First Carbon woman heads Greater LV Realtors group; backs property tax reform
Cass Chies, broker-owner of Re-Max Diamond 1st, Palmerton, was sworn in as new president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) at a Jan. 18 induction ceremony at Woodstone Country Club and Lodge, Danielsville, Lehigh Township.
She is the first woman from Carbon County to be named president of the professional association which, in 2014, was formed by the merger of the Lehigh Valley and Carbon County Associations of Realtors.
“I am very proud, and humbled, to be the new president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors,” Chies said before a packed room of GLVR leadership and members. “It should be stressed that I do not think of myself as the first president from Carbon County. Even though his tenure was short-lived, that title forever belongs to our friend, Jim Zurn.”
Zurn, owner and associate broker, Coldwell Banker Hearthside, Jim Thorpe, died two weeks after he was sworn in as GLVR president.
Chies replaces former GLVR President Christopher Raad who, after Zurn’s passing, stepped back into the role of president for 2016. Under normal circumstances, the president of the association holds the position for one year and is elected by a Nominating Committee, which consists of the past president and two directors.
During her induction speech, Chies, a Towamensing Township, Carbon County, resident said the merger between the Carbon County Association of Realtors and Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors has been rewarding for Realtors in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties, saving members money, delivering more member benefits and eliminating overlapping of services.
Chies has connections and roots throughout the GLVR footprint. She was born at the former Allentown General Hospital, now Lehigh Valley Hospital - Allentown. A self-proclaimed “Center City girl,” Chies grew up in the Fifth and Allen streets neighborhood, graduating in 1972 from Allentown Central Catholic High School.
Two goals top Chies’s agenda for what she hopes to accomplish during her presidency: regional expansion of services and property tax reform.
Regarding regional expansion, Chies said, “We need to reach out to our neighboring Associations and show them what we have to offer. I can honestly say, as a Realtor from the now-former Carbon County Association of Realtors, that regionalization should not be feared. At the end of the day, it’s about sharing services, saving money, and finding better ways to do our job professionally. We are stronger together.”
Chies, much like her predecessors, will focus energy in the coming year on tax reform.
“As we all know, property taxes are crippling many of our clients, whether it is the elderly neighbor who is struggling to pay her taxes so they can stay in their homes, or if it’s a first time home-buyer who realizes the dream of home ownership is out of reach due to ever-increasing fees,” Chies said as members and leadership nodded in agreement. “Property tax elimination has been our No. 1 priority and we will continue to work with our state legislators, county commissioners and school board members to gain a grip on bloated budgets that impact all taxpayers.”
Chies went on to thank State senators and House members who represent the Greater Lehigh Valley, for their consistent, years-long fight for property tax reform.
“This issue impacts all homeowners, future buyers and sellers, and is a huge infringement on private property rights,” Chies said as the nearly 180 attendees began to applaud. “No tax should have the power to leave someone homeless or take the American dream of home ownership away from someone.”
Before becoming a Realtor, Chies owned and operated Cass Chies & Associates, an advertising and consulting agency targeting companies in the turbomachinery industry.
Chies has traveled domestically and internationally. During her travels, she met the then-president of Interspace Airport Advertising (IAA) and later became a sales manager for the company. It was during these years, Chies realized her love of meeting people and growing relationships with clients, which led her to become a Realtor.
In 2004, Chies obtained her real estate license, joined a local broker office and, within four years, had earned CRS, ABR, GRI, ASR and SRF designations. She also holds the CNE, SRES and BPOR designations.
In 2008, Chies was elected to the Carbon County Association of Realtors Board of Directors and served as the Board’s treasurer in 2011 and 2014. In 2009, she passed her broker exam and opened Diamond 1st Realty in January 2010. In May 2015, she purchased a Re-Max franchise and renamed her office Re-Max Diamond 1st. Chies was secretary of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors in 2015.
Chies volunteers at her parish, Sacred Heart Church, Palmerton, where she served two terms on the parish council and is chairperson of the Altar Guild and the parish stand at the Palmerton Festival.
Chies and her husband, Michael, have six children and 16 grandchildren.