Which project, deal, or transaction was the “game-changer” in the advancement of your career? Our firm works in both commercial and residential real estate across the North Shore, and we enjoy seeing buildings and property evolve from one owner to the next and one use to the next. My real “game changer” dates back to 1997. I had an “open listing” on a large, fully approved subdivision and sold the property to Symes Associates, Inc., a large development company. That one sale led to a relationship that is still going today; I have sold over 250 homes and condominiums for them.
How do you contribute to your community or your profession? I personally donate $50 from every real estate transaction, commercial or residential to the Salem Boys & Girls Club. It’s a great club and it impacts children in a positive way every day. To date, we have donated over $34,500 to the Club.
Who was/is your mentor and how did s/he influence/help you in your career? I had some truly awesome mentors as a youngster. In sixth grade, I worked at a local sports store; the owner, Bruce Fuller, taught me the value of doing things the right way and how to take care of customers. I worked for P J Hansbury Co., Inc., a local hardware store and lumber yard, through senior high school. Many homeowners credit Phil Hansbury for being able to remodel their homes, as he extended credit to anyone who asked. He was also a plumber and owned about 55 apartments. I worked alongside him and learned so much about business and people.
What advice can you offer to someone who is interested in a career in your industry? Real-life experience (on the job learning) is crucial to understanding what you want to do for a career. Tradespeople are in great demand; many earn more money than college graduates. Some people are just so talented at building and designing and don’t really know how rewarding a career that utilizes these talents can be. The state should expand its vocational school offerings and let kids in high school really learn these trades. The current tech schools are filled to capacity and have more applications than seats. Why not open satellite schools in vacant malls or office buildings?
What led you to your current profession? I ended up going to trade school and became a licensed contractor. My experience in construction helped me understand the needs and processes of builders and developers. I was an early flipper of homes and ended up in the real estate sales business in my late 20s, and am still at it today. The people that I worked for made a huge difference in my career choices and I wish more kids had the same mentors I did.