My very first job was at a grocery store in my home town. I stocked shelves and bagged groceries when I was in high school.
- What did you do before you got started in real estate?
After I graduated from college, I worked for a division of US Steel Corporation outside of Philadelphia as a management trainee. This position involved learning a variety of skills and offered an introduction into sales. I learned a lot, including respect for those men and women working for years on graveyard shifts to support their families.
- How did you get started in real estate?
While I was working in the Mid Atlantic I played on flag football team. One of my teammates was in real estate development and he invited me to interview with East West Partners to sell new homes and lots in a master planned community in Richmond, Virginia. East West Partners then brought me to the Puget Sound where I dove into the real estate market as the marketing and sales director for a master planned community called Lakemont, which is a 468 lot community on Cougar Mountain.
- Why did you transition into selling land?
I sold lots to buyers and builders from the beginning of my real estate career, and transitioned to selling raw and entitled land when the opportunity arose in 1999.
- It seems like most of the desirable land has already been developed – where are the ‘spots’ in our market?
The areas that we expect to see substantial growth are core markets with easy proximity to the major arterials, such as the communities along 405 and I-5, especially in Pierce, North King and Snohomish counties. The most successful communities have a good school district with access to amenities such as shopping and entertainment. These are and will continue to be hot spots from a rental, multifamily and single family development perspective.
We also anticipate more development in Seattle’s urban core with the gentrification of blighted neighborhoods resulting in greater urban density.
- What kind of process do you use to find land to sell?
Our process is simple: a) know the market, b) maintain great relationships with builders, developers, private landowners and other brokers while sustaining an active presence with trusted advisors who represent families and trusts. We use electronic newsletters, events and social media to stay in touch with our constituents. Integrity and results generate business.
- How have the tools changed since you’ve been in the business?
Market research is a key differentiator in our business. Before the days of digital communication, we did a lot “windshield” and word-of-mouth market research that took a great deal time to do and substantial dependence on information owners. Now we have the benefit of easy access to any information we need with propriety subscriptions to specialized, in-depth market research.
- Have you had any mentors in your business career? Role models?
Yes, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have worked with many bright, entrepreneurial, hard-working and funny people from whom I have learned and borrowed traits from. One of the biggest was not taking myself altogether too seriously.
- What was the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever received?
Work smart. Work hard. Follow your heart and your passion.
- Have you read any good business or real estate books lately? Any you would like to recommend? Any other sources of information to share: blogs, podcasts, email lists, YouTube channels?
On the business side I tend to read books and articles, listen to podcasts and subscribe to emails that focus on building relationships and understanding people. Two of my favorites are StrengthFinder and the podcasts presented by Vistage, a CEO and business owner group that I am a member of.
- You are known for giving back to the community and supporting local non-profits, which ones are you most active with?
I’ve been actively involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue for years. I also support Augie’s Quest, which funds ALS research, and I participate in mission trips to build homes in Mexico with Esperanza International. Most recently I’ve dedicated time to a new chapter of HomeAid which is the non-profit arm of the National Association of Home Builders.
Bonus question: What is it like at Notre Dame on St Patrick’s Day?
Every day at Notre Dame was St. Patrick’s Day!