March 29, 2017

11 Questions with Scott Cameron Co-Founder of Land Advisors Organization

  1. Scott Cameron Co-Founder of Land Advisors OrganizationWhat was your first ‘job’?

My very first job was at a grocery store in my home town. I stocked shelves and bagged groceries when I was in high school.

  1. What did you do before you got started in real estate?

After I graduated from college, I worked for a division of US Steel Corporation outside of Philadelphia as a management trainee. This position involved learning a variety of skills and offered an introduction into sales. I learned a lot, including respect for those men and women working for years on graveyard shifts to support their families.

  1. How did you get started in real estate?

While I was working in the Mid Atlantic I played on flag football team. One of my teammates was in real estate development and he invited me to interview with East West Partners to sell new homes and lots in a master planned community in Richmond, Virginia. East West Partners then brought me to the Puget Sound where I dove into the real estate market as the marketing and sales director for a master planned community called Lakemont, which is a 468 lot community on Cougar Mountain.

  1. Why did you transition into selling land?

I sold lots to buyers and builders from the beginning of my real estate career, and transitioned to selling raw and entitled land when the opportunity arose in 1999.

  1. It seems like most of the desirable land has already been developed – where are the ‘spots’ in our market?

The areas that we expect to see substantial growth are core markets with easy proximity to the major arterials, such as the communities along 405 and I-5, especially in Pierce, North King and Snohomish counties. The most successful communities have a good school district with access to amenities such as shopping and entertainment. These are and will continue to be hot spots from a rental, multifamily and single family development perspective.

We also anticipate more development in Seattle’s urban core with the gentrification of blighted neighborhoods resulting in greater urban density.

  1. What kind of process do you use to find land to sell?

Our process is simple: a) know the market, b) maintain great relationships with builders, developers, private landowners and other brokers while sustaining an active presence with trusted advisors who represent families and trusts. We use electronic newsletters, events and social media to stay in touch with our constituents. Integrity and results generate business.

  1. How have the tools changed since you’ve been in the business?

Market research is a key differentiator in our business. Before the days of digital communication, we did a lot “windshield” and word-of-mouth market research that took a great deal time to do and substantial dependence on information owners. Now we have the benefit of easy access to any information we need with propriety subscriptions to specialized, in-depth market research.

  1. Have you had any mentors in your business career? Role models?

Yes, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have worked with many bright, entrepreneurial, hard-working and funny people from whom I have learned and borrowed traits from. One of the biggest was not taking myself altogether too seriously.

  1. What was the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever received?

Work smart. Work hard. Follow your heart and your passion.

  1. Have you read any good business or real estate books lately? Any you would like to recommend? Any other sources of information to share: blogs, podcasts, email lists, YouTube channels?

On the business side I tend to read books and articles, listen to podcasts and subscribe to emails that focus on building relationships and understanding people. Two of my favorites are StrengthFinder and the podcasts presented by Vistage, a CEO and business owner group that I am a member of.

  1. You are known for giving back to the community and supporting local non-profits, which ones are you most active with?

I’ve been actively involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue for years. I also support Augie’s Quest, which funds ALS research, and I participate in mission trips to build homes in Mexico with Esperanza International. Most recently I’ve dedicated time to a new chapter of HomeAid which is the non-profit arm of the National Association of Home Builders.

Bonus question: What is it like at Notre Dame on St Patrick’s Day?

Every day at Notre Dame was St. Patrick’s Day!

Scott Cameron is the Co-Founder of Land Advisors Organization.  Land Advisors Organization can also be found on Facebook and LinkedIn.

11 Questions with Justin Ford of Noble Food Group

1. What is your business background?
• I was a business consultant for Domino’s Pizza in the Northwest for 3 ½ years before taking a position with the International division. I moved to Amsterdam and spent 4 years assisting the master franchisees of several countries on developing their business.

2. How did you get started with Domino’s?
• I started in 2002 after several years in the restaurant business, in other brands. I saw delivery as the future of the restaurant business and no one does it better than Domino’s Pizza.

3. What was your first Domino’s store and how did you acquire it?
• My partners and I first acquired 5 stores in the Salem, Oregon area in May of 2011. By October of that year, we expanded to the Seattle area and grew to 17 stores. Since that time, we have had the opportunity to both build new stores and acquire others to reach our current store count of 38 locations. They weren’t all easy to do, particularly growing as fast as we did but it has been worth it!

4. Your partnership group now owns nearly 38 different Domino’s franchises. What are the future plans for your ownership group?
• My partners and I became Domino’s franchisees with the goal of reaching a count of 150 stores. This remains our goal and we intend to do so over the next couple of years. This presents fantastic growth opportunities for our team, and it is personally important to me to be an “employer of choice”. Without great people we will never realize our dreams. In order to achieve this we must always strive to be better than we currently are.

5. How did you form this ownership group?
• Our group has 4 partners. The founding members of our group, myself included, first worked together on building up the Domino’s Pizza business in Switzerland. After expressing my intentions to come back to the Northwest and franchise, we decided to partner so that we could achieve something big and fantastic together.

6. You spent a lot of time overseas working for Domino’s. What was the biggest lesson you learned from working outside the US?
• Wow, good question and it’s a difficult one to answer. I suppose the largest lesson for me was to understand how other countries view us as both a collective nation and as individual Americans, both good and bad. Ultimately, I came away with a much greater appreciation for our country and I try not to lose sight of how much better I can be. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the world at large, though there many places in the world I’ve not been to and would like go.

7. Who do you see as your biggest competition? Why?
• Honestly? Ourselves. If we do everything right, execute to our own high standards, innovate, take good care of our employees, customers and re-invest into our business, it won’t matter what our competitors do. If we are successful at always doing these things, we will dominate.

8. If one of your delivery drivers came to you and expressed an interest in owning a Domino’s franchise, what advice would you give them?
• I openly encourage all my employees to consider franchising if it is something they are interested in. The Domino’s Pizza economic model is one of the most advantageous for a new business owner to get started in. My advice to them is to save their money and have a solid business plan to own more than one.

9. What is the best piece of advice that anyone ever gave you?
• Be true to yourself and ignore the naysayers.

10. What is your favorite part of owning Domino’s franchises?
• Building a team of good people and watching them become great…and working to exceed our customers’ expectations. Our pizzas taste better than ever and we are able to interact with our customers more than ever, too, thanks to the new, open “pizza theater” style of our restaurants. It removed the barriers and puts us in a position to give best customer service.

11. You are well known for holding fundraisers for local community groups and causes. What is your personal philosophy about ‘giving back’ and what do you find so rewarding about it?
• We never say no when our community comes asking for pizzas or support. We enjoy being a part of the communities in which we have restaurants. I strongly believe in giving back.