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by G. Sax, Head of Communications, RESO

Chuck Wootten and Greg Sax.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. The goal of the series is to humanize the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week’s interview is with Charles (Chuck) Wootten, CTO of MLS Technology, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We talked about doing vs. managing, heat transfer (of all things) and the greatest athlete in Oklahoma sports history. Enjoy!

Q1: As CTO, do you ever desire to get in the weeds of the MLS, or are you happier on the management side?

Chuck: I find fulfillment in the management side of things because it allows me to leverage my strengths. My primary focus is ensuring the smooth operation of the team. I surround myself with subject matter experts who excel in their respective areas. This approach is rooted in a structured framework with a service mentality.

When I joined MLS Technology, there was a lack of established best practices and structure. Drawing from my many years of experience, I assessed the situation and initiated team-building efforts.

Initially, the team members lacked a deep familiarity with each other, so we dedicated time to fostering connections. Through our efforts, we transformed from a mere group of individuals working together to a cohesive team that follows our organization’s core values and even socializes together.

This shift towards a service-oriented mentality has been immensely rewarding. We acknowledge that our purpose at MLS Technology is to serve our end users, and I believe that servant leadership plays a significant role in cultivating this mindset.

Q2: You spent 24 years at SPX Heat Transfer, which is a good long career in a field far from MLS. What made you shift gears, and what the heck is heat transfer?

Chuck: Heat transfer has to do with power plants. Boilers create steam, steam turns turbines, turbines create electricity. You capture spent steam from the turbine and condense it. Fluid runs through tubes, cooling the steam and warming the feedwater.

The warmer the feedwater, the less work the boiler has to do. It is a circular system, and it’s an efficient heat transfer method if done correctly.

Our company supplied feedwater heaters and condensers to power plants globally, as well as heat exchangers to petroleum plants and refineries.

We were doing so well that our ownership decided to get investors to help expand our operations. During this process, we found someone that not only wanted to invest but wanted to buy us – a company in Germany that was a competitor. They liked our designs, technology and market share, but not so much our people, haha.

I then joined a company initially brought in to support us with high-level integrations and software upgrades. Following their acquisition, I found myself reporting to a manager who hadn’t been involved in my hiring and didn’t care about the concept of servant leadership.

Despite my best attempts, it became apparent that servant leadership was not going to be a focus. Consequently, I pulled the ripcord again.

While vacationing in Antigua, I got a random call from a recruiter. They wanted to know if I was interested in working at an MLS. I asked, “What’s an MLS?”

I decided to talk to them. It seemed like a good fit with good people. I adopted a new team and started. That was more than seven years ago, and it’s been going well so far.

Q3: Even though you yourself are an Oklahoma Sooners fan, you went to Oklahoma State University (OSU). Who is the all-time greatest athlete in OSU history?

Chuck: Barry Sanders.

RESO (G.Sax): Incorrect! The answer we were looking for is  Bryant “Big Country” Reeves.

Chuck: I have to strongly disagree with you there. What Barry Sanders did as –

RESO (G. Sax) (laughing): Sorry, Chuck, I have to cut you off. The answer is obviously Barry Sanders, my personal favorite NFL football player of all time. I just wanted to see an OU fan stick up for the best of OSU.

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