Reconnecting with REALTOR Magazine’s 30 under 30, Class of 2000 (See the original article)
A little over a decade ago REALTOR Magazine published the first of its famous 30 under 30 lists featuring a diverse group of 20-somethings taking the real estate industry by storm. Certainly, the class of 2000 entered the real estate world just prior to some of its grandest years. But as we know all too well, a challenging period followed.
So how did members of the class of 2000 manage and where are they now? Well, we’ve tracked down these young professionals, and we’re anxious to give you an update on what they’ve been up to over the last decade. As expected, some have exited the real estate industry. But many of these ambitious go-getters are still engrossed in the real estate business. In fact, many of these bright, talented young people have truly distinguished themselves in the real estate profession.
The thread that runs through every success story we unearthed? Adaptation to the dramatic market changes of the last decade and an inexplicable love of real estate.
Creighton Faust Jr.
Creighton Faust Jr. is still a part of the same real estate company he worked for in 2000. And that is clearly a good thing. About 2 years ago, Creighton formed a team with two other top-producing agents within his office, and he is more than happy he made the conversion to the team approach. Creighton says “I recognized a long time ago that the team approach was the way of the future in real estate but it takes time to find the right people and to figure out how exactly the team is going to work. We are doing well, even in a challenging market.”
In 2000, Creighton Faust Jr. believed networking is everything. Today, he credits effective networking as a critical part of his success. Always remembering real estate is fundamentally a people oriented business, he says “being honest and responsive has been vital to my achievements. This business isn’t rocket science. It’s hard work, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can have success.” It looks like Creighton’s people oriented approach is working, because at the age of 28 he became one of the youngest members inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame.
Creighton and his team believe a solid marketing plan is an important ingredient of accomplishment. He says, “The last couple years with the market softening I have noticed a lot of realtors stripping out all their marketing costs trying to stay afloat financially in this business. That is difficult to do because in this climate sellers are looking at us more than ever as to ‘what do you bring to the table’.”
Creighton adds “A few years ago it felt like everyone was a realtor. Now, our profession is being weeded out, which is a good thing for those in it full time and for the long run.” It looks like Creighton Faust Jr. is here to stay.
Ten years ago, Cristal Robinson professed a fundamental desire to help people. Back then, she helped them find a home. Today, she’s a lawyer, and still puts helping those in need at the forefront of her everyday activities. Her focus is on business planning, taxation, real estate, and immigration.
In her spare time, she divides her energy between a few non-profit organizations, and a part-time teaching position at West Texas A&M University. While she isn’t focused on real estate any longer, it’s clear that Cristal’s boundless energy has served her well.
Simply put: Loni Graiver’s been busy the last ten years. Not long after Realtor Magazine’s 30 Under 30 piece ran, Loni became disheartened with the service his clients received from lenders, so he opened a mortgage company. A short while later he started a title company as well. By the end of 2009, he was the number one mortgage broker in the state of Maine, with $60 million in home loans. Success was sweet, but limited the time Loni had available to show homes. Loni virtually worked himself out of the real estate business.
But 2007 brought yet another real estate adventure; Loni formed the Maine Real Estate Network company. Currently supported by 150 agents, the Maine Real Estate Network is the number one individually owned real estate company in Maine.
A decade ago, Loni expressed a deep belief that real estate can be a key source of wealth creation. Today, he’s convinced more surely than ever that real estate is a very sound investment, and to that end, owns a number of properties himself.
A little over a year ago, Loni Graiver decided it was time to simplify his life- seeking out a better balance between work and play. To that end, he sold both the mortgage and the title company.
The synergy between Century 21 M&M Associates and Clarence must be phenomenal. It’s been ten years, and he’s still a part of the firm. After his 30 under 30 appearance in 2000, Clarence’s career skyrocketed. In fact, in 2003 he ranked # 9 Among 110,000 Century 21 Agents Nationwide.
Maybe it is his heartfelt “client first” philosophy that has been the energy behind his success. Or, perhaps it’s the relationships he built in the early years with the members of the Portuguese community. Either way, Clarence plans on continually seeking to improve his skills while looking for new and more efficient ways of doing business. It’s likely we’ll see him in still engrossed in the industry in the years to come.
