A triumphant story 45 years in the making marched boldly into the future Tuesday morning at the 2018 RE/MAX R4 Convention, as Dave Linger passed the mantle of CEO to the man he has spent years grooming for the position, Adam Contos.
It was just one of the many indelible moments at the R4 Opening General Session. Others included big moves and services in strategy and technology; an update on the 2018 ad campaign; revolutionary new course offerings from RE/MAX University; and the crowning of the inaugural Founders Award honorees – a foursome who believed in the RE/MAX story from the outset and spent their lives helping make it happen.
The respect between Liniger and his CEO successor was evident throughout the program, as more than 6,000 RE/MAX attendees stood and cheered multiple times.
“First, whoever was going to be CEO had to have experience in the field,” Liniger said. “Second, he’s a pretty smart dude.”
Contos thanked his mentor and friend, vowing that the unsurpassed trajectory of RE/MAX would continue. “We got this,” Contos said as Liniger walked off the stage.
The four Founders Award honorees can attest to the rewards of hard work and looking forward, as they built the foundation of what has become the world’s most productive real estate network. Those honorees: Dennis Curtin, who bought the first RE/MAX franchise and introduced it in Kansas City, proving it could thrive outside its Denver birthplace; Frank Polzler and Walter Schneider, who took RE/MAX into Canada and Europe; and, in an especially memorable moment, a surprised Gail Liniger, who was greeted by a thunderous ovation as she came onstage.
“The moment I met Gail, I was sold – I wanted her to be the first person on my team,” Liniger told the audience.
The Second Miracle Child
“I’ve had to beat the odds,” 11-year-old Carson Cline, looking sharp in a bow tie, told the OGS crowd as he helped to make the announcement that RE/MAX agents have now raised an incredible $157 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Cline was born weighing just one pound with difficulties due to cerebral palsy. Thanks to the incredible work of the staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado, he’s a thriving kid working toward his dream of playing in the NFL. His unbeatable spirit (and “dorky dancing” performance) won the hearts of attendees.
It turned out the morning’s host, real estate coach Brian Buffini, had a personal connection to Cline’s story. When Buffini returned to the stage, he addressed Cline directly: “My best friend, 11 days ago, gave birth to a one-pound baby. I just sent a video of you to this child’s mommy and daddy. It has made their day.”
Cline’s story continued to inspire the audience during the annual Big Give Live Auction, which added $110,000 raised for CMN hospitals. Yet another surprise was in store, as an agent who placed the winning bid for a fancy handbag presented it to Carson’s mom, simply saying she also deserved something special.
Major step in technology strategy
Shortly before the Opening General Session, RE/MAX made an unexpected announcement: RE/MAX LLC had just acquired booj, an industry-leading real estate technology company eight miles from RE/MAX World Headquarters in Denver.
This is big news for RE/MAX agents and brokers, who will be very involved in the product development process.
“This is game-changing,” said Pete Crowe, RE/MAX Executive Vice President, Business and Product Strategy. “We asked the leadership at booj, ‘What do you think about combining your data analytics, web presence, artificial intelligence and all your amazing stuff with the largest global footprint in real estate?’ They loved the idea.”
Keith Pike, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Elite in Little Rock, Arkansas, couldn’t wait to share the news with his agents. “It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s great that RE/MAX is taking a grip on tech changes and investing in agent technology.”
Booj was just one of several big tech announcements made during the Opening General Session. Crowe also told the crowd that more than 1 billion brand impressions have been made through the innovative Adwerx advertising partnership. He also announced free marketing automation – an exciting new feature coming this spring to the RE/MAX Design Center.
Melissa Maxwell of RE/MAX Affiliates in Lousiville, Kentucky thoroughly enjoyed this year’s OGS. “I thought it was really good,” she said. “They brought in a lot of technology, which is what I’m really interested in.”
Crowe made it clear to the crowd that technology is a top priority.
“We live on social media, on phones,” he said, holding his smart phone up. “People live on them. We need to go find them.
“We’ve always embraced change. Let’s change it again.”