Posted Thursday, December 8, 2022
By Shaun Ryan
One of the most important things Brian Ferlin learned while pursuing a career in the NHL was the value of perseverance. In fact, it’s a quality that has served him well in his post-hockey days as he established and built his real estate development firm, B3 Ventures.
But perseverance is not something learned without obstacles to overcome.
Hockey is a game closely associated with the cold North. And, as a Jacksonville native, Ferlin knew he had to prove himself.
“If you have that mentality, no one’s going to want you to succeed more than you want yourself to succeed,” he said. “That’s always my thing. I always push myself harder than other people can push me.”
That perseverance took him from the local ice rink in his youth to Cornell University to the world of professional hockey.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy route,” he said. “My parents sacrificed a ton, both in time and just financially. They were driving me all over the state at a young age and flying me all over the country to play in tournaments. I definitely would not have even come close to where I got without them and everything they did for me.”
Hockey is not a sport for the hesitant or cautious. And Ferlin, who said he has never really had a fear of failure, moved to Indianapolis halfway through high school so that he could play junior hockey with the Indiana Ice in the U.S. Hockey League. There, he would be coached by Jeff Blashill, who later went on to coach the Detroit Red Wings.
Ferlin’s outstanding play resulted in his selection for the 2011 USHL All-Star Game. He also represented the United States at a major tournament in Europe. Two good seasons resulted in a commitment to Cornell, where he had a solid career.
In his junior year, he was drafted in the fourth round by the Boston Bruins organization, where he played at first in their Providence, Rhode Island, farm system team.
In 2015, during his rookie year with the Boston Bruins, he made his first NHL point in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. It remains one of his favorite memories because it was broadcast on national television and his family got to attend the game. In addition, his dad, being from Chicago, had a lot of friends who could attend, being season ticket holders.
Unfortunately, Ferlin sustained injuries that kept him off the ice, and after a brief stint with the Edmonton Oilers’ affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, he retired from professional hockey.
“Like a lot of people when they get done playing sports, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Ferlin said.
He’d long had an interest in real estate and even took some elective classes on the subject while at Cornell, so that was the path he selected.
Returning to Jacksonville, he connected with Corner Lot CEO Andy Allen, who offered him a job as assistant land development manager.
“It was a life-changing opportunity,” Ferlin said, “because without that opportunity, I wouldn’t be sitting here where I am today.”
He accepted the offer and worked under the company’s then-director of land development, Lee Hutchins.
“He kind of took me under his wing and taught me really everything I know,” Ferlin said.
After about a year, he began to manage his own projects, including some large ones.
“The cool thing for me is I got to see so much and so many different types of projects just in a fairly short time,” he said.
Then, in November 2021, Ferlin launched his own company. In his first year, he’s seen a lot of success. He currently has about 1,200 units or lots in the works and has sold a large subdivision to D.R. Horton.
Essentially, Ferlin approaches property owners to see if they would be interested in selling. If so, he takes the land through permitting and rezoning processes, preparing it for sale to developers of communities and national home builders. All of the preparation he puts into the property adds value to it.
Another side of his business is consulting.
A chance to reflect
Ferlin maintains a desk at the link, a co-working space at 425 Town Plaza Ave., Ponte Vedra. Because he and his family live in Nocatee, he said he can simply walk or ride his bike to work.
“It’s a great place to network, too,” he said. “I meet all sorts of interesting people.”
Looking back over the years, Ferlin recognizes that, while perseverance played an important role in is success, the support of others was also important.
“I’ve had a lot of people in my life, from my parents and coaches to guys like Andy and other people, who have really helped me get to where I am,” he said. “So, I’m thankful for everything a lot of people have done for me.”