a cup and milk packet image and some words

Covid Care Package

October 12, 2020
by Sandy Grupe Huber, Principal

Our employees are truly special people. 

When California’s lockdown order went into effect, Grupe Huber was classified as an essential service — which meant that while some of our office workers could remain at home, many of our employees would be risking their health to continue the vital projects that would move our local economy forward.  

Even though it was frightening, and even though California was one of the first states affected by this terrible pandemic, Grupe Huber’s employees faced the challenge with grace and good humor. We all quickly pivoted to the new normal of restrictions, social distancing, and tape on the floor! … We even managed to wrap up important milestones, like moving into our new Spruce headquarters at University Park.

Kevin and I marveled at their can-do spirit and were moved by their willingness to assist each other and our community. Because of their hard work and the efforts of our management team, we did not lay off a single person because of COVID-19 — a true blessing at a time when the numbers of California’s unemployed people spiked to 4.8 million, with 75,000 losses in the construction industry alone.  

We’ll never be able to convey the depth of our admiration for our employees. But in June, we certainly tried! We distributed beautifully wrapped care packages to each one of Grupe Huber’s employees that month. In the spirit of paying it forward, we specifically chose certain items that would also benefit our tenants and local businesses.

Each basket included:

  • A beautifully laminated copy of the company’s core values in English and Spanish, using our new brand colors and style to remind them of who Grupe Huber is.
  • A white ceramic mug, custom printed with our Grupe Huber logo
  • Starbucks Coffee beans from the store in the Marina Shopping Center
  • A sugar stir stick for their coffee
  • Hershey’s Almond Kisses – with wrappers that conveniently match our gracious gold logo brand color
  • Gift cards to Octavio’s in the Marina Shopping Center and the Olive Garden in the Quail Lakes Shopping Center to enjoy a stress free meal
  • A Quality of Peace card, highlighting one of the 60 qualities included in University Park’s International World Peace Rose Garden

It felt so good to share this tangible reminder of our admiration for our employees and to create a small bright spot for them. Grupe Huber continues to thrive thanks to their dedication, thoughtfulness, and service to our communities.





Beyond the Blueprint