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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A farewell to retiring CEO Stan Collins

“When I first started at the Columbus Board of REALTORS® (CBR) in 1971, I was a Junior in college at Franklin University pursuing my degree in Business Administration”.

Prior to that, he spent two years at Miami University majoring in Political Science.

A colleague referred him to CBR for a job in the print shop where he put together MLS Bulletins that were printed on mimeograph machines.

Back then, all new listings and price changes were manually typed, copied and sent to MLS subscribers along with photographs of each new listing. “How we did that early on illustrates the change that we have gone through!”

They typed up 20-30 bulletin sheets daily with only two employees in the print shop. MLS Bulletin sets were only $5 per month.

Later came the MLS books which were printed every Thursday evening by our vendor, trucked in from Detroit that night and delivered Friday morning to member offices. (FYI – MLS books were printed until 2006.)

Due to a lawsuit by the IRS seeking to tax that income, the MLS was legally separated from the Board in 1972 to make two different corporations.

After graduation, then Executive Officer Ken Simpson hired him to computerize the accounting and membership departments.

“Although I had some background in accounting, I knew very little about computers. Since I was interested in learning, I took the position, even though the staff in accounting and membership threatened to quit if we computerized - and they did!”

At that time, the Board had just 2,000 members and served only Franklin County. Technology assisted serving the additional members that came with the geographic growth of the organization. Madison County was the first neighboring county Association to merge with the Board, with others following over the years.

Today, Columbus REALTORS® has over 8,000 members and officially serves six counties.

In 2010, Stan assumed the role of CEO of this great Association, following his predecessor Larry Metzger.

“I learned a lot about seeing different sides of issues from Larry. He was a great, great mentor to me.”

During this interview, Stan wanted to focus on several things the organization has done to remain relevant to membership.

For many years, CBR co-owned the building downtown on Town Street with Ohio REALTORS® but outgrew the space as the membership grew.

“We conducted a geographic study of the membership and found out that the geographic center of our membership was right here on Airport Drive.”

“When we broke ground in 1993, other than one hotel there were no other businesses around. We moved into this building in May of 1994 and have watched the area grow over the 25 years we’ve been here.”

That same year, the Board started its own political action committee – CORPAC.

“At the time, having our own PAC was very outside of the box. But it really helped our contributions because members felt that it was more local.

We now have the largest local PAC in Ohio.”

The Young Professionals Network (YPN) was started in 2009.

“It was another relevance thing. How do you attract the newer people in the business? This was another way to inspire people, let them know the good things that the Association does, and allow new members to become a part of something at an early stage in their career”.

“In 2011, we started the Leadership Academy which has been extremely beneficial. Through this program, we help members contribute at a higher level both in our Association and our community.”

“One of the biggest and most impactful things the Association has done was create the Columbus REALTORS® Foundation.”

Although this organization started a Donor-advised Fund through the Columbus Foundation in 1991, we created our own 501(c)3 charitable organization in 2013.

“What the foundation has been able to accomplish in its short life is pretty incredible. The amount of support received, and the grants provided to our community is amazing.”

“Not only has our foundation increased our awareness of the needs of the community, but it has improved the community’s awareness of us.”

“All of these accomplishments and more are the result of great, forward thinking leadership and I am proud to have been a part of that team.”

“In addition, I truly believe we have the best REALTOR® Association staff in the country, and I will miss being a part of this team—a lot!”

So, what does retirement look like for Stan?

“Oh, I have a long list!”

The list starts with visiting with all 10 grandchildren, going to their games, spending more time with each of them. He’ll be spending a lot of time on his farm in Southeast Ohio. The ‘farm’ is 98 percent woods (and tree maintenance).

“When I was a kid, I dreamed of growing up to be a forest ranger. And it looks like I am finally going to be able to do that by spending more time in my own forest in Southeast Ohio.”

“And I have a vision of converting some of the land in the area into a nature conservancy. So, I’d like to take some classes to learn about conservation and the conservancy side of it.”

He also wants to take classes in art and music and get back to painting and playing the piano as well as the guitar.

“And, of course, I’ll be carrying Marianne’s bags wherever she wants to go.”

Stan and Marianne were married in 2005 and she is also retiring at the end of this year.

“The real estate business is hard on a marriage because the things that happen after 5, the travel, etc. The magic of our relationship is that we are both in association management.”

“Marianne is Executive Director of the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association, and she understands the challenges and the demands, and neither of us resent the time that our work demands.”

“We try to do everything we can together since we know a lot of the same people. That’s probably why our marriage is strong.”

“We sort of made a pact that we would retire together and we’re both very excited about our life changes to come.”

But this isn’t the last we’ll see of Stan.

“Count me in for REALTOR® Care Day next year and helping Ida out with the Foundation, etc.”

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