2022 President Farewell: Wes Grant

2022 President Farewell: Wes Grant

Dear AAR Members:

Completing a leadership role gives you an opportunity to objectively look back and assess the goals you set and those achieved.  I expect that, like myself, many AAR presidents find themselves at times overwhelmed by the meetings, responsibilities, travel and time commitment required to lead one of Alabama’s largest trade organizations. As the annual convention brings those responsibilities to an end, I can reflect upon the accomplishments we achieved together.

Paying off the debt on our headquarters building was the result of several years of planning and hard work.  The willingness of our members – with not a single complaint – to pay a $50 building assessment was remarkable and sets up our association financially to maintain our building for years to come. I believe AAR is in its best financial state in many years.

I’m also proud of our new partnership with Alabama State University establishing a micro credential program in real estate and providing five years of funding for the program. The partnership involves internship opportunities in real estate, banking, lending and building spaces, and others as well as a home ownership education outreach initiative. This is a first of its kind partnership between a REALTORS® association and a historically black college or university.

Broadband access was an important legislative initiative this year.  As a member of the Alabama Rural Broadband Coalition, AAR supported funding for broadband expansion. Last month, I was invited to represent you and speak as Governor Kay Ivey announced an $82.45 million grant to expand broadband internet service in the state through the new Alabama Middle-Mile Project. The project will connect nearly 3,000 miles of existing and new fiber infrastructure within a three-year period. AAR’s invitation to the event was in recognition of our role in the initiative’s success.

Of course, none of these goals would be reached without the dedication of our executive committee, regional vice presidents and the AAR staff. The executive committee and regional vice presidents did a great job at broker outreach. With three regional vice presidents and eight executive committee members returning for 2023, we will have great experience and depth – much like a great football team with returning starters. But leadership doesn’t always come naturally – you have to work at it. We did a lot of leadership training that will pay off for AAR.  It’s like Bible study. You have to do it all the time and you have to be intentional. Our REALTOR® leaders had the full support of the AAR leadership and staff. Jeremy Walker and his team are exceptional.   

I wish RaJane Johnson all the best in her year at the helm. There is a lot of positive momentum and I am confident she will lead us well.