For 43 years, Cameron Merage has led First Team with a focus on family values and exceptional client service; now, the Swanepoel Power 200 recognizes his accomplishments for the third year in a row as one of the most powerful individuals in the real estate brokerage industry.
With over 400 hours of research, debates, and analysis, the Swanepoel T3 Group selected First Team founder and CEO Cameron Merage as one of the industry’s most powerful real estate giants for 2019.
Mr. Merage’s exceptional leadership and focus on driving value to clients through highly coached sales associates has shaped what is now Southern California’s #1 Independent Real Estate Brokerage for the 17th year in a row. In the past decade, First Team, more than any other brokerage, has attracted the attention of industry leaders and research partners like Swanepoel—whose selection committee inspired a detailed examination into Mr. Merage’s position, decision-making power, financial resources, and personal influence in the industry. The nomination and research process—which editor-in-chief of the Swanepoel Power 200 Stefan Swanepoel describes as an “art as much as it is science”—was then further divided into three rounds to evaluate each candidate through their organization, their activities, and their future impact. After much deliberation and fact-checking, Swanepoel released their annual list of real estate’s most powerful titans, with Mr. Merage ranked prominently among his industry peers.
First Team Real Estate’s success at Mr. Merage’s direction has not only accredited him to be recognized by Swanepoel, but also by the Southern California community as the brokerage continues to grow. “It is an honor to be ranked nationally with so many prominent names in real estate,” stated Mr. Merage. “Our presence in Southern California continues to expand as we extend our boundaries and invite other real estate entities to join our family. As Swanepoel acknowledges, 2019 shows even more promise.” In 2018 alone, a number of well-established smaller brokerage firms in coastal and inland Southern California were acquired or merged with First Team, including Star Estates, Lawyers Realty, Sonnocco Real Estate Group, and Sea Coast Exclusive Properties—enabling First Team to expand its presence and become #1 in marketshare in several additional markets, from Torrance to San Diego. Mr. Merage’s placement on the Swanepoel Power 200 list also resulted from the addition of 600 sales associates who joined First Team last year and yielded $1.5 billion in additional sales volume, raising the brokerage’s total volume to $5.4 billion for the year. “Cam’s professional knowledge of the industry is what won him the recognition of the Swanepoel committee,” explained First Team President Michael Mahon, “but his knowledge and enforcement of family-based values has won him the loyalty and respect of First Team agents and employees everywhere.”
Mr. Merage has made a living of making a difference in the communities he calls home. The Swanepoel list may focus primarily on business and financial success, but Mr. Merage also stands out as a philanthropic pillar in Orange County, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to academic, humanitarian, and cultural causes through the First Team Foundation. He has built his business on the principles of respect, innovation, responsibility, accountability, teamwork, and quality, and that has ultimately been the driving force for his success. “Family values bring families together,” stated Mr. Merage. “First Team has always been about driving value and putting others first, and I’m eager to continue this legacy throughout 2019.”