Wardley Real Estate Announces Change in National Affiliation to Benefit Agents, Clients in Local Market

January 27, 2012

LAS VEGAS – Wardley Real Estate, a prominent local brokerage, has ended its affiliation with a high-profile national firm in order to refocus its resources to “better benefit agents and create the best total experience for our customers,” its president said today.

“We’ve concluded our relationship with Coldwell Banker in favor of a new association with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World,” Jeff Sommers said. “We strongly believe the money we would have spent with Coldwell Banker going forward can be invested much more productively here in the Las Vegas community. We are committed to providing our agents and clients with the ultimate real estate experience. Simply stated, we are ‘Positively the Best Decision in Las Vegas Real Estate.’”

Sommers noted the move is significant because it marks an evolution by one of the region’s survivors in the industry’s recent restructuring in the wake of the deep national recession and housing crisis.

“The landscape has shifted significantly. Several major players in our market aren’t here anymore. Several large firms have filed for bankruptcy. A lot of Las Vegas brokerages have gone out of business,” he said. “We’re a local company that provides jobs to more than 300 people. We’ve stayed in there, kept plugging away and kept people employed. We’re going to come out of this market stronger than ever.”

Lynn Wardley, the local firm’s owner announced the move to his 300-plus agents and employees on Thursday. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World is a global network of 550 of the best-known local and regional real estate firms with 4,600 offices and 140,000 sales associates in the United States and 30 other countries.

Sommers said, “Ultimately, real estate is a local business. LeadingRE is the largest network of brokers and agents but it doesn’t spend its money running nationwide ads to build a national brand. Instead, its focus is on helping clients relocate from one market to another. Anyone who lives in Las Vegas knows that a tremendous percentage of our residents come from other cities and states. Leading RE will better help us connect people moving to Las Vegas.”

He continued, “The only reason to buy or sell a home is to get to a better place, whether it’s a bigger place, a downsized home or a more economical situation. Still, getting from where you are to where you want to be can be very stressful,” explained Sommers, who has been in the real estate business since 1982 and with Wardley since 1993. “We want to eliminate that stress and make the real estate experience an exciting event.”

Sommers describes the new relationship with LeadingRE as “the best of both worlds for our clients and agents.” Agents will have a clear competitive edge with state-of-the-art tools and systems in working with the large number of number buyers in the Las Vegas market and with clients who are selling homes and moving both within Las Vegas and to other cities and states.

LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor notes that the company is the latest in a long list of former franchisees to affiliate with the network.  “We are seeing more and more firms that recognize the value of our model, which combines the advantages of operating as an independent company with the benefits of global services and connections,” O’Connor said.  “We are especially excited to welcome the Wardley team, as the name has been long associated with quality real estate.  We are pleased to support their growth as a locally-owned and branded real estate organization.”

Wardley started his firm in 1974, growing from a start-up to the largest, most-successful brokerage in Utah with approximately 1,700 agents and 22 offices. In 1998, he purchased a small brokerage in Denver and grew it to more than 1,000 agents by 2001. That same year, he was inducted into the Better Homes & Gardens Hall of Fame, an elite group comprised on less than 1 percent of the top brokers in America.

In 1999, Better Homes and Gardens approached Wardley to start a Las Vegas brokerage to replace a firm that had changed franchise affiliations. His first move was to purchase the Real Estate School of Nevada, the state’s most-established real estate school, because he believed the key to industry success is training and education.

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Brownell to Seek Fourth Term on Polk County Board of Supervisors in Newly Formed District

January 26, 2012

CLIVE, Iowa – Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell announced today that he run for a fourth term in the newly drawn district that includes Clive, Urbandale, Johnston, Grimes, Polk City and much of northern Polk County.

Brownell, a former Clive mayor and councilman, was elected to the board of supervisors in 2000 and has represented Clive, West Des Moines, southwestern Des Moines and Urbandale during that time.

“The new district is just terrific and I look forward to working hard and serving the people who live and work there,” Brownell said. “Clive has always been part of my supervisor district and Urbandale was part of it when I was first elected. I really hated to lose them in the 2002 redistricting. It’s a great city. As much I’m going to miss the day-to-day interaction with my current constituents, I’m very happy to be back in a district that includes Urbandale. I have a lot of friends in Johnston, Grimes and Polk City. I really look forward to working hard for them, too.”

Brownell’s recent activities includes serving as one of the county representatives on the Legislature’s work group for mental health redesign and as the only county representative on the governor’s work group for property tax reform. He currently is the chair of the Aging Resources Council, vice chair of the Homeless Coordinating Council, past chair of Neighborhood Finance Corporation, Emergency Management Board and E911 Board and serves on many local commissions.

“I’ve made a very conscious decision over the years to work with many varied and disparate parties to accomplish meaningful things that benefit Polk County’s residents and taxpayers,” Brownell said. “I’ve always believed it possible for public officials to meet public needs while maintaining a fiscally conservative approach to government. I’ve done that with success for a decade on the board and I want to continue to deliver that approach to constituents.”

