A changing of the guard at Weidel Realtors includes promoting to the company’s management team Richard Weidel III, 28, the fifth generation in the family business.
Richard Weidel Jr., CEO of the company, has no plans on leaving anytime soon, he says. His son, Richard Weidel III, has been made director of business development after having spent less than a year with the company. He also promoted Emily Kettenburg to vice president of sales and Angela Flannery to vice president of operations.
Father and son came into the real estate trade by remarkably similar means. Both were exposed to work on the family farm before getting into the family real estate business. At age 23, Weidel Jr. sold his farm equipment to buy his first properties. Years later, in 1992, he decided to get back into farming in order to pass the agricultural tradition on to his children, and established Broad Oak Farm in Harbourton.
Weidel III took up the farming torch and raised cattle until he graduated from high school and earned his bachelor’s in economics and master’s in real estate from Cornell University. With the money he got from selling the cows, he decided to get into the real estate business himself.
“My dad would say it was very important for his children to learn a proper work ethic, and also to see work as part of the joy in life,” Weidel III says. “Whenever I had money, as a kid, I would pay a couple of bucks for a calf — they were about $100 — and raise them. I sold my herd of cows when I graduated from high school.”
Weidel III said farming was a great small business to run to build up the capital to get into real estate.
After high school, he bought his first property, a multi-family home in Pennington. He began his career as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs but left after two years. “I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial,” he says. “I had a great opportunity to go down to Florida and gain a lot of responsibility.” He became an executive at a development company that turned around a portfolio of distressed shopping centers. He joined Weidel in the fall.
“Last year I saw a ton of opportunities for Weidel and for myself, and continuing the legacy,” he said. “We are fortunate enough to have a company that has 100 years of integrity behind that. A lot of our agents have been with Weidel 25 or 30 years or more.”
Weidel was founded in 1915 by Karl Weidel, who was the great-great-grandfather of Richard Weidel III. His son, Karl Weidel Jr., continued the family business and was a prominent member of the local business community. He was the first Republican on the Mercer County Board of Freeholders in a generation when he was elected in 1966 and was elected to the state general assembly in 1971.
At its founding, Weidel engaged in real estate, insurance, and jewelry sales. Today, the company also has a wide variety of activities but has dropped the insurance and jewelry. In addition to the residential real estate for which it is best known, Weidel is engaged in mortgages, titles, and is now making forays into commercial real estate. It has offices in central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.
“Really, it’s pretty cool to think that through all the different downfalls, wars, and depressions of the last 100 years, Weidel has succeeded,” Weidel III says.
He described the system of succession as a meritocracy, with each generation of leaders having to prove themselves before taking over. Weidel Jr. joined the company as a real estate agent in 1979 and became CEO in 1987.
Weidel Jr., says the company is taking “an aggressive and opportunistic view of the future” with the three new hires.
Emily Kettenburg, vice president of sales, also hails from a prominent name in Mercer County business, the Van Dykes. She is a real estate veteran and was formerly a branch office manager for Weidel who sold about $10 million of property a year. She was previously a branch executive for Gloria Nilson and worked for several other real estate offices before that.
Angela Flannery the new vice president of operations, is a certified project management professional with a background in sales support operations for newspapers, radio, local cable, direct marketing, and social media. Before joining Weidel she worked in management roles for the Bucks County Housing Group, a nonprofit, Harte-Hanks, a marketing firm, Buxton, a retail site selection company in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Mercury News in San Jose California in the marketing and advertising department.
“We see tremendous opportunity for the organization and for the people that work here in the future,” Weidel Jr. said. “We are just having a lot of fun achieving that, and we are up 60 percent year-over-year in transaction volume. We are here to build the best platform for real estate agents.”
Weidel Realtors, 2482 Pennington Road, Suite 3, Pennington 08534-3607; 609-737-1522; fax, 609-737-3807. Richard A. Weidel Jr., CEO. www.weidel.com.