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One-on-One with Phil Lindborg

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Phil Lindborg, founder of Dragonfly Investments and numerous other companies, is a lone wolf in the commercial development business.

He runs a successful development and investment company out of his home, forgoing a fancy office to put his money into other interests.

Despite his untraditional business setup, Lindborg has become a successful developer and investor. His projects include Kiddie Academy at Louisiana and Alameda, a new Bosque Brewing location in Bernalillo coming soon to the former Jackalope there, and his most ambitious project to date, the Village @ La Orilla, a retail development anchored by Flix Brewhouse.

To say Lindborg is a lone wolf is not to say he hasn’t had help. He has been “blessed” to have the help and guidance of other businesses in the industry. He started small, buying up tracts of land to sell to residential developers, and eventually he was able to take on commercial projects on his own.

But being a lone wolf does allow Lindborg the freedom to make his own choices as he sees fit. He has lived all over the country, and he chose New Mexico to set up shop. He has worked in several industries, and he chose to land on commercial development. He chooses to spend his free time helping kids and working in his church.

What was growing up in Yuma like?

I moved around a lot, so I can’t say that I spent more than about 3 ½ years in any town. It gave me a broad base of the country.

I lived in southern and northern California. I lived in the Chicagoland area. I lived in Pennsylvania. I lived in two places in New York state. And have lived twice in New Mexico, once when I was a young boy and my dad ran the La Fonda hotel and I actually lived in the La Fonda hotel. Then we came back in my sophomore year in high school to Ruidoso, and my dad ran the Inn of the Mountain Gods. And I loved New Mexico so much, the blue skies, which we’re looking at now, the lack of humidity … and I had a chance to set down roots and a choice where I live and New Mexico was beautiful. And I picked this state.

Was there a reason why you guys were moving around so much?

My dad working for the Fred Harvey Corp. (He) was very good at turning troubled properties around.

Do you have brothers or sisters?

I have one brother who is a real estate litigator in L.A. He is world-renowned, and we have been very blessed in that regard. And then I’ve got a sister who’s mentally handicapped. She has lived in a couple of the very nice group homes in New Mexico.

What is your favorite place you have lived, besides New Mexico of course?

Napa, Calif. It was gorgeous, and it was a time before I (began working and was forced to grow up quickly).

And so it was just before I started working full time in the summertime. So it’s from the 9- to 11-year-old category, because we started working part time at 12 and full time at 13 in the summers.

When did you start working in development?

I began in about 2003, gradually worked my way into development. I learned how to do some of the processes, and then over time learned all of the processes.

Then I paid for a second education by having investors and doing the work basically for free, just to show them they could make money doing it.

Then, one was kind enough to take me in to partner, and that got me launched.

But you are sort of a one-man-team, right?

Yeah. Well, a one-man-team with a lot of good people behind me. Like Snyder Construction, to be quite honest. Snyder Construction has helped me a great deal with their knowledge and their willingness to take time with me. We’ve helped one another out.

So I know church is very important to you. Can you speak a bit about your church?

Yeah, my faith is very important.

I go to Copper Pointe Church. And what drew me to Copper Pointe was their outreach to young people and their focus on young people in middle school and high schoolers in particular.

The other thing that drew me to Copper Pointe was its outreach into the community. It’s a very diverse community which appeals to me. New Mexico is a diverse state with diverse cultures, which I truly love. You learn from everybody. With a group like that, it’s fun to be around.

What programs have you and Copper Pointe worked on?

We have City Serve, where once or twice a year we get 700 to 1,000 people from the church. We go throughout the community and prearranged areas, whether in schools to clean up or fire departments, whatever, and we’ll work throughout the city.

Now, we do things throughout the year, going down to the park to feed the homeless and things like that, in joint efforts with other people.

We’ve got a very big program for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’re very proud of our church, and for a church that’s good-sized, but by far not the largest church in Albuquerque, we generally give away between 1,500 to 2,300 complete turkey dinners. And when I say complete, if you picture a box of copy paper (and) within it people will have potatoes to make mashed potatoes. They will have green beans. They’ll have a pun’kin pie and rolls. Then we’ll give them between a 16- and 18-pound turkey. …

Then we’ve got the Christmas tree giveaway. … I’ve seen families, which is literally so cool, one family where they picked up three bicycles for their children.

What do you do for fun?

I hike. I love to go up Bear Canyon Arroyo, look at the cholla cactuses, the prickly pear cactuses.

Simple things in life do a lot for me, whether it’s watching bunnies, watching the hawks fly, watching lizards go. I will look at the beauty of the mountains.

I love to garden.

I’m a voracious reader of (fiction).

But I’ve worked out a lot. Up until four years (ago), I was in the gym four or five times a week.

And I love to travel.

What do you see as your future in development?

Well, even though I love to develop, which is fun, along with my church, I’m driven toward other ministry opportunities.

There is an orphanage in Juárez (Mexico) called Rivers of Mercy, which has 43 children. (It) just bought land to be able to do teenage children and separate the smaller children from the larger children.

Then there have been numerous water wells that we have drilled in Africa. … Then building medical buildings also in Africa.

Occasionally (we will) sponsor villages, if the elders will let us sponsor and we teach them how to rotate crops and teach the ladies (skills) for (making a) year-round income.

These are the things that drive me. The development is fun, but this is really what drives me.

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