Even as a boy, Dan Coleman knew he loved houses.
“When I was a young child,” he said, “I would draw houses. We’d be going down the street, I would see a house, and I’d draw it. I’d draw the waterhose in the front yard. I’d draw the swamp cooler on the roof. I was very detail-oriented.”
From a young age, he had his life mapped out.
“My younger self wanted to go to school to become an architect,” Coleman said. “I was going to graduate and have an architect firm. Then I was going to expand and add a construction firm. Then later I would expand and add a real-estate firm. The ultimate goal was to design, build and sell houses.”
His motivation to follow his dreams suffered greatly. His best friend was kidnapped and murdered in their senior year of high school.
“My best friend was Robert Steven Farley,” Coleman said. “We had been accepted to Texas Tech. I had my schedule. I had my dorm assignment. I had everything. I was going to be an architect. After that happened, everything changed. I didn’t want to leave right away. I didn’t want to get away from my mom right away. He had been living with me when he died.”
The need to stay connected to loved ones kept Coleman close to home.
“I decided to take a year off,” he said. “I did one semester at Eastern and dropped out. I got a job. I was making pretty good money. When I decided not to go to college, I was in theater management, at the Park Twin mostly. I didn’t need a degree to do well. So when the year came, I decided not to go.”
While the work was good and the income respectable, Coleman started thinking longer term.
“I was at Leprino making cheese,” he said. “I had been there 10 years and had worked my way up to first shift. I was looking at people nearing retirement age, and I knew I didn’t want to do this for another 30 years. It wasn’t the legacy I wanted to leave.”
In 2005, he dusted off his childhood dreams, redefined them, and started making them come true.
“I was 30,” Coleman said, “and thinking, ‘I have a wife. I have a kid. I have three mortgages. I’m not going back to school to become an architect. Construction is too much work. But by golly, I could sell the heck out of houses.’ I ordered the books from Dearborn Real Estate School in Albuquerque. When I got through, I passed the test and I became a Realtor and I’ve been doing it ever since.
“I wanted to do something that I could feel good about, something that I could enjoy, and something that helps people. I knew in that job, I could help people, and I could fulfill at least a part of my dream. But more importantly, I could fulfill other people’s dreams, because that makes me feel good. At the end of my life when I’m reflecting on the things that I’ve done, it matters that I put people into their homes.”
Something very important to Coleman had not existed when he’d first made his plans in high school. His new plans included that priority.
“Being a father is another reason Real Estate appealed to me,” he said. “I could set my own schedule and be more active in my son’s life. I was able to go to his practices, his games, rehearsals and his concerts. When he was in high school, I was involved in band boosters. I was the president for his junior and senior year. We did lots of fundraisers. I got to travel to San Antonio for the band trip. I got to be involved. So I was not only his dad, but I was a dad-like figure for all the other kids.”
Coleman is proud to have raised his son here, his roots in the area go back generations.
“My great-great-grandfather and his brothers were painters in Crosbyton, Texas,” he said. “Business was running out so he headed out to find work. When he got to Artesia, there was work to be had. He began painting right away and he sent back to Crosbyton for his brothers. The whole lot of them settled in Artesia.
“My Gram was born in Artesia. My mother was born in Artesia. I was born in El Paso. Mom married a military man from Ft. Bliss and had me and my sister. When I was about 9, we moved to Roswell. I’ve lived here ever since,” Coleman said.
His love of the community shows in his dedication to his work.
“I’ve been selling real estate now for 14 years,” Coleman said. “About 12 of those years, I’ve been involved in our local association. About 11 of those years, I’ve been involved in our state association. I’m currently serving as the president of the local association for the third time. I’m really happy to say that we have several new Realtors that are involved in the local association. We have several smaller offices that now have representation in the board association.
“My goal for 2019 is to create a much more inclusive group — where all 120 members feel an ownership, and a sense of responsibility and pride, where they work together as a family. It’s coming together and I’m very excited. After this year, I’ll serve one year as past president and after that, I believe I’ll be leaving the board in good hands. We’re training people to come in after us, which is what leaders should always do. We have seven people in Roswell who have gone through the state association’s growth and involvement class, which is making leaders.”
Knowing that Roswell is in good hands, Coleman plans to represent Roswell in a larger context.
“I will continue living in Roswell,” he said. “I will continue selling real estate. I will continue being a sales manager for Berkshire Hathaway. I will continue being involved. But I would like to focus more of my attention now on the state Realtor association. I’ve done lots of time on the local one. I’ve been involved in the state one, but only as a director or a committee chair or a committee member. I would like to work my way into more leadership positions on the state level.
“I plan to do this for another 30 years, God willing. I want to do it as long as I’m doing it well.”
One of his great joys is teaching new agents.
“As sales manager here,” Coleman said, “I train all our new brokers. I provide broker support and I love it. I feel I’m empowering people to do what they need to do and to do it right. I’d rather work with people who know what they’re doing. The most important thing for me is to be able to give back.”
His dreams changed. His priorities shifted. His values grew stronger. Through it all, Dan Coleman is building a happy life.