Nearly three years after a merger made it the largest multiple listing service in the state, OneKey MLS will have a change in leadership.
Richard Haggerty, the current CEO of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and president and chief strategic growth officer for OneKey MLS, will become OneKey’s CEO, following the retirement of its current CEO Jim Speer, who is stepping down at the end of the year.
Both Speer and Haggerty were instrumental in orchestrating the March 2020 merger of the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island and the Hudson Gateway MLS to form OneKey MLS, creating one of the 10 largest multiple listing services in the country.
Owned jointly by the Long Island Board of Realtors and the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, OneKey MLS has nearly 45,000 real estate sales agents and brokers as subscribers, including nearly 20,000 on Long Island. The merger allowed its subscribers access to real estate listings in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties and parts of Brooklyn, as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Sullivan counties and a few points north.
“To form OneKey MLS from scratch with two different MLS systems and then going live right at the beginning of the pandemic was a bit of a challenge, since the real estate industry was paused,” said Speer. “That was quite an accomplishment, changing on the fly as we went along.”
Before becoming CEO of OneKey, Speer served as senior vice president of operations for the MLSLI and was the driving force in implementing upgrades in technology to provide its members tools to better navigate and compete in the fast-changing real estate industry.
For the last three years, Speer was named to the Swanepoel Power 200 list, the definitive ranking of the residential real estate industry’s 200 most powerful and influential leaders throughout the country, in addition to receiving other industry awards, according to a OneKey MLS statement.
Speer, who began his career with MLSLI in 1985, said the industry has gone through many changes, recalling how they would print out each day’s new listings and deliver them to real estate offices throughout Long Island before progressing to a digital format later on.
“Along the way in all those years I just met so many great people and found out just how many knowledgeable and caring realtors are out there, that their main goal is to put the buyers and sellers together and make them all happy and find them a place to live,” Speer said.
Haggerty, who lives in Manhattan, has been working with the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors for more than 30 years. He had been seeking a job in the publishing industry when he became a temporary employee with the former Westchester County Board of Realtors and was later offered a job with the organization.
After several mergers of other real estate associations, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors grew to more than 13,000 members and Haggerty eventually rose through the ranks to lead the group.
Haggerty has said that inaccurate data was “the major driver of financial and time drains for real estate professionals,” and that OneKey MLS has been striving to provide its members accurate data in real time.
“We have to embrace change and figure out how to make it work for us all, recognizing it’s going to enable us to give a better level of service to the consumer,” Haggerty said in an interview last year. “If we cannot drive change to the benefit of our members, then we need to get into another business.”
Linda Lugo, chairperson of the OneKey MLS Board of Managers, announced the leadership change in a video sent to its members this week.
“We want to thank Jim for his tireless efforts to help us build and accomplish so much in so little time and especially during a global pandemic,” Lugo said. “The Board of Managers believes that Richard, a seasoned industry leader, who spearheaded the idea of forming a new regional MLS by merging HGMLS and MLSLI, was the strongest candidate to fill this position. His unwavering commitment to the success of this organization and his appreciation for the important role MLS plays in real estate, put him at the very top of the list.”
Haggerty will assume the role of OneKey MLS CEO on Jan. 1.