What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Growing up, I always expected to be in the fun food business. My dad owned Detroit Popcorn Company, and I started “working” there when I was five, sitting behind the desk in his office, watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. I set up a little store in his showroom with goodies from his shelves and sold them to his customers. I climbed pallets in the warehouse, counting inventory at year-end. Instead of a curbside lemonade stand, I made cotton candy and sno-kones. I learned business principles from early on, and my dad was the best mentor ever.

Eventually, I moved into the mortgage origination business, working with some pretty smart people. I was probably the 20th hire at a company that rapidly grew to a team of more than 500, and my time there was the best education I could ever obtain. Although I studied advertising at Michigan State University, my real estate and finance expertise was learned hands-on at Capstone Mortgage.

I earned my real estate broker’s license in 1998 when I was a loan officer so that I could gain access to the MLS. That’s where I grew to understand housing. I didn’t intend to start selling real estate. But when my brother-in-law and his wife were thinking of buying a new house, the commission the builder paid me for being their agent was the seed money for what eventually became Homesource, Realtors, in 1999.  (Thanks, Neil & Stacy)

Homesource was a discount brokerage that provided full service for a flat fee or low commission. We needed a compelling reason for people to call.  Low commission was a great selling point – and we sold nearly a home a day in Metro Detroit before the housing crisis hit in 2006. I’ve been active in our local Board of Realtors, including as Director and Treasurer, and I remain involved in the Board’s Professional Standards, Finance and Risk Reduction Committees.

I met my current business partner through a mutual friend, and we founded Woodward Asset Capital in 2007. We purchased hundreds of homes around metropolitan Detroit directly from banks overloaded with foreclosed inventory. Our plan was to renovate them for resale.  We bought the properties the banks couldn’t sell after languishing for months on the market.

After we bought these properties at huge discounts, we were often able to put the properties right back on the market and sell them in days for the same prices the banks couldn’t get in months. Without any renovations. We identified the reasons for the bank’s failures to sell and uncovered terrible process inefficiencies and then developed technology solutions to solve the problems for all involved.  Today those technologies are used to negotiate hundreds of thousands of offers for properties across the country by banks and mortgage servicers large and small.

Our first-hand experience from every seat at the seller’s side of the real estate closing table has provided us with a unique perspective.  We’ve been able to prove concepts in varying markets nationwide and establish best practices that are changing the way homes are sold.

So while we’re grounded in real estate and backed by technology, we realize that selling a home is still a relationship business.   Our company focuses on the business of selling homes and the unique needs of home sellers.  And we’re doing it in a way that really does change the game without disrupting the market.

I’m excited to launch this business in Detroit before hitting other cities. As I learned from my dad, Detroit is a place of innovation and entrepreneurship, where people bootstrap with ingenuity and truly change the way the world moves.

Someone much smarter than me said, “if you’re not moving, you’re standing still.”  I’m still on my trip through the business world.  Come along for the ride.