To gain first-hand knowledge about the delivery of human services, Brownell posed as a homeless person and spent more than a week at the YMCA transitional housing facility. He also spent a night in a Des Moines homeless shelter, also posing as a homeless person.  “When dealing with a complex problem, whether it’s homelessness or mental health reform, it’s important to understand the issue on as close to a gut level as possible. When policy makers take the time to make that effort, their outcomes are better for all parties involved,” he said.

The redistricting plan recently approved by the Iowa Secretary of State put Brownell and Urbandale Republican E.J. Giovannetti in the same district. Giovannetti announced Wednesday that he will not seek another term.

“E.J. is one of my closest friends and has done a marvelous job as an elected official. I’m really going to miss him on the board, but we will remain good friends and he’ll be someone whose counsel I will always seek,” said Brownell, noting that Giovannetti has expressed his support for his colleague.

Brownell is a native of Cedar Rapids, graduating from Kennedy High School after attending Missouri Military Academy. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Northern Iowa, earning degrees in English and education. He has done post-graduate work at Drake University.

His private sector experience has included management positions with Roadway Express and Yellow Transportation (now YRC). He currently owns a successful consulting company, Diverse Resources Group LLC, which provides transportation and logistical counsel.

Brownell is married to Jenna Jurgensen of Des Moines. They have one son, Kevin. Kevin and his wife, Maria, are both attorneys in Des Moines.

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Giovannetti Won’t Seek Fourth Term, Committed to Remaining Active in Public Policy in 2013 and Beyond

January 25, 2012

          URBANDALE, Iowa – Polk County Supervisor E.J. Giovannetti, an innovative local government official since the early 1970s, said today that he will not seek a fourth term.

            “Words can’t begin to describe what an honor it is to represent my constituents. Even as when we faced some real challenges, I truly have enjoyed my time on the board of supervisors,” Giovannetti said. “It’s been a difficult decision but I know it’s the right one for me; I won’t be seeking re-election in 2012.”

The Urbandale Republican continued, “It’s important to me that my constituents know I’ll be working for them right up to my final day in office a little less than a year from now and that I’ll continue to work hard to represent their best interests on the range of county issues that affect them on a daily basis.”

Giovannetti was elected to the board in 2002, ending a five-year hiatus in his public service that began with his appointment to the Urbandale Planning and Zoning Commission in 1973. He was appointed mayor in 1977 and served in that position through 1997.  His current district consists primarily of Ankeny, Grimes, Johnston, Sheldahl, and Urbandale.

“I’ve been blessed and extremely proud to oversee not only the growth of Urbandale, but also one of the best counties in the United States,” Giovannetti said. “I haven’t decided yet what my next role will be but I guarantee I will remain very active on public policy issues, especially in the realm of intergovernmental cooperation,” he said.

Giovannetti has served as a chairman and member of the Greater Des Moines Civic Center, chairman of the Iowa Municipalities Workers’ Compensation Association, president of the Urbandale Economic Development Association, a member of Affordable Housing Task Force, member of Greater Des Moines Partnership, member of Team Ankeny, past member of the National League of Cities Committee on Finance, Administration, and Intergovernmental Relationships, member of Board of Directors of Bishop Drum Care Center, Mercy Clinics Board of Directors, chairman and member of Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, and chairman of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.

He also serves on the board of Choose Des Moines Communities, Des Moines Arts Festival, Downtown Events Group, Polk County Housing Trust Fund, Mid-Iowa Association of Local Governments (MIALG), Mid-Iowa Development Fund, Des Moines Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA), Metropolitan Advisory Council (MAC), Polk County Risk Management Committee, Civic Center Executive Committee, Central Iowa Drinking Water Commission, and Endow Urbandale. He is also an alternate to the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

Giovannetti, a native of northern California, has been in the private practice of law with Hopkins & Huebner, P.C. since 1970. Prior to that time, he served as Assistant Attorney General, Counsel for Legislative Research Bureau, and Deputy Industrial Commissioner, all with the State of Iowa. He has two adult children, Beth lives in New Orleans and Mark lives in Ankeny with his wife Chris and daughter Emily.

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Outstanding Commentary by MarketWatch’s David Weidner on the Death of Polk County Bank

January 24, 2012

As David Weidner writes today: “If you want to know how the financial crisis is still wreaking havoc in America, how the government is picking winners and losers, and how the big banks have actually benefited from their own mistakes, you simply need to go to the heartland.”

For the rest of the story, go to “Who Benefits when a bank dies? The life and death of Polk County Bank.”


Woolson to Appear on Canada’s Top-Rated Television Network

January 3, 2012

Eric Woolson, owner of The Concept Works, Inc., will be interviewed today on Canada’s #1 television in his role as Iowa campaign manager for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.

Woolson will appear on a five-minute segment with host Rudyard Griffiths on the network’s flagship program, “National Affairs”. CTV is Canada’s largest private broadcaster, and reaches more than 25 million viewers each week.