The History of KREIA

• 40th Anniversary
• The Ed Melton Award

• KREIA's Presidents

Before there was a Kentuckiana Real Estate Investors Association, there was a book that triggered an entrepreneurial itch in people all across the country. Called “How I Turned $1,000 Into a Million in My Spare Time,” it was published in 1959 by a man named William Nickerson.

The book described Nickerson’s process of buying distressed houses at bargain prices, fixing them up, placing tenants, and profiting through cash flow and equity buildup. A winning formula even today. In later years, Nickerson’s fortunes grew to $3 million, then $5 million, and he updated his books at these milestones with titles to match.

A fellow named Al Lowry read one of Nickerson’s books, followed its teachings, and concluded that the information inside would be the basis of a great seminar to take on the road. He approached Nickerson, and a traveling real estate education partnership was born. The men and their followers would go on for years to teach weekend real estate investing classes all across the country.

The book and the traveling seminars are important to KREIA’s history, because they planted the seeds with our group’s founders.

"The first Lowry-Nickerson seminar came to Louisville in 1974,” Rue McFarland said. Twenty-six people attended that seminar, which was taught and sponsored by CCIM-designated realtors. (CCIM was the highest designation that the National Association of Realtors awarded to realtors specializing in commercial and investment properties.) The workshop was taught by Don Straub  of California and sponsored by Frank Weisberg of Louisville.

“I was one of the first people to take it,” said Rue, “and that's where I met a gentleman by the name of Noble Roberts.”

There at the Galt House in November of 1974, Rue and Noble and the other seminar graduates were encouraged to start an alumni group, to meet monthly to network and share ideas. “We met for two or three times, and it fizzled out,” Rue said. But the seminar came back around every year, and every time, local investors would make another attempt at launching a local club.

“Then finally in 1978 we got this going, and we've been meeting on a monthly basis ever since,” Rue said. “So, that's how we got here."

Noble shared a steering committee with Rue -- and another investor, Gene Dyson -- that formed the Kentuckiana Real Estate Investors Association.

For the first few years, the small group of approximately 20 members met in a classroom at Jefferson Community College. As the association grew, KREIA began having dinner meetings --  first at Duff's in the mid-1980s, then at the Clarksville Marriott in Indiana, then at Masterson's on 3rd Street in Louisville. Now KREIA meets at Woodhaven Country Club in Louisville.

In the mid-1990s, Jim Gardner established a program to help new members gain knowledge of the industry. Known as the L.O.T.S. program (Learning On The Site), the event gathers members once a month at the site of a property that's being renovated and upgraded by a KREIA member. This allows new members a firsthand look at what experienced investors are doing and helps them learn the process. The L.O.T.S. program continues to this day, and it remains very popular.

In 1998 KREIA members decided to give back to their community and adopted an official charity. They chose the Home of the Innocents because it houses the most vulnerable segment of our population -- abandoned, abused and neglected children. Through years of continuous commitment to the cause, KREIA has raised more than $500,000 for the Home of the Innocents.

In an effort to prevent adverse legislation for the housing industry, KREIA has contracted with the Rotunda Group, a lobbyist organization, to help build a better relationship with local elected officials.

In 2008 KREIA was given the Award of Excellence by the National Real Estate Investors Association.

Membership in KREIA has fluctuated over the years, from a high of about 500 members before the 2008 market crash. At this time (summer 2018), active membership stands at around 450 members.

KREIA is comprised of five officers, a board of 12 directors, and the immediate past president. The organization's purpose is to educate members on how to properly invest in investment real estate, particularly single-family houses. KREIA is a member of the National Real Estate Investors Association, and its members agree to adhere to the code of ethics of both groups.

During a 2018 ask-the-experts panel, KREIA co-founder Rue McFarland had some advice for new investors that bears repeating:

"Everybody here is probably doing something a little bit different. So you have to figure out your niche, what works for you. It may take a while to do that, so don't get impatient. Through the years I've seen a lot of people come here, and they're all excited to begin with. They’ll come for four, five or six months, and then all of a sudden you don't see them anymore. They just gave up. So you have to stick with it. Every meeting is a learning event.”

