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February 28, 2024

Monthly Spotlights: Ellis Gardner

Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® is governed by an elected Board of Directors, and I am enjoying the cohesiveness and passion among the entire team to serve our members. So, each month, I plan to feature another Officer or Director to help our community and my fellow REALTORS® know who else is showing up to serve them.

I am honored to start these monthly features with President-Elect Ellis Gardner, whose diverse background from the NFL to electrical engineering and his profound commitment to the real estate community truly sets him apart. His leadership within the Greater Chattanooga Realtors is driven by a passion for education, mentorship, and community service, making him a pivotal figure in shaping the future of real estate in Chattanooga. So, I’ve asked him a few questions to get to know him better – his why for serving and his interests.

What did you do before transitioning into this profession? As a young man, I played three years in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans), and the Indianapolis Colts. A graduate of Georgia Tech, I am trained as an electrical engineer and still hold a professional engineer’s license. For 12 years before real estate, I was an account manager for Scientific-Atlanta, traveling 8-12 states and selling electronics to power and telephone/cable companies.

Why did you choose to serve in a leadership capacity for Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®?  Before being elected as President-Elect, I served on various committees, chaired the Member Service Committee, and served a two-year term on the Board. From my early days as the youngest of four brothers and as a freshman college football player, I benefited from the elders who mentored and shepherded the younger ones.  As I progressed, I was a three-year starter at left offensive tackle and took my place as one of the team elders, helping the incoming first-year students on the field and the campus.  Likewise, my experience with Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® was shaped by mentors like Dot Heggie, Jason Farmer, and Steve Champion. Now, it’s my turn to step forward to lead my fellow members.

What would you like your fellow REALTORS® to know that our Association offers our members?  Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® provides timely education at a subsidized rate, often complementary to members. Most of the courses advance the individual agent’s career with designations and certifications recognized by the National Association of REALTORS® and distinguish our members as REALTORS® with extra training specific to buyer representation, seller representation, negotiating, and diversity.

What is your favorite part of being a REALTOR®? In a word, negotiations. I work primarily with residential buyers and sellers. Selling a home and buying another one is a monumental task, and a home is usually the family's largest asset. Landing the buyer for a seller or finding the right home at a fair price for a buyer never gets old. I think of it as a problem to be solved and draw on my engineering background, where closing provides the satisfaction of getting the answer right.

What is something your fellow REALTORS® do in the community that you love and want others to know about?   REALTORS® are frequently the first people incoming buyers meet when moving to Chattanooga. Our new neighbors might be coming here for a job, to be close to a relative, or to retire into our Scenic City. But they do not know much about the area, so REALTORS® serve as Chattanooga’s ambassadors. I frequently provide a local history tour as I drive them around town, whether that’s Civil War historical landmarks, the development of our waterfront, or, my favorite, the style evolution of the Hunter Museum from classic old mansion to blocky 60’s contemporary to modern metal – It’s art!

Have you read any recent books you want to share with others? “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. The book resonated with me because it gives you permission to rethink a career and make impactful changes without giving up what you have so far.

Clearly, Ellis embodies the spirit of leadership, dedication, and community engagement essential to the real estate industry. His journey from the football field to the boardroom, coupled with his commitment to education and mentorship, inspires us all. His role as a community ambassador and his passion for negotiation highlight the multifaceted nature of real estate professionals and their impact on the communities they serve. In my conversation with Ellis, I am reminded of the profound influence that dedicated individuals can have on shaping the future of real estate and the communities they help build. Ellis’s story is a testament to the power of leadership, expertise, and community service in driving positive change and fostering growth within the real estate sector. That’s Who We R®.