Parallels between Lynne and Jim and Katie and Steve are endless. Like Lynne, Katie was born to a family of educators. Her father worked as a high school teacher, principal, and administrator in the Harrisburg City Schools in Pennsylvania and her mother worked as a teacher and school psychologist. Katie was greatly influenced by her parents’ positive effect on many young lives. Like Jim, Katie's first jobs were working as a lifeguard at beaches and pools or working in restaurants. She attended the University of Delaware and, also like Jim, has a degree in Political Science. There she met a charming calculus instructor, Steve Brauer.
Steve grew up in New Jersey where his early days were filled with baseball games (really, pretty much any sport that involved a ball) and working as a caddy at a local golf course. Steve’s mother knew how to make a house a home and, like Jim, Steve’s father was an engineer. Steve always had an interest and talent in numbers and in fixing things and, although usually relegated to just passing the tools to his father, Steve gradually assumed his MacGyver-like abilities to fix anything.
After college, Steve and Katie set off on many adventures, traveled extensively and, like Jim, worked in restaurant management. Much to the joy of their families, they finally settled down, got married, and opened their own business in Carrboro, Durham, and Raleigh, and settled in. They have a son, Beau, who is currently in the dual language program in the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School system. In 5th grade he is bilingual and biliterate in English and Spanish, which comes in handy when he and Steve make fun of Katie, who only speaks English (and RealtorJ).
Their original business continued to grow for many years and taught them many lessons, one of which is to be open to change. Eventually Katie jumped with both feet into real estate, as it has always been a love of hers and working with people was a must! Steve brought his expertise into this new business the following year and they formed a team similar to Lynne and Jim’s where they are able to seamlessly step into each other’s shoes while each bringing their unique talents to the team. Katie and Steve became instant friends with Lynne and Jim, who served as both mentors and confidants in the early years. They have a comfortable working relationship born of mutual respect, and naturally started covering for each other when one of the couples was away. As the years passed, it became obvious to all that a team should form and they should formalize their working relationship.
Enter Karen Armstrong. Karen spent most of her life in the Midwest working in jobs from office manager to school secretary. When she and her husband, Brian, began raising their three beautiful daughters, Karen threw her organizational energies into volunteer work at her daughters’ schools, church activities and running the home. Brian’s job brought them to Chapel Hill in 2001. When the girls started high school and she tired of tennis, Karen decided to rejoin the paying work force and she became the administrative assistant for York Simpson Underwood. Karen quickly learned the ins and outs of the real estate business in addition to marketing and computer expertise. After several years of invaluable service to YSU, and after much cajoling, Karen agreed to join the team and is now fondly referred to by Lynne, Jim, Katie and Steve as Mary Poppins for her uncanny ability to put things in order. And Karen continues to work with "her team" as they migrated their base of operations to their new company, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry & Walston in December 2011.
Katie and Steve enjoy traveling, hiking in the woods with their wet and muddy dogs (did we mention that their dog Stella is a rescue from the same litter as Lynne and Jim’s dogs?), playing an occasional round of golf, cooking, and mostly just enjoying their family time together with Beau. They spend most of their free time these days standing on pool decks, as competitive swimming has become Beau’s true love. Karen's newest favorite past time is spending time with her husband at their mountain cabin—hiking when the weather allows and cross-stitching in front of the fire when it doesn’t. She enjoys working for the group so much she views it as a “paid hobby,” and hopes she brings a spoonful of sugar to the real estate process.