Entering high school, Austin real estate pro David Simmonds was a hefty 6-foot-2, with a knack for sports. Catching the eye of the right coach scored him a spot on the Columbia Lions football team, which Simmonds says was his stepping stone out of Philadelphia’s inner city.
But it was his economics class that taught him about cause-and-effect relationships and put it all in perspective, helping him make sense of the world. So when a football injury sidelined him with two ruptured discs, he could see how that turned into the lucky break that got him to Austin.
In typical Simmonds fashion, it was a quick move. Within one month of graduating college in 1997, Simmonds had relocated to Austin, gotten married and began his career.
He looks at life through the lens of activity and relationships. He is happiest moving in the land of deals and has built a career in real estate negotiating leases of all kinds, but has specialized in tenant representation.
A referral from his father landed him his first summer job in real estate leasing apartments, where he caught on quickly and started winning lease contests.
Later, when Simmonds started his own real estate brokerage in January 2009 — now called RESOLUT RE — it was a decision he had made over Christmas after being fired from Weitzman. He simply put out his shingle and started doing what he does best.
However, what had been his strength — relentless pursuit of the deal — would nearly be his undoing.
“We were always flying by the seat of our pants. I had no idea how to do anything operationally. In fact, we didn’t have books for my company for the first four years,” Simmonds said. “There were so many times we got into huge financial trouble in the beginning because of growing so fast.”
These days, with the expertise of his C-suite team surrounding him, Simmonds is confident in the firm’s ability to manage the growth he has envisioned. The company rebranded from Retail Solutions to RESOLUT RE in 2019, signaling a broader scope of services. And the company’s tenant representation program has been recognized for several years by franchisors in Entrepreneur Magazine, winning accolades along with national powerhouses such as CBRE.
Understanding his firm is at another inflection point, Simmonds has tapped the experience of his brother, Thomas, who will be joining the executive team to provide additional brain power and elbow grease the firm will need to expand nationally.
What are your long-term goals? I want to have a real estate office in every major market in the country. And if I were ever to accomplish that, then I would probably want it in every country around the globe.
How has your team complemented your strengths? I was able to go and be creative — go after projects, do things I’m really good at, which are deals, rainmaking and coaching. What keeps me passionate, energized, enthused is creating something that could be a national company. The sky needs to be the limit for me to be really engaged.
What skills does your team have that you do not? They are organized and more focused on every level of operation. The people that came on board to sort of right the ship operationally, I can’t thank them enough. Sherry Sanchez, Martin Turner, Allen Skinn — those were the early pioneers.
What’s something others may not know about you? I am shy. And have ADHD. ADHD is an incredibly beneficial condition to have if you are a broker. In this business, you need to be juggling 80 balls at once. However, like most things, it comes at a cost — poor attention span, incredibly derelict with anything involving organization … to be a successful broker, you must have something in place to compensate for these weaknesses. Ideally you’re the hunter and you have a partner who’s the cleaner.
How would you describe your management style? Laissez faire.
Favorite quote: “Fortune favors the bold.” – Virgil, “The Aeneid”
Best place to meet for networking? Salt Traders at 2244 and MoPac because I can walk to it from my office.
Who is your mentor? Gary Keller. I’ve never met him. He’s just the smartest guy in the room –– what he’s created … the things that he shares for free. I want to be him when I grow up.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a leader? Leading the company through Covid.
What challenges do you face now? High interest rates and tighter financing conditions.
What’s been your most rewarding accomplishment so far? Seeing the people in my company become happier and happier to be part of this family.
What do you know now that you would want to go back and tell your 20-year-old self? Don’t take yourself so seriously — be nice, be social.
What are you learning now? How to live as a single dad (Simmonds said he is recently divorced after 25 years).
What’s something fun you like to do in your spare time? Walk, hike, canoe, paddle board and fish.
What makes you happy? Being with loved ones.
What annoys you? Deals that don’t happen that should.
What are you most afraid of? Something happening to my kids.
Describe how you balance demands between work and private life? Schedules with hard stops.
What awards are you most proud of? Most leases at Weitzman [many]years ago — I closed 202 deals that year.
Title: President and founder, RESOLUT RE
Family: Two children: Patrick, 18, and Hannah, 16
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, Columbia University
Phone: (512) 474-5557
By Patricia Rogers – Research Director, Austin Business Journal
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