05 May Keller Williams Founders: Meet Gary And Joe
The Keller Williams founders are Gary Keller and Joe Williams. The company was founded in 1983 in Austin, Texas, where its headquarters are still located.
Gary Keller is an American entrepreneur, author, and real estate expert. He was born in 1957 in Pasadena, Texas, and attended Baylor University, where he graduated with a degree in marketing and real estate. After a successful career as a real estate agent, he partnered with Joe Williams to create Keller Williams Realty.
In addition to his work in real estate, Gary is a bestselling author, having written multiple books, including “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor,” and “The ONE Thing.” He has also been a keynote speaker at various events, sharing his knowledge and expertise in the real estate industry.
Joe Williams, born in 1936, is a Texas native with a background in real estate and finance. After earning a degree in finance from the University of Texas, he worked for several banks and real estate companies. He eventually crossed paths with Gary Keller, and together, they founded Keller Williams Realty.
Gary Keller had stepped down as CEO of Keller Williams Realty in 2020 but remained as the executive chairman. He was focusing on his role as the chairman and providing strategic guidance to the company. Joe Williams had retired from active involvement in the company’s operations but maintained the title of co-founder. Both Keller Williams founders are still involved in the company in some capacity as of the time of this writing.
Throughout its history, Keller Williams Realty has experienced several significant events that contributed to its growth and prominence in the real estate industry. Some of the most newsworthy events include:
Rapid growth and expansion: Since its founding in 1983, Keller Williams Realty has experienced substantial growth, expanding its presence across the United States and internationally. By the early 2000s, the company had become one of the largest real estate franchises in the U.S.
Agent-centric model: A key factor in the company’s success is its focus on an agent-centric business model. This approach prioritizes the interests of real estate agents, providing them with resources, training, and technology to help them succeed. This model has been widely credited with contributing to the company’s rapid growth.
Overtaking competitors: In 2013, Keller Williams Realty surpassed RE/MAX as the largest real estate franchise by agent count in the United States. By 2017, the company had also become the largest real estate franchise globally, both by agent count and sales volume.
Introduction of technology platforms: In recent years, Keller Williams Realty has made significant investments in technology to improve its services and help agents succeed. The company launched its artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant, “Kelle,” in 2018, which aimed to enhance agents’ productivity and effectiveness.
Expansion into international markets: In the 2010s, Keller Williams Realty expanded its global footprint, entering markets such as Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and various countries in Europe and Asia.
Leadership changes: In 2019, Gary Keller returned as CEO of Keller Williams Realty, replacing John Davis. However, Gary Keller stepped down as CEO in 2020 and took the position of executive chairman, focusing on providing strategic guidance to the company. Other former presidents and CEOs of Keller Williams Realty include Mo Anderson, Mark Willis, Mary Tennant, Chris Heller and Josh Team. Interestingly, many of these prominent real estate figures have been erased from the public company history for unknown reasons.