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Richard Jerman, Sun Terra Communities

Richard Jerman, Sun Terra Communities
As principal of Sun Terra Communities, Richard Jerman has pulled off some of Central Florida's biggest land deals, including the $70 million Hills of Minneola. (Handout)

Richard Jerman describes himself and his partners as “opportunity seekers.” They watch all the areas. And of late, Sun Terra Communities has had its collective eyes on impressive swaths of Central Florida real estate, from Minneola to Horizon West. Seeing opportunity, however, is something Jerman’s been perfecting since he was about 10 years old.

That’s when he caught the rock ‘n’ roll bug.

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Back in his native Indianapolis, there weren’t many bands. But amid the burgeoning, young musicians finding their groove in the Heartland, Jerman quickly noticed that there was a scarcity of bass players. “…which is precisely why I got into it,” he told GrowthSpotter. “When I was learning, there were so many guys who wanted to be lead guitarist. Nobody wanted to play bass, so I said, ‘I will.’”

As such, he never went without a gig, playing in a host of bands throughout high school, college, even post-grad.

“Every party I went to, I was working,” he chuckles. “We played nightclubs, fraternity parties, we were always doing something. I would have loved to make it a career, but I knew it wasn’t practical,” he says. “It was just fun.

His parents were fully supportive, though Jerman was pragmatic, following in his father’s footsteps and earning a degree in accounting. Earning his keep with the family business was his first grown-up gig, but it didn’t take long before Jerman realized it was a less than stellar fit.

He turned an eye toward business, moving into the retail pet industry, and topped out with nine stores before deciding to sell. Consulting work then led to a move south, but Jerman bypassed Orlando at first – making Boca Raton his first Floridian home. It was 1981.

“I wanted to get out of the cold, like everyone else,” Jerman says, “and I enjoyed my work with the Indiana banks as it moved into real estate – it’s challenging, it’s exciting, it’s unpredictable, and if you’re successful, you can be really successful … there’s a wide spectrum of opportunity.”

And always, he says, surprises.

“I don’t think I’ve been involved with any developments that have gone exactly as planned.”

For more solidly predictable plans, Jerman relies on travel – which he’s been enjoying more of in recent years. He and his wife, Barbara, now Winter Springs residents, are fans of cruising. He counts journeys through the Baltic and Panama Canal as two of their most exciting to date.

“I take my family – all my kids, their spouses and a couple of grandkids -- and every year we do a weeklong cruise. Our last sailed out of Barcelona, through the Med, over to Italy. It’s a great thing to do – my grandchildren got to see Rome, the Vatican, Pompeii….”

The Jermans are holding off on summer sailings, though, as Barbara’s daughter is set to have a baby, after which a jaunt to Napa’s wine country – “my wife has never been” – will be on the menu, presumably with cheese and olives.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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