Richard Mendenhall, 2001 president of the National Association of Realtors, and Dick Ward, a former executive at Fidelity National Financial and Microsoft’s HomeAdvisor, have opened WMWorks, a “business action company” that will help real estate-sector companies create and implement business action plans.

“We will be doing some strategic planning and research, but the real value we will offer clients is concise direction on what they should be doing next week to improve their profitability,” Ward said in a statement obtained by Inman News.

The firm will also assist with business development, eCommerce solutions, merger and acquisition efforts and executive management and training.

Bob Moles, president and CEO of Cendant Real Estate Franchise Group in Parsippany, N.J., called Mendenhall and Ward “two of the top strategic thinkers on the real estate scene.”

Half a dozen clients have already signed on to tap the firm’s expertise. The company didn’t disclose the clients’ identities, but Ward said WMWorks’ client base will include both Realtor companies and other companies, organizations and government agencies that are outside real estate but want access to the business.

Ward and Mendenhall first met 30 years ago when they were both real estate brokers–and fierce competitors–in Columbia, Mo., after their Vietnam-era military service.

“We’ve always shared thoughts and ideas on how to improve the real estate profession. WMWorks finally formalizes the interaction we’ve enjoyed for three decades,” Mendenhall said.

WMWorks will add associates in the coming months and arrange for other “prominent individuals in key practice areas” to offer their services to the firm’s clients, Mendenhall said.

“As you seek to partner with the movers and shakers of the real estate industry, reinvent your association or brokerage, develop strategic thinking for your organization, and create the ultimate leadership experience, Mendenhall and Ward are the new dynamic team that will take you there,” said Bob Hale, president and CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors.

Mendenhall was one of NAR’s most effective, respected and beloved presidents. Two of the programs started during his tenure were the Realtors Housing Relief Fund, which raised charitable donations to pay housing costs of Sept. 11 victims and their families, and the Hope Awards, which recognizes people who enable minority home ownership.

He has worked with the Chinese Real Estate Association of China, FIABCI International, The Landrum Co., a Midwest bank holding company, Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance, RE/MAX International, SECOVI of Brazil, and hundreds of local and state Realtor associations.

He was a member of the board of director of Fidelity National Information Solutions in 2003 and a member of Fannie Mae’s advisory board of directors in 2001-02. He has been a Realtor since 1974, and is the fifth generation of his family in real estate since 1894. He owns two real estate offices in central Missouri that specialize in single-family and commercial brokerage. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees in education from the University of Missouri. In 1968, he served as a Green Beret in Vietnam.

Ward has held executive positions at Fidelity National Financial, Microsoft’s HomeAdvisor and HomeSpace, a real estate dot-com that was bought by LendingTree. He is the co-author of two mortgage process patents.

He became a Realtor in 1971 and has held leadership positions in local, state and national Realtor associations. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He was a Navy journalist during the Vietnam era. He currently is executive director of VETS, a veteran’s information and historical archive, and a trustee of the Northwestern University-based Urological Research Foundation, a national organization seeking a prostate cancer cure.

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