Entrepreneurs

Joe Williams

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I came to UT Austin as a Junior College Transfer from San Antonio because I acquired my RE license my sophomore year and I’d heard that UT had just started a new RE degree program for undergrads. We all recall the old “BEB” with affection as the bulk of our courses were in that building on campus.

In 1983 my partner Gary Keller and I started Keller Williams Realty in Austin. Our goal was to build a better “mousetrap” but in 1986 the S&L crisis, precipitated by the collapse of big oil in Texas led us to totally rethink how a real estate company should function. We did something quite radical in that we told our agents we thought they should be the brand, not the company. Then we set out to implement ideas that pulled them in as “owners’, not just agents. Designing a world class culture was the goal, a place nobody would ever want to leave.

That perspective really pushes you into new ideas like far better economics and even a profit share plan which for independent contractors was unheard of at the time. Training became a rally cry and starting in the late 90’s we experienced meteoric growth for our company. Today, Keller Williams is the largest privately owned Real Estate Franchise in the world with over 140,000 agents worldwide.

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Keller Williams Realty
BBA  1978
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