When Realtor Magazine highlighted Adam’s success a decade ago, his volume was at $40 million. Today, he’s sold over 1400 homes and over 750 million in sales. Along the way he assembled a team of four professionals to help him reach success. Adam takes on a diverse portfolio of homes; from multi-million dollar estates to modest dwellings.
Adam says, “They key to my success is that I truly love what I do. Every day I get up and have the great fortune to assist people in the sale or purchase of their home. There is nothing else I would rather do than use my expertise to make sure things go right.” It’s this kind of dedication and drive that gained him recognition as one of Cleveland Business Magazine Most Successful Business Person Under 40. It’s safe to say, Adam’s found his calling.
It’s easy to say the last decade has simply been good to Mark Spain. But we all know that success in real estate is not handed to you; you work for it. Mark’s hard work and that of his carefully collected team have apparently paid off because the honors and accolades keep coming and coming. Most recently, Mark and his team of RE/MAX Greater Atlanta professionals were thrilled to be named on The Wall Street Journal’s 2010 Real Estate Top 400 Professionals list as #29 team.
Since Realtor Magazine spotted young Mark back in 2000, he has devoted himself to success in the industry. In 2006 he exceeded the billion dollar sales mark of lifetime dealings. And remarkably, that seems like just the beginning of his triumphs. Mark Spain Team’s 2009 sales marked the ninth consecutive year the team exceeded the $100 million annual sales mark. And they’ve worked for it; with 453 closings for the year.
Adjusting to the market has been fundamental to Mark’s success. He tuned into market changes, and adapted accordingly. Mark has sought out continuing education for himself and his team and became short sales and foreclosure certified by the National Association of realtors. He’s also created a website geared toward homeowners facing hard times.
Ten years ago, Frank Parks had just obtained his broker’s license. Not long after, he opened the independent real estate firm of Home Town Realty and it took off like a jet fighter. In just three years, Frank boasted over 30 agents. In 2007, he built a new state of the art building to house Home Town Realty.
Now, with a decade behind him, his business is more solid than ever. Frank says he modified his business with the changing market by diversifying into rental property management and foreclosure sales. As far as the future goes, Frank says “We I try not to dwell on the past or predict the future. Every day is a new challenge and different than the day before. This is what I love most about this business.”
Frank is especially proud of the ribbon of generosity that runs through each and every work day. “I am most proud of our agent’s willingness to contribute to those less fortunate even in these trying times. We have begun a mission of the month, where we support a local organization by giving time, resources or money. We have been to several builds for Habitat for Humanity, mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and have donated to local food closets.” Unquestionably, Frank believes a cooperative giving to others makes for tremendous team building and morale enhancement.
At the end of the day, Frank Parks is not always measuring success in terms of dollars earned. Rather, in lives touched. “We are going to stay faithful in doing for others because our philosophy at Home Team Realty is that ‘You get what you give.’” Years ago, Frank told Realtor Magazine that he wants people “to say positive things about the way I do business,” adding “that’s more important than making a dollar.” It looks like that philosophy has served him well.
Building on a decade of success, Sheri Moritz has transformed herself into a self-made real estate guru. Sheri is the Broker/Owner at Real Living Realty Experts. In addition, she is the trainer/owner of Boot Camp 4 Social Media. And trust us; Sheri is serious about social media. From using Craigslist to generate leads, to tracking tweets on Twitter, she has investigated the good, the bad and the ugly of social media. Sheri presents her findings via blog or virtual classroom.
Sheri works to successfully marry real estate with technology and training. Along the way she’s helping others win in the real estate industry.
Steve DuBrueler entered the real estate business on chance. A real estate broker bet him that he couldn’t pass the licensing exam. He won that bet hands down.
Today, Steve is the president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Capitol Realty Services, founded in 2003. He considers a strong work ethic as the foundation upon which achievement is built. Steve believes he has obtained success by doing the simple stuff “basic hard work and a dedication to do things that others were not willing to do.” He adds that long hours, adapting marketing strategies and embracing new technologies are key elements to reaching his goals.
Steve reinforces what we’ve heard from other professionals regarding change. “With the current financial climate we have had to adapt to the market in order to continue to grow. Basically we are working hard as or harder than ever.” But his genuine enthusiasm makes it clear that real estate is his calling. “I enjoy spending time helping and training others. I really get a charge out of seeing them succeed.”
