Moments after Mike Drews was announced as the 2019 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year, he felt the emotion of the moment.
“I was stunned,” said the Aurora-area REALTOR® with nearly 40 years in the business. “I tried to compose myself as I walked to the podium. I was nervous as you could tell by my voice. . . . I was overwhelmed by the response from the audience. It is an honor, and it is also very humbling. It is one of those moments in your life you do not anticipate or expect.”
Drews and REALTORS® of the Year from local associations will be honored at a special banquet April 29 in Springfield. In anticipation of that event, Drews answered several questions.
How do local and state advocacy compare to each other?
Local and state advocacy are alike in that we talk to legislators and city council members about private property rights, rent control issues, tax increases or whatever issues may affect homeownership or REALTOR® businesses. The local side is probably more personalized. I know eight of our 10 aldermen personally, along with the Aurora mayor and his staff. When you see them out and about within your community, you have a more personalized relationship to talk about issues.
How do you explain political advocacy to those who aren’t part of the real estate industry?
Political advocacy is easy to explain, it is about the REALTOR® Party. We are not the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. We’re non-partisan. Our support is for the legislators who fight for homeownership. One election, the donations may be split 51 percent Republican /49 percent Democrat, but the next election, it could be the opposite. The President’s Circle gives me the ability to support candidates on both sides of the aisle who support homeownership and issues affecting REALTORS® businesses.
Mike Drews, GRI, is a broker-associate for Charles B. Doss & Co. in Aurora
Drews served as president of Illinois REALTORS® in 2016. He is a past president of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe), and has twice been honored as a local REALTOR® of the Year. He’s on the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors. He served 11 years on the Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors and multiple terms on Professional Standards Committees at both the state and national level. He is a champion of the REALTOR® Political Advocacy Program, an RPAC Major Investor, an RPAC Pacesetter and a member of the RPAC President’s Circle. He has served as a Federal Political Coordinator and a State Legislative Contact. He is the 2019 NAR Region 7 Vice President.
How did receiving the 2011 Political Involvement Award affect you?
The Political Involvement Award – like ROTY – was a surprise. You go out and do the job you are asked to do with no other expectations. The Illinois REALTORS®’ Broker Involvement program, as I see it, was one of the reasons for the award. My friend, John Veneris, said to me, “You have to make this work. Take it and run with it.” Illinois REALTORS® did, and our success put us in an elite group.
How did serving as 2016 state president change your perspective?
My perspective hasn’t changed since being president, it’s simply been reinforced. Illinois REALTORS® is led by a great CEO in Gary Clayton, a staff that is exceeded by none and dedicated REALTORS® who work tirelessly to make sure homeownership is available to all and that the right to own a home is not hindered by overburdening legislation.
What’s it been like serving as NAR Region 7 Vice President?
We are really just getting started. It is an honor to represent Illinois as the 2019 NAR Vice President for Region 7, which also includes Indiana and Wisconsin. The RVPs have monthly conference calls, and we are working on assisting any state or local association trying to achieve their advocacy goals.
What’s made a bigger impact on you, your successes or your failures?
My successes taught me to appreciate the people who have helped me succeed along the way. The association staffs and the committee members have all been a part of those successes. Failures taught me to think about what I did and didn’t do and how I can prevent those mistakes from happening again. I learned to improvise, adapt and overcome. The road is never straight, and there is always a little twist or turn that will put you to the test.