Real estate has always been more than just a livelihood for the Morris family. Helping people buy and sell homes gave Tom Morris Sr. and his sons Tom and Dave the resources to give back to the community they love since Purdy Realty was established in its current location in 1956.
The current incarnation of the business established by the family patriarch remains at the same location, 11515 Burnham Dr. in Gig Harbor. The faces inside may have changed over the decades and so has the name on the outside of the building. The one thing remains consistent is the company’s inherent commitment to Morris’ belief of giving back to the people of Gig Harbor.
Dave Morris took on the reins of his father’s enterprise 40 years ago and changed the name to Realty One. The office became a Keller Williams franchise in 1999 and has been part of more than 20,000 real estate transactions in the West Sound.
“The mission of our office was an ideal match for the core values of Keller Williams,” said Morris. “Integrity, teamwork and the commitment to always putting the needs of our clients first is a mainstay of the Keller Williams philosophy. Those have been our guiding principles of this company since my father open the doors of his office 60 years ago.”
The real estate side of the company has strived to establish standards of excellence that reach far beyond the world of escrow and open houses. Dave Morris has a long history of philanthropic activity in the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula areas. The family established The Morris Foundation in 1995, a nonprofit foundation that has distributed well over $1 million to local causes over the past 20 years.
Distributions are made directly from the earnings generated from managing real estate investments held by the Foundation. Tom Morris, Jr. and Dave are currently the co-directors of the Foundation.
Over the years, Dave has served on the Peninsula School Board, as a director of the Chamber of Commerce, as an officer with the Gig Harbor Rotary Club, and on the board of the Harbor History Museum.
His latest cause is the nonprofit Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC). The primary mission of GPC is to protect environmentally valuable real estate by working with landowners towards protecting and securing the properties in a natural state for generations in the future.
New owners, same philosophy
Morris is confident that the same generous attitudes toward the community will be carried on by Spencer Hutchins and Nicole Burnett when they complete the purchase of the Keller Williams franchise in early 2017. Along with the purchase, Burnett now serves as the new Operating Principal and Hutchins as CEO/Team Leader.
“This sale of Keller Williams Gig Harbor to the new owners represents a historic event in the Gig Harbor area real estate industry,” said Morris. “Spencer and Nicole will maintain the high ethics that has always been shared by every agent who ever worked in our office and with every client we have served.
“The new energy will take our message and our philosophy to even more people who live and work in Gig Harbor and the neighborhoods we have served.”
Hutchins is a lifelong resident of Gig Harbor and keeps up on zoning codes and building regulations as a member of the city’s Planning Commission. He also serves on the board of directors for the Lighthouse Christian School as well as the Tacoma Youth Symphony. In his rare spare time, he volunteers hours as an elder at the Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church.
Burnett graduated from Gig Harbor High School with Hutchins in 2004 and from Linfield College in McMinnville, OR four years later. She is currently a member of the Tacoma Pierce County Association of Realtors Board of Directors.
Burnett and Hutchins first met their sophomore year. They became close friends and even celebrated together as walking partners at their high school graduation. The high school classmates pursued separate educational paths—Burnett to Linfield College and Hutchins to Gonzaga University in Spokane and the University of Washington School of Law. Despite their divergent tracks, the pair stayed in touch and maintained a close friendship.
They were both surprised when they discovered that each had gotten into real estate without the other knowing it! It was even more interesting when they realized they had each gone to work for the same company—Keller Williams—within a few months of each other. From there, it was an easy decision to partner together to form the Burnett Hutchins Real Estate Group.
The partnership quickly turned fruitful. Burnett and Hutchins extended their interest in the real estate business quickly to the Keller Williams brokerage where they worked. Dave Morris and Pam Sosky, the previous Operating Principal and Team Leader at the West Sound office, were instrumental in drawing Burnett and Hutchins into the real estate business.
“There is no organization we’d rather be connected with than Keller Williams,” said Burnett. “The people here are amazing. From our offices in Silverdale and Gig Harbor to the region and beyond, KW is truly a family.”
It is important to the two young professionals to give back to a community that gave them so much growing up, said Burnett.
“The tight-knit Gig Harbor community has supported us since we were kids. It’s hugely rewarding to reinvest in the place and people that mean so much to us.”
Linda Petersen has been selling real estate in Gig Harbor and the surrounding communities with the Morris family for 33 years. She is a one-woman booster club for the brokerage as well as her hometown. Gig Harbor, she said, is a desirable place to live as well as the gateway to the outdoor popular destinations of the Olympic Peninsula.
She looks forward to working with the new ownership to share the benefits of the community as a place where people want to work and live.
“Once you know about all that Gig Harbor has to offer, why would anybody ever leave?” she asked rhetorically.
The new owners look forward to a bright future for Keller Williams West Sound and the real estate brokers who work together to be part of the Gig Harbor community.
“This company has a long history in our community. We honor the legacy of the Morris Family and their ongoing leadership,” said Hutchins. “We look forward to helping usher in a bright new chapter for Keller Williams West Sound.”
The friendship that brought the high school classmates together helped them pursue ownership opportunities and only strengthened the personal and professional bonds they share. Hutchins and Burnett consider the opportunity to work together as part of their lifelong bond and professional destiny.
“We’ve been great friends most of our lives,” said Hutchins. “Who knew that one day we’d be business partners and co-owners of a real estate company!”