Bernard Rice played a significant role in defining the real estate profession, elevating the education and ethical standards within the industry and creating initiatives that benefited real estate in his role as executive officer of both the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors and the Minnesota Association of Realtors.
Mr. Rice began his career with the Minneapolis Real Estate Board (now the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors) in the midst of the great depression when the real estate industry was struggling. He was hired as executive secretary of the Minneapolis Real Estate Board in 1936 and was eventually named as executive officer. In 1946, he was made executive officer of the newly organized Minnesota Association of Realtors and worked with both organizations. Mr. Rice became the first full-time executive officer of the Minnesota Association of Realtors and was executive officer until he retired on May 1, 1979.
When Mr. Rice began his tenure with the Minneapolis Real Estate Board, there were 175 members. At the end of his time with the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, there were nearly 4,000 members. The impact Mr. Rice’s leadership had on the associations he managed is evident in not only the increase in membership during his tenure, but also the positive change that he brought to the real estate industry as a whole. He created a library for membership use, now called the Bernard G. Rice library, and was instrumental in the creation of Minnesota’s first Multiple Listing Service (MLS). As a lobbyist at the Minnesota State Legislature, Mr. Rice was influential in many licensing and housing related laws. This included the Minority Housing Policy that stated “all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin, should have a like opportunity to avail themselves of housing resources of the community.”
Through hard work and dedication, Mr. Rice created change in the organization that was needed to elevate the education and regulation of real estate professionals. His work helped to establish Minneapolis’ planning, zoning and taxation policies and he proposed, introduced and obtained passage of license laws regulating real estate professionals in the State of Minnesota. Mr. Rice was a significant proponent of real estate education in Minnesota. In addition to his work to establish required continuing education credit for licensed real estate agents and brokers, Mr. Rice was influential in the passage of the Minnesota Education, Research and Recovery fund Act. This act codified the real estate industry’s desire to develop university-level real estate education.
“Despite a busy practice, Bernie spent many hours giving back to the community. Whether he was coordinating curriculum, conducting a seminar or giving a speech, he taught by example and held himself to the same high standards he expected of others.” Bob Strachota, President, Shenehon Company
Following Mr. Rice’s death in 1994, several real estate professionals spoke about the impact that Bernard Rice had on the real estate industry:
Ralph W. Burnet, chairman of Burnet Realty (now Coldwell Banker Burnet) noted that Rice was a leader and inspiration to the growth of the Board of Realtors. “He directed very progressive change during his tenure which ultimately was emulated throughout the country.”
“He was a no-nonsense person when it came to upholding the Realtors code of ethics. All Minneapolis Realtors are indebted to Bernie Rice for the effort he gave to elevate our industry,” said Roger Rovick, former chairman of the board of Edina Realty, Inc.