Rick Seese has managed the Greenridge Realty office in Lowell since 1989. This month he plans to “step back” from this role after 30 years and turn the reins over to Greenridge agent Josh McCracken.
“I'm not going to retire, I'm just going to step back from management,” Seese said. “This will allow me to slow down a little bit but still take care of my clients, friends, neighbors and so forth, and their real estate needs. This is fairly exciting to me!”
Seese's career in real estate began 43 years ago in 1976. When Greenridge Realty purchased the Reedy Realty office in Lowell in November 1989, they made Seese the manager.
“I was a salesperson for several years before I became the manager here in '89,” Seese said. “I was just selling then. I hate that word, though! I've never been too pleased with the 'sales pitch' aspect of this business.”
Seese grew up in Lowell and has had a positive impact on the local community for decades through his volunteer work with events and organizations such as Flat River Outreach Ministries, the Lowell YMCA, Food Fight, Pink Arrow Pride, LowellArts and the Lowell Area Historical Museum. For these and a great many other efforts and affiliations, he was named “Person of the Year” by the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce in 2014.
“I have enjoyed doing that, I love doing all of those things,” Seese said. “It's this community that I love, so wherever I can help out, that's what I try to do.”
Seese has also been an influential figure on the Lowell music scene since the 1960s as the drummer for many local rock bands including the Plague, Scragg Zoster, the Great Lakes Band and Time Hungry. He often emcees the Sizzlin' Summer Concerts on the Lowell Showboat if he isn't playing in one of the bands.
McCracken grew up in rural Pennsylvania, went to college in rural Canada and lives in Lowell with his wife Leslie and their three children, Piper, Ruby and Nora. Leslie works as a travel agent, so the couple enjoys traveling to exotic locales together, most recently Ireland and Greece.
“I came on as a salesperson here on Nov. 6, 2014,” McCracken. “Prior to that, I was in ministry for 10 years. I spent four years as student ministry director at Impact Church and then I spent some time in Azerbaijan doing humanitarian work. I came back to Lowell and managed the Main Street Inn for about a year, then I got my real estate license.”
McCracken said that he was floundering when he first encountered Seese, dissatisfied with his career choices up to that point and and trying to find more rewarding work.
“I was looking at going back to school for medicine, hospitality, law, different things,” McCracken said. “My mind was just wide open, I really was an open book at that point. Maybe I was having a pre-midlife crisis. Can you have one of those? My mother-in-law, Deb Canfield, said I would be an excellent real estate agent and suggested I talk to Rick Seese. I knew absolutely nothing about real estate and I was skeptical that anybody could make a living that way, but I reached out to Rick because I wanted to pick his brain. I just wanted to know about real estate, I didn't know it was a job interview! At the end of our conversation he asked me, 'Do you want to come work for us?' I was like, 'Ummmmm, let me think about that!' It took about two days, but I decided this was what I wanted to do.”
“I wanted to make sure that when I left this position, Greenridge was going to be well taken care of,” Seese said. “I knew fairly quickly that this guy was going to be the guy. I was already thinking about this 'end of management' thing for about six months before I interviewed him, and I walked out of that conference room sensing great things ahead for Josh. It was meant to be.”
In addition to his regular work with clients, McCracken will now be responsible for 18 of his fellow real estate agents.
“I will continue to work with buyers and sellers, to list homes, to sell properties and help people buy homes,” McCracken said. “That doesn't change at all. My clients are now my buyers, my sellers and my agents.”
McCracken admits he has “big shoes to fill,” but said he is not nervous so much as cautious about his new responsibilities. McCracken is an ordained minister; with those influences and Seese's mentorship, he has developed a rather metaphysical philosophy about the real estate business.
“This isn't really a sales job, this is customer service,” McCracken said. “It's also like the ministry because you're always thinking about others, how you can help them grow, prosper and learn. I always enjoy seeing people succeed. It's like the old saying goes, 'a rising tide lifts all boats.' A house purchase goes beyond a financial transaction and into the lives of families, into their problems and struggles. I will try to make wise decisions and carry the mantle of care as we go forward. Care for our agents, care for our clients and care for our community. I want to be careful that I don't change anything that doesn't need to be changed, and so on.”
“And I will still be here to help support however I can support,” Seese said. “I'm hoping that agents will still come to me with questions."
“I'm sure they will, you can't buy 40-plus years of experience,” McCracken said. “I know I still have so much to learn.”
“I will be here all the time because real estate is more than a full time job,” Seese said. “We work mornings, evenings and weekends. When we are needed, we go.”
“We often work when our clients are not working,” McCracken said. “That was how life was in ministry, so I was already used to that.”
McCracken said he plans to continue Seese's tradition of being involved in the community in various positive ways.
“I am truly passionate about community involvement,” McCracken said. “I love Lowell. I've been here 13 years, aside from the year and a half I spent overseas, and it's home, it's where my girls are going to school. I will be looking, now, for more ways to personally get involved and to keep Greenridge involved.”
“Josh is a community-minded person,” Seese said. “He is a family man and he carries values that Greenridge definitely wants held in this office. The respect the community has for Josh is well-known, and things are going to carry right on with his leadership as they have for the 30 years that I've been here. He has skills that I didn't have when I started, so I'm looking forward to it.”
For more information about the company, visit greenridge.com/offices/950-lowell-office, call 616-897-9239 or go to at 1160 W. Main.