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Conversation with third generation of The Lutgert Companies: Moore About Business

At a recent gathering of business owners and entrepreneurs, the guest speakers were family members of Ray Lutgert. He began his commercial real estate development business nearly 50 years ago, starting with the Park Shore planned unit community in Naples and when Lutgert died in 2010 at the age of 90, his legacy continued through the work of his children and grandchildren.

From oldest to youngest, they are Kim Lutgert Confer, who oversees Quality Control and Customer Service; Kristin Lutgert Cartwright, Vice President of Development Services for Premier Sotheby, as well as Marketing Director for the company; and Erik Lutgert, Vice President of The Lutgert Companies. Their eldest sibling, Kurt, who was very involved in the family business, passed away in 2021.

Erik shared how the company began.

“Our grandfather moved down to Naples in 1964 and purchased a tract of land from the Collier family, today known as Park Shore," Lutgert said. "It was 760 acres, a mile and a quarter of beachfront. And you know, he was in development and real estate up in Chicago and he sold everything he had and put everything he had into the land at Park Shore. So it was a pretty big risk at the time. It was over the course of 40 years that the company developed at Park Shore.”

Today, Lutgert companies have over 40 offices from Florida to North Carolina, and several divisions, including Lutgert Title, Lutgert Insurance, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Lutgert Construction, Premier Commercial, as well as Northern Trust Bank.

Erik, a professional athlete for several years, described his path to the company.

“I ran from the family business for a long time. There was an opportunity there but I just wasn’t ready to do that. And my brother went to work for the company straight out of high school. So he was in it for a good stretch. But you can only be a professional athlete for so long. At some point I realized I needed to get a job," recalled Lutgert. 'So when I turned 35 I started to work for the company. It’s actually been really good for me because I took it for granted for so long -- the opportunity -- that I feel like I appreciate it that much more now. Where if I’d gone to work there straight out of high school I woulda been burnt out by now.”

When asked what they thought their grandfather would have been most surprised to see come out of his original vision, Erik said this:

“My brother Kurt shared a conversation that he had with our grandfather Raymond one time. And Raymond told Kurt that he never thought in a million years that Park Shore would’ve been so successful. He was just doing another project. But what it turned into, he was just blown away by its success.”

Karen Moore is a contributing partner for WGCU and the publisher of SWFL Business Today.

Publisher of SWFL Business Today