It’s been nearly 1 1/2 years since Prudential Dinning-Beard, one of the area’s biggest real estate firms, became a part of the bigger Prudential PenFed Realty, a subsidiary of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union in Alexandria, Va., which has more than $18 billion in assets and 1.2 million members.
Dinning-Beard has retained its name – so far – and has been adopting some of PenFed’s programs, including one launched earlier this year aimed at helping veterans and military spouses break into a real estate career.
The Real Heroes program pays successful candidates up to $2,500 toward the cost of obtaining a real estate license. It is aimed at veterans, military spouses, and active-duty men and women who are planning to leave military service.
Willie Kihle, Dinning-Beard’s managing broker and a former owner, said he’s hoping that program will bolster his agency’s ranks in Wichita, which total 280 agents and staff working from east- and west-side offices.
“Dinning-Beard has always had a history of bringing new people into the business, starting a career and teaching them how to grow it,” said Kihle, a North Dakota native who started his real estate career at Dinning-Beard more than 28 years ago, originally working for co-founder Doris Beard. “Obviously, there is a sense of pride” from offering a program that assists veterans, he said.
Kihle said PenFed has a number of programs nationally that support veterans, including DreamMakers, which provides grants to first-time homebuyers including veterans and active-duty military, and Military Heroes, which provides services to wounded military service members and their families.
“These guys have a great heart, not only for their members but the military in general,” Kihle said. “So we’re very proud to be associated with them.”