What’s the future hold for Steve Dubrueler? “I want to spend more time working with Big Brothers and Big Sisters with events like Climb for Kid’s Sake which I do every year. This year it looks like we will be in Russia to ascend one to the seven summits to raise money for the cause.”
A decade ago, Eric Birchler was dubbed the “Man with a Plan.” It looks like his planning has paid off. Over the last ten years, Eric has been a busy man.
He is proud to say he has purchased his family real estate business; one that’s been serving Lavallette, NJ for over 50 years. Now he is the broker of record and owner of the company. He’s also married to the girl he had just begun to date when he was acknowledged in Realtor Magazine’s 30 under 30 article and they have two children.
Somehow, Eric managed balance the demands of work and family life and even squeezed in enough time to go back to school. That’s remarkable. He received his BS in Business from Mount Saint Mary College and his Masters Degree in Real Estate from New York University. Eric says “I encourage the members of our real estate team to pursue higher education for themselves. It isn’t easy to balance work, family and education, but I really believe in its importance.”
Eric believes success in real estate is built upon seemingly simple factors “know what you’re doing, and put in a lot of hard work.” The man with the plan is clearly following his own advice.
Back in 2000, Matt Dopp said he closed the majority of transactions from referrals. Today, he’s still a firm believer in treating others how you’d like to be treated and believes in the importance of referrals. It looks like his straightforward philosophy is working for him.
Over the last ten years, Matt’s built achievement upon achievement. In fact, just over a year ago he became the owner of Utah Executive Real Estate, employing over twelve of Utah’s top-notch agents.
Today Matt focuses heavily on new construction and land development, and says “adapting to real estate’s changing conditions has been critical for survival and vital to my success.”
In 2000, Eric Goosen was branded an accomplished multi-tasker. That certainly has not changed. Over the last ten years, Eric has paired his multi-tasking skill with his passion for real estate and created a sweet combination that has catapulted him to the top of his field.
In 2005 he sold his brokerage to Real Estate One. He decided to stay on as an Associate Broker, and that has proved to be a smart move. Eric sells about $5 million a year, and with an average sale price of $70,000, he is really moving some property. Clearly, Eric’s pleased with his decision to stay on at Real Estate One, and it remains the largest real estate company in Michigan.
In addition to selling real estate, Eric has diversified into fixing and flipping houses. He’s branched out to investors, which has significantly increased his ability to work on more than one home at once – often having four homes in some stage of flipping simultaneously. He says “I try to keep at least two in the process at all times – I spend a lot of time at Lowe’s, but we’re in this to do it right, and even include all the appliances.”
Another big achievement for Eric? Landing a city contract to sell homes. Here are the basics as Eric explains “it’s called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and it’s a federally funded project in which a home is bought, fixed up and re-sold by the city.” Mark adds enthusiastically, “last year I did ten homes, this year I’m doing nine – thanks to the help of agents from my office, I’m having all nine open on January 23rd!”
While Eric says he works crazy double digit hours nearly every day, he still loves what he does, and is always looking to improve. Most recently, Eric has become involved in Lowes Realtor Program. So what can we expect the future holds for this go-getter? Eric says “I expect to be doing real estate until retirement – I love it, and every sale is still a victory!” Enough said, his passion is infectious!
Ryan Bishop is still absorbed in the real estate business. He, like many others, has changed with the times. A decade ago he concentrated on first-time and move-up buyers, but today he’s focused on helping Washington home owners avoid foreclosure.
Ryan is a real estate agent with Windermere Real Estate City Group in Spokane, WA but he is also an active member of the Stop Foreclosure Institute. The Institute trains real estate agents in a number of ways to help homeowners facing foreclosure. From loan modification kits to helping sellers stop distressing collections calls; Ryan is there to lend a hand. Of course, he’s also prepared to assist homeowners with a short sale of their home when appropriate.
Steve Osburn has been in the real estate business for about 15 years now, but he still approaches each day with the enthusiasm of his first. This bank-auditor turned real estate mogul is now proud to say he is the designated broker and owner of Windermere Real Estate/Capital Group, Inc. in Idaho. Steve prides himself on staying at the forefront of industry laws and market trends – believing every client deserves the most informed agent.
In addition to running a first-rate company, Steve finds time to give back to his community. Recently, he served on the Board of Directors of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Boise, Idaho.
