Keeping His Eye on the Ball
Eric Berman | Dec 28, 2016
2017 Massachusetts Association of Realtors® President, Paul Yorkis, lives in Medway, Mass., but if you know Paul, you know it isn’t just Medway, but “beautiful downtown Medway.” However, there
is more to the phrase than just words; there is also a long history of action, commitment, and volunteerism.
Paul’s dedication to Medway started the day he and his wife Kathleen moved there in 1983. “I went to register to vote the first day I moved into town and the Medway Town Clerk said ‘What would you like to do?’,” said Paul. “I responded, what do you mean ‘What do I want to do’?” The Town Clerk replied, “Well, we need people to serve on committees.” And with that back and forth, Paul got appointed to the Conservation Commission. This was his first of many such appointments in his new town.
These appointments on their own gave Paul an interesting perspective into town planning and development. However, it was the combination of these experiences with his extensive career in higher education campus master planning and construction that really helped make his transition into real estate a smooth one.
“When working in campus master planning, you need to work with the architects, general contractors, and the school administrators. Essentially, I was a translator,” he said.
“My job was to make sure the contractors could understand the academics and vice versa. They didn’t always speak the same language. This experience made my move into real estate fairly easy.”
Paul left his 24-year career in higher education for real estate and became a Realtor® in 1991. Less than a decade later, Paul founded Patriot Real Estate on October 1, 2000. Today, the office has five Realtors® and includes his wife Kathleen, who recently retired from her own distinguished career in higher education.
Paul truly believes it is important to be involved in politics. He developed this thinking as a young boy when his mom first dragged him to a political campaign office to volunteer.
“My mom took me to the campaign headquarters of Presidential Democratic Candidate Adlai Stevenson to help stuff envelopes,” said Paul. “I didn’t appreciate the importance of what I was doing, but it was fun and I was treated nicely.” That early experience really took hold when President Kennedy delivered his inaugural address. “It was like he was speaking to me. The importance of giving back became part of my fiber. I truly believe if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
From stuffing envelopes to volunteering for Bobby Kennedy and other politicians as a young man, Paul continues to be very active in the political process today. He is a member of the Medway Democratic Town Committee, Chair of the Middlesex/Norfolk/Worcester Democratic Alliance and Treasurer of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. He was the MAR Focus Vice President of Government Affairs and is/was a long-time member of the Government Affairs Committee. He is also the
Realtor® Federal Political Coordinator for Congressman Joe Kennedy.
“I’m very proud to be a Realtor® and my membership in the Realtor® Party on behalf of my profession and private property rights is really important to me,” said Paul. “To get listened to, you really need to know members of the legislature on a personal and a professional basis. So they know when you are sharing information, making a representation to them, making a request of them, or presenting a campaign contribution, that you’re equally sincere on all of those activities. Legislators at the local, state, and federal level can’t possibly know everything they’re asked to know
about. So they need to have relationships with people who they can rely on to give accurate and honest information.”
Riding the Rails:
Between being a Realtor®, a volunteer leader, active in his community, and active
with politics, it might seem like free time isn’t something that finds its way on to
Paul’s schedule. Fortunately, he takes this part of his life just as seriously. Both Paul
and Kathleen are motorcycle enthusiasts and ride their Harley-Davidsons as often
as possible. They are both connoisseurs of single-malt scotch and a tour of distilleries
in Scotland is on their to-do list. However, it’s their shared interest in trains that has
been a constant in their lives.
“When I was a child and living in Haverstraw, New York, my father would commute to New York City on the New York Central Railroad, West Shore Division. I would hang out at the station waiting for him and since then, trains have always interested me,” said Paul. “Kathleen grew up in Elmira, New York and she liked trains too! When we got married, we had that common interest and we would go on steam excursions and to different train museums. Then we had the opportunity to buy some obsolete train equipment; so we did! Some people flipped houses, I started flipping train cabooses.”
Paul and Kathleen currently own a New York Central stainless steel passenger car that was built by the Budd Company in 1947. Similar to mooring a boat at a marina,
their fully refurbished Boston & Maine Railroad caboose is on the rails at the Hobo
Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
“Owning a caboose is like owning a ‘tiny house,’ but we started doing this long
before the tiny house movement. The caboose has two bunks, a half bath, a table
and sink, a microwave and heat,” he said. “We’ll go up to New Hampshire and live in
it while we’re there. We place the caboose in the local train a couple of times a year
which is a lot of fun for us and our family and friends.”
Paul loves trains, but it’s not just the trains themselves that he loves. Similar to
real estate, it’s the personal connections that stick out most. “It’s preserving and
sharing history of the railroad and it’s the opportunity to meet a lot of people you
didn’t know you’d meet and getting to share stories and memories together.”
When thinking about the year ahead as President, Paul thinks team first. “I don’t view 2017 as ‘my year,’ I view it as the Leadership Team’s year. Each member of the team brings a different set of skills, experiences, and perspectives from different parts of the state,” said Paul. “We’re absolutely bound and determined to do everything we possibly can to ensure our members have the best membership experience and are receiving the best possible member services. It is a privilege to serve with them.”
As a rabid fan of baseball and the hometown Boston Red Sox, Paul likes the analogy of the Leadership Team going to bat for Realtors®, homeowners, and private property rights.
“I love the Red Sox. They are part of the fabric of this community and they have done a lot of good for this community,” he said. “So, when I think about working as a team, I think of the Boston Red Sox and going to bat for our members and the community.”
In 2017, Paul and the leadership team will focus on the start of a multi-year campaign to contribute to solutions that reduce the amount of homelessness and its causes in Massachusetts. In addition, the leadership team will be focused on a global initiative to help Realtors® who want to be part of the global real estate market, both here and abroad.
Paul is also excited for the launch of the enhanced state political coordinator program (SPC). Similar to the Federal Political Coordinator program run by the National Association of Realtors®, the statelevel program will provide state legislators with a Realtor®-constituent contact. The SPC membership will meet regularly with the legislature and act as a resource on the real estate industry to provide the Realtor®
perspective and position on different issues.
To Paul, the Realtor® Association and each of its 24,000+ individual members make up the biggest home team there is in Massachusetts. “Realtors® come from each one of the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth and we’re uniquely positioned to make a difference. I’m looking forward to us doing just that in 2017 and beyond.”