At just four years old, Oleg Bortman traveled with his family to the United States, seeking freedoms that they had never known. Born in Kyiv, the Jewish immigrants left Ukraine before the Russians closed the border in 1980.
“My parents came for the ‘American Dream,’ and they found it through hard work and perseverance. They couldn’t speak English and took any job they could find to provide for their family,” Oleg said.
His father was a sheet metal mechanic, his mother a seamstress; they settled in New Jersey, where they began to raise Oleg and his older sister, Marina. They soon learned that what they had heard about America was indeed true – hard work paid off, and anything was possible.
“It was the best life ever, for us, as my parents were paid for their hard work and could share their opinions without being thrown in jail,” Bortman said.
His parents’ work ethic must have been infectious because Oleg then went to college and set lofty goals for himself. He studied molecular biology at York College on a scholarship, where he also excelled in playing soccer. Upon graduation, he took a pharmaceutical sales job with Abbot Laboratories and quickly became a regional sales manager.
“My father really wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer, but I was more interested in becoming a professional soccer player,” Bortman admits. “After I tore my ACL, that wasn’t going to happen, so I took the job in sales.”
And that would become the foundation for a long and successful real estate career.
“My first investment was buying a home on the Jersey Shore, which I then flipped in order to buy another one,” said Bortman. Though he was still selling medical supplies, he kept buying real estate, even after Abbot transferred him to Las Vegas. “One investment led to another, and another, and I knew that I had found my true passion.”
While living in Vegas, he began dating Jenny, a girl he met in an airport customs line while on a sales trip he won through work.
“I pursued her for nearly two years, and she blew me off, but my persistence finally paid off, and she finally caved,” he said triumphantly, calling her his “soulmate.”
The couple has two children: a son, Levi, and a daughter, Lily.
Today, Oleg and his partner, Tucker Blalock, own and operate The Brokery, a boutique firm specializing in residential real estate in Arcadia, Biltmore, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale.
“We credit our success to superior market knowledge and outstanding customer service. Tucker was raised in Arcadia and knows the neighborhood. I’m just a sales guy who works hard,” Oleg said with a smile. “Though I am proud of our success, business is not just about winning. It’s about being human. Humanity over winning is priceless.”
Due to its unwavering popularity, he predicts that Arcadia will hold its real estate values for at least another eight to 10 years.
“My family loves Arcadia for all the same reasons that others do. It’s about the friendly people and the ability to live and play in a comfortable and safe environment.”
Bortman enjoys spending time with his kids when he isn’t working, cheering on their games, dance routines, and other activities.
He says that life is too short to be doing anything other than what you enjoy. He also trumpets what his parents instilled in him at a very young age: “Everything is possible!”