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From the football field to the Boardroom: Cameron Colvin Gets it Done


Cameron Colvin’s accomplishments from youth into adulthood are impressive, and there’s no indication that his forward momentum is slowing down. So, what has propelled this former high-school star athlete who later played for the NFL, to go on to become chairman of a multimillion-dollar international real estate development company, an author, and a philanthropist? “Advisors Magazine” set out to find out during a recent interview by asking him what’s inside of him calling the plays.

“I think it was instilled in me as a kid. My mother and father passed away – I wasn’t able to live a normal childhood, I had to become a young man very fast. So, I’ve always had the will and the drive to accept challenges. A number of things that I do till this day, I didn’t study in college or have anyone bring them to me as a young person. I’ve come across many of these things by surrounding myself with great people,” said Colvin, adding that he’s a team player always up for a challenge. “I love working with people. That’s where my drive comes from – making my peers proud, my family proud, and being in a position to give other people the opportunities to live there dreams as well. My drive comes from me just serving other people.”

Colvin lost both his parents by the time he was 16. His godfather, a close friend of the family and also his basketball coach, stepped into a role anointed by Colvin’s mother prior to her passing.

“It looks like my mother foresaw a lot of things that were going to happen. She told me, ‘Hey Cameron, if anything ever happened to me, go be with your godfather because he’s going to teach you certain things – how to be a young man and certain responsibilities that you’re going to need to know.’ That was our conversation, simple as that.

She passed a few years later, and I followed suit,” Colvin said.

Playing the Field
Before she died, Colvin had promised his mother that he would graduate from college because she told him that even though he was a talented athlete, “it’s not going to last long.”

And a talented athlete he was.

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Colvin was a standout football player in high school and in college, and after graduating from the University of Oregon, he made it to the pros in 2008 where he played as a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers for two years.

During his time in the NFL, Colvin drew from his education as a marketing major by strategically positioning himself as a business – he was the first product of his first company.

“As a professional athlete I was getting paid to hold shoes – I was getting all these marketing opportunities and endorsements, so I turned myself into a business,” he said, adding that he put a small team together that not only worked on his marketing initiatives but sought to assist other individuals and companies with theirs. “Before you knew it, we started doing some pretty good things.”

From “Pretty Good” to Great
Today, Colvin leads parent company CamCo Commercial Inc., a business and real estate development company based in Las Vegas. He also founded Rise Above Enterprises and Rise Above Creative Solutions; the latter is the marketing and advertising arm of the company with an office in Hong Kong where they help businesses enter the global marketplace. In all, Colvin’s business ventures employ 26 people.

camcolvin400x1000Currently, CamCo Commericial is developing a $150 million theme park in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Also, in the planning stages are numerous multi-family housing developments to be built over the next five to 15 years – from high-end luxury properties to low income housing – in Arizona, Texas, and Las Vegas among other locations.

“We also have plans to also build schools and work heavily within the cities that we operate in to help facilitate different opportunities for education,” Colvin said.

Additional initiatives include bringing healthy eating destinations to the valley of Arizona as he and his partners are developing quick service restaurant concepts and anticipate launching at least five locations over the next 5 years.

CamCo Commercial has also entered the cannabis industry with groves in Phoenix and Oregon for both medical and recreational applications.

Going Up?
Colvin is in partnership with Entrepreneur Venture Capital, part of Entrepreneur Media Inc., which landed him a gig as an angel investor on season two of “Elevator Pitch,” a show streamed on entrepreneur.com. Named after the classic sales practice of always being prepared to give a concise and persuasive message about your company’s product or service during an elevator ride, the show’s entrepreneurial contestants get 60 seconds to pitch investors to provide seed money to grow their business.

camcolvin200x400Colvin liked what he saw in Claffey’s Frozen Cocktails and invested with the inventor to build the brand and broaden the company’s product offering of alcohol-infused popsicles for adults.
Within CamCo Commercial, a $500 million-dollar venture fund has been established which Colvin says will grow to “over a few billion in the next couple years.” He wants to help young entrepreneurs and start-ups with upfront capital and assist them with strategies to grow or be acquired by other companies.

The importance of mentoring and guiding young entrepreneurs or anyone starting to earn money – especially if it is significant – is something Colvin understands. When he started receiving paychecks from the NFL, the market had just crashed in 2008.

“I had some smart mentors around me that were able to guide me and say, ‘Hey, this is a great time for you to buy.’” said Colvin. “That’s how I made my first investment – jumping into the market as an athlete having some excess capital and letting the capital work for me. I held on for a few years and it turned around great.”

Having left professional sports and now in the role of a global real estate developer, he is pleased with the state of the country’s current economic climate and points to real estate opportunities in Arizona calling it a buyer’s market. “And tax cuts are always good, you can’t be mad at that,” he said.

To leverage the economy’s momentum, Colvin suggests that entrepreneurs consider joint ventures with business partners that can cut costs and help mitigate some of the risk.

Never Stop
A portion of Colvin’s life was depicted in “When the Game Stands Tall,” a movie released in 2014 by Sony Pictures that told the story of his high school football team, the De La Salle Spartans. The film grossed over $30 million and earned Colvin a new fan base eager to know more about his life. After receiving thousands of letters, he created the “NeverStop” book series including, “The Power of Daily Affirmations” and “Cameron Colvin’s 12 Principles of Success.”

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“NeverStop has become a great tool for me to bring messages of positivity to young adults,” said Colvin, adding that all of the proceeds from book sales go to Linking Sports & Communities, his non-profit foundation started 15 years ago that focuses on helping underprivileged youth; Colvin now serves as CEO. “The organization has done some great things in the Phoenix area, and over the last few years, we’ve expanded into Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Las Vegas.”

So, how did Colvin’s journey as a young athlete who later turned pro prepare him for the business world?

“Every principle that I operate my business with came from playing sports as a kid, a college kid, and the pros. All of those intangibles that I was taught – being accountable, being on time, teamwork, and understanding how to put together teams and be a leader – all those things came from being a young athlete as a young man,” he said. “For me, education is key. The real education is getting out there and doing it, but I think you should have your foundation and take advantage of the information that is given.”

 

 

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