Chairman EmeritusP. Wesley “Wes” Foster, Jr. is the founder and chairman emeritus of The Long & Foster Companies, which includes Long & Foster Real Estate, Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC, Long & Foster Settlement Services, Long & Foster Property Management, Long & Foster Corporate Real Estate Services, Long & Foster Insurance and Urban Pace.
Foster opened his real estate brokerage with partner Henry Long in a 600-square-foot office in Fairfax, Virginia, in 1968. Foster specialized in residential real estate while Long’s focus was on commercial real estate. In 1979, Foster and his partner turned down an opportunity to sell the company and instead Foster purchased Long’s half of the business. With the surge in new housing and land development in the Washington, D.C., suburbs in the 1980s and 1990s, Long & Foster flourished. The company now has more than 200 locations, 1,800 employees and over 11,000 real estate agents.
One of Foster’s many goals was to create a one-stop-shopping business model for clients, providing them with the total homeownership experience. With this goal in mind he established business lines and partnerships in ancillary services, including mortgage, title and insurance. Foster has always stressed the importance of the company’s agents and their professional development, which is why Long & Foster operates a well-known real estate school and continually invests in tools and resources to ensure its agents are the best-trained, most knowledgeable sales force in the industry. Among those resources are Long & Foster’s investment in Moxi Works in 2015, a Seattle-based real estate technology firm that focuses on creating tools for brokerages and agents to grow their business and simplify their lives.
Throughout his notable career, Foster has been recognized by real estate and civic entities as an entrepreneur, thought leader and visionary. He has been named to the Swanepoel Power 200 list from 2014 to 2016, was named to Real Estate Executive Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Real Estate Executives list in 2014 and was listed as one of the 25 Best in the Business Leaders by Virginia Business Magazine. Real estate trade publication Inman News recognized Foster as one of the top 100 most influential leaders in the industry in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, and he was the first recipient of the Real Estate Industry Leadership Award awarded by Chabad at Johns Hopkins in 2007.
In 2004, Foster was inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame sponsored by Washingtonian magazine, the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. He was named one of the 25 most influential figures in real estate in 2003 by REALTOR Magazine, the official publication of the National Association of Realtors. In 1991, Foster was named Entrepreneur of the Year for real estate in the Washington, D.C., area by Ernst & Young and co-sponsors Merrill Lynch and Inc. Magazine, and in 1983 the National Association of Realtors recognized him with the Life Member Award. He was also honored twice as “One of America’s Five Most Admired Persons in Residential Real Estate” by industry publication REAL Trends.
Foster was a founding member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE), a global network of more than 500 brokerages and 120,000 sales associates. He has served on many boards, including the Greater Washington Board of Trade, The Lane Construction Corporation, the George C. Marshall Foundation, the First American Bank of Maryland and the First Union National Bank of Virginia, among others. He was a past chairman of the Washington/Baltimore Regional Authority and the Business Development Bureau of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
Believing in the importance of giving back to the community, Foster has established scholarships and promoted fundraisers for a number of organizations, including the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s annual Toys for Tots Campaign. Each year Long & Foster designates a day for agents and staff to participate in community service. In the mid-2000s, Foster provided Virginia Military Institute (VMI), his alma mater, with a significant donation for its athletic facilities and, in 2006, the school’s football stadium was dedicated as the P. Wesley Foster, Jr. Stadium. He served multiple years on VMI’s board of visitors. Foster credits the institution for instilling in him his most important principles and values.
Born in McDonough, Ga., Foster earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the VMI in 1956 and after graduation he served in the U.S. Army. In recognition of his military service, he received the U.S. Army Commendation Medal. After completing his time in the military, Foster moved to Washington, D.C., and began working for Kaiser Aluminum selling siding to homebuilders. In 1963, he joined Minchew Corporation in Annandale, Va., as a new home sales manager and then joined Nelson Realty in 1966, serving as vice president of sales until he and Long opened Long & Foster Real Estate. Residents of Northern Virginia, Foster and his wife, Betty, have three grown children and six grandchildren.