Phillip Hopper, 33, executive vice president of real estate, Powell Auction and Realty
Phillip Hopper can start bidding wars with his auction work and his philanthropy, helping Powell Auction and Realty rise above their original asking price.
Since joining Powell out of college, Hopper has made a name for himself over the past 10 years. He has grown revenue, managed the company’s real estate operations and grown the company since becoming Executive Vice President of Real Estate.
He is also involved in community service, including serving on the founding board of Safe Families for Children and as a golf committee member for the Emerald Youth Foundation.
When you think about your career so far, what achievement stands out the most?
When I first came to Powell Auction, I was about to graduate from college with a degree in business administration and was really interested in the auction industry. I cold called them out of the blue, and they didn’t know me from Adam. Luckily, they gave me a chance, and what started as a part-time, entry-level gig grew into a much broader role. I am grateful that I have been able to earn their trust and appreciate the ways in which they have allowed me to grow in my leadership.
What is the biggest professional obstacle you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges for me can be that many people view auctions as something that is only done as a last resort or in scenarios such as foreclosure. The reality is that in the current real estate environment, it’s one of the best ways to ensure you get the absolute best value for your property – whether it’s an estate, home, farmland, commercial building or something else. Part of my job is to help people through that process, and I really enjoy it.
What will you focus on in 2023?
We have been fortunate to see a significant increase in our real estate auction volume this year, and I plan to remain focused on continuing to nurture that growth in the future
What is your biggest professional dream?
I have always been entrepreneurial and have long dreamed of owning a company where I can employ individuals with well-paying jobs. I have a desire to mentor and support the younger generation at the beginning, just as I was given the opportunity.
What mistake did you learn the most from?
Mistakes are inevitable. But as a person of faith, I think God can use them for our ultimate good if we allow Him to grow and refine us through the process. I was once in a business relationship with someone who I realized was not a person of high character. When I realized that, I started switching right away, but I wish I had known that sooner. I learned a lot from that experience and I think it just continued to emphasize to me the importance of acting with integrity in all aspects of your life.
What motivates you?
My wife and children.
What’s the most overrated 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.” Regardless of the job, and even if you find it deeply fulfilling, if you want to be successful, some days will feel like just plain hard work.
What quality do you most want in a co-worker?
I love working with people who solve problems.
What would you like to see improved in Knoxville?
My wife and I are both native Knoxvillians and love living here. I hope that even as Knoxville grows and develops, we will work to preserve our East Tennessee values. They are what made this community so special and will continue to do so for years to come.
What do people not know about you?
I own 15 pairs of cowboy boots. I had a few more but cut them down a few years ago! I also love classic cars and am the proud owner of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
- Family: Wife Hannah, son Henry and daughter June
- Years in current company: 10
- Diplomas and certificates: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, University of Tennessee; professional auctioneering, Nashville Auction School
- Engagement in the community: Member of the Board of Directors and Governing Council of Safe Families for Children of East Tennessee; golf committee member at Emerald Youth Foundation; member of the Professional Standards Committee at the Tennessee Association of Realtors
These questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.