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Real Estate & Construction  January 29, 2010

New president of The Group settling into new home

FORT COLLINS – Eric Thompson is no stranger to Colorado, but the months he’s lived in Northern Colorado can be counted on one hand.

Thompson, 39, began his duties as president of The Group Inc. Real Estate, the region’s biggest real estate firm with about 300 agents, or as they’re known in the firm’s unique corporate culture, “sales partners,” on Nov. 2.

Born and raised in Denver, Thompson received a degree in economics from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He spent the last 10 years living in the Breckenridge area, where he worked for Vail-based Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate, overseeing about 50 sales agents in five offices scattered across Summit County.

Tall, energetic and possessing a naturally friendly demeanor, Thompson said he first heard of The Group about five years ago when he met company founder Larry Kendall, now chairman emeritus, during one of Kendall’s classes on “Ninja Selling.”

“He’s really the reason I’m here,” Thompson said. “From the day I met him I knew he was going to be a mentor and a role model for me.”

Thompson said he was attracted to The Group for a couple of reasons. “First, it’s a company with a great story,” he said. “I’m not the kind of person who would be attracted to just some big company. This company started with a real entrepreneurial spirit and a clear vision as to how they would be different from other companies.

“The second thing is we’re market leaders,” he added. “We’ve been ranked first or second in the country in terms of how productive our partners are. The people here are fully committed to being full-time realtors, and we’re leaders in the community, donating time and money to make this an even better place.”

Under The Group’s philosophy, every agent is a sales partner with the aim of helping each other make sales and not trying to steal sales away from each other.

“This is a company that feels more like a family than a corporation,” he said. “Everyone’s really tight here and we support each other. We’re all owners and we share in each other’s success, and that’s pretty unique in real estate.”

Philosophies match

Thompson said his personal work philosophy mirrors that of The Group. “I think it matches the company philosophy in that we all commit to be masters in our jobs,” he said. “You commit to going beyond the limit that you set for yourself and you’re committed to surrounding yourself with other masters and not resenting other people who have become masters. It’s about constant improvement and how can you work to be better.”

Thompson is the first person in the organization to be hired for a high-level management position from outside of The Group “family.” Chuck McNeal, The Group’s chairman and CEO, said Thompson was approached after a nationwide search to fill the position.

“We were frankly surprised to find someone of his caliber right here in Colorado coming from a company with a similar culture to ours,” he said. “It was a perfect fit for us. We just couldn’t be happier.”

Despite the down economy and a weak real estate market, Thompson said he’s optimistic that the long-term future of Northern Colorado real estate remains strong. But that doesn’t mean he sees a quick turnaround in 2010.

“I feel positive about our market for the long term because of the fundamentals that are here,” he said. “I see (2010) as a year of stabilization, not a year of bouncing back.”

But Thompson then lists some of the good things that are happening in residential real estate, including federal tax credits that will remain in effect through April and the lowest interest rates in almost 40 years. The Group is also doing what it can to help homebuyers, offering since last August a “Job Loss Protection” program that covers mortgage payments for up to six months if the buyer loses a job within the first 24 months of the loan.

“This is a good time to buy real estate,” he said.

Thompson and his wife, Julie, have a one-year-old daughter and another child on the way in June. Passionate about bicycling and cross-country skiing, Thompson said he’s found Northern Colorado to be filled with other outdoor and recreation lovers and is enthused about living in the area and learning more about it.

“We feel right at home,” he said. “We just put a house under contract and we’re settling right in.”

FORT COLLINS – Eric Thompson is no stranger to Colorado, but the months he’s lived in Northern Colorado can be counted on one hand.

Thompson, 39, began his duties as president of The Group Inc. Real Estate, the region’s biggest real estate firm with about 300 agents, or as they’re known in the firm’s unique corporate culture, “sales partners,” on Nov. 2.

Born and raised in Denver, Thompson received a degree in economics from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He spent the last 10 years living in the Breckenridge area, where he worked for Vail-based Slifer Smith and…

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