My wife and I moved to Wilmington last summer for no reason other than we like the area, the water, and the proximity to our daughter in Durham. After 50+ years living in and around Huntsville, Alabama, we decided to trade freshwater for salt, river for the ocean. We bought a house near Wrightsville Beach without going in it. We just trusted our Realtor to walk through and FaceTime the important stuff. We asked him to smell under the sink and in the bathrooms. Was there a litter box? A smoker? Mold? There was not and he gave us the All Clear. Thankfully, we loved the place when we got there a few days later. We like the neighborhood too and have already made new friends. Nancy, the walker of Odie the rescue dog, and Vinny, the semi-retired music producer. Wilmington is a nice little town and is everything we were looking for.
Then, in the early fall, an old friend called looking for ideas for a corporate search he had been hired to do for the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors. They hired him to find a new CEO and to create and fill a new position to run their 16,000-member MLS. I gave him some names for both positions and, in a few weeks, he called back to discuss it. He was having trouble finding someone for CEO and understood it would be hard to fill the MLS position with an open CEO. After thinking about it, I told him that I might be interested in the MLS position as long as he did not hire an asshole for CEO! He suggested that I come up for an interview anyway, which I did, just to see what I thought of the people and the opportunity.
A few weeks later, he called back and said that he was thinking of taking the CEO job himself. With that, I told him I would take the MLS position if they offered it to me. They did, and I did, and I started December 1. So, in the last three years, I have worked for three companies. That is remarkable because in the previous twenty years I have worked for two, both started by me. In January 2018 I sold Solid Earth to FBS after running it for 20 years. Then, FBS decided to spin the Solid Earth assets off to another company in 2021 and I went with them, to TRIBUS. TRIBUS is a bespoke Brokerage software vendor of CRM and websites and is owned by close friends Eric Stegemann and Katie Ragusa. They were very interested in the Spring project and created an MLS division for the product, and the team, to live and grow. After a few big wins at TRIBUS, the Spring project and team is safe and poised for growth.
With Spring safe, I was able to think carefully and comfortably accept the offer to run the MLS in Raleigh. The MLS is called Triangle MLS and covers the Raleigh Association, the Durham Association, Chapel Hill, which is called the Orange and Chatham County Association, plus the Johnston County Association in Smithfield. Altogether, that is 16 counties in north-central North Carolina. My primary goals are to: develop better relationships with the stakeholder associations, build a culture of transparency at the MLS, and develop a rational data sharing agreement with all the large MLSs in the region so that Triangle members never have to operate two systems to accomplish their work.
I will try to chronicle some of this as we go through the year. It should be an exciting time!