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Get to Know Your PlaceWise Peeps: Brian Shapiro, NPM

Position: National Portfolio Manager

Hometown: My hometown is called Cleve-Land, Ohio.

Education: I went to the University of Toledo for marketing and management.

How long have you been with PlaceWise?

I’ve been with PlaceWise for 3 years now. I guess I like it.

How long have you been in Denver, and how did you get here?

I’ve been in Denver for about 9 years now, I came here in November of 2007. I was living in Toledo just working for a radio station, and rent was actually more than I made every month because of where I lived – which was in a penthouse at the radio station! I had the chance to only pay $200/mo for rent if I moved out to Breckenridge and lived under a pool table. SO, I just took it and ran with it! I had never been to Breckenridge before, but I snowboarded, so I figured my days would just be occupied with that. So, I lived in Breckenridge for 8 months just snowboarding and then, once all the snow melted, just riding my bike. Then I moved down to Denver because I had a year old Bachelor’s Degree and figured, “Hmm, I should probably figure out a way to use this…?” So I moved down, split a 300 square foot studio apartment with my best friend, and the rest is essentially history.

What’s your number one tech tool that you can’t live without?

My number one tech tool is probably my mobile battery charger. I can just be like, out in the woods camping for the week, and still be able to make movies and take photos out in the wilderness.

What’s your favorite bar in Denver?

Okay so my favorite bar that I’ve EVER visited in Denver – and this is the BEST bar I’ve EVER been to – isn't open anymore. But, when I first moved to Denver we were looking for places with really good deals – just like, “Could we go here for $5 dollars and hang for three hours?” type of places. So, we found this place in Capital Hill called Gabor’s, and they always had some sort of deal for happy hour AND they had a free jukebox and free pool. AND they had a TON of food. But the free jukebox was key, and then, to boot, you could bring in a CD – yes, at that time it was CD’s – with all of the tracks written down and listed out, and if it was vetted by the bartenders, they would put your CD or mix into the jukebox and you could play it whenever you came back. It was awesome. It closed down though, because it was just too cheap, I think, and they didn’t make any money!

What’s your favorite Colorado vacation spot?

Buena Vista. I like to go camping out there for just as long as I possibly can. Buena Vista exists between this valley between two mountain ranges and you can just sit on the eastern ridge and look across at the western ridge, the Collegiate Peaks – which has the Princeton, Yale, and Harvard mountains – and it’s just the most incredible view. I like to just sit out there and stare at them.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Denver?

Despite the popular belief that I am obsessed with Chipotle, it’s actually not at the top of my list. I appreciate Chipotle’s quickness and streamlined service, almost like wearing the same clothes every day – just super convenient and you don’t have to think about it. But my favorite restaurant is Bistro Vendome, which is right around the corner from PlaceWise. It’s tucked away, you can’t see it from the street, and it’s just SO wonderful. IT’S SO GOOD. It’s just classic, French fine dining. Classic French stuff. It’s just my favorite spot.

Summer or winter?

Summer, because it won’t kill you. I like snowboarding, it’s great, but if you stay outside long enough you’ll just die. But with summer, you can just do what you want, wherever you want, and it’s up to you to make the decision to wear less clothes. Or not.

Beer or wine?

Wine. So I’m aging, like everyone else, and I just find that beer’s, you know, really cool and masculine and stuff… But it makes me really bloated. And kind of gives me heartburn. I’ve never had any of these issues with wine, so it seems to be the easier pick as we age.

Coffee or tea?

Oh coffee, definitely. And the only reason behind that is the caffeine. A cup of coffee will really get me going. And I really just need to be up to the level – I call it the “punching through walls level”– and one cup of coffee will just get me there. One cup of tea, though, will affect me like 5 cups of coffee does. It’s really weird, but whatever chemicals that are in tea, along with the caffeine, just make me SUPER jittery. And green tea specifically does it the worst. If I drink green tea, then I’m just… SO crazy. So crazy.

Pancakes or waffles?

Waffles. Definitely. I know I like them better, because they are better. They’re like fluffy and airy, you know? You don’t need to even have syrup or butter with them; they’re just GOOD. Waffles. They’re just good. Straight out of the pan. They’re that good. But you have ONE pancake without anything on it, and they just become boring, and sandy, and heavy-feeling… Waffles are better. The reigning queen of batter-y foods: waffles!

Dogs or cats?

I have a cat. He’s great. And he’s great not only because of his “cat-onality,” but in terms of maintenance – he's so efficient! They just already know where to go to the bathroom. I didn’t even have to train my cat; he’s just already trained to just go outside, you know? And then, if we go on vacation, he poops inside in the right place. If there’s any animal, even like a hedgehog, that just KNOWS where to go to the bathroom, then they just automatically beat a dog. They just do.

Favorite PlaceWise moment?

Favorite PlaceWise moment? There’s a lot of them. But I would say my favorite was when I was walking to lunch with a couple of my team members. The snow was melting that day, and we walked by this awning and kind of started to hear this sliding sound, but we didn't really think anything of it… And then ALL of a sudden, all this snow just DUMPS out from up above us in between my coworker and me, and it just COVERS our other coworker that was in the middle of us! It was so, so perfectly funny. That was hands down my favorite PlaceWise moment.

If you could travel to one place in the whole world, where would you go?

Probably the southernmost tip of Chile. I think it’s the windiest place in the world. I don’t know, I just want to go to a place that has extreme weather. I would need a buddy though – I couldn’t go alone. I’d need the buddy system because if I blow away, at least someone knows what happened. I feel like somebody should have a good idea of what happened.