For Steve Roberson, community service is a way of life

DOWNEY - Playing guitar and even providing the whistling, Steve Roberson has recently cut--together with his other musical collaborators who variously play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano and B3 organ, bass, drums, fiddle, pedal steel and dobro, banjo and mandolin, and background vocals-a CD of 12 songs collectively titled "What Used To Be."It features a smiling Steve on its front cover, and, on the back cover, a collage of photos that scream Texas. The association between them will become apparent in due course. Steve Roberson's reputation, of course, lies in real estate, not music. He is the broker/owner of Century 21 My Real Estate, which at least for the past 27 years has been a fixture on Florence Avenue and only recently relocated to its larger, swankier 12,000-sq. ft. facility (bearing the new address, 7827 Florence Ave.) across the street. The recently released CD, recorded at Sunnyland Studios in Sherman Oaks and mastered in Nashville, TN, has been priced at $10. It's not a for-profit venture. Proceeds from its sale benefit Easter Seals. Easter Seals is to Kiwanis (of which Steve is a staunch member and one of the club's main driving forces) as polio is to the Rotary. As Steve is head of his Century 21 My Real Estate franchise, he has committed it to help advance the goal of Easter Seals, which is helping the thousands of children and adults with disabilities achieve greater independence, not unlike the work of Arc, he says. The firm's goal this year is to raise $20,000. To accomplish this, he is latching on to the spirit of 'Charity begins at home" (they conduct a parking lot sale, and he asks his staff to contribute, say, $150 out of their closed escrows); and the CD is being offered through Amazon, etc. By this non-superficial gesture, Steve knows he is fulfilling a moral obligation to "give back to his community." His other community service involvements include his active participation, often in leading roles, in such high-profile organizations as the Downey Family YMCA (on the board for some 19 years, twice serving as chairman), ARC (on the board for some 15 years, likewise twice as chairman), the Chamber, and, of course, Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis. Born in Wellington, TX, which is some 105 miles southeast of Amarillo, the now 63-year-old grew up in Bell Gardens, and is a graduate of Bell Gardens High School. He didn't consciously set out to be a realtor. For five years, from 1972-77, he worked for Pacific Bell as a service representative and winding up as a market administrator after graduating with a BS in business administration degree from Cal State Los Angeles in 1974 (he concentrated on accounting and finance). He wanted to be a CPA, he says, but during this time while still in college, he already worked part-time as a service representative in real estate. For 4-1/2 more years, he worked for AT & T Communications, first as market administrator, then as an account executive, then finally as national account manager in Los Angeles. By this time, he says, he joined Century 21 My Real Estate in Downey owned by broker/owner Randy and Patty Martin. He found he could do a little selling and he actually enjoyed helping people buy and sell homes and investment property. When he got promoted to sales manager where he supervised about 50 full-time real estate sales agents and helped them establish individual goals and monitoring results, as well as listed and sold single-family and multi-family homes in Downey and surrounding areas, etc., there was no turning back. In 1994, Steve bought the company. He was to occupy the company's old offices on Florence Ave. for the next 19 years until he moved to his new digs across the street. He maintains a staff complement of some 107 agents, 12 staff, 2 escrow officers, and 2 loan representatives. The number will vary from time to time, of course. In his experience, agents come and go: the grittiest and best producing agents stay on. His firm conducts continuous training all year round. He says out of, say, 30 who take the basic test, only a handful pass. Out of this handful, a small percentage are able to get their license. Out of this remainder, a still smaller, minuscule number stay the course. The ones who survive the process may in the end turn out not to possess the needed fortitude and persistence. It's a tough process, he says, thus the training never stops: real estate classes are held year round. The key is efficient and consistent production, and he emphasizes competence, professionalism, integrity, ideal ethical standards and, above all, the desire, nay the passion, to help people. There's no ifs and buts about this, he says. If somebody is not up to snuff, out he/she goes. It's a tough career, he says, but then again, it's a highly rewarding one. Steve apparently is one who's made of really sterner stuff. His time spent in active volunteerism with Arc, the Chamber, YMCA, and the Kiwanis Club would not be possible, he says, were it not for the luxury of time allowed him by his effort (and success) in meeting both financial and professional real estate standards. It is the reason why he was able, in 2006, to buy his 150-acre ranch in Wellington, Texas, which is a favorite destination about five times a year. The ranch has 20 cows, a bull, and a couple of horses. His two six-year-old grandkids, Jake (offspring, together with 3-year-old Abbie, of son Josh) and Mattie (offspring, along with a 2-1/2 year-old sibling of his other son Pat) share his love of horses, so they go with him. Actually, he says, visiting the ranch is not the real reason why they go but rather to visit his 82-year-old mom (his dad passed away only last November). At any rate, he says none of these extra activities would be possible were it not for his thriving real estate operation he runs with wife Darlene, who handles the administrative stuff. "We both work hard. Darlene works longer hours than I. We don't take a lot of vacations," Steve adds. Downey residents for 25 years, the family moved to Fullerton in 1997. Finding that they really enjoyed the process of producing their first CD (writing/contributing to the writing, structuring the whole thing, etc.), the 3-member core group of collaborators, including Steve, have indicated that they may produce another one in the near future. Steve Roberson's CD, "What Used to Be," is available online at or by calling (562) 927-2626

********** Published: February 21, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 45