By Melanie Robitaille, Sr. Staff Writer & Graphic Designer
When a career transcends the definition of work to evolve into a sense of purpose, fulfillment, or joy it becomes a part of you, not just something you do. This is the essence that flows through each moment of residual impact at EXIT Realty; a ripple effect that far surpasses any average “side hustle,” transforming it into life-altering stories of humanity, self-discovery, and compassion in perpetual motion.
In 2022, EXIT Realty Nexus Sales Representative, Dan Rollings experienced this firsthand, playing a supporting role in friend and dear colleague, Greg Peterson’s residual story. It was during EXIT’s Annual Convention that year, when Dan walked across the stage to accept a Bronze Award. As a top producer, he was no stranger to this, having earned several production awards over the years, including a Silver Award just moments before. But this time was very different, because this one he didn’t earn. He accepted it on behalf of Greg, who passed away mere months before.
“I can still see that huge smile of his. I’ve known Greg for 13 years and he was a competitive guy. I know he was looking down on us when I was accepting that award, and boy was that an honor,” Dan recalled. “I just know he would’ve done the same for me.”
Their EXIT story began five years prior, when Dan was working as a top producer in Greg’s independent office which he chose to merge with EXIT Realty Nexus, so long, as the story goes, Dan came too. For Franchisee, Frank D’Angelo though, the story truly began several years before that when he first met Greg co-brokering a deal.
“I was immediately struck by his magnetic personality. He always wanted to make sure that everyone involved was happy and confident, and they knew that he was there to help,” he said. He asked Greg if he’d be open to a conversation about the industry and while Greg said yes it would take another three years before getting that appointment with such an incredibly busy broker. “What attracted Greg was the ability to merge into our firm and focus on what he did best, develop land, list, and sell new and existing homes to the public and his sphere without the supervisory roles he inherited as a broker owner.”
Frank would sponsor Greg into EXIT, and Greg did so with Dan. That meant, every time Dan closed a deal, EXIT Realty Corp. International paid Greg a thank you bonus in an amount equivalent to 10% of the gross commission Dan earned on each of those transactions. As part of the sponsoring process, Greg had to name a beneficiary for these bonuses should anything happen to him, not realizing just how important this aspect would soon become. What started with mysterious weight loss about a year before he passed, quickly evolved into unusual confusion exhibited during the familiar process of developing land to build a new, merged office with Frank.
“We were well into the planning stages and ready to break ground when I began noticing some confusion in his face during our final phases of the development. I personally reached out to his wife, Debbie, who at that stage wasn’t noticing anything significant in those related areas,” Frank recalled. A few months later, after a doctor’s appointment however, Greg was given a double diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and dementia. Knowing Greg so well, Dan also felt something was off, saying “I was amazed. Once he knew what exactly he had, you’d still see him come into the office with that huge smile on his face, jamming away to music every chance he had. Even with his disease, he could still light up a room and make you smile.”
Sadly, this is the seventh time Frank has been faced with a similar crisis in his tenure as an owner, and although it never gets easier, the harsh truth in business is that the show must go on. Not knowing exactly what to expect, Frank and the office gathered around Greg and his family. And because Dan was one of eight associates Greg sponsored into the company, Frank was able to create an action plan for Greg’s existing book of business, and align one of his other sponsors, Jason Roberge, who also worked in new construction to meet with clients and investors to discuss the situation.
“Jason literally took over the entire new construction operation and split all listings with Greg as we sunsetted his license into our referral brokerage and kept him in the EXIT system. We also closed out all his existing listings and buyer sides so the family could continue receiving the income Greg would have normally earned prior to becoming ill,” Frank explained. “When he could no longer drive, family would get him to our weekly meetings so he could be a part of his EXIT family. The agents in our office also put on two major events, one being a family benefit for the Petersons that included a silent auction. When ALS quickly crippled Greg and his business, we quickly rallied with his wife, family, and his sponsors to keep things moving forward.”
Following a valiant struggle, Greg passed away at home surrounded by friends and family on August 13th, 2022. Frank admits it’s not uncommon for families to reach back out wondering why they’re still receiving checks from EXIT’s head office after their loved ones die, and he’s proud to share the company’s extraordinary Formula with them. The office keeps in close touch with Greg’s family, including his son, Conner and daughter, Cally. In fact, Frank keeps a special place waiting for them.
“We have offered both a free real estate scholarship should either wish to follow in their father’s footsteps. Cally is going to take us up on that as she’s a graduating senior and wants to jump right into real estate. We’ve kept Greg’s office intact for when Cally and/or Conner decide to pick up where Dad left off.”
Since joining, Dan too has taken to sponsoring, and says watching what happened to Greg has not only given him greater perspective in life, but also greater meaning to his career. Seeing how Greg’s 10% sponsoring bonuses converted to 5% beneficiary benefits for his family has really humanized the true power of EXIT’s Formula for Dan.
“I’ve always thought the residual income was a great bonus and never really thought more into what it could do in certain situations other than just collecting a check,” he admits. “After seeing what Greg went through, knowing the situation with his family, and how the residuals are now giving back to them, just amazes me. Knowing the hard work I’m putting in now and that they’re benefiting from these awesome residuals, I’m so happy for Greg’s family that he convinced me to make this change six years ago. I was always one to hear about the residual stories, now I have one of my own to tell.”
We’d love to hear from EXIT associates about how the EXIT Formula has impacted your life. If you’re not with EXIT, learn how a career at EXIT Realty can change your life. Visit joinexitrealty.com or text ITSMYTIME to 85377 today!