Inman News has compiled a list of the 100 most influential people in real estate, reflecting the industry’s best and brightest, as well as outside figures whose actions influence the home buying and selling business. The following 19 people were chosen among trade associations and government agencies.
Deputy Insurance Commissioner, Colorado
In her role as deputy insurance commissioner for the state of Colorado, Erin Toll earlier this year began investigating nine real estate title insurers for alleged kickbacks, which set off a national probe of title insurance companies in several other states. In the alleged schemes, title insurers agreed to give about half of the premium on title insurance policies to captive reinsurance companies created by the other conspirators. The parent companies of those captives would in turn refer business to the title insurer. Toll, who also is co-chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Title Insurance Working Group, also is probing affiliated business arrangements for suspected similar kickback schemes.
For a full profile of Toll, click here.
Partner, WM Works Consulting
Known as a leader, teacher and visionary, Richard Mendenhall has galvanized people through his passionate speeches. Those who attended the 2001 National Association of Realtors annual convention in Chicago still talk about Mendenhall’s outgoing speech as president of the national trade group, and those who couldn’t be there still wish they’d made the trip. A fifth-generation real estate broker from Columbia, Mo., Mendenhall also is principal in consulting firm WMWorks. His current NAR involvement includes serving as co-chair of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations, which NAR belongs to.
EVP, California Association of Realtors
Joel Singer played a critical role in the formation of Realtor.com and was one of the first industry leaders to push for home listings on the Internet. The executive vice president of the California Association of Realtors started as a young researcher at the Los Angeles trade group. An economist by training and the son of trade unionist, Singer was instantly passionate about his job, providing C.A.R. with critical research insights that helped stem a move by banks in the early 1980s to stop assumable loans. The bank fight was essential to keeping a starving housing market from dying.Since that time, Singer has built a professional team and powerful presence in California while providing intellectual and strategic advice to NAR on finance, technology, research and government policy issues.
CEO, National Association of Realtors
Before heading the National Association of Realtors, Terry McDermott was executive vice president and chief executive officer of The American Institute of Architects, a 65,000-member professional society founded in 1857 to represent the nation’s architects.McDermott has more than 27 years of experience in the publishing and media profession. He delivered a powerful speech at NAR’s mid-year meeting in Washington, D.C., this year, as the U.S. Justice Department and Sen. Michael Oxley were waving accusations that the real estate industry promoted anticompetitive behavior. NAR was under pressure by the DOJ over its policy for online listings display, and McDermott assured members that, “We’re going to go to court for as long as it takes to protect your listings.”
Chief lobbyist, National Association of Realtors
Gerard “Jerry” Giovaniello’s fights are not public bouts or rowdy brawls. In fact, they are carefully chosen and methodically waged. Washington, D.C., is not a place of instant victory.As chief lobbyist and senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Realtors, Giovaniello is a significant player at the backstage of public policy. He carries a lot of weight – representing the association’s more than one million Realtors across the country.
For a full profile of Giovaniello, click here.
Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Alphonso Jackson has vowed to make the home-buying and selling process easier for consumers to understand. The agency oversees the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which governs real estate closings and industry referral practices, as well as the Fair Housing Act, ensuring consumers are not steered by real estate professionals or landlords to certain housing options because of their race, ethnicity, sexual or religious orientation. The industry is watching Jackson closely as he starts the process of RESPA reform.
Chairman, Federal Reserve Board
Charged with implementing the nation’s monetary policy, Greenspan’s actions are felt by everyone in the financial services and real estate industry. A cryptic blurb of “Greenspan speak” often will spark major movement in the bond market and hundreds of news stories analyzing what was meant. The Federal Reserve Board moves the target funds rate, which impacts long-term mortgage rates.
For a full profile of Greenspan, click here.
Insurance Commissioner, California
John Garamendi this year launched an investigation of nine major title insurers for alleged kickback schemes with home builders, lenders and real estate brokerages and developers. Garamendi’s probe resulted in the accused companies agreeing to pay $37.8 million in refunds and penalties, though none admitted wrongdoing. Known as a consumer advocate, Garamendi also has been pushing for rules that would require property insurers to disclose the standards they use to decide whether to renew individual homeowner’s insurance policies.
