Real estate titan Stan Wisinski dies at 80

Colleagues say his philosophy will live on through those he mentored.
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Stan Wisinski III

Grand Rapids real estate icon Stanley Wisinski III died at the age of 80 on Nov. 5.

Wisinski had been a realtor in West Michigan for the past 59 years and was still active in the business until recently becoming ill.

Over the span of his career, Wisinski closed well over $2 billion in real estate transactions. He operated on the philosophy that no matter how big or how small the transaction, all clients deserve the same degree of professionalism and expertise. As a result, much of his business came from loyal clients with whom he had established long-standing relationships.

“By always making sure he helped a client solve a problem, Stan Wisinski set the gold standard for commercial real estate in West Michigan,” said Birgit Klohs, CEO of The Right Place. “His engagement went beyond commercial real estate and he took great pride in being a part of the growing west Michigan region. He will be greatly missed.”

After beginning his real estate career with Westdale in 1961, Wisinski started his own company, SJ Wisinski & Co., in 1986. In 2011, he merged his company with another local company to form NAI Wisinski of West Michigan, where he became partner and designated broker.

Wisinski earned the designations of Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) and Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) — designations that less than 3% of all commercial realtors have earned. He was the first person in the state of Michigan with both designations. 

Wisinski was recognized several times as Realtor of the Year through the Commercial Alliance of Realtors (CAR), Michigan Realtors and CCIM. He was honored with the CAR Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He also is a previous winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Wisinski was active in the local community. He was the 2020 city of Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment chairman and the 2020 city of Grand Rapids Economic Development Corporation chairman. He previously served as the president of Cascade Hills Country Club, director and executive board member of The Right Place, director of the Grand Rapids Chamber Foundation and was a part of the West Michigan Regional Planning Committee.

“Stan Wisinski was instrumental in creating the cooperative, collaborative culture that commercial real estate practitioners in West Michigan appreciate,” said Shari Veldman, executive director of Commercial Alliance of Realtors. “His attention and dedication to his clients has been learned and replicated by many in our community, and the high standards that he set for himself and those around him will leave a lasting legacy.”

For more than 25 years, Wisinski worked alongside his daughter, Mary Anne Wisinski-Rosely, who in now a partner and office specialist at her father’s company. They teamed up on many transactions over the years, and Wisinski was proud to see her flourish in the industry he loved.

“It was a real honor to be able to work with my dad and learn this business from him,” Wisinski-Rosely said. “Since his passing, I’ve heard from so many people about the impression he made on them. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn the business from someone like him.”

Wisinski also was responsible for hiring and mentoring many other individuals who are still in the commercial real estate industry today, Klohs said.

“He mentored a lot of young up-and-comers, but he did it in a way that wasn’t about him. It was about that other person,” Klohs said. “We’ve been losing a lot of notable people over the last few months. Stan was well known in certain circles, because he didn’t push himself to the forefront, but we lost another really, really good business leader.”

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