Frederick “Fred” and Jennifer “Jenny” Unger are a successful business couple who have been active members of PVUMC for more than 25 years, and raising their four children here. Now grown, three of their children, now married and with children of their own, call the Valley of the Sun home, and two of the Ungers’ sons, Carter and Austin, work together. Their story is like a “Family Circus,” in which they have learned to balance the needs of work and family while giving back to their church and community.
PVUMC Career Connecting is honored to host them for their fall kick-off event: “Family Circus: A Work-Life Balancing Act Featuring the Fabulous Ungers.”
Come hear the Ungers’ tell their own life stories on Wednesday, September 28, 6-7:15 pm in Room H1. Click here to RSVP for the event.
Free, high-quality childcare is available with a 48-hour reservation. To reserve a spot for your child(ren) in our Childcare Center, please call the church at 602-840-8360, ext 134, at least 48 hours before the event. To cancel childcare, even at the last minute, please call the number again.
Jenny says that she and Fred began working together when they moved from California, where they had both gone to college, to Arizona in 1987. She says, “Fred is the idea, creative guy, who doesn’t like to sit at a desk…He’s the one that is always networking and dreaming.” She, on the other hand, says this about herself, “I like being behind the scenes and at a desk, not out ‘networking and handshaking,’ so the business partnership has worked.”
Fred graduated from the University of Southern California in southern CA in 1973, earning a degree in Finance/Real Estate. He worked his way through college parking cars for the celebrities in Beverly Hills and knew he wanted to work for himself after working for a couple of years for national real estate companies. He started his own real estate firm in 1983, and has been in real estate development ever since.
He worked for five years to be awarded the bid on Hermosa Inn, which had been taken over by the Feds when banks failed in the 80s. When he finally bought the Hermosa, he renovated, managed, and renovated again before selling it after 22 years of ownership in 2015. He also bought the Royal Palms, renovated it and then sold it after completing, about 20 yrs ago. In 2005-2007, he built the Southbridge complex in downtown Scottsdale, including opening three restaurants. All of them failed, but, Jenny says, “Fred had said in many talks he gives that he has had as many failures as successes.”
While working full-time with Fred, Jenny volunteered at their children’s schools, and at church, though time was limited. She also mentored a high school girls group after their own children were out of school, and was later involved with the board of the Cancer Support Community, which offers drumming once a month here at PVUMC. For about 25 years, she has been involved in the same women’s Monday morning prayer group, with eight wormen from various church affiliations. She says that group “has allowed me to keep my sanity through children’s teenage years, business downturns, son in Afghanistan, Fred’s two cancers and other illnesses, one son’s cancer, and just through life in general.”
Fred has also been active with youth ministry at PVUMC, mentoring a high school boys group for 4-5 years, and going on several mission trips after their children had graduated. He has also mentored young men coming out of ASU’s entrepreneurial program, and served on the boards of many nonprofit organizations, including the Phoenix Symphony, the Museum of the West and UMOM.
Jennifer or “Jenny,” has her roots in the Midwest, though she moved to California as a young adult, graduating from UCLA with a degree in Mathematics. She met Fred on a blind date about five years after college, and they were married within the year.
She says, “I was working for one of the big eight accounting firms (now Deloitte & Touche) at the time. Then, in 1983, when we suddenly took in two young children (4 and 6 years old…an entirely other story) and had a two-month-old baby and a two-year-old at home, I resigned from the accounting firm.” Shortly after that, they moved. When they found a new church, she served as the volunteer treasurer for a few years, and began helping Fred with his company. They have worked together ever since.
The Ungers four grown children are:
Kate, who lives in Scottsdale, is 39 and the head of marketing for a public company which owns many food brands including Cold Stone Creamery, Taco Time, Blimpie’s, and PinkBerry;
Adam ( 37) is married and just moved from Washington DC to Tampa as his husband just launched a huge real estate development project in downtown Tampa. Adam works in advertising.
Carter (35) is married with two children: Liberty (5) and Valor ( 3 1/2 ). Carter works as a firefighter in Chandler and books events for Westworld when not at the fire station. He and his wife are members at Christ Lutheran Church on Bell Road.
Austin (33) and his wife have 3 boys: Hunter( 5), Weston (3) and Barrett (1). Austin works with Carter at Westworld and, as of last November, they live next door to each other.
The Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce produced a video recognizing Fred as one of three Scottsdale History Hall of Fame Inductees for his work specializing in restoring, developing and managing Scottsdale area signature real estate properties. Fred Unger turned the historic Hermosa Inn and Royal Palms into renowned boutique resorts. His Southbridge development transformed the Arizona Canal area of downtown Scottsdale into a popular dining, shopping, event and residential destination. He has tirelessly promoted downtown Scottsdale, especially the arts district.