Longtime businessman Jack Conway passes torch to daughter
Even at 86, Jack Conway isn’t eager to walk away from the real estate business he built from scratch over the past five decades.
But Conway is also a practical businessman, and he realizes that it’s getting time to do some succession planning. That’s why he picked his daughter Carol Bulman to take over the day-to-day operations of Norwell-based Jack Conway & Co.
Bulman officially started in her new role as the company’s chief executive officer earlier this month. Conway, who still owns the company, will remain chairman of the board.
“The good Lord is not going to let me continue at the pace that I worked at for the rest of my life,” Conway said. “Rather than get caught in my tracks, I decided I had to get a succession plan, (and) my daughter knows the business backwards and forwards.”
Bulman worked in various roles at her father’s company for nearly 18 years before leaving in 2002. After working at several major mortgage lenders, she returned to Jack Conway & Co. this past summer to become vice chairwoman and director of strategic development.
Conway said his top managers are happy with his choice, especially because it means he won’t be selling the brokerage and it will remain the largest independently owned residential real estate firm in the state.
“They all agreed that Carol will be a great choice rather than to sell it to somebody else,” said Conway, who said he was approached by all of the major national real estate franchisors about selling the firm. “It was important to keep it family-owned.”
As the CEO, Bulman will run a real estate brokerage whose empire envelops just about all of Southeastern Massachusetts – a region that the agency has successfully marketed as “Conway Country.” The market ranges from Westwood and the Boston neighborhoods of Southie and Dorchester through the South Shore to communities on Cape Cod and the South Coast area. The company’s team includes 69 employees and 677 brokers who are independent contractors, spread among at least 36 offices.
Bulman, 47, a Scituate resident, said she’s enthusiastic about the local real estate market: She believes that prices have either bottomed out will do so in the next few months.
Bulman said one of her first steps as CEO will be to focus on recruiting more real estate agents who work in the region to join the company.
“We’re challenging our agents to spread the word to the experienced agents out there ... that we’re the (best) place to work,” she said.
Jack Conway & Co. has also commissioned a consultant to review the brokerage’s Web site and make it more user-friendly.
Bulman’s experience with other mortgage lenders will undoubtedly be an asset as she helps nurture a new Jack Conway joint venture with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Wells Fargo replaced Jack Conway’s former financing arm, Conway Financial Services, about six months ago.
Conway will remain actively involved with the company he started 53 years ago. Bulman said she expects to continue to run ideas and decisions by Conway for his input.
“We’re kind of working in tandem right now,” she said. “I’m building on his experience and his knowledge of real estate.”
Patriot Ledger writer Jon Chesto may be reached at email@example.com