What was your first job in the realty industry? I started with Baird & Warner in Naperville back in 1999 as a Realtor and fell in love with the business. Coming from corporate, I enjoyed the change of pace and the flexibility of being my own “boss.” Working with many clients gives you an opportunity to experience different things on each transaction, and the job never gets boring.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in South Haven, Mich., right on the lake. South Haven is a big tourist town and we would see the influx of tourists each summer from Chicago. It was a great place to grow up.
What is your favorite free-time activity? My wife and I have two boys, who are 13 and nine. Outside of work, they tend to keep us pretty busy, but we enjoy going to their baseball and basketball games. We also enjoy traveling as a family and going fishing when we have time.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? When I’m stressed, we will take a weekend off and go to South Haven or Lake Geneva. We like to get away and enjoy some time alone with the boys. Being with family can really help your stress level and remind you what you’re working so hard for.
Growing up, what did you want to be? When I was growing up, I thought I would be in some sort of medical field. I wanted to be a vet or a chiropractor, but the schooling seemed too long for me; I was eager to get out in the work place. So I graduated college with a degree in marketing, and the rest is history.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? I know this sounds crazy, but there are two people I would love to sit down with and have lunch and a conversation with. One would be John F. Kennedy. His life story and his accomplishments would make for an incredible afternoon of questions and answers. I admire him for many reasons. The second person would be Elvis Presley. I’ve always been a huge Elvis fan, and his life is fascinating. I think that would be a fun and pretty wild lunch.
What do you love most about the industry? Each day is different. Where I worked before was very predictable and not very exciting. This industry, for all it’s peaks and valleys, is very exciting. I’m able to meet new people on an almost a daily basis. Some of the people I meet are very interesting, and most have become friends of ours. This career is everything you make it to be. If you want to be successful, you can do it. If you want to do it part-time, you can do it. If you want to do it when you retire, you can do it. It’s a great job with a lot of rewards. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? Every agent claims to be the best or say they have the best customer service. I believe experience and knowledge of the area is key. Not many Realtors can say that they are in the top 1 percent in their field, and I’m lucky enough to say that. My team takes a lot of pride in our work and really listen to our clients’ needs. With over $150 million sold, we have learned from our success as much as our failures. We continue to strive each day to get better and provide a better service for our clients. We do our best to be there when they need us and to be a friend as well. Buying or selling a home should be a good experience, and we try to make it rewarding for them as well.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Sitting with a family who is about to lose their home. The past 5 years have been difficult on many families and to watch a hard working family who has owned their dream home for years, lose it to foreclosure is heart breaking. We try to help in anyway we can and lend support to them. We understand that this is the most difficult time in their life and they are not a number or a closing, but a real family with real issues.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? We go to events but mainly we focus a lot on our Farming network. We meet a lot of clients through referrals, farming and online. We will also host a hole at a golf outing to meet new people and sometimes sponsor a tent at a local festival.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? In business my greatest accomplishment was reaching the $100 Million mark in sales. That was a nice goal to reach.
Personally, it has to be my boys. They are incredible kids and I couldn’t be more proud of them. If your kids turn out right, then you know you’re doing your job as a parent.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? I’m a comic book nerd and I love the new super hero movies. Loved the Avengers Movie and look forward to the Superman movie this summer. It’s a great time to be a super hero nerd.
As for books, I just finished the biography of Ted Kennedy. Very interesting, you wouldn’t think his life was as hard as it was. Very good read and insightful.
What is your favorite restaurant? It would have to be Sullivans in downtown Naperville. There’s nothing bad on the menu.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? The Hancock Building.
What kind of car do you drive? I drive a 2013 Chrysler 300C. My fun car is my 2006 Corvette convertible. It’s a nice stress reliever on a sunny summer day.
Smartphone or Paper? Smartphone…
What is your favorite city after Chicago? Chicago is the best by far, but I enjoy going to Nashville and Austin Tx. Great food and incredible music.
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Don’t be lazy, work hard and listen.
What’s your favorite Real Estate iPhone/ Blackberry app? Evernote
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? I’m a sports nut, so I follow a lot of sport figures and commentators.