Joe Farrage is the ideal example of a Brother who has benefitted from giving back and networking.
After all, brother Farrage received two major career boosts as a result of the connections he made as both a Cal Theta undergrad and an SDSU alum. His volunteer activities have not only helped enhance his business success but also enriched his life in general.
Farrage served as public relations chair, treasurer and EA of the Cal Theta chapter, enabling him to get acquainted with ΣΑΕ Alumni Association leaders and other members. Soon after his 1989 graduation, he discussed employment options with Brother Dick Troncone who gave him a solid endorsement to Brother Ron Roberts, then a San Diego City Council member. “I interviewed for a position as Ron’s community liaison/policy advisor and obviously had an advantage because I was an ΣΑΕ,” Farrage noted.“It certainly showed the value of networking."
During the five years he worked for Roberts, Farrage assumed increasingly greater responsibilities, including serving as campaign manager for Ron’s first Supervisorial race. Farrage subsequently met Brother Bill Vogt (OH-LA ’62), a successful San Diego businessman who encouraged him to follow his own entrepreneurial aspirations.“Bill planted the seed for me to enter the business world.We started meeting regularly to discuss the best ways to make a change and review numerous franchise and other opportunities.”
After considering various alternatives, in 1996 Farrage launched one of the first Mad Science franchises, offering after-school and summer science programs for elementary age children. Mad Science/San Diego has grown dramatically from a small start-up based in the living room of Farrage’s partner, to become a well known San Diego business popular with schools, youth groups and community organizations. “Mad Science has grown to 150 locations throughout the country and as one of the early ones, we helped set the bar for future franchisees,” he said.
Farrage eventually decided to explore other professional opportunities as well. “As we grew Mad Science, I realized that it could run very well without my day-to-day involvement so I began to consider new areas and thought real estate would be a great fit.”
After passing the real estate exam, Farrage went to work for Prudential Real Estate’s Del Mar office in 2005 and was named Rookie of the Year. “I know so many people through my fraternity and business background; becoming a real estate agent has been a good move,” he said.“This is a tough business with a lot of competition, but I definitely enjoy it.”
Now a successful agent with Keller Williams in Carmel Valley, Farrage also serves as a court-appointed Realtor for bankruptcy properties and the approved Realtor for trust estate sales.
While he continues to be closely involved with both Mad Science and real estate, Farrage is always ready for a new venture, such as his recent investment in Peachjar, which helps schools convert to a paperless system.
In addition, Farrage is committed to giving back to the community and ΣΑΕ. He is a member of the San Diego Downtown Rotary Club, SDSU Alumni Association Board (and previously the Aztec Athletic Foundation Board), and the San Diego Foundation’s Real Estate Advisory Board, in addition to the ΣΑΕ Alumni Association Board of Directors. He will serve as MC for Founder’s Day. “Volunteerism has always been important to me, beginning when I first joined ΣΑΕ,” he said.
It’s no surprise that Farrage is an advocate of volunteer involvement as a proven way to network. “I have benefitted greatly from my fraternity associations,” he said. “I learned so much from Dick Troncone, an early mentor, and later from Ron Roberts who taught me a great deal, and Bill Vogt who advised me on how to start my own business and continues to be a good mentor.”
While he is extremely busy with his active work schedule and volunteer activities, Farrage does find time for regular gym workouts and of course, to stay in touch with fraternity brothers. “Joining ΣΑΕ was such a great experience: interacting with different personalities, getting things accomplished and having fun at the same time,” he stressed.“I try to keep in contact with bros of my era and hope that more of them will attend Founder’s Day and even become involved on a regular basis.”