Łukasz Kownacki’s Recipe For Success
Exclusive Interview with Lukasz Kownacki - a member of Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men
A 2 time police academy graduate with 10 years’ experience as a state police officer, real estate agent and property owner, boxing manager, car and photo booth supplier – these are just some of the achievements of one very special young man.
Barely 29 years old and already a member of the prestigious Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men, Łukasz knows exactly what he wants in life. As he is currently planning his own wedding and reception, the question on everyone’s lips is: what does it take to juggle so many priorities?
“It all comes down to planning, proper organization and a great team says Łukasz. “And of course, surrounding yourself with great people who, push you to be better and support you. My fiancé, Justyna Rzeszuto, is on the same page and is always by my side in anything that comes our way. We always plan everything meticulously to ensure smooth operations and when something does go wrong, we act immediately to sort it out.”
Łukasz comes from Konarzyce near the Polish city of Łomża. He arrived in the US at a three-year-old toddler, with his parents, Jadwiga & Waldemar, and his two brothers, Adam and Paweł. The Kownacki family settled in Greenpoint – Łukasz’s stomping ground until the age of 18. Even at a very young age, he knew how to set his goals and priorities for the future. Still a teenager, he decided to enrol at the Police Academy.
„I wanted a secure, stable job with good benefits and ability to retire early”, says Łukasz. “Working for the police gave me just that. I was a good kid. I never went out, I never cared for parties, alcohol or drugs. I thought that being part of the police force would give me a good start in life. They offered great benefits, early retirement and I knew that once I complete my service, I can do something I am truly passionate about.”
By the time he is 40, his future will well and truly be secure, and he’ll be able to devote himself to his interests. And there are many.
Brotherly Love for Boxing
When Łukasz was a student at the Academy, his brother Adam's sporting career exploded. Adam "Babyface" Kownacki is a successful heavyweight boxer, famous amongst the Polish diaspora and world-wide boxing community. Łukasz and Adam got interested in boxing in the late 90s, when Andrzej Gołota was at the peak of his fame.
“This is when boxing became my passion”, says Łukasz. “My knowledge of the sport comes from watching Adam's career and listening to the people I met through him. It wasn’t until 2019, however, that I started acting on what I’ve learned by founding Kownacki Management. Before that, I was working as a police officer and researching the real estate market.
Getting Inspired by his Sergeant
Łukasz’s direct supervisor in his first job in Maryland, a sergeant, was the main influence behind his interest in the real estate market.
“He told me what books to read, which YouTube videos to watch and taught me many other things. I remember sitting in his office and walking around buildings he owned on many occasions. I wanted to learn from his knowledge and experience as much as possible”, he recalls.
It didn’t take long for these teachings to bear fruit. At the age of 21, Łukasz bought his first home. Today, he owns several houses - in Pennsylvania, Maryland & New York.
Six years ago, Łukasz was transferred to New York City. Today, he still works as a police officer but also as a real estate agent under the aegis of EXIT, helping to buy and sell houses. This, however, was not enough.
More recently, he moved to Long Island, establishing his own company, Forteca Estate. He manages it with his fiancée of three years, Justyna Rzeszuto.
“The real estate market is not just about buying and selling houses”, says Łukasz. “There are so many other opportunities, this is our focus at Forteca Estate.
They saw their chance in short-term rentals, such as Airbnb. This new way of property renting became popular back in 2007.
“We own a few of our own buildings but our true passion is in the management, people began to trust us and give us their homes to manage”, Justyna says proudly of their business. “We manage our home on platforms like Airbnb, we market for people interested in short-term rentals such as holidays, business trips or simple getaway. We take care everything including payments, cleaning, minor renovations, repairs and on call 24/7.
Partners in Business and Life
The couple agree that working in the real estate industry is not only profitable but also rewarding.
“So many people ask how we started, how we got there and what they need to do to manage a business like ours”, says Justyna. “We are always happy to offer advice, you can contact us for a free consultation and we can tell you on how to set up and run a business like ours, step by step.
“I think that real estate investments are the most rewarding”, says Łukasz. “I share my story with people that are interested and help them take their first step, whether it is buying a house or working as an agent. If you work with us, we will advise you on how to invest your finances to make it work for you.
“We also help people buy their first home, dream home or any type of real estate”, adds Justyna. “We are with you from the beginning to the end of the entire process. Through our trusted network, we can put you in touch with the right people for things like home loans and other professional services.
Justyna and Łukasz also work outside of the State of New York. In fact, they work with real estate agents all over the world.
Łukasz says it is Justyna that’s mostly in charge of their real estate business.
“She is my greatest supporter”, says Łukasz. “Every day, we work hand in hand towards our common goal. It’s all about communication – above all, we understand each other. She gets my busy schedule and I don’t feel any pressure from her. I can always count on her. We know exactly how to work together and this clarity keeps everything running smoothly.”
Despite their young age, Justyna and Łukasz keep their feet firmly on the ground. Hard-working, relentless & passionate - these qualities make them a great team. Or maybe it's because of the stars - they are both Scorpios, one of the strongest signs of the zodiac.
She was Meant to Stay for a Month
Before they met, Justyna, who came from the Polish region of Subcarpathia, like Łukasz, also moved to the States with her parents. Ten years ago, the family's first stop was Greenpoint.
“I flew in a month after my parents and I was only supposed to stay a few weeks. I just commenced my law degree in Poland and was going to think of my future after completing my education”, says Justyna. “But I found a job and started earning money and I liked the financial independence.”
