A milestone was marked in the real estate career of Kent Lyle, when he was recognized for having been a member of Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) for 50 consecutive years, during the organization’s long service awards ceremony Oct. 1.
Born and raised in Calgary, Lyle got his start in his family’s real estate business, Lyle Bros. Ltd., after receiving a degree from Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario at the age of 23.
“I can still remember my first sale,” he recalls. “In the fall of 1963, I sold a small acreage close to Cochrane for two great teachers I met while attending Mount Royal Junior College. They probably listed with me to help me get started!”
The commission on the sale was 10 per cent, amounting to $375. But from that sale on, Lyle’s real estate career took off.
He has seen and lived through many changes in the Calgary real estate market, navigating through numerous ups and downs.
Royal Trust Real Estate, the then largest Canadian trust company, now known as Royal Lepage, bought his family’s business and he soon found himself as the Alberta real estate area manager, managing offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.
At the start of his career, Lyle recalls the industry being very much a boys club, with 90 per cent of realtors being men in their mid-40s.
He credits the success of Royal Trust Real Estate in part to its strategy of welcoming more women into the workforce, along with opening new offices outside the downtown core and hiring younger and more motivated individuals.
In 1976, Lyle started his own brokerage company, Lyle Real Estate Ltd., with two friends, Gary Johnson and Ron Smith, reaping the rewards of the oil boom in the early 1980s, and surviving the subsequent downturn attributed to negative impacts on the Calgary market by the National Energy Plan.
From there he joined Employee Relocation Services Ltd. (ERS), the largest relocation company in Canada at the time, as the company’s broker. There he worked on several large projects until his semi-retirement in 1997. He saw the company get bought by PHH Relocation Services and then HFS Mobility Services, the largest relocation services provider in the U.S.
Lyle worked on several large government contracts, including the Canadian Forces relocation program. As project manager, he oversaw moving 18,000 Canadian Forces members over a three-year period and assisted 5,000 members and their families relocate from Europe back to Canada after the government announced it would be closing its NATO bases there.
Looking back on his career, Lyle is happy for all he has accomplished and maintains a positive outlook on the health of Calgary real estate.
“The vibrancy of the city of Calgary, now well over one million citizens, has continued to impress,” he said. “The growth of its commercial and industrial economies, as well as its cultural life, is dramatic. It’s often recognized as one of the best cities in the world to live in and continues to maintain its pride, its small town feel and its volunteerism.”
Today Lyle is still involved in real estate and is licensed as a broker at Envoy Real Estate Services Inc.
He served a three-year term as mayor of the Summer Village of Norglenwold and now resides at his summer home there where he remains active in the lake’s stewardship.
Lyle’s many other career and community accomplishments include becoming a fellow of the Real Estate Institute of Canada, CREB’s President in 1981, being appointed by Calgary City Council to the Calgary Housing Commission and being a founding director of the Rotary Club of West Calgary.