Andrew Vanis




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About Andy and Skiing





University of Portland – MBA Finance and Marketing


Eastern Oregon University – BS Business with Physics Minor




*** One of the things I think is fun at work – Finding Money ***





I am a first-generation American.  I was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic).  When I was eight years old, my mother escaped with me and my brother and her second husband from that Eastern block country.


We came to the US in 1980, the day Ronald Reagan was elected.  My first English words were learned on the plane over.  Those words were “I am hungry.”  Those words are still appropriate to me not only because I really do enjoy a good meal, be it simple or gourmet, but that I realize that I have been and still am hungry for accomplishment.


I believe the main influence in striving for accomplishment is the influence of my mother.  Just think, a woman around thirty years old dragging along two kids 8 and 10, comes to a new country not knowing the language so her kids can have a better life.  First she takes a job refinishing furniture.  With much effort and gumption, she applies her art training and talent to not just get a job but also to get freelance work.  She goes on to create identities for companies from the US government to Hostess.  You can see some of her work here - .  This is my favorite and I still remember in grade school staying up late with her as she was working on this - .  Little did I know the full impact of this specific message.


In August 1986, less than six years later after arriving in the US, my mother worked and saved enough to buy a house in a good school district so my brother and I could have a good high school experience and be properly prepared for college.  To start with nothing and having two kids to raise to boot, and still in a short time buying a house, what a great accomplishment! I am proud of her.


Financial Advisor

            Joined Morgan Stanley in 2012.  They like to control their message so Google me and them for the official message.  My favorite part of this are the client interaction, educating them, and helping them figure out what life goals they are investing for.  I work with an excellent team.

Problem solver

            This is probably my most fun area -figuring out how to get things done and getting them done.  I like the challenge of taking on the difficult and I love the satisfaction of doing something that someone else thought not possible.  What I have found was that, in general, it just takes time and effort to reach the solution.  Luck does help too.


            I have been involved with residential and commercial real estate ventures and hold a small portfolio of properties.  I have been lucky that I have had long term tenants for a while and I hope it stays that way.  My tenants say they like having me as a landlord.  I take that as a compliment and am grateful they prove it by staying as my tenants.  If you want to ask them yourself, you can find their addresses at  On that page you can also see some of the rehabs I have done.

            Also, I have looked into ventures outside of real estate.  None have struck me yet but I really enjoyed looking into new compressed natural gas tank technology for vehicles –  I had high hopes for this tech since I “got it” due to my science background and interests and most importantly I might have had a change to work with David Pape, a man I respect and admire greatly.  I still have a single cab CNG truck that I love for its technology even though it is in no way practical for my family of four and our three dogs.

Real Estate Broker – Commercial

            I enjoyed being a broker and got to work on some satisfying and large deals but it was all crushed one day when a successful, though not respectable, investor I was making a presentation to said “Well if it’s such a good deal why don’t you buy it.”  I have been focusing on investments since.

Real Estate Agent – Residential

            While in college, I got my real estate license as soon as possible at 21.   On the hundred-plus question licensing test I got all answers correct but one and while in college started practicing RE in my small college town of 12,500 people.  I had nine closing in my first six months.  Then, my broker asked me to find a different office because the other agents were uncomfortable about me.  Devastating at the time but redeeming a few years later when the same broker said he should not have done that since the same agents did not work out in the long run anyway.  Real Estate was in my blood.

Sales manager

            Eventually I managed the Northern California sales for a national portrait studio.  This company brought their photo studios to grocery and other types of stores and provided high volume lower cost portraits.    My team had the highest sales averages and I received several awards. 

It all started in high school when my mom met a man, to whom she has been married since – congrats mom!, who worked for such a company.  He started his own company and let me help run it.  I was such a basket case at first but then I got the hang of it.  Back then I still stuttered a lot in uncomfortable situations so I stuttered a lot with the first customers.  Also, I talked really fast.  One of the first people was jovial but he did ask if I was on drugs.  Great, and funny, learning experience. 

I did this through community college and then started with the national company when I went on to undergraduate and also did this when starting in real estate.  I did the photo sales job full time after my residential broker asked me to find a different office, see “Real Estate Agent – Residential” above.

All this sales acumen started in junior high.  I worked on a crew that sold products in the suburbs of Chicago made by blind folks at the Lighthouse for the Blind.  I did this for several years and was the top sales kid most days.  We only worked on Saturday and we got to keep 10% of sales.  It was common for me to come home with $100-$150 and sometimes $200 for one days of work.  Pretty good for a 7th grader in 1985.




