About Vlad Kats

I was born and raised in the former Soviet Union and my family immigrated to the United States in 1991.  Early on, my parents taught me the value and importance of hard work. Both worked multiple jobs to take care of our family.  I started working part-time jobs at 13 years old in order to take pressure off my parents and contribute to our household. I graduated from Pikesville High School in 1996 and after a semester at Loyola College (now Loyola University) in Baltimore, transferred to St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMC).  

At SMC, I took courses in math, economics, finance, philosophy, and general business.  As an undergrad, I was on the rugby team, studied abroad at the University of Economics in Prague, and completed an externship at Legg Mason and an internship at St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development.  I graduated SMC in 2000 with a Bachelor's degree in Economics with Magna Cum Laude honors. While at SMC, I was exposed to a bigger world and higher-level thinking. I learned the importance of relationships, teamwork, communication, and producing results.

High marks at SMC opened many doors in the professional world, including being able to apply for roles within the U.S. government under the Scholars Program.  After months of interviews, I accepted a role as an Economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in Washington, DC. Over the next five years, I studied and analyzed trends within international labor markets.  The data our division produced was used by companies and governments all over the world for strategy and policy creation. While at BLS, I co-authored an article on international trends in employment of women and proliferation of non-traditional living arrangements (https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2003/article/families-and-work-in-transition-in-12-countries-1980-2001.htm).  In 2003, this article was selected as Monthly Labor Review’s Article of The Year and since then has been cited by close to one hundred books and research publications. Also, I was a part of the research team that added China to the list of our monitored countries. I lead the team that added Czech Republic to our reports. I was also selected to the agency-wide recruitment team tasked with attracting talent to the Bureau.  In my tenure at BLS, I prepared and delivered presentations to foreign government officials, visited other countries to perform data research, and became proficient in statistical analysis and critical reasoning. I also learned the importance of leadership in the workplace.

While at BLS, I was accepted into Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland at College Park (Smith) where I completed a Master in Business Administration degree with a focus on Strategy and Entrepreneurship.  It was at Smith that my passion for business was ignited. Through courses in finance, strategy creation and implementation, venture capital, supply-chain management and social entrepreneurship, I gained insights into the role that business organizations play in our society and how to evaluate and influence corporate performance.  Smith professors and students created a unique learning environment with just the right balance of academic and practical knowledge that caused me to grow as a businessman. And it was at Smith where I got my first formal education in leadership and sparked my life-long study in this area. I graduated in 2005 with 4.0 GPA.

Over the next several years, I worked in IT sales and training, started a small-business consulting firm, and, with three partners, a software development and engineering design outsourcing company with employees in Kazakhstan and Ukraine.  Through these experiences, I continued to learn, through both success and failures, about business and leadership. And it was these experiences that lead me to find my passion and my home - the real estate industry.

First as an investor and then as a licensed real estate professional, I have developed a deep appreciation for the real estate industry and the difference that the ‘american dream’ makes for our people and for our country.  I relished the opportunity to serve my clients with some of the biggest financial decisions associated with real estate transactions. After a short stint at Long & Foster, I joined Re/Max Executive Group in Towson, MD and quickly became its top producing agent.  After a local real estate legend and personal friend, Bob Steele, opened Passport Realty, I joined his firm in 2009 as a producing Branch Manager in the Pikesville, MD office. It was here that my first foray into building a real estate sales team occurred.

After two years of succeeding as a salesperson and failing as a leader, I started to search for a proven model of building a real estate business and found Gary Keller’s book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (MREA) and Keller Williams (KW) Realty.  In 2011, I joined a KW office in Baltimore, MD with two goals: 1. Build a real estate business that functions on its own (MREA 7th level business) and 2. Open a KW franchise in Pikesville.  Within three years, both goals were achieved.

During that time, Atlas Home Group was recognized as one of the top regional real estate sale teams with over 100 houses sold annually.  During the rise of the short-sale wave, I founded Atlas Loss Mitigation, a short sale processing company, that continues to serve distressed homeowners in Maryland to this day.  It was in these first two years in KW that I experienced first-hand the difference that following a model and surrounding yourself with bigger thinkers makes on business owners. I grew both personally and professionally, and fast!

In 2014, we launched Keller Williams Legacy in Pikesville, MD with a mission of Transforming Lives Through Real Estate.  Seeking an opportunity to grow my leadership skills and make a bigger impact on the local real estate community, I raised my hand for, and was awarded, the role of Team Leader (CEO) of the brokerage.  Our doors were opened in July and by end of the year, we had 80 agents. By the end of 2015, we were at 200 agents and were #1 in size and transactions in the Baltimore area. By the end of 2016, our office grew to 344 agents and we were the fastest growing office in all of Keller Williams, #1 in size, transactions, and volume in the Baltimore area, and #1 in profit and profit share within the launch category in Keller Williams.  In less than three years, I lead the growth of Keller Williams Legacy to over 400 agents.

As a Team Leader, I recruited and consulted some of the highest producing real estate agents in Maryland.  I honed my own leadership skills, grew other leaders, and recognized my heart-to-serve. I found and trained my replacement, and stepped out of the day-to-day operations of Keller Williams Legacy in 2018.  Currently, I am an investor in three KW franchises and a local title company.

As one chapter ends, a new one awaits.  In mid-2018, I became a partner and Board of Directors member in Five Doors Network, Inc—a national expansion real estate organization.  Founded in 2013 and powered by the mission of Building Generational Wealth Through Real Estate, Five Doors serves real estate professionals by providing them with a productivity-specific environment, tools, training, support, and leadership so they can reach their goals in business, life, and legacy.  Five Doors earned honors and awards from Inman News (Innovator of the Year Runner Up), Inc500 (#1 Real Estate Team; #6 Real Estate Company; and #113 Fastest Growing Privately Held Company) and Wall Street Journal Real Trends (#10 real estate team by number of sides).  And we’re just getting started! In October, I accepted the role as the company’s CEO.

As an expert in recruiting and leadership, I have been featured in local and national publications, served as a presenter and panelist during numerous industry-wide events, and been a guest on real estate podcasts.

I am a graduate of the Landmark Forum, Landmark Worldwide’s Curriculum for Living, and serve as a Self-Expression and Leadership Program Leader for Landmark Worldwide.  I am married to the love of my life, Kristan, and we have three amazing daughters. Our family resides in Baltimore, MD.