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  • Posted: November 22, 2009
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A Thanksgiving Message – I’m Grateful For Dad’s Leadership Today.

Bill Reinhardt - Thanksgiving

Bill Reinhardt - Thanksgiving

I am Thankful.

I am thankful to my father for having the insight and vision and courage to start our company.  I am thankful that he developed a team full of dedicated and loyal friends, of which many we still enjoy the benefit of their efforts, knowledge and friendship.

I am grateful for dad’s willingness to adapt to new changes in the market. Even though he might not have known why we had to do things differently, he graciously went along with trying new things out.  Because of his willingness to take a chance on new things, we created a culture of being on the forefront of the newest and best ways to operate a real estate business.  We became leaders, and others followed us as they continue to do so after 43 years.
Dad’s great attitude empowered me to go out in the world and discover technology.  He didn’t want to learn about technology and explore it on his own, as he believed it was for the kids to do. In my dad’s eye, I was a kid at 30 years old and I believe that if he were still here with us today he would still call me a kid.  “We ran this company just fine without all of those machines,” dad would laugh, “I don’t know why we need them now.”  He would continue, “just get off your butts and see houses and talk to people and send those silly machines back.”

Of course dad was somewhat kidding around when he would talk about getting rid of the computers, but his points about getting out there in the streets should resonate with us all.

As a son, I was blessed with a strong and loving father.  Dad was not only a brilliant business mind, but he also knew how to have fun.  Many people would surround dad and want to be around him because they knew that he would be the life of the party.  If Bill was there, fun wasn’t far behind.  If you really knew Bill, you probably ended up on an impromptu trip down south to Atlantic City on a moments notice.  Dad would ask, “Are you in, or you’re out?” If you said IN, you might have ended up in a limo or a private jet or helicopter and you were in Atlantic City within 24 minutes.  That’s the way dad rolled.

Growing up in the fast lane, kept me fast and on my toes at all times.  There were no limitations for my dad. Dad believed that anything was possible.
One of dad’s famous quotes was, “money makes the blind man see,” and we would confidently walk up to a sold out event without tickets and miraculously make it in and sit in the VIP section, laughing all through the night. Nothing is impossible if you have the right attitude, the willingness to try, and of course if you are a larger than life figure that is well loved and respected.  Dad had it all.  It wasn’t the money that got us in, but the fact that everyone wanted to please and help out dad, because you knew he would do the same for you if he could.
Another lesson learned from dad was the fact that he was a true leader and never followed trends or people simply because others were doing it.  He banged his drum to his own beat.  He wasn’t always right, but he was always true to himself and what he believed in, and that is what true character is all about.  I recall when the mls was first introduced, dad didn’t like it.  I’m not sure if it was because we had most of the inventory anyway or the fact that he felt that he was being pushed into it instead of being a part of the creation process.  It seemed like the other brokers of the area teamed up against Fillmore because we were making most of the sales.  As a young boy, I remember seeing larger than life signs in the window of each office that said,

“We DO NOT belong to the MLS?” NO MLS
and we’re proud of it!
Come inside and see the largest selection
of exclusive homes for sale in Brooklyn.

I guess you just can’t take the Brooklyn out of the guy sometimes. You fight for what you believe in, and you fight with all your heart.
Dad’s perseverance paid off as the mls realized that they could not pull off a successful service with 35% of the listings not on the system.  The MLS woke up and included dad in on the conversation, and allowed dad a vote for each of his 8 locations at the time.  Dad went from not being heard to the most powerful voice in the mls.

Dad didn’t do things just because everyone else was doing it.  Actually, now that I think of it, if everyone else was doing it, it didn’t excite dad much as all.

