Dave Lehner is a husband, father, son, Papa and a Mortgage Loan Officer.
He’s also a leader, encourager and business partner. This year, he’s celebrating his 25th year in the Mortgage Industry with his partner and co-branch manager, Rob Garrison. Together, they’ve formed an unstoppable team.
In honor of their 25th year in business, we sat down with Rob to talk more about the “hard-working guy” he met back in high school.
Join us as we get to know Dave Lehner from Rob Garrison’s perspective.
Michigan Mortgage: What was your first impression of Dave?
Rob: I knew Dave a bit from high school. We went to rival schools and played sports against one another. I knew Dave to be fun and outgoing and engaging with people. What I did not know was that he was such a hard worker.
Dave initially worked the Grand Rapids market. He would drive to Grand Rapids every day and knock on Realtors’ doors until they gave him a deal. Before long, they LOVED him and they were knocking on his door! In short order, Dave was working with some of the top agents in the business! A few years into our partnership, Dave began working more in Muskegon. Dave seems to know everyone in Muskegon and it was natural to work where he lives and plays.
MM: You’ve been in business with Dave for 25 years. How has he changed? What has stayed the same?
Rob: In the beginning, we worked mostly independently. We hired many loan officers and tried to teach them the business and had very little support staff. As our branch grew, we decided that we should build more of a cohesive branch where we played the role of managers and developed teams of support rather than multiple loan officers. This was the best move we ever made. We were able to build Core Values, Culture and a brand that we had not been able to achieve previously.
MM: What makes Dave a great Loan Officer?
Rob: Dave loves people. He loves helping folks buy their first home, save money in a refi or access equity. He thrives when he can meet face to face and develop long lasting relationships. Clients love working with him because they trust him.
MM: What makes Dave a great Leader?
Rob: Dave has the ability to take the perspective of the employee and anticipate how they will feel about policy changes. He fights to keep the culture fun and personal even as we grow. When things get too “corporate” Dave keeps it real.
MM: I’m sure 25 years in business together has created a few good memories. Can you share your favorite?
Rob: When the mortgage market collapsed in 2008, we transitioned from a Mortgage Broker to a Mortgage Banker. In pursuit of that we flew to Dallas to discuss working for a large company headquartered there. When we arrived, we were immediately picked up by their recruiter and headed to the bar. From there we went to another bar and then another. In Dallas you go big or go home.
Dave was there for the FULL experience. The next morning, we had six or seven meetings with different department heads. I was asking every question I could think of and by the second or third meeting, Dave glared over at me as if to say, “I am dying here, if you ask another question, I will kill you.” He then ended the meeting abruptly and ran to the nearest trash can. He blamed the sushi but it was definitely the drinks.