Phillip Hopper, 33, executive vice president of real estate, Powell Auction and Realty
Phillip Hopper can create bidding wars with his auctioneering and his philanthropy, helping Powell Auction and Realty grow beyond its original asking price.
Since joining Powell after college, Hopper has made a name for himself over the past 10 years. He’s increased revenue, manages the company’s real estate work and has grown the company since becoming executive vice president of real estate.
He also has his hands in community work including a spot on the founding board of Safe Families for Children and as a member of the golf committee for the Emerald Youth Foundation.
When you reflect on your career so far, which achievement stands out the most?
When I first came to the Powell Auction, I was getting ready to graduate college with a degree in business administration and I was really interested in the auction industry. I cold called them out of the blue, and they didn’t know me from Adam. Thankfully, they gave me a shot, and what started out as basically a part-time, entry-level gig has grown into a much broader role. I’m grateful that I was able to earn their trust and appreciative of the ways they have allowed me to grow in my leadership.
What is the greatest professional obstacle you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges for me can be that a lot of people see auctions as something that is only done as a last resort or in scenarios such as foreclosures. The reality is that in the current real estate environment, it is one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting the absolute highest value for your property – whether it’s an estate, a house, farmland, a commercial building or something else. Part of my job is to help people walk through this process, and I really enjoy it.
What will you focus on in 2023?
We have been fortunate to see a significant increase in the volume of our real estate auctions this year, and I plan to continue to focus on continuing to cultivate that growth moving forward
What is your biggest professional dream?
I have always been entrepreneurial and have long dreamed of owning a business where I am able to employ individuals with good-paying jobs. I have a desire to mentor and support a younger generation getting started, just like I was given the opportunity.
What mistakes did you learn the most from?
Mistakes are inevitable. But as a person of faith, I think God can use those for our ultimate good if we will let Him grow and refine us through that process. I was once involved in a business relationship with someone who I came to realize wasn’t a person of high character. Once I realized that, I immediately began to transition out, but I wish I had known it earlier. I learned a lot from that experience, and I think it only continued to underline for me the importance of operating with integrity in all aspects of your life.
What motivates you?
My wife and children.
What is the most overrated piece of business advice you’ve heard?
I’ve never been a big fan of the quote, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It doesn’t matter the job, and even if you find your work deeply fulfilling, if you’re going to be successful, some days it will feel like just plain hard work.
What trait do you most want in a co-worker?
I love working with people who are problem-solvers.
What about Knoxville would you like to improve?
My wife and I are both native Knoxvillians, and we love living here. I hope that even as Knoxville grows and develops, we will continue to work to preserve our East Tennessee values. They are what has made this community so special and will for years come.
What don’t people know about you?
I own 15 pairs of cowboy boots. I used to have a few more but pared back a few years ago! I also love classic cars and I am the proud owner of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Family: Wife Hannah, son Henry and daughter June
Years at current company: 10
Degrees and certifications: Bachelor of science in business administration, University of Tennessee; professional auctioneering, Nashville Auction School
Community involvement: board of directors and leadership council member at Safe Families for Children of East Tennessee; golf committee member at Emerald Youth Foundation; professional standards committee member at the Tennessee Association of Realtors
This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knox News 40 Under 40 awards: Phillip Hopper, Powell Auction and Realty