The Real Estate Industry Mourns the Loss of Doug Ayers

by Chicago Agent

Doug Ayers, president and CEO of Koenig & Strey Real Living, passed away June 10 at the age of 50, after fighting a heroic battle with cancer. Ayers was beloved and admired by colleagues at Koenig & Strey, and was well-respected in the Chicago real estate community and beyond.
“Doug was an inspiration to me and to everyone at Koenig & Strey,” said Nancy Nagy, senior vice president, Gold Coast branch manager and interim chief operating officer, in a statement. “Though real estate was his passion, his gift was the ability to encourage and develop people. He helped us to be better, kinder and more global in our thinking, lessons that reached far beyond real estate.”

Ayers entered the real estate business shortly after college 1981 as a sales associate for Burnet Realty in Minneapolis. He described his approach as “coaching people to do a little better than they can do it on their own,” according to a statement. He was promoted to leadership roles in management, training, and development. Following the acquisition of Burnet by Coldwell Banker in 1998, Ayers became president and chief operating officer for their Chicago and Milwaukee divisions. Under his leadership, the organization grew to 67 offices, 4,700 sales associates and more than $17 billion in residential real estate sales.

In January of 2007, Ayers was named president and CEO of Koenig & Strey. One of the driving principles of his business strategy was to make decisions that “do the most good for the most people.” Ayers grew the company by attracting the most talented agents as well as through mergers and acquisitions. Through his strong leadership, Koenig & Strey became an attractive company that was acquired by HomeServices of America, the nation’s second largest full-service independent residential real estate brokerage firm.

Ayers’ belief that people should “be as kind as you can be, and then be more kind” was evident in the way that he treated everyone around him from agents and staff to panhandlers on the street.

Even as he led large companies, Ayers was “a tireless advocate for the profession,” according to a statement, and worked with the local boards and state and national leaders to improve the real estate business environment. He has served on the National Association of Realtors Large Broker Advisory Board, meeting with the Federal Reserve Board in an advisory capacity. He also participated in the National Association of Realtors Presidential Advisory Group to study and advise them on the future of the Multiple Listing Service.

Ayers is survived by his wife Lisa, and children Rose, Preston, Taylor and Elizabeth.

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  • Johnny says:

    My condolences to Doug’s family for their loss. This is the 1st time I have seen an agent recognized obit style. Will chicagoagentmag.com be recognizing all Realtors when they pass away or is Doug a special case?

  • Chicago Agent says:

    Hi Johnny,

    This is not the first time we’ve posted a story when a leader in the industry has passed away, but we will continue to report news that is impactful to our audience.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Diane Salach says:

    Doug Ayers will be missed in the real estate community. An approachable, quiet leader. It was my pleasure and honor to have succeeded professionally during his tenure at Coldwell Banker My condolances to his family.

  • Debbie Hymen says:

    I met Doug as an agent of Prudential Preferred and then Prudential Burnet and then Coldwell Banker. Through all those transitions it was Doug Ayres who kept the momentum going and made the changes as seamless as possible so that the agents and management could compete and succeed in the industry and surpass expectations because of his tireless vision. He will be missed by the profession and the close friends he made in his professional life.

  • Cheri Lucas says:

    I met Doug when his wife Lisa worked at the Sit Investment Firm in the Mutual Fund Department in Minneapolis some years back. My concodlences to Lisa and her family! Such a loss..

  • Chris Trapani says:

    Doug was a class act…a unique blend of brightness and humility…always an impressive person, always warm, always engaging and caring…I appreciated knowing him during our years together as fellow Metro Presidents @ Coldwell Banker NRT…I am saddened by the loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, children and family…He was a great man.

  • melinda says:

    I still think of him often and miss his wisdom. I wonder how he would react to the past two years… You will never be forgotten..

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