As told to Jason Del Rey
Industry Leader: Real Estate
Three-Year Growth: 24,391.8%
The Eliason brothers took up the family passion for real estate in a very focused way: They specialize in tenant-in-common deals, in which investors buy fractional interests in properties as a way of transferring tax-deferred gains from other investments. From their hometown of St. Germain, Wisconsin, they buy and sell all over the country.
Mother's occupation: Homemaker
Father's occupation: Co-founder of Eliason Realty of the North, a real estate brokerage and development company in northern Wisconsin
Brian: We both studied real estate in school, and we did some small deals in college, basically flipping properties.
David: But in 2001, we went to a conference where they were talking about the exploding tenant-in-common industry, and from that point on, we've focused our business there.
Brian: We only work in markets where there is very good job and income growth.
David: Plus, we go after numerous low-risk deals rather than seeking out a few sexy deals. That helps us diversify our portfolio, diversify our cash flow, and provide a safety net for our investors. We've learned that boring deals are usually the safest.
Brian: Investors might not get rich from investing with us, but they're going to preserve their wealth.
David: The best part of this job is the satisfaction when you see happy investors, and you're able to tell them about the nice returns they're about to get.
Brian: And the flexibility and the traveling. In the past three years, we've probably visited 60 to 70 different cities. The worst part of the job is the other side of the same coin -- traveling.
How We Work
Brian: Ninety-nine percent of our inspiration comes from our family and their reputation. We grew up in a small town, and our family has been here since the late 1800s. They were hard-working, honest, well-respected people, and it's extremely important for us to continue that.
David: Plus, our dad says he'll kill us if we ruin his name.
David: We're expecting revenue to be flat for 2008, but in this market, that's pretty good. Our vision is to continue growing, but we don't want to grow when we shouldn't be. It doesn't make sense to step on the pedal right now.
Brian: We're more concerned with increasing our market share.