She was also curious about America, especially since she already had some connections with the country since her maternal great-great-grandmother was born here. She decided to stay but she is first to admit it wasn’t easy.
“I was twenty years old and by then, managed to create my own world in Poland. I left my friends and my extended family behind with a heavy heart. It wasn’t easy but now, after ten years, I can say that I am proud of myself and my parents. We came here with nothing. My older brother with his family also joined us and our youngest brother, who is only five years old and was born in the States. He is the apple of everyone’s eye”, says Justyna
Gaining confidence in her English abilities, she decided to continue her education.
„I considered studying law but decided to go for Criminal Justice instead. I spent the first two years at LaGuardia College and the next two at John Jay College”, she tells us.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree and needed to make another decision – to continue her education and complete her legal studies or pursue a uniform career and try to get a job at the Customs and Border Protection.
These plans were thwarted by meeting Łukasz, with whom she connected through love and shared passions. Justyna laughs that there is nothing romantic about how they met because they met through Facebook. But that’s the norm these days.
“Who knows, someday my bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice might come in handy but for now, I am passionate about the real estate market, running a business with Łukasz and planning a family”, Justyna reveals.
Kownacki Management – The Bridge Between America and Poland
Kownacki Management is a natural step in Łukasz's life. He has always been fascinated by boxing but over time, he was able to gain relevant experience and knowledge. This led to setting up his management company in 2019.
“I want Kownacki Management to become a bridge between the United States and Poland, giving young Poles a chance in the States. This is the best place to develop your career. There are many boxing talents in Poland but it is difficult to break through. Thanks to Adam’s achievements, I was able to experience the boxing world at all levels and most importantly at the top. Thanks to the respect people had towards Adam, I was able to connect with highly influential people.
Łukasz plans to have his fighters preform actively at least five boxing galas per year in Poland and the USA. The last boxing event was held on January 7 in Zawonia in Lower Silesia, streamed on Polsat and Fite TV. The star of the evening, heavyweight Damian Knyba managed by Łukasz was the main event. It was his fifth win as a professional boxer and he won by a first round Knock Out.
Knyba is the junior Polish champion of 2019, the vice-champion of Polish seniors of 2019 and the bronze medallist of the Polish U-23 Championship in 2017. His build, heart and work ethic is perfect for the heavyweight division – standing at 202 cm tall and a massive arms reach of 218 cm. The start of this unstoppable team, started when Damian flew to America before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We wanted to see what he could do and I must admit he was doing extremely well. You could see his stamina and passion for boxing. He sparred with Adam, Jarrell Miller, Otto Wallin, Mariusz Wach among others. His heart, work ethic and talent proved that he has what it takes to compete at the top”, says Łukasz.
Unfortunately, Knyba's plans to stay in the States for longer was impacted by the pandemic. Thankfully it was only postponed and he is coming back at the end of May this year for the first professional bout in the United States, taking place in New York. But before that, he will fight at the RBK Promotions Boxing Night 2 on March 4 in Szczytno in Poland’s Mazury District.
Putting this type of event on requires a lot of hard work. That is why Łukasz has been working with RBK Promotions, owned by Eryk Rachwał and Rafał Biernacki, who coordinate the work in Poland. “They organise the events from scratch – from finding a place, through the preparation of the event, the media, tickets and everything in between,” reveals Łukasz.
Promoting Young Polish talent
Apart from Damian Knyba, Kownacki Management manages six other young men from Poland. They each have their own unique career and business plan, with a team working behind the scenes for them.
“We’re seeking to manage young Polish talent and give them a chance to learn about different styles of boxing and organizing international sparring opportunities for them”, says Łukasz. “A good boxer must be tough and have a desire to succeed. I'm looking for guys who believe in themselves. If I notice this hunger in a boxer, I will do my best to help them get started and succeed. Damian was a perfect candidate. He has talent and a heart to fight. I have been following his career and I know that he achieved everything through hard work. That's why I decided to help him. I wanted him to be noticed as an amateur boxer first and then pursue his career in a professional ring.
Rafał Biernacki helps and advises on the selection of young talent.
“I can always count on his valuable advice”, says Łukasz. “I also keep an eye on young boxing achievers in Poland.
The reach and power of social media cannot be understated in today’s world. And here the work of Michał Olżyński, the owner of a marketing company who has been working with Kownacki Management, is priceless. The company works on maintaining the good image of boxers on social media platforms.
Łukasz Kownacki is a very busy man. He has been relying on support of many people for his projects.
“There are many people I need to thank for their help, including Oskar Kowalski and Abe Zeines from Global Incubators, the entire Pulaski Association, including Gregory Fryc, its President as well as Eryk Rachwał and Rafał Biernacki from RBK Promotions. Most importantly Justyna Rzeszuto for being by my side and helping me make all this happen.
Iwona Hejmej, photos: Łukasz Kownacki’s archives
FORTECA REAL ESTATE
Planning to sell or buy real estate? Perhaps you want to rent your apartment or vacation home out? Or maybe you’re looking to start your career in real estate but don’t know how to go about it?
Ask Łukasz Kownacki and Justyna Rzeszuto, your experts in real estate. They’re known for their reliability, best quality, friendly service and professional advice.
Łukasz Kownacki 347 556 0089
Justyna Rzeszuto 347 792 5075