Kail Walker (in light blue jacket, center) and his riseOma networking business helped organize a peaceful march during the Black Lives Matter movement. (Courtesy of Lasha Goodwin)
After a 12-year dry spell, a Nebraskan has been recognized as part of an elite, nationwide squad of young real estate professionals who stand out for business acumen and making a mark in their communities.
Kail Walker of Omaha-based PJ Morgan Real Estate was named to the National Association of Realtors 2022 class of “30 Under 30.” The annual selection of 30 agents under age 30 represents “the next generation of industry leaders,” the association says.
The last time someone from Nebraska was selected for that annual recognition was Robert Wiebusch in 2009.
Helps showcase an ‘underrated city’
Walker, 29, said he was thrilled and sees the distinction as a way to help fulfill his mission to “put Omaha on the map.”
“I really think this is an underrated city,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to showcase Omaha and all the amazing things and people we have here.”
Realtor Magazine is to feature the latest “rising star” group in this month’s Spring edition. More than 300 real estate agents applied for the recognition.
“Consistency and hard work really is my recipe,” said Walker. “I have my routines. I put the work in.”
Last year, Walker racked up $12.2 million in individual sales volume and sealed 56 deals in the Omaha and Lincoln area, his application shows.
He started a company called riseOMA, which hosts networking meetings where top entrepreneurs and influencers share advice and inspiration.
Peaceful protest, community service
In 2020, Walker organized a peaceful protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in which he invited men of color to dress up and march through downtown. As is the case in other events he hosts, people also participated by bringing canned goods and cash donations for local charities.
A panel of judges earlier this year narrowed the field of 30 Under 30 applicants to 50 finalists. An online vote of the public, which garnered more than 40,000 total votes, propelled one agent into the winners group and the rest were selected by the judges.
Various factors were considered, including sales success, community and professional leadership. Judges said they also looked for compelling stories of innovative business strategies and challenges the contestants have overcome.
Among Walker’s recognitions is Yahoo Finance Top 10 Real Estate Agents to Look out for in 2021. PropertySpark named him Nebraska’s top real estate agent on social media last year.
Walker said his interest in the real estate industry stemmed from growing up around the business and his mom, a real estate agent for more than 20 years.
Even though production is not the sole factor in the judges’ decision, sales figures play a part. That could be a reason that Nebraska, with its relatively lower price point for housing, is not represented as often as some other states in the contest winners, said Megan Bengtson, president of the Omaha Area Board of Realtors.
She said Walker has “dived in” with the use of social media and that has set him apart in the industry. She said the honor is a benefit to Nebraska in general.
“It’s a great way for Omaha and Nebraska to state we are trendsetters as well,” Bengtson said. “We’ve got brilliant minds who are up and coming and using the resources they have available to lead the charge.”
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