While we’re currently in the thick of the controversial presidential election race, the Pasadena community can rest easy knowing a different leader has taken office.
BY: Sara Smola
Having worked as a realtor in the Pasadena community for over 40 years, who better than to step up to the plate than real estate guru Bill Podley to tackle his newest appointment: President of the Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors, known as PFAR. Originally founded in 1907 as the Pasadena Realty Board, PFAR promotes realtor education as well as ethical practices and has the mission of serving “as a constructive force in the improvement of the quality of life within the community.”
While growing up in San Marino, Podley decided real estate was a career he wanted to pursue. “I was surrounded by beautiful homes and I was attracted to the housing industry partly because of that and partly because I had some family members that were active in real estate investment,” he says.
Podley’s vast experience makes him the perfect candidate for such a leadership position. He’s currently the owner of Podley Properties, one of the largest independently owned real estate firms in the Pasadena area. “I started the company in 1981, called Podley Caughey & Doan. We ended up selling that in 1999 to Coldwell Banker. We became Podley Properties in 2010. We have 5 offices in the San Gabriel valley plus a satellite office in Altadena,” explains Podley.
As if he wasn’t busy enough, he was unexpectedly asked to take on a new task: the role of PFAR’s president. After the president-elect resigned, Podley was approached by PFAR’s board of directors. “[They] asked if I would take the role which I agreed to do. I’ve served three times before—I’ve served in 1984, 1985 and 1997—so I was not looking for this role but the need was there and I felt it was important that I support the association,” says Podley.
PFAR is an association of realtor members with approximately 2,000 realtor members. Podley explains, “There are associations all over the state and all over the nation. They range anywhere from 200 to 15,000. We represent buyers and sellers [of both commercial and residential properties]. My role is to give leadership to the board at meetings and to appoint committee chairs and things of that nature. We focus on issue relating to our multiple listing service, charitable foundation and to the smooth operations of servicing our members.”
But PFAR isn’t just about selling homes and ensuring appropriate ethical practices, it’s about best serving the community to empower others. PFAR’s generous charitable donations have significantly impacted many lives. “We have a chartable foundation which raises money annually for a host of nonprofits in our coverage area so from La Cresenta, Altadena, La Cañada down to Pasadena and San Marino. We try to raise anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 a year,” Podley notes of the organization’s impressive fundraising efforts. PFAR’s foundation has benefited (and continues to do so!) local community organizations like Villa Esperanza Services, Rosemary Children’s Services, Hillsides and Five Acres.
In addition to his role as president of PFAR, Podley serves as a board member for the Valley Hunt Club and is an active member in his church. But despite juggling his vast extracurricular activities and running his vast real estate empire, Podley has no plans of backing out of the real estate field. “I’ve never done anything else,” he muses, “43 years doing the same thing is sort of unusual in this day in age but it’s been a wonderful field for me.”