President, executive director, Real Estate Service Providers Council
Johnson is a leading voice for RESPRO, a national non-profit trade group of broker-owners, real estate franchisers, mortgage lenders/brokers, title insurers/agents, home builders, home warranty companies, and other settlement service providers. The group represents affiliated real estate businesses before federal and state policymakers, helps them manage their confusing and changing regulatory environment, and enables them to share ideas and develop successful business relationships across industry lines.
President, CEO, Houston Association of Realtors
As CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors, Bob Hale believes strongly in providing high-tech member services and is a true leader in this arena. During his tenure with HAR, the association’s Web site has become the premier real estate portal for Houston, with 300 million hits per month. HAR also offers free Web sites to every member.
Vice president, public affairs, National Association of Realtors
Steve Cook spends hours explaining the intricacies of the nation’s largest and most powerful real estate trade group to reporters from all types of media outlets. He has vigorously defended Realtors from criticism and accusations of unfair business practices amidst the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of the trade group’s online listings display policies.
General Counsel, National Association of Realtors
Laurie Janik has been head-to-head with U.S. Justice Department officials for nearly two years since the agency’s antitrust division opened an investigation of the National Association of Realtors’ online listings display policies. Janik serves as the chief legal mind of NAR, protecting the association from legal disasters and cleaning up afterward if trouble ensues. She’s also an expert on NAR’s virtual office Web site policy for online listings.
Senior vice president, marketing and business development, National Association of Realtors
Bob Goldberg is the dealmaker behind NAR’s affinity partnerships that generate non-dues revenue for the trade group. Goldberg also is president and CEO of the Realtors Information Network, the NAR entity affiliated with Realtor.com. He was recruited to the association in 1995 to identify problems with RIN and help salvage the project which was dangerously close to failure. He helped uncover some of the improprieties and helped to transform the network into a separate business venture.
For a full profile of Goldberg, click here.
President, Wisconsin Realtors Association
Bill Malkasian is no stranger to association leadership. He’s been leading the Wisconsin Realtors Association for more than 25 years. NAR in 2001 gave Malkasian the William R. Magel Award of Excellence for outstanding association management. Malkasian helped craft the Wisconsin Realtors’ land-use program, which NAR has used to help get more Realtors engaged in land-use issues.
Rep. Michael Oxley
Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Ohio)
The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee takes his responsibilities seriously, and his attentions have most definitely extended to real estate. Oxley has been working toward a set of rules for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose combined investment portfolios total $1.5 trillion and which came under fire for accounting irregularities in 2004. Oxley has requested the federal government study the restrictions placed on Multiple Listing Services and their impact on home buyers and has criticized the National Association of Realtor’s push to keep banks out of the real estate brokerage business.
Senior staff vice-president, National Association of Home Builders
Stanton, who oversees the NAHB’s legislative and political relations division, is the organization’s chief lobbyist, representing the interests of its members on Capitol Hill. The NAHB, based in Washington, D.C., represents more than 205,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction.
2005 President, National Association of Realtors
As 2005 president of NAR, Mansell is quoted often in media reports on housing market conditions and other housing economics. Mansell, also CEO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Salt Lake City and a state Senator for Utah, has helped to spearhead NAR’s new predatory lending education and awareness campaign, among other programs. He’s been a Realtor since 1969 and has served on several NAR committees in addition to his involvement at the state and local association level.
President and CEO, RELO
For more than 20 years, Pam O’Connor has managed networks, which ultimately were consolidated into the present RELO organization. RELO is a national network of independent residential real estate firms and focuses on the special needs of individuals and families relocating from one area to another. O’Connor is a frequent relocation industry speaker and author.
President, Real Estate Board of New York
Steve Spinola heads the Real Estate Board of New York, a powerhouse trade group with more than 6,000 members who are professionally involved in New York City real estate. REBNY represents industry positions before various government bodies, conducts research programs, gives qualifying courses to satisfy professional licensing requirements, as well as master seminars in certain real estate specialties, and provides pro bono technical and other assistance to social agencies creating housing resources for New York City’s homeless population. In 1996, Gov. George Pataki appointed Spinola to serve on the New York State Real Estate Board, a panel with advisory responsibilities in regulating the profession.
For a full profile of Spinola, click here.
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