Sean McCracken: Helping to get people together
By SAMANTHA WASHER
Photos by Mary Hurlbut
If you have any interest in architecture, or you are simply looking for a group to mingle with, realtor Sean McCracken has one for you: Laguna Friends of Architecture. In two years the group McCracken started has grown to over 1,000 members. With meetings twice monthly that have anywhere from 60 to 120 people in attendance, it’s clear this was an idea whose time had come.
“The original members of the group were really dedicated to architecture. Now people are coming for the community and learning about architecture,” explains Sean.
The basketball courts at Main Beach are a draw
An east coast transplant, Sean received his MBA from USC. Finding Los Angeles to be “too smoggy”, he looked up and down the coast, from San Diego to Santa Barbara, for a place to settle. The year was 1978 and he chose Laguna Beach. The 6’5” McCracken remembers, “Laguna was the best place I’d seen. I saw those basketball courts and I really like to play basketball…” Having chosen his home he now had to find a way to make a living.
“Coming from the east coast, prep-school world, I didn’t understand the real estate economy. At ‘SC everyone’s father seemed to be involved in real estate, but I went into software technology, real estate software. It was a lot of planes, trains and automobiles. Then 9/11 happened. And the software business isn’t really much of a relationship business. I liked hanging in town so in 2006 I went into residential real estate. It allowed me to do more of the kind of projects that I like to do,” he explains.
A career change allows for more community involvement
With his business travel over, Sean unleashed his civic involvement with a vengeance. Tapping into his environmental interests he organized the first toxic waste pick up, then the first city-wide “green” shopping bag (the “Laguna bag”) and followed that with the first water-wise expo.
Finding these events to be “all one shot deals” (although the toxic clean up and the water expo are still going in different formats), Sean came to realize that “what gets people excited is being introduced to people with the same passions. People feel disconnected. As a realtor, when I talk to people about why they’re moving they say they have troublemaking friends here. You drive up your hill, shut your garage and you’re shut out from what’s going on. I came up with this concept of getting people out of the cyber-world and bringing them together for a common interest.”
From this, Transition Laguna was born.