Business Q & A

A conversation with Greg Fox

Greg Fox tried a few different careers before finding one that stuck.

Fox, broker and owner of Realty World Alliance, which operates offices in east and west Wichita and has 50 agents, started out as a medic in the Army.

“I went to the Army because I was a young punk and couldn’t get much done in my life,” Fox, 56, said.

He worked in intensive care, was trained in advanced cardiac life support and said he saved a few lives during his eight years in the Army. Then there were times he worked in the venereal disease clinic when he was stationed in South Korea.

“Prostitution was legalized over there … and when a GI had VD, I had to go downtown and say to the (prostitute’s) mamasan, ‘You have to take so-and-so out of the rotation,’ ” Fox said.

When Fox completed his Army service and returned to Wichita in the mid-1980s, he first worked at the former Meyer and Williams Photography and later took a job at Steven Chrysler, where he was a service manager.

But by the mid-1990s, “I had fallen out of love with auto repair and service management, and I was trying to decide what to do when I was grown up,” he said.

That’s when his wife, Tracy Cassidy, of B98-FM, suggested he try real estate, because whenever they were in the car together and near a new house under construction, Fox said he would slow down to check it out.

Where was your first real estate job?

J.P. Weigand.

Why do you have such an interest in residential real estate?

Why does a trumpet player pick up a trumpet? Why does a piano player start playing the piano? I don’t know. When I grew up, we were in a relatively new neighborhood and there were houses being built around us. I just like people and homes.

How did you become an owner of a real estate firm?

I’d like to say it was all planned, but the fact is I kind of fell in love with computers, technology, making technology work for me. A couple of builders saw what I was doing – drawing floor plans electronically – and they said, “We want you to market our new homes. Why don’t you start your own business?”

So that’s how Realty World Alliance began?

This firm started in 1997 as Alliance Marketing Group and only marketed new homes. In 2004, it became Realty World Alliance and started doing both resale and new construction.

Your interest in technology is what led to your firm having a GPS application developed for smartphones that buyers can use to get more information and contact the listing agent when they are driving around looking at homes. Why was it important for you to have that app developed?

It’s something I’ve been working on for two-and-a-half years, and what makes it a little more unique than a lot of programs, the program we have, is an actual application that resides on your phone. I’m kind of pleased about that. It goes back to my technical roots of leading technology rather than waiting for somebody else to do it.

To what do you attribute the firm’s growth over the past few years? I know you said in 2009 the firm was at nine agents and you felt like you were “spinning your wheels” when it came to growing the company.

Well, part of it is how to recruit agents. It was learning how to interview, let other people know what we do (in terms of supporting agents). The interview process was probably the most important, so that’s why we grew. And we’ve been very blessed.

What keeps you up at night?

I don’t believe I do enough for my agents. They are my customer, and just like they have to earn their clients every day, I have to earn the agents every day. The public I can deal with. What keeps me up at night is, “Am I servicing my agents well?”

Is Hawaii your favorite vacation spot?

My parents went to Hawaii every year from about ’89 to the early 2000s … and stayed there for about two months (at a time). We’ve been very blessed that all of my children have been to Hawaii five, six, seven times. Last January we (Fox and Cassidy) renewed our vows on the beach there. We go there frequently. Thank you, Mommy and Daddy.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

One time before I became an agent, I was offered a position at the VA (Veterans Affairs) doing autopsies. I didn’t do it.