Hasson founder signals changing of the guard
Mike Hasson vividly remembers his first encounter with Steve Studley.
The CEO and founder of Hasson Company Realtors was watching his daughters play in a soccer tournament and, during one particular match, the opposing coach caught his attention.
"I watched how he talked to his team, how he motivated them, how he interacted, his demeanor when they came off the field. And I went, 'Wow, this guy's a really good coach," Hasson says.
Studley later became director of coaching for the Lake Oswego Soccer Club, and Hasson remembers being nervous that Studley was watching, critiquing and evaluating his performance as the coach of his daughters' team.
Years later, when Studley joined Hasson's firm in 2008, the roles were flipped. This time, it was Studley leading a sales meeting while Hasson looked on — watching, critiquing and evaluating. And now, as Hasson Company Realtors comes to a crossroads and its CEO prepares to step down, the man chosen to succeed Hasson is the same coach he admired so many years ago on the soccer field.
On Jan. 1, Studley began transitioning into Hasson's CEO role in what the company describes not as a farewell for Hasson, but rather a passing of the torch. Hasson will take on a new role, as director of strategic planning.
"When the phone rang and I got the call to come in and talk, I saw an opportunity to get back into a leadership role where I could find unique opportunities within a really good company," Studley says. "It's an exciting time for me, and I have big shoes to fill."
Those figurative shoes were sewn in 1991 when Hasson moved forward independently to become sole proprietor of Hasson Company Realtors. He had a vision for the future of his company to do business in a different way, focusing on quality interactions and relationships while also integrating new technology and marketing techniques.
A native of Northeast Portland, Hasson first got into real estate after graduating from the University of Oregon in 1976. While working at Nordstrom in the afternoon, he attended morning classes to earn his real estate license. In 1977, after getting his feet wet in the real estate world, he never looked back.
"To a certain degree, you have to be a self-starter who is excited and passionate about what you're doing," Hasson says. "That's what attracted me (to real estate)."
In 1983, after aligning with a number of companies over the course of several years, Hasson and two partners created their own Lake Oswego-based firm — Handel, Hasson and Jones. But Hasson's vision for the future led him in a different direction, and in 1991 he said goodbye to his partners and began carving out his own space in the industry.
"Without knowing a lot about marketing and technology, I saw that it was going to change. The things we were doing, advertising homes in the same old way, was going to change," Hasson says.
Hasson committed his firm to making sure his employees, from top to bottom, always had his ear, and that they were committed to not just doing a high volume of business, but doing that business in the right way.
Part of that commitment to quality meant being a good community citizen, and to this day Hasson's firm remains focused on giving back to local organizations and promoting the interests of its agents in the community.
Whether it's supporting Relay for Life as a community member and cancer survivor himself or sponsoring a sit-down breakfast and silent auction to benefit Lake Oswego Meals on Wheels, Hasson's dedication to improving his community has been unwavering.
"My philosophy has always been if you bring good people in and surround them with other great people, it will shape their lives personally and professionally," he says. "What (employees) saw in me, what I or the company were doing for the community, it attracted a certain type of people. When you see a company that has similar values, business or community, people are attracted to that."
One of those people attracted to the company culture was Lynae Forbes, who is now the firm's president and will oversee the transition in leadership. Hasson describes Forbes as the company's "secret weapon," and the two have proved to be a dynamic duo since teaming up in the early 1990s.
For Forbes, Studley's ascension to CEO solidifies the company's bright future with yet another forward-thinking leader at the helm.
"It's always hard to make change and say goodbye to the good old days, but I could not be more excited to be Steve's (partner) moving forward," Forbes says. "As the most productive, independent brokerage in the marketplace, we are poised to take our success to the next level. Steve's enthusiasm, vision and leadership is infectious."
Studley came to work for Hasson Company Realtors at a time when the real estate market was in its worst state in decades. But while most real estate firms were reeling from the recession, Studley saw that Hasson was continuing to expand and bolster its portfolio of homes. That was the type of culture and mindset within which he wanted to operate, Studley says, and after just a few short years, he was No. 2 in the company in sales.
In 2013, Studley was given the opportunity to open a branch office in Vancouver, Wash., and Hasson says Studley proved his leadership acumen in that role through the relationships and connections he watched him build.
Moving forward, Studley believes his first order of business as CEO will be to take everything Hasson Company Realtors has been known for doing well and make those facets of the business even better. That means he's focusing on giving his agents, brokers, leadership and support staff all the tools and technology they need to improve upon the quality service handed down to clients and customers every day.
With keys in hand, Studley is beginning to lay out his metaphorical road map to build upon the success Hasson has achieved over the past 27 years. He's also appreciative of the opportunity to continue to grow personally with Hasson's tutelage as he moves forward in his role as CEO.
"Having Mike still in a capacity to supply strategic plans and thoughts is priceless," Studley says. "Having employees that work tirelessly to uphold the company vision, there's probably not a better team, in my opinion, to meet an agent's need in today's market."