FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Kirk Bacon
January 7, 2014
I first met Kirk Bacon when he was Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission. At that time I was on a committee of the board of REIX , as we brought Saskatchewan agents under Alberta’s successful Errors and Omissions Insurance umbrella. My colleagues and I were impressed – and I was thrilled when in 2005 Kirk felt it was time for a change.
I sat down recently to re-connect with Kirk and quiz him about many things. On the personal front it is like opening a can without a can-opener.
He says “I’m a very private person.”
On real estate industry matters however, I found he is an open-book and very forthcoming.
Kirk began – born and raised – in Saskatoon; mom was a homemaker, dad was purchasing manager for the City of Saskatoon. One younger sister. School in Saskatoon, attended some U of S .. but other things beckoned. Traveling Europe was involved. Floor covering installer work, mostly commercial, led to his own business serving the home builders market – successful and loving it but arthritis put an end to that path. He started selling houses in 1976 with LePage-Melton and later moved to Ashford (a NuWest company. With a partner he went on to buy and operate Ashford. He loved that work but found, after his divorce, seeing his three young kids and residential real estate on weekends weren’t a great fit. So, he sold out to his partner and took a job as Director of the Office of the Premier in Saskatoon (the Grant Devine government days) from 88-90. He left that job in 1990, to take on the roles of Executive Director of both the Saskatchewan Real Estate Association and the Saskatoon Real Estate Commission until 2001 when the jobs were separated. Kirk and his wife Heather have, between them, have 5 children and 9 grand-children. Kirk is Chair of the Mortgage Brokers Regulators Council Of Canada.
I asked Kirk how he sees the regulatory environment for real estate, commercial real estate in particular in the short term - over the next quarter – what things are happening that will impact owners, tenants and agents over the next 90 days?
… roll out of our plain-language initiatives focused on service excellence. Guidelines on service agreements between agents and clients in commercial transactions. On the residential side – new mandatory content for contracts, consumer relationships guides.
And over the next 5 years?
…. Mandatory written service agreements – for appraisers, mortgage brokers, property managers, residential and commercial agents. I see a new model for licensing that will be developed in a consultative process, that will reduce the cost of getting into the business. A move to principle-based regulations. Also, new structure for regulating condominium property managers.
I think the industry has to – and will, move the bar on its own as organizations focus on professionalism, disclosure and transparency.
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… intelligence – common sense, dedication, accountability, responsibility. People who work hard and play hard, who do the job, do it right.
What distinguishes you that causes people to choose Kirk Bacon – why have you been chosen over others to play your career roles?
… experience, industry and political knowledge. I make things happen, and have been for a long while, my involvement in national work involving our industry in different jurisdictions.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… health, retirement
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… life is a long-term education program! All the people I’ve met doing this work. My divorce. My first manager in real estate, Fred Hall, Manager at LePage/Melton in Saskatoon when I first got into the business. He showed me how to do things right – to be successful. And ethics.
Work life balance?
… I golf poorly. Fishing. Spending time at our lake cottage (northern Sask.) with children and grandchildren.
What do you read?
… too much work related material! I love mysteries – Ludlum in particular. Things Malcolm Gladwell writes
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