Although dad didn’t fully understand technology, he did think it was cool.  I remember when I purchased our first fax machine. I brought it to dad’s house to show him how it worked.  He couldn’t believe that documents could be sent over a telephone line, so I was happy to offer a demonstration.  When the fax came out on the shiny rolled paper dad did think is was pretty cool, although he didn’t like the fact that it was a little blurry. What dad learn though that day was that the company had a record breaking month and each of the offices productivity was outlined in the fax.  Previously, dad would call the office and then write down every offices numbers on a napkin or on the side of the newspaper that he was reading,  What made dad so special about this was that he would repeat this story a hundred times to his friends. “John got this silly machine that he hooked up to the phone and I got all my numbers from the offices at my house.”  His excitement would encourage me to always try to find the next “fax machine” that would get him excited.
Speaking of motivation, if the fax machine didn’t work out well, dad would not yell or complain but rather say something like, “ I’m sorry that the fax machine didn’t work like you expected it to John.  I’m sure that it just needs a few tweaks and it will work fine…and thanks for trying it out, ‘cause that’s what will keep us going forward.”  His support taught me to continually try new things, and not to expect every idea to be a grand slam. You only need one or two grand slams to really make yourself a winner.  And who really remembers all the strike outs and foul balls when you end up with that game-winning home run?
That’s the basis upon which I have had the privilege and freedom of exploring new things at Fillmore.  This attitude and gift given from dad is something that I and Fillmore still benefits from today…thanks to dad.

So, dad, you see that there are a lot of ways that you are still with us today.  Your honesty, fairness, your fun attitude, your willingness to try new things, and your determination to stand up for what you believe is right at all times can all be seen in the hundreds of  Fillmore managers, agents, and board members that are still here continuing to build the company that Bill built.

Dad is a legend in the real estate industry.  Although we could never fill his shoes, each day we try to walk in the same path he has set for us.
Perhaps some might wonder if dad is still running the company.  To this I reply, “Absolutely!”  His leadership, guidance and lessons are with us today and his spirit will never be forgotten.

So, when you ask me what I’m grateful for, you know my answer.
Happy Thanksgiving.

  • User Gravatar Tina Del Toro
    November 25th, 2009

    What a warm, wonderful & inspirational story! Thank you for sharing with us all.
    At every Thanksgiving dinner, my family and I sit around the table taking turns, sharing what we are grateful for. For my Fillmore family, I would like to share thanks and show gratitude for each and every person I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with. All of you, weather you realize it or not, have taught me something of incredible value that has had a profound effect on me in my real estate career. I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings.
    Tina

  • User Gravatar Rhonda K. Mohamed-Rogers
    November 25th, 2009

    Absolutely True and Wonderful! And when I read of a man who had such wonderful and admirable traits, I feel as though I want to be just like him – I have a long road to travel! Thank you John for sharing such an inspiring story about your Dad.

    I am Blessed Bountifully and I Give Thanks for the many Blessings in my life – those that I’ve come to acknowledge and those that I haven’t yet realised.

  • User Gravatar Ann MacBride
    November 25th, 2009

    What a great story about daddyl How true everything is and reading this makes you miss him so much more today. I can’t believe it’s been four years. It feels like yesterday he was here with us saying all those things. Thanks for writing such a great story. You are truly a “chip off the old block” . I see many similarities in you that dad had. Just remember, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, “like father like son” (an any other cliches dad would have used) We all love you & think you are doing a wonderful job filling his shoes.

  • User Gravatar Fran Indrathaher
    November 25th, 2009

    John,

    You’re right he was one of a kind. Those of us who knew him are blessed and those who were part of his world very lucky to have know a man with such joy, love and forethought in all he did for those he cared about. He always made everyone feel special.

    Fran

  • User Gravatar Sheila Cardinale
    November 25th, 2009

    Dear John,
    Your father was an icon………thank you for your leadership. I am grateful and blessed to be a part of the Fillmore family.
    Love and happiness to you and your family during this holiday season.
    May you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
    Sheila Cardinale

  • User Gravatar Barbara
    November 25th, 2009

    All of your memories bring back my memories of such a wonderful, kind and generous man. I feel so blessed to have had the privilege to know and work with such a man. I do remember Bill’s “hesitation” to jump into the world of technology, but I also remember his faith and trust in your knowledge and ability to bring Fillmore into that world. I know that he is proud of your accomplishments and knows that without it, Fillmore would not be the powerhouse company that it is today. So while, you are proud of your dad and his accomplishments, and rightly so, please be sure to be proud of your own accomplishments in guiding and steering this company so well. As I was proud to call Bill “boss”, I am equally proud to call you that too. It continues to be a pleasure for me to work with such an amazing family and team.