KREIA's 40th Anniversary

Wow, we capped off 2018 in style at our Holiday Party! It was a fun-filled, packed night. We honored four decades of our investing club's history, gave a shoutout to past presidents, gave away two 60-inch flatscreens (and other prizes!), presented our year's donation to the Home of the Innocents, ate lots of good food, networked like crazy, and watched a magician/mentalist perform.

We also packed the meeting slideshow with lots of photos of KREIA members and events from back in the day. Thank you, Mike Butler, for finding a treasure trove of pictures on your hard drive and letting us use them! Thanks also to Tamara West, who brought photos to party. And thanks to Gene Dyson and Hank Schildknecht, who turned up some newsletters and documents from KREIA's early years, which Nina Musgrave incorporated into the awesome history slideshow and tablescapes she created.

Check out the photos below!

The Ed Melton Award

Hank Schildknecht writes:

Many longtime members of KREIA had the privilege of knowing Ed Melton, Sr. Ed was, without a doubt, the greatest recruiter in the history of KREIA. Every person that Ed came in contact with regarding a real estate matter was told of the merits of the Kentuckiana Real Estate Investors Association and encouraged to join. Ed was an active member of the KREIA board on which he served for years. He was also a dedicated mentor to many novice investors and enjoyed passing on his experience and wisdom.

I had the privilege to serve as Ed's attorney for many years. It was a unique learning experience for me to close Ed's purchases and observe firsthand his methods of ensuring a true win-win situation for all parties involved in each transaction.

After his death in 1998, the Board of Directors established an award to be given in his name. The board set the following criteria to be used in selecting the recipient:

1. Contribution to membership education;
2. Development of fellowship;
3. Active recruitment of KREIA members; and
4. Active participation in the real estate industry.

When the board of directors established this award in 1998, it was agreed that the award would be given annually to the person who best exemplified Ed’s character and enthusiasm for KREIA and the real estate business.

Every October Hank Schildknecht organizes a reunion of past recipients, where the person to receive the award at the KREIA annual holiday party is selected for that year.

Recipients of this award are as follows:

1998 Mark Lechner
1999 Rue McFarland
2000 Chris McCarty
2001 Hank Schildknecht
2002 Chris Dischinger
2003 Rosetta Melton
2004 Joe Hampton
2005 Mike Butler
2006 Jim Gardner
2007 George Foree
2008 Alan Johnson
2009 Dick Vreeland
2010 Connie Horsey
2011 Noble Roberts
2012 Jay Long
2013 Gene Dyson
2014 Mark Hass
2015 Dan Jones
2016 Dennis Erhard
2017 Katie Crotzer
2018 Ken Harrison
2019 Frank Miller

KREIA's Presidents

Here is a look at KREIA leaders through the years:

1979 - 1981 Noble Roberts
1981 - 1983 Rue McFarland
1983 - 1985 Gene Dyson
1985 - 1987 Charles Bentley
1987 - 1988 Gibb Kenny
1988 - 1989 Ben Pulford
1989 - 1991 Joe Hampton
1991 - 1993 Jim Gardner
1993 - 1994 Chris Dischinger
1994 - 1996 Mark Lechner
1996 - 1997 Larry Hall
1997 - 1999 Chris McCarty
1999 - 2001 Henry Schildknecht
2001 - 2003 Rosetta Melton
2003 - 2005 Mike Butler
2005 - 2006 Nan Upton
2006 - 2008 Mark Hass
2008 - 2010 Jay Long
2010 - 2011 Mark Schaffer
2011 - 2013 Connie Horsey
2013 - 2015 Dennis Erhard
2015 - 2017 Frank Miller
2017 - 2019 Eric George
2019 - Chris McCarty  (Kentuckiana Real Estate Investors Association) does not give legal, tax, economic, or investment advice. KREIA disclaims all liability for the action or inaction taken or not taken as a result of communications from or to its members, officers, directors, employees and contractors. Each person should consult their own counsel, accountant and other advisors as to legal, tax, economic, investment, and related matters concerning Real Estate and other investments.   

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Kentuckiana Real Estate Investors Association
PO Box 91225
Louisville, KY 40291

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