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by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week’s interview is with Kevin Hawkins, President at WAV Group Communications. Kevin can often be seen front row center at industry events, tirelessly reporting on the latest happenings in the real estate industry, and he has written several pieces for RESO. WAV Group also helps MLS firms, industry associations, real estate brokerages, Fintech firms and real estate technology companies tell their stories with public relations, marketing and content creation. It was a pleasure to turn the interviewer into the subject.

Q1: You have been working in various marketing capacities in the real estate space for what I believe is more than 25 years now. How do you keep it fresh and what keeps you driven?

Kevin: I mentor a robotics team in high school. I was actually a founding member of a robotics team where I live. It is such a passion of mine that I once literally almost quit everything else I was doing in my career to be part of that.

Working with students teaches me so much about what’s happening today and what’s going to happen tomorrow. I have to stay on top of my game in order to communicate with these young people, otherwise I’m seen as a dinosaur. Perhaps that part’s inevitable, but it’s still so much fun to work with these kids who know nothing about public relations or marketing. Their perspective fuels my work. They teach me as much as I teach them.

I am now in my 8th year of working in high school robotics and have now worked with kids who have graduated in related fields. Actually, my son’s first job was with Amazon because of the communications skills he learned during his time with the robotics crew.

I have been fortunate enough to give these kids internship references all the way up to job references. To have that lasting legacy is one of the greatest treasures of my life.

It’s important not to become jaded when working in a particular vertical for a long time – to be able to dive into new things knowing that you have the experience filters to understand what’s real and what’s hyperbole.

Q2: In your career, can you venture a guess as to how many stories you’ve produced?

Kevin: I write over a million words per year. That’s not counting drafts. My Mac has gone up from 1 to 2 to 4 TB.

Q3: You seem to take a particular glee in working with RESO projects. Why are we lucky enough to get the extra love?

Kevin: WAV Group was a charter sponsor of RESO, and I didn’t quite realize then that this organization was immediately going to be important to the industry. But I quickly figured out that I needed to make a contribution to this burgeoning industry cornerstone.

We started our involvement back when RESO was almost wholly a technical unit of real estate. The organization was completely run by geeks – wonderful geeks, mind you!

In those early years in Chicago, there were less women in the room than there were fingers on my hand. I thought to myself then that this could not be the case if RESO was going to grow and thrive, and I’m happy to say that I have written multiple profiles about women leaders at RESO since then.

Going back to robotics, I’m a huge advocate of gender equality on my robotics team. It has been freeing to be able to contribute content based on my ideals to the RESO cause, and I give credit for this to anyone who has been in a leadership role at RESO. I’m glad and proud to see RESO becoming a more diverse organization.

More recently, current CEO, Sam DeBord, brought in a fresh brand perspective. It married the transition we at WAV Group wanted to achieve for the organization by merging the heavier tech side of the industry with the necessary business side.

From my perspective, it’s been such an enjoyable transition and impact. We went from “Who is RESO?” to it now being in the vernacular. With Sam’s position in the industry, RESO has achieved omnichannel status. 

Bringing forth RESO initiatives to a wider audience will only help it progress further and faster. People now talk with delight about what RESO is today. The “good old days of RESO” are actually right now.

As emphasized by the “Pain Points” sessions at the RESO conferences, there will always be a little controversy, debate and even negative feedback. That is good! It means you’re doing the right job. If any of this was easy, it really wouldn’t be as effective as it has been.