Michael Golden and Thaddeus Wong, co-founders of Chicago real estate firm @properties, were named winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 Award in the Midwest, in the Services category. The awards were presented at a special gala on June 27 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago.
The award recognizes outstanding high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. It is widely considered one of the most prestigious business awards for entrepreneurs. The finalists and winners were selected by an independent panel of judges.
Established in 2000, @properties has grown into the No. 1 Chicago real estate broker, the second-largest brokerage firm on the North Shore, and most recently, the largest independent brokerage in Illinois. @properties is also one of the top 25 largest residential brokerage firms in the U.S. Over the last year, the firm has continued its rapid expansion, opening new offices in Lake Forest, Highland Park, Uptown, New Buffalo, Mich., and Glenview (opening summer 2013).
Despite the challenges the real estate industry faced during the last five years, @properties has thrived and expanded. Golden and Wong said that while many of their competitors cut services and staff during the housing crisis, @properties invested in new marketing, technology and training programs; introduced new services; and continued to recruit top-producing agents. In 2012, @properties posted its highest sales volume in company history with sales of more than $3 billion.
One example of a technological innovation is @properties’ new groundbreaking @gent app, an internal mobile application that has generated more than 130 transactions since its launch in early 2013.
“This award is very significant to us because it recognizes innovation, which has been the foundation for @properties’ growth and success. We’re honored to receive this award and to be among some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the region,” said Golden.
“We made the commitment to grow when everyone else was downsizing,” said Wong. “By offering more sophisticated marketing, technology and support, we’ve been able to attract the best agents in every market and continue to expand. The investments we made paid huge dividends as the market began to show signs of recovery.”
Golden and Wong are among the regional award winners who now go on to compete at the national level. National award winners will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on November 16.