Organized real estate always seems to feel like it’s under attack. Maybe it is – or maybe we’re just too insecure. Either way, this post is a tribute to folks you rarely, if ever, see up on stage at conferences that we’re lucky to have on our side in that fight. This isn’t a list of the usual cast of industry leaders – Bob Hale (with Taqi Rizvi), Mark Lesswing, Russ Bergeron, Gregg Larson, Mike Audet, Brian Larson and others. These are some people I admire that you might not know about:
1. Claude Szyfer is an attorney from the firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. No offense to Brian, John, and Darity – but when I want to get another good legal perspective on industry issues, this is the guy I would call. Not only is Claude incredibly smart and in the loop on our industry, but he pulls expertise from a firm with 750 employees. Remember how Thomas Brown recently blew everyone away at CMLS by providing a big perspective? Well, Claude does the same thing but even more so. You won’t have met Claude at any industry conference but I’m hoping he gets more involved in our industry in the future. We need him.
2. Paul Stusiak is a technical consultant specializing in RETS. I have the deepest respect for his technical opinions when it comes to standards. He understands the big picture transformations that an improved RETS standards can enable and the interests of stakeholders as they relate to that transformation. He has proven himself as a great facilitator at RETS meetings for years, and isn’t afraid to dive in and get work done. He has the respect of many in the community. Paul has a deep-seated passion for RETS and for the industry in general. Like some of the other folks on my list, he’s not any lists of the most influential people in our industry – but the industry would be far poorer without this one person.
3. Ed Newman is John Mosey’s tech guy at Northstar MLS. He keeps things running smoothly locally, but he also focuses on things that could make a difference industry-wide. For example, he created a database driven rules based listing compliance checker and would give it away to other MLSs. He’s spending a lot of time making sure the new association management system from RAMCO works, which has some exciting new features in it (which I’ll leave for another post to describe). These are things that will improve our industry in general. Thank goodness Ed’s in the back room getting things done!
4. Rob Larson is the CIO at CRMLS, the largest MLS in the country. Rob keeps it running smoothly and with great efficiency, both in terms of staffing and hardware. He has great operational experience and judgement. I like getting a call from Rob – I know we’re going to have an awesome conversation. He’s funny and creative, but not many people would know it because he’s pretty quiet. But, I’m sure we’re going to see more of him on the national stage as time goes on.
5. Rob Overman is the VP of New Technology at LPS MLS Solutions. I’ve pulled him up onto a few stages before, but most people don’t have regular contact with him. He’s been part of the engine of innovation at LPS and, going back, at REBIG, Homeseekers, Terradatum, and Virtual Information Systems. This guy’s intellectual DNA is everywhere! The interesting thing about Rob is that the most famous failed endeavor he was involved in – REBIG – gave him great perspective on our current data licensing and syndication issues. But have you seen anyone draw on that perspective? Maybe not enough. I’m looking at Rob to speak up more, and for us all to listen hard to what he has to say.
6. Ethan Bailey is one of the co-creators of the InnoVia MLS product and is Sr. Director of IT at CoreLogic MarketLinx. He’s not just a geek’s geek, but has his MBA – he’s a double threat! What I respect Ethan for most is his long-term view of technology. While everyone else was running around creating separate codebases for web, PC, mobile, etc., Ethan kept the faith on standards – resulting in manageability and low expenses for his platform. His perspective is invaluable, and he’s an all-around nice guy and straight shooter. Just ask any InnoVia customer. We don’t see enough of him online and at industry conferences – I hope that changes in the future.
7. In Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai movie there may have only been six samurai to start, but surely seven by the end (Kikuchiyo). Who is YOUR seventh industry samurai and why? Remember, I’m asking for people who don’t normally grace the stage at conventions.
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