Brad Minear's not afraid of change.
A decade ago, he walked away from 15 years as a successful health care executive in Wichita, frustrated by a system going nowhere and all the paper shuffling it required.
But even the drastic career shift that his move into residential real estate sales represented didn't prepare him for this summer.
He was driving home after officiating his father's funeral — Minear lost both his parents last year — when he got a text message: His brokerage, Stucky & Associates, was no more.
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"Now, that was a big surprise," said Minear, who's wrapping up his first six months selling homes for J.P. Weigand & Sons. "I never, ever saw this transition coming. I'm a pretty loyal person and when I work with someone, I don't make a jump easily."
His new boss, Weigand residential general manager Gary Walker, said Minear's move has been seamless.
"His year has been very good," Walker said. "He's the type of guy who will be fairly steady because of the market, because word of mouth is the best you can get."
Big leaps of faith are part of the 49-year-old Andover man's story: The move into real estate. The decision to join Weigand. His charitable giving program, Homes Giving Hope, which routes 5 percent of his commissions to local and national charities.
Minear spent the first 15 years of his Wichita career on the financial side of health care in Wichita, most notably with Preferred Health Systems and Via Christi Regional Medical Center.
Before he left PHS in 1999, his role had expanded beyond accounting and finance to actuarial services, marketing and member services —"the full gamut of the business operation with the exception of the medical director's role," he said.
It was work he loved, except for one thing: It drew him further and further away from people.
So he walked away, jobless.
"In my prior capacities, I found myself spending a lot of time in budget meetings, board meetings, dealing with HR issues and not interacting directly with clients," Minear said.
"So I thought that if I make a change, a good experience for me would be out there working face to face with people."
But, trading personal contact for irregular paychecks made the move to real estate a "frightening" thing.
"I'd be lying if I said otherwise," Minear said. "In this business, you get a tangible reward when you're successful, and you don't when you're not. Whereas in many careers, you get a biweekly paycheck regardless of how your week or two have gone."
Homes Giving Hope
A year ago, Minear began thinking about an outreach from his sales business. He settled on donating 5 percent of his real estate commissions.
"I'm not going to have a big impact with this, but I do believe I can have a small impact, change some minds and cause others to become involved," he said.
The program allows clients to select a recipient once Minear closes a deal. Then the agent and his children make a presentation to the charity.
The program handed out $5,520 in commissions last year from the proceeds of 20 sales. Rainbows United was the biggest beneficiary, netting $1,390, according to a financial sheet from Minear.
It isn't the size of the gift with the Minears, said Stephanie Harder, Rainbows' vice president for development. It's giving back after utilizing the facility's services.
"They have lived what it means to be the recipient of these kinds of services and how they made a difference in their lives," Harder said.
"Now, they feel empowered to make the same impact.... Brad and his family care so much about families with special needs, and they're working hard to impact this community's quality of life."