Derek English, the 2022 president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors, grew up watching his father, Rick English, develop commercial real estate projects in Chattanooga and other cities, but it took him a while to land on a career in real estate.
Early on, the younger English worked as a cook, barista, baker, carpenter and auto body shop worker in his native Chattanooga. He also worked in property management and construction in Oxford, Mississippi, where he attended University of Mississippi, and in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2007, he returned to Chattanooga and married Realtor Becky Cope. Six years later, he decided to join her in the real estate industry.
"I love working with my hands and building or working on cars, but I also love working with people, and real estate gives you a chance to help people while they are often navigating changes in their lives," English says.
After getting his real estate license in 2013, Derek and Becky Cope English — a real estate agent since 1997 — worked as Realtors at RE/MAX and Cry Leike Realtors before launching the Scout Realtor Group in May 2019. The group has grown from a half dozen agents to 15 agents, and continues to grow even as real estate agents struggle to find property listings.
"We offer kind of a concierge service so that when clients come to town we try to meet all of their needs, and with my construction experience we can also help sellers make upgrades to sell their home or buyers make improvements they may want when they move into a new house," English says.
* Title: President for 2022 of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors
* Job: Affiliate broker for Scout Realtor Group
* Age: 48
* Career: A Chattanooga native, English graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1992 and attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, where he worked in food and beverage jobs before returning to Chattanooga to work at Morgan Construction. He started his own remodeling and building firm and then became a Realtor in 2013. He and his wife, Becky Cope English, have worked as Realtors and brokers over the past eight years at RE/MAX, Crye Leike Realtors and Scout Realtor Group.
English also is a keen follower of local governments and the Chattanooga community, regularly showing up or listening online to planning commission meetings and city council and county commission sessions. He was elected to the GCAR board five years ago and re-elected two years later before being approached about becoming president of the 2,300-plus-member group — the largest local professional group of its kind in Chattanooga.
Realtor-assisted property sales were up in 2021, and median prices rose to new highs during the year. In December, fewer than 850 houses were available for sale on some days, or just over a third as many listings as the more than 2,300 members of GCAR.
Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga Realtors serves Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia.
"We try to be the voice for real estate and private property rights and help ensure we maintain the professionalism and ethics of our profession," English says.