When Gary Clayton took over as CEO of Illinois REALTORS®, he knew that Len Taylor was the person he wanted to bring in to run the association’s operations department in 1988.

The two had worked together at the Illinois Department of Registration and Education (now the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation) when Clayton was director and Taylor was the chief financial officer.

“Len knew where every penny was in a very complicated state agency budget,” Clayton said. “Len was the most honest and hard-working person there.”

Clayton said Taylor’s financial management skills, ethics and candor have benefitted the association greatly.

“His budgetary principles and investment acumen put Illinois REALTORS® in a strong financial position that always emphasized becoming debt free while also leaving room for the flexibility to pursue capital projects such as the new headquarters and Bicentennial Plaza,” he said.

Taylor, who also has been staff support to every Illinois REALTORS® treasurer during his tenure, will retire after 2020. He has mentored Deputy Vice President of Operations Cathy Madaus to continue his fiscal vigilance, Clayton said.

Highlights of Taylor’s career with Illinois REALTORS®:

  • Instrumental in creating operational systems that grew association membership from 29,549 in 1988 to a record high of 66,000 in 2006. There are now more than 50,000 members.
  • More members and improved financial management bolstered the association’s fiscal situation and by 1992, it was debt free.   
  • In 2005, Illinois REALTORS® purchased property and took out a $4 million mortgage to move the association’s headquarters downtown near the state Capitol building. The loan was paid off in early 2012, five years after the completion of the building.
  • The association completed construction of the $2.78 million Bicentennial Plaza in 2018. Of that, $1 million was offset by city of Springfield TIF funding, with an additional $266,000 coming from donations and sponsorships. No plaza costs were financed.
  • Created an employee insurance and retirement benefit package. And established financial, membership budgeting and investment policies for the association. Neither existed before Taylor was hired.
  • Developed a continuing education recordkeeping system and oversaw the transition to the RAMCO and AI360 operations systems.
  • Finally, when Taylor joined Illinois REALTORS® in 1988, the operations reserve level was $211,000. As he leaves, it is around $13.7 million with another $3.5 million in RVOICE.