In Memoriam

Rod M. Stewart, S.E.C.

Editor’s Note: Rod passed away on September 27, 2021. He leaves behind many who will miss him and who will never forget his contributions to his community and the real estate industry.

Rod Stewart has lived in and around the Wichita, KS, area most of his life. He was born just north of Newton, where his mother was born. His father was from Stockton. He has been a commercial realtor since 1971. Rod and his wife, Debbie, have one son, John, who is a Doctor of Internal Medicine and teaches at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He has a younger sister who also resides in Wichita. Rod has been active in many real estate groups, government agencies, and service organizations. He is a true American patriot and rightfully proud of his beliefs and convictions.

Born August 17, 1945, Rod went on to graduate from Wichita State University in 1968 and has since been a loyal fan and supporter of his alma mater. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree, and in 2006, he received his Masters of Military History from the American Military University. He has an extensive war games collection and enjoys military history. Sailing was his favorite pastime for over 30 years. Rod became a member of the Society of Exchange Counselors in 1994. His first SEC meeting was in spring 1989. He has continually participated in and promoted educational offerings within and by the SEC and the CCIM organizations, and he has received many awards and a great deal of recognition for his hard work, tireless support, and many achievements. One of the most recent and probably the greatest of Rod’s achievements came in December 2013 when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas CCIM Chapter and Wichita State University Center for Real Estate. Rod was instrumental in creating this award and, seven years later, received it himself. Rod has served on the board of directors of the CCIM chapter for many years.

Wichita is and has been home to many notable SECs from the beginning. Rod has worked with and for many of the Legends of the Society, and he is a legend in his own right. Rod was recommended to work for Colby Sandlian, S.E.C., by his good friend Darrell Leason, S.E.C., who Rod met while working together on many political campaigns. Colby taught Rod one of his great lessons in counseling: “Find out what they expect the real estate to do for them.” Rod’s first lease while working for Sandlian Management was a small office lease, and his commission was $18.90 for the 6-month lease period. Rod worked for the Sandlian organization until December 1983, when he stepped out on his own. He and his wife had acquired several investment properties by that time, and his brokerage sales and commissions continued to grow.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, Rod Stewart has received many awards and a great deal of recognition for his service and success. As part of the Wichita Area Association of Realtors, he is in the President’s Club and Masters Circle, he was the 1999 Walter Morris Broker of the Year, and he was the 1990 Top Volume Sales Award winner. The Marketers of Real Estate named him Exchangor of the Year in 1980, and the Society of Exchange Counselors awarded him the Clifford Weaver Award for the Most Creative Transaction in 1997. He has served as chairman on several SEC committees. In 2007, he was awarded Membership in the Honor Society of the Kansas Association of Realtors.

There is much more to Rod Stewart than commercial real estate. He has vast experience in leading organizations, committees, agencies, and so on, and he has been influential in a positive way for the growth and development of the Wichita area. Rod was appointed to the Board of Land Use Economics, which advised the city council on real estate matters, and shortly thereafter to the Urban Renewal Agency Board of Directors, which oversaw millions of dollars of real estate and 100 employees, and had the power of eminent domain. It is probably no coincidence that it was during this period of Rod’s advice and real estate counsel to the agency that Wichita began seeing increased real estate activity. During this time, what is now “Old Town” was created, the Exhibition Hall was built, and the Sedgwick County Zoo was started, to name a few. The list of commissions and task forces that Rod has served on is an extensive one. Those not listed here are not to be considered unimportant. Many of the appointments Rod received were challenged for political reasons, and he fought many political battles to do what was right for Wichita and did not compromise his principles in the process.

The Board of Land Use Economics soon became the Wichita Economic Development Commission, and Rod was appointed as the president. After his 2-year chairmanship, Rod resigned from city and county governmental positions and was appointed to the Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he served for 16 years. Some of the notable events that Rod oversaw while he was chairman were the Miss USA Pageant and Coronation Ball. He also oversaw the Miss Teen USA Pageant, Future Farmers of America Convention, and the American Bowling Congress (the United States’ largest convention). He improved the city’s image by educating cab drivers and others who had direct contact with visitors. Rod presented studies that showed Wichita needed a new 300-room hotel downtown and was recognized by the mayor as being a key figure in bringing the Hyatt to town. All the while, Rod remained active in functions and committees at the Board of Realtors and the CCIM chapter, and in attending SEC meetings and promoting educational opportunities. Rod still continues to serve as director of marketing of the Commercial Council of the Board of Realtors. Rod humbly acknowledges that many of the events and awards he is credited with starting in Wichita could not have come to fruition solely with his efforts. Many fine men and women were extensively involved. Several national marketing sessions, Kansas CCIM marketing sessions, and over 15 SEC classes have been held in Wichita. Rod was instrumental in making sure these were successful events, and the Kansas CCIM chapter received the President’s Cup Award as the Best Small Chapter in the country three times.

Rod’s service has not been limited to government agencies and real estate groups. The East Wichita Rotary made Rod Rotarian of the Year for his efforts in raising money to provide polio vaccines, which is a worldwide Rotarian cause. Rod was the former president of the Sports Commission Task Force, which promotes better and more amateur and professional sporting events in the Wichita area. Rod played football in his younger days, and he is an avid football fan to this day. An active member in the Wichita Wagonmasters, Rod was elected their captain in the 1980s and provided leadership for the BBQ and Chili Cook-Off in their beginning years. He was a past member of the Wichita Crime Commission, Inc., and has been published in The Wichita Eagle as a commentary contributor. The underlying messages of his contributions have been related to private property rights and a citizen’s freedom to choose over a government’s desire to control.

Currently, you will find Rod M. Stewart, S.E.C., at Keller Williams Signature Partners as managing director of the commercial division. His expertise includes investment sales; 1031 exchanges; and multi-family, office, retail, and property management. Rod accepted an invitation to join this organization because he likes that Keller Williams honors God, family, and business—in that order.

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