Q: Describe what HAR was like during your year – where was office located, how big the board was, how large the membership was?
A: HAR was at the same location that is today, but we only occupied the first floor. We were considered a big board by the then-current standards and at the National Association of REALTORS® convention in the fall of 1991, NAR President Harley Rouda congratulated HAR on becoming the largest local association in the country with slightly more than 10,000 members.
Q: Were there any significant challenges that arose during your year as HAR President?
A: One of the problems that I remember most clearly was when the commercial MLS was shut down. To make a long story short, the vendor that was providing the service to our members sub-contracted the service to another entity and all the while was collecting the dues from our commercial members. The vendor fell on hard times and got behind on payments to the sub-contractor. Consequently, the sub-contractor shut down the service, and suffice it to say, the switchboard at HAR lit up like a Christmas tree. The lady that was staff liaison to CMLS was swamped with calls from members and couldn’t possibly return them all. I set up shop in the small conference room and returned each and every call. It took a week out of my life, but it was worth it. I made some very good friends that I would never have gotten to know otherwise, and the best part of it was that we came out on the other side of the problem with a much better and efficient service for our commercial members.
Q: What were some notable achievements during your year as HAR Board President?
A: We had a couple of great highlights in 1991. Houston was chosen as the host city for the Texas Association of REALTORS® convention and I asked Beth Wolff if she would chair the committee and she graciously accepted. It was a terrific convention thanks to Beth, and her group of volunteers and I will always be grateful to them for the tremendous job they did for HAR.
Next, on behalf of HAR I signed a contract for a new MLS service. As with most new technology, there were some bugs that had to be worked out, but it was a huge upgrade over the old “dumb terminals” that used thermal fax paper. Looking back at what was then the “best thing going,” I would call it the Neanderthal predecessor to our current system, but at least it was a step in the right direction.
Q: What would you consider the greatest innovation at HAR since you served as President?
A: The biggest innovation at HAR since my term as President is without a doubt the continual evolving improvement to the MLS system for both our residential and commercial members. The difference is like night and day.
Q: What stands out as the most significant part of your tenure as President?
A: The most important thing that happened during my year as President was a year-long personal experience of getting to really know Bob Hale and having the opportunity to observe the many talents that he has and that he uses for HAR’s benefit every day. HAR is so lucky to have him as President and CEO, and I am even luckier to be able to have him as a friend.
Houston REALTOR® will visit with another HAR Past President in the October 2011 edition.