  • User Gravatar The Goddess
    November 25th, 2009

    It would be impossible to even try to add to that story……..and no one knows that better than me……when I think how Bill re-acted to the new technology, I laugh to myself….because that’s exactly what I did and sometimes still do….hard to teach a “goddess” new tricks…..lol….four years have come and gone, but Fillmore is strong and will be for many years to come….through you, Mom, Mike, Bill and Ann, I would definitely say “He’s still very much involved”. I said a “prayer” for him yesterday…..Have a wonderful Thanksgiving..

    Love to you all,
    Josie

  • User Gravatar john intoci
    November 25th, 2009

    Dear john I really miss your father a lot, and for me more than other people he was a good friend, before all.Also I beileive that he left the companie to a fantastic group of people, and to is fantastic family your fantastic mother and your beautiful sister and you great brothers and of course to you john, so have a great thanksgiving day fom all of un and in memorie of your great father and hosbent all the best happy holidays John Intoci and Family

  • User Gravatar JohnReinhardt
    November 27th, 2009

    Thanks for the wonderful comments. It is always great to be reminded of the amazing ways that dad touched so many hearts. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to share.

  • User Gravatar Peter A. Modica
    November 28th, 2009

    John, you Dad and I go back to East 48th St., playing cards with Lou and Mike Mingino and others in your Dad’s basement and many a time he would call to hop into a Limo to go to some black tie dinner in the City. I didn’t know him as a real estate professional but as a giving, kind and generous person. Most of all he showed his true colors on how he loved Pat. Put that all together and it spells a GIANT.

  • User Gravatar Pat Reinhardt
    November 30th, 2009

    John, All of your comments about your Dad make me so proud of you and I know he would and does feel the love and respect you have for him. All the experiences you had with him growing up and later on working alongside him is reflected in a part of you in everytyhing you do. He was a wonderful person and he did a wonderful job showing you and your brothers and sister what is really important in life and that is the love of our family, friends, fellow workers and friends. I see a little bit of him in each of you, so he will never be too far away.

    Love Mom

  • User Gravatar Maryann Arbia
    December 4th, 2009

    Dear John
    You discribed your dad to the tee.
    Every thing you said is so true. Thats what makes him a ledgend.
    Your Dad also said ( Everybody is somebody) and that also one of his quotes. He was a kind man and never forgot anyone on his team.
    I feel very blessed to have worked aso close with him. He was my mentor. How lucky was I.

  • User Gravatar Maryann Arbia
    December 4th, 2009

    Dear John
    You described your dad to the tee.
    Everything you said is so true. That’s what made him a LEGEND.
    Your Dad also said, “Everybody is Somebody” and that also was one of his quotes. He was a kind man and never forgot anyone on his team.
    I feel very blessed to have worked so close with him. He was my mentor. How lucky was I.

  • User Gravatar Raymond B. Zahra
    December 15th, 2009

    I only new your father for a short period of time, but he treated me as if i was his son. Knowing you, reminds me of your father. I’m glad to be a part of the Fillmore family, and look forward for many years to come. Thanks to your father, I took the real estate test and became an agent also. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year in 2010 to You and your family!

  • User Gravatar mauricebavli
    December 21st, 2009

    Dear John,

    I read a story about your father. He was not only a legend, he was a solid rock foundation with a strong beams on his shoulder that support and provide livelihood through the years for thousand happy agents and other employees.
    I had a chance to sit next to him exclusively with Jeff and myself, we had a nice dinner and talk about different subjects.
    This was when we went on the trip to Atlantic City at the time under Ester Rose as a manager.
    With his sole and spirit, he plant the seeds that are growing up and bring blessing and prosperity for many years to come to Reinhardt family and to Fillmore Real Estate in general.
    I wish you and yours and entire family a Merry Christmas
    And Happy New Year.

    Maurice Bavli.

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