Bill Martin, S.E.C.


A Biography

Bill Martin, son of Howard and Loma Martin, was born and spent his early childhood in Moline, Illinois. His father was a salesman, so exposure to sales was going to be a part of Bill’s life. The family moved to San Antonio, Texas where Bill started school and continued until his junior year when they moved to Dallas, Texas.

With college on the horizon Bill had to make a decision. His family was moving to Ohio. Should he go to college in Ohio? Should he go elsewhere? What should his major be? He elected to remain in Texas and attend Southern Methodist University. At SMU he elected to sign up for a new major at the University. In 1959 Bill graduated from SMU and became a part of SMU history. He was a member of the first class to graduate with a major in Real Estate.

Armed with his new education and married to his college sweetheart. Bill headed to California to join his parents. He was hired by the Thomas Company as a residential salesman. Over time Bill’s father began doing land development in Lompoc, California. Bill worked on weekends selling lots for his father and worked for the Thomas Company during the week.

In 1961 Bill formed his own company, Martin Real Estate, in Lompoc. During these early days of his real estate career, Bill almost gave it up. Just about out of money he elected to spend $395.00 for a five day class taught by a man named Dick Reno. Shortly after the class Mr. Reno invited Bill to attend a meeting in Dallas, the group’s name: “Society of Exchange Counselors.” “If it had not been for the S.E.C. I would not be in real estate today” Bill said.

By the middle of 1962 Bill’s company, Martin Real Estate, had grown to over sixteen salesman. He had also established a large property management firm. By now Bill was very involved in the real estate industry; he helped found and was a charter member of what is now the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Other achievements include the formation of the Lompoc Board of Realtors and the Lompoc Valley Realtors Association.

Using information learned from the early days of the Society of Exchange Counselors, Bill received many awards including “Exchange of the Year” from the Central Cost Exchangers and Santa Barbara Exchangers. Over the years Bill has served on many real estate boards in California. He also has served as a Regional Director for the S.E.C. as well as serving on the Board of Governors. In addition, Bill, Colby Sandlian, and Cliff Weaver presented some educational classes to help others to become successful in the real estate industry. Bill has written several articles and is the author of a book “Private Money Financing.”

During my talk with Bill I had the opportunity to hear many stories. I could not begin to cover in this biography the many, many, accomplishments of Bill Martin. I would, however, like to share some of what Bill told me about the S.E.C. I quote “I have always learned new things.” As we talked about the people of the S.E.C. Bill said “it became a family, a way of life, with lifelong friends.” And about the ability to do business, “The S.E. C. allows you to do business in a unique way, no other organization can do that. I always want to be part of that.” Bill said.

Bill has received other notable awards and honors which I would like to mention:

  • Lompoc Board of Realtors President (two times)
  • California Real Estate Association Regional Director
  • Chamber of Commerce Young Man of the Year

Last but not least is Bill’s family:

  • Daughter Terri – married and lives with her husband and daughter in Allen, Texas; her husband, Mark, and her mother, Mary Lou, are Real Estate Brokers.
  • Daughter Anissa – She attended many of the S.E.C. Family Summer Meetings, lives with her husband in Donnelly, Idaho, and is a Rest Estate Broker in California and Idaho.
  • Wife Carole – has four children; Mike, Sean, Karen, and Shannon. Sean Russell is a Real Estate Broker and works with Bill.

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