From left, Beth Andersen, W. Bruce Wilkie, R. Gregg Mitchell, and D. Rick Whitesides are part of the experienced team that provides services to Mitchell & Associates’ diverse clientele. – Photo by Jim Ferguson
By Dan McCann
Growth, Evolution Hallmarks of Chamber’s
First 2013 Small Business of the Month
The Daily Record
A company that’s celebrated an impressive string of new years is kicking off 2013 as the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business of the Month. Mitchell & Associates, Inc., with roots dating back to 1946, has grown into one of the premier property valuation firms in the metro area.
“Our focus has always been, first and foremost, to provide competently prepared reports that accurately reflect the market. We’re paid to be objective, and I think our reputation is very solid in that regard,” said R. Gregg Mitchell, managing partner. “We know the residential and commercial market; we know how to report the market; and our clients can depend on the numbers we provide to be reflective of that market.”
Mitchell’s grandfather and father, Robert F. Mitchell, Sr. and Robert F. Mitchell, Jr., founded R.F Mitchell and Son, the predecessor to Mitchell & Associates, in 1946. It served as a full service real estate firm until 1976 when a merger with the Maenner Company included all but the company’s appraisal division.
R. Gregg assumed leadership of the new, focused valuation operation in 1983. Since then, growth has been steady.
“In 1986, we had five or six employees. Today, we have more than 20, and we’re involved in somewhere north of 3,000 property valuations per year,” he explained.
Mitchell & Associates serves a broad spectrum of clients – from mortgage lenders to buyers, sellers, builders and developers. Residential appraisals have always been a company staple; its commercial department formally debuted in 1986 when partners Rick See and D. Rick Whitesides joined the firm.
“As a result of their efforts, our firm has been involved in the valuation of many of the most important and largest commercial and industrial projects in the Omaha and Lincoln markets,” said Mitchell. “Residential partners Beth Andersen and W. Bruce Wilkie continued to expand our residential horizons with their expertise and relationships within the real estate community.”
Mitchell said managing the firm with its mix of partners, residential and commercial appraisers, and administrative and support personnel is one of his great rewards. Beyond that, he said he simply loves the analytic side of the ever-changing real estate business.
“Markets are never static,” said Mitchell. “The challenge on a daily basis is keeping up with those changes.”
Over the last ten years, the industry – and the company – has had to adapt to systemic, regulatory changes as well.
“At one time, we did most or all of the work for a certain number of financial institutions in Omaha. With the changes in federal regulations over the last ten years, that’s evolved into doing some work for nearly all of the financial institutions in town on a blind roster, rotation basis. We never really have direct contact with our financial clients anymore. It’s all done through intermediaries, and it’s really changed how we do business,” he explained.
What hasn’t changed, he added, is the firm’s focus on providing exceptional service.
“From a service standpoint, it really boils down to this: we work very, very hard to meet our deadlines, provide reports that our clients can understand, and exceed expectations from a reporting and service standpoint – and always with smiles on our faces,” said Mitchell.
That service-oriented attitude – and the company’s decades-old relationship with the Chamber – led to its recognition as the Chamber’s first Small Business of the Month for 2013. Mitchell said the company is honored.
“It’s a great surprise,” he said. “I spent two years as the chair of the Chamber’s Small Business Council so I had the privilege of giving these awards away. It’s fun being on the other end.”