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Personnel File - May 2008: Real Estate

Wendell Bullard, President
N.C. Association of Realtors, Greensboro

As a kid, Wendell Bullard had a practical, if unusual, answer to what he wanted to be when he grew up: “I wanted to be a businessman.” After high school and four years in the Air Force, the Durham native spent 12 years in the flavoring department of Liggett & Myers Tobacco, working full time while earning a bachelor’s in business at N.C. Central University. After graduating in 1994, he got his real-estate license.

“For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be in business for myself.” He worked six years for Prudential Carolinas Realty before starting Bullard Properties in 2000. Four years later, he and a partner bought a franchise and started Realty Executives Triangle Southpointe, which has seven brokers.

Bullard, 47, says he has more than affection for the industry that enabled him to realize a childhood dream — he has a passion for it. Active in the Durham Regional Association of Realtors, he became president of the Greensboro-based state organization in January after a year as president-elect.

The state group, which represents more than 42,000 members in 66 local associations, is North Carolina’s largest and oldest state trade association, known for its aggressive lobbying and political clout. Its latest nemesis: efforts to impose a transfer tax on property sales. Referendums on them failed in 16 counties last fall, but the group has kept the heat on with advertising, pressure on lawmakers and a Web site with a name that says it all: www.itsabadidea.org.

Bullard has met with candidates for governor on the issue, which he claims is of vital importance to anyone interested in seeing the economy grow. Proponents say the tax is needed to pay for schools, roads and other costs of development. Bullard says local officials need to make more efficient use of the money they have. As for criticism that the association is being overzealous or self-serving, he says it’s just trying to protect the rights of property owners. “Our passion for this runs so close to the wire.”