At Thanksgiving, I Like to Reflect on the Many People for Whom I’m Grateful

By JIM SMITH, Realtor ®

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because it gives me an opportunity to dwell on all that I have to appreciate in my life — both professionally and personally.

First and foremost, I’m grateful for the nine broker associates who found themselves drawn to work at Golden Real Estate. They are pictured with me below outside our South Golden Road office. Let me introduce them, from left to right.

GRE_AgentsI have known Jim Swanson since we both worked at Coldwell Banker in 2002.  Jim, a lifelong resident of South Golden, followed me to RE/MAX Alliance where we both worked before I bought a former restaurant building on South Golden Road and created Golden Real Estate. I value his familiarity with and love of Golden. He’s also an excellent Realtor! You can reach him at 303-929-2727 or you can contact him by email at Thanks, Jim, for being with me as we grew our brokerage!

Chuck Brown, second from left, owned his own Metro Brokers office before giving it up to join Golden Real Estate several years ago, attracted by our commitment to sustainability. (He has a Tesla Model 3 on order.) He lives and sells in Paradise Hills on Lookout Mountain, but he’s also our Denver expert, having listed and sold many homes there over the years. You can reach Chuck at 303-885-7855 or you can email him at

Norm Kowitz came to us from RE/MAX Alliance. He lives in North Golden and is currently enrolled in Leadership Golden to deepen his knowledge of this city that he and I call home. His service on the board of directors of the Christian Action Guild testifies to his commitment to serving others.  Deeply proud of his service as a U.S. Marine Infantryman, Norm also takes pride in the fine people his four children have become and, of course, in his five grandchildren. Also, he helps me by copyediting my columns. He’s a great Realtor, too! You can call Norm at 303-229-3891, or email  him at

Next to Norm is Carol Milan, who has lived in Golden for 30 years (since college) and has been a strong community volunteer over that entire time. A mother of three teenagers, she is married to Kevin Milan, the chief of South Metro Fire District. I’m impressed at her commitment to Golden and how many people she knows! Prior to becoming a Realtor, she was a Registered Nurse at Colorado Orthopedic Hospital, where she attended to my wife, Rita, during her knee replacement!  You can call or text Carol at 720-982-4941, or email

Standing between Carol and me is Kristi Brunel, who is also on the board of the Christian Action Guild and, like me, is a graduate of Leadership Golden. It was Kristi who recruited Norm and Carol to join Golden Real Estate. The Brunel family is well known for its long-time residency here and for its contribution of Golden’s civic life. I value Kristi for her knowledge of investment properties, because she and her husband Kenny have long owned and managed several rentals in Jefferson County. You can reach Kristi at 303-525-2520 or email her at

On the other side of me is one of our newer agents, Debbi Hysmith, a real dynamo of a Realtor who lives in Westminster. She came to us from another small brokerage, attracted by our commitment to sustainability. (She drives a Chevy Volt, which she charges for free in our parking lot!)  She is also a home staging expert and even has her own inventory of furnishings that she uses to stage her listings. You can call or text Debbi anytime at 720-936-2443 or email her at

Next to Debbi is David Dlugasch, a certified home stager. David had his own brokerage in Crested Butte, but relocated to Arvada 5 years ago and was drawn to join Golden Real Estate after reading my columns online. He specializes in Arvada real estate. He’s my deputy managing broker. You can reach him at 303-908-4835 or David recently took delivery of a Tesla Model 3, which he, too, charges in our parking lot.

Next to David is Carrie Lovingier, who has been with Golden Real Estate for a decade. Carrie lives in south Evergreen (behind Evergreen High School), so I look to her when it comes to listing or showing Evergreen listings. She is a great Realtor!  Reach her at 303-907-1278 or

    Last but not least is Andrew Lesko, who lives in Golden (across the street from me).  Andrew specializes in townhomes, condos and duplex properties. If you are considering buying or selling these types of properties, a great place to start would be his websites and Andrew can always be reached at 720-710-1000, or you can email

Next I’d like to salute and thank our many clients, most of whom came to us from reading this column, so I am really grateful for my readers!  Remember, I love to hear from you, so do call or write me!  And please know how grateful all of us are for all of you

I’m also thankful for my colleagues from other brokerages and especially those in leadership positions at the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) and fellow members of the MLS’s Rules and Regulations Committee on which I’ve been privileged to serve for many years. I’m equally grateful for the staff who manage both DMAR and REcolorado (our Denver MLS). Ann Turner continues to provide excellent leadership at DMAR, and Kirby Slunaker has done the same for REcolorado.

Last but not least, I so love and appreciate my wife of 15 years, Rita Smith. She is my rock and is a great sounding board for everything I do and write. Thank you, Rita. I love you!  I also thank Rita’s son, Bob Guinn, a wine executive in California, for welcoming me into his family.  Rita and I cherish every opportunity to be with him, his wife Maria, and his amazing teenage daughters, Lauren and Melissa.


Author: Golden Real Estate, Inc.

Golden Real Estate is a prominent member of the Denver/Jefferson County real estate scene. Based in Golden, we service both Denver and Jeffco, representing both buyers and sellers. We're well known for Broker Jim Smith's weekly "Real Estate Today" column published in the Denver and Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section each Thursday. The column also appears in several weekly newspapers and is archived at We have nine agents, all of whom are Realtors and EcoBrokers. Our office is Net Zero Energy since December 2017, and several of us drive electrics cars. Known for our sustainable practices, we accept polystyrene (aka "Styrofoam") for recycling, keeping 200 cubic yards per year out of area landfills.

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