By age 9, J. Lennox Scott was already working in the real estate business. He helped to paint "for sale" and "open house" signs for his grandfather’s company, John. L. Scott Real Estate. And while growing up he absorbed nuances of the industry shared by his father and grandfather.
"I grew up learning the business from two amazing role models," Scott said. His grandfather founded the Seattle-based company in 1931.
By the time Scott was 12 he joined a yard crew and assisted with cleaning up around real estate offices and for-sale homes. At 17 he worked at a title company, and he received his real estate license the following year. He later graduated with a business degree from University of Washington.
In 1977, a year after he began to sell homes, his father passed away, leaving Scott as the inheritor of the company. At 23 — while some his age hadn’t yet graduated from college — he had the responsibility of owning the family real estate firm and learning to lead.
Two years after he inherited the company, he became president of John L. Scott Real Estate.
Pam O’Connor, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Scott’s longtime friend, says Scott keeps up-to-date on industry trends and technologies that are changing the way people do business.
"He doesn’t allow himself to get buried in the weeds. He understands that his role as a leader is to set the vision and marshal the forces around that vision so that everyone on the team takes ownership of those concepts. He reads, studies and makes sure he focuses on those high-level activities, coaching and supporting those around him," Connor said.
In 2002, Scott became the chairman and CEO of the company. He started the John L. Scott foundation that contributes money to sponsor events that help raise funds for children’s hospitals throughout the Northwest.
The company reports that it has 145 offices and about 4,000 sales associates in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
"What keeps me in real estate is my passion for the business. To me, it’s the best industry to work in because it provides you with the ultimate platform to express yourself personally and professionally while making contributions to others," says Scott.
Scott says that most drastic change he has witnessed in the real estate industry was the launch of the Internet.
"In the past few years, (online real estate has) matured up to an entirely new level with interactive mapping, mobile platforms and video," he said. "With the rise in gas prices, the virtual real estate platform couldn’t have come along at a better time.
The company has worked to keep up with new technology, launching a platform that allows clients to search for homes using their mobile phones, for example.
The company is planning to integrate Microsoft’s Silverlight technology to offer richer interactive experiences, and to add features that allows users to pinpoint their location and search for for-sale homes in the vicinity.
Connor says, "In the early 2000s, he coined the phrase, ‘We (real estate professionals) can ‘out-dot-com the dot-com-ers.’ And he was right, as many of those tech companies went by the wayside while traditional brokers saw the light and began making their own Web sites the real estate destinations of choice."
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