Tammy Mitchell Hines
Ten years ago Tammy Mitchell Hines told Realtor Magazine that most of her leads come from “manning the office phone.” It’s apparent that her long hours of phone duty paid off. Tammy is now the owner, broker of Tammy Mitchell Hines & Co. in Illinois, leading a hard working group of top-grade real estate professionals.
Tammy guarantees first-rate customer service by staying involved in her company. While she concentrates on working with sellers, she devotes a significant amount of time to coaching and mentoring her team. Her goal is to ensure that her team remains cohesive, productive, stimulating and fun. And her clients enjoy a stellar real estate experience as a result.
This high-energy professional manages the demands of family life, the fast pace of real estate, and still finds time to give to others. One project she is especially proud of is the $1000 yearly scholarship that she gives to an area high school student to use toward the college of their choice.
Ryan Searle has been on the ride of his life since Realtor Magazine spoke with him in 2000. He’s hit highs and lows, and managed every emotion in-between.
Ryan sold his Colorado real estate and mortgage company in an effort to spend more time with his young family. But like a true businessman, it wasn’t long before he saw a new opportunity; the foreclosure market. Ryan worked hard and enjoyed extraordinary success in the foreclosure market, but a significant lawsuit soon followed. After a lengthy battle, Ryan moved on with life, and began a new business in Texas.
Ryan says that those difficult years helped him grow, and remind him that “family is what matters most.” You can knock him down, but it seems Ryan Searle is a fighter.
It appears as though Jennifer Berg’s career has come full circle. In 2000, she had recently left her career as a marriage and family counselor and enjoyed incredible success in real estate. Now, a decade-plus later, she has returned to her previous profession. Currently she is working as a Licensed Psychotherapist and continues to pursue higher education.
Without a doubt, Jeff Quintin has accomplished a great deal during the last ten years. He’s still in the resort market of Ocean City, New Jersey helping mostly second home buyers find their dream beach house. But he has propelled his success using the team method he professed a deep belief in a decade ago. Jeff now leads a productive team of about a half dozen real estate professionals who sell an impressive assortment of million dollar plus resort homes.
Jeff’s recipe for success blends one part lead generator with two parts team builder and tops the mixture with relentless drive. It’s a formula that’s working.
Ten years has changed much in the life of Russell Williams. A young family and a growing list of investment properties are just a few of the transformations. The result? Russell’s commitment to real estate only intensified. Indisputably, this focused professional is reaping the benefits of dedication.
It’s easy to hear the pride in Russell’s voice when he explains “I’ve been in the real estate business for 20 years, and I’m still working with Prudential.” Clearly, his devotion to Prudential is worthwhile. About three years ago he was asked to lead a Prudential real estate office in the high-end community of Wacthung, New Jersey. He jumped at the opportunity.
Russell continues to maintain his own listings while leading a sizable team of agents. Russell explains “some people want to manage exclusively…but I want to keep working with people, and I think the connection through my listings actually helps me be a better manager.” Russell couldn’t be happier with the course his professional life has followed since 2000, saying “I’m just going to keep on doing what I enjoy.”
Marc Messinger sold his successful real estate business in 2007 and invested the money into a few franchises. Once the franchises were up and running smoothly, Marc searched for his next challenge. He found it at Edward Jones.
A decade ago he channeled his energy into helping first time homebuyers; now he assists seniors as a Financial Advisor. Marc says “ten years ago I spent a great deal of time putting on seminars for first time home buyers and I really enjoyed it.” Today Marc presents seminars to seniors preparing for retirement with the same zeal, adding “I’ve found working with seniors to be very rewarding- I get a great deal of pleasure from it.” From finding first homes, to securing a comfortable retirement, it seems as though Marc has a knack for helping others realize their dreams.
J. R. Sangiuliano
JR Sangiuliano is still in the real estate industry. In fact, he’s still a vital part of Century 21 JRS Realty located in Clark, New Jersey. JR also spends a good deal of time blogging about the ups and downs of various aspects of real estate- offering his audience a wealth of knowledge.
Unfortunately, we were not able to reach Araceli Tamez, Ted S. Byer, Tim Murphy & Kristi Colzani, Ian Benge, Cindy Wrenn, Bill Margita, Elsa Giefer, or Chylene Ward.