At 43, Lee Clifford Shur is 25 lbs. lighter than he was in