Hang Gliding

            My biggest obsession for the last 8 years.  Contrary to what most think it is not an adrenaline sport, for me at least.  It is the challenge of going far, and sometimes really far, just on air currents that you can’t see.  It is the one case where being a bird brain is a good thing.  Every time up is a learning experience, be it the interpretation of the weather, the details of the terrain that generates the lift, or of the self - how I prepared, how I am handling the flight, how I’m handling almost sinking out, how I can keep myself going even if I’m really tired, how to keep my head on the task, how to always look for that other way out if the current plan starts going sideways.


            I love to ski and the thing that always keeps it interesting is the pursuit of the perfect carve.  The shaped skis make that easier but the weighing fore/aft, hand position, etc. still make noticeable differences and I am blessed that I can recognize those differences. 

I skied a little in the Czech Republic and was heartbroken when the new skis I got were left behind when we escaped.  I did not ski much then until I could drive.  Then I skied 70+ days some years by arranging my school schedule to start at 7am, finished by 2pm, driving an hour and a half to 298 foot skiing form 4pm to 11pm, driving home and doing it again the next day.  I got myself on the local youth ski team by offering the team photos – see later part of Sales Manager section above – and continued racing through college. I got the furthest of all our college team when we went to the regional race only to miss my second run to a chairlift malfunction.  It happens…

I taught both of my kids to ski when 2 years old.  They are good at it and they enjoy it very much.  Now I coach a ski racing team and instruct people to get to have this exceptional experience.


            I loved this sport, so fluid, so much working with currents.  Very much like hang gliding in that way.  I have not Kayaked much since coming to NM but when in Oregon It was my new skill set.  One of the things I most enjoyed was entering the water from a riverside rock.  It was almost like flying.  The other significant thing I learned was not to be afraid of the rocks underneath.  It was very much a mental roadblock.  When I started, I was very worried I would hit one with my face when I was flipped over.  The way I overcame it was by reasoning that if I kept my head to my boat when over I would just bound off of them- this also happened to be the right position to set up for a roll.  I finally flipped over on purpose before a shallow section, bounced off a few rocks, rolled back up and have not had that issue since.  I still consider it a potential danger but that irrational fear is gone.


            I LOVED windsurfing.  Also another thing I have not done since moving to NM.  I started before I could drive so thanks mom for driving me around.  Long story but the think I enjoyed working on the most was getting that perfect jibe.  It is very much like the carve in skiing with the weighting of the board.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I still feel like I have a lot to learn, especially on the “Oregon side” jibe.  The college ski team and the proximity to the Columbia Gorge helped make my decision to finish my undergrad in Oregon.  It has not been lost on me that the windsurfing sail is basically on half of a hang gliding wing.

Rock Climbing




VW Vanagon

My adventure vessel.  Have is set up for both summer and winter adventures.  And it let’s me tinker and design.



Mirek Vanis

            Mirek is now (1/2019) in 2nd year at Pitzer College studying math after graduating early.  He is so bright.  And so AWESOME!!! He has embraced the love of the outdoors and is an spectacular rafter, kayaker, skier, rock climber.  He has a personality that draws people to him and he is seen as a leader.  I am very proud of him!


(The following is an earlier version, don’t even remember when I wrote it) Mirek is a great kid with a great outlook to whom good things seem to happen to out of the blue.  I hope this continues for him in his life, even though it does make me a little jealous.  I am concluding that this ease of life is a result of his outlook and attitude so in my base belief that we call all learn something to at least some degree I am watching and trying to emulate his relaxed (but still intense) attitude.  Mirek is more like his mom and I really enjoy the times Mirek and I can connect.  It is not as easy for me as with Avalon but It is really important to me so I try as best I can.  He is teaching me a lot!  Too often I am harder on him that I intend and I am working on identifying those situations.  As all humans Mirek has many fine qualities.  The one that stands out for me is his drive.  If he is after a ball in Soccer or after getting his gymnastics routine figured out he is driven after it.  And all this while having a great time.

Avalon Vanis

             Avalon…Amazing!..even if she has some teenager happening ;-) 1/2019 she is in her Junior year and will graduate early.  She is bright in so many ways.  As a high school freshman she took a college statistics course over summer and got the highest grade in the class.  Avalon is very compassionate and empathetic.  She loves animals and has 3 dogs!


(The following is an earlier version, don’t even remember when I wrote it)  Avalon is much more like me in attitude so we can connect very easily.  She might be the most comfortable person in the world for me to be around and for that I am very delighted.  I hope that feeling stays as time goes on.  She’s a delight, creative, has initiative, and very expressively caring.  She’s way into animals and is the reason we have three dogs, a bird, and a frog.