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Spokane Association of Realtors executive officer Rob Higgins to retire, nationwide search underway for successor

Spokane Association of Realtors Executive Officer Rob Higgins is retiring at the end of the year and a nationwide search for his successor is underway.  (Courtesy photo)
Spokane Association of Realtors Executive Officer Rob Higgins is retiring at the end of the year and a nationwide search for his successor is underway. (Courtesy photo)

After more than three decades at the helm of the Spokane Association of Realtors, Rob Higgins announced he is retiring as executive officer by the end of the year.

The Realtors association announced Higgins’ retirement via social media Wednesday. A nationwide search is now underway for his successor.

“After 37 years, I think now is a good time for me to move on to something else,” Higgins said in an interview Thursday. “What is next for me is up in the air right now, but I’m looking at different opportunities.”

The Realtors association hired Chicago-based recruitment firm Martin & Downs to conduct a national search for its new executive officer.

The association also formed a committee of Realtors to oversee the hiring process, which will involve much more than resumes and interviews, said Darin Watkins, the association’s governmental affairs director.

The association will interview candidates this summer with Higgins’ successor slated to be selected in the fall. Higgins will provide guidance and support to the association’s new CEO during the transition.

An ideal candidate would be a forward-thinking, real estate industry expert who can champion the association’s housing initiatives, navigate industry changes and provide one-on-one guidance to members, Watkins added.

The Spokane Association of Realtors, 1924 N. Ash St., has 11 employees, some of whom have been with the association for more than 20 years.

“That really points to the stability and growth within the building … maintaining the strong sense of leadership and dedication is critical,” Watkins said.

In addition to an established career in real estate, Higgins has served as a member of the Spokane City Council, City Council president and was mayor pro-tem when mayor Jim Chase, died in 1987.

Higgins joined the Realtors association in 1985.

“When I started, I was thinking I would only be here for a few years at best, but I must of enjoyed it because I stayed (with the association),” he said.

Higgins said he’s especially enjoyed working with the association’s membership and improving resources for homebuyers and sellers.

Two of those improvements include introduction of more real estate market analytics and a program allowing brokers to connect buyers with available down payment assistance programs.

“I take a lot of pride in keeping the community informed,” Higgins said.

The association’s success is directly attributed to Higgins’ guidance and leadership, Watkins said.

“For us to have the same person at the helm for 37 years is not only rare but very remarkable,” Watkins said.

“Hats off to Rob. He’s been actively involved his entire career with public service,” Watkins added. “To me, the best leaders are people who build their career through giving back. He certainly has been the shining example of that.”

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