David C. Eckel was born in Buffalo, New York, graduated from Cornell University, and received an MBA degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. David continues to be very active in Cornell Alumni activities, and on November 7, 2014, he was inducted into the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame. He has served in various Cornell committees, is presently is a member of its Real Estate Council and has been a past president of the Cornell Club of Buffalo.
Following graduation, David was an officer in the United States Army, serving in special services, as member of the all Army Track Team, and received an honorable discharge as a Captain. Prior to entering the real estate industry, David was a vice president and senior commercial lending officer at Marine Midland Bank (Western New York). David joined the real estate brokerage firm of Stovroff & Herman, Inc. (renamed Realty USA) as Vice President in the mid 1970’s, became an Owner in the early 1980’s and its President in 1987. Stovroff & Herman, Inc. under his direction, grew quickly, and continues under new ownership to be the leader in New York State.
In the mid-1990’s, David relocated to Florida, purchasing Wagner Realty (founded in 1939) which had one office and several agents at the time of acquisition. During the past years, Wagner has grown from one to eight offices, with 200+ agents and staff. The company is a full-service real estate company, enjoying a very high quality reputation, evidenced by being voted “The Best Real Estate Company” by The Bradenton Herald’s Readers Preference Awards for 22 years in a row. In 2011, the Company was voted as the large business of the year by the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce.
Wagner Realty is locally owned and operated by the Eckels, and supports many charities, from the Manatee Garden Club to the University of South Florida, to Wounded Warriors, etc. Wagner emphasizes local giving in order to keep money at work in the local community. In 2014, David received the Paul Harris Fellow award from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, to show appreciation for his contributions to the community.
David and Wagner Realty’s community activities include serving on the University of South Florida (Sarasota Manatee) Regional Board, and is an advisor to its business school, past chair of the Community Leadership Council and Community Affairs Committee, and a past member of the University of South Florida Board of Trustees – Academics and Campus Environment Committee . The University of South Florida (Sarasota Manatee) recognized him as the first honorary member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the National Honor Society for business students, and most recently, was the Honorary Co-Chair of the schools 25th Silver Anniversary Brunch on the Bay celebration.
He was a founding Director of the Bradenton Blue Foundation, Inc. servicing the Bradenton Police Department, and previously served as its Secretary.
David was a long-time board member of Saint Stephens Episcopal School, as well as a board member of its Endowment Committee. He has been a board member of the Plaza at Five Points Condominium Association in downtown Sarasota for many years and has served as its president.
David was a previous board member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and its Economic Development Council, a founding member and current participant in the Sarasota Economic Development Council, past board member of Whitney National Bank, past board member of the South Florida Museum and a previous runner up for Entrepreneur of the Year for Sarasota/Manatee Counties by the Gulf Coast Business Review.