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by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO

This week, we caught up with Marty Reed, the COO of the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS), someone who we have had on our interview wish list for a long time now. Marty has already had a storied career, and this new chapter also looks like a best seller.

Q1: What has been the biggest surprise or difference in shifting your mindset from working for an MLS technology vendor, Black Knight, to working for an MLS?

Marty: I don’t know if I would call it a shift as much as an excitement. CRMLS doesn’t come with the same strings attached that a corporation has.

You still need to have security built around what you’re doing. You still must protect your assets, but there is more flexibility and creative freedom.

Plus, although it’s been several years, I’ve worked for an MLS before. One would think that the MLS of 15 years ago would be different from the MLS of today, but we’re still working on a lot of the same issues we had in the industry at the turn of the century. We’re still trying to consolidate, participate across borders, create economies of scale, negotiate contracts, etc.

That’s where the parity is from today to even 30 years ago. You still have MLSs that don’t want to consolidate and want to protect their little fiefdoms. We’re having a lot of success at CRMLS in breaking down some of those barriers by building trust and service into our negotiations, but the industry itself still has pockets of activity that are wary of change.

Q2: As you noted, you were the CEO at Cooperative Arkansas REALTORS® MLS from 1990 to 2004. I assume that experience has proven valuable in future roles. Do you still find yourself following what they are up to in Arkansas?

Marty: Absolutely. I hired the person that took on my role, Amanda Tester, and we still, to this day, continue to converse and collaborate. We go over tactics from back when we were first bringing the MLS out of books and online. We still discuss how we approached consolidation when I was in charge.

When I started, we had three shareholding boards. By the time I left, we had managed to negotiate contracts providing MLS services to a dozen client boards. Obviously, this did not result in seats on the board. Instead, we set up task forces for them to participate and be heard. We had to come up with creative solutions on a regular basis, and she’s continued that important work.

Q3: Past and present CRMLS staff have made a major impact on RESO. CRMLS CEO Art Carter has served as the chair of the RESO Board of Directors, CTO Mark Bessett is the chair of the Universal Property Identifier Workgroup and former CIO Rob Larson is the chair of the Data Dictionary Workgroup. Can we expect to see you in more workgroup meetings, or does your role prevent you from being an active RESO participant?

Marty: I will continue to involve myself with RESO. I’m currently serving on the RESO board and I want CRMLS, as a team of engineers, product developers and technical operators, to participate in RESO workgroups and conferences.

Andy Nguyen, our Director of Data Services, and Zach Garcia, our Director of Technical Operations, are two individuals I expect to see participate more, for example. And since my arrival at CRMLS, we have acquired some exceptional assets, like Dan Ray, Director of Product Development, and Barbara McCollum, Senior Project Manager, among others.

We are truly building a software development dream team at CRMLS. We are in that life cycle now in terms of heading down the path of innovation and building the kinds of products that will make our organization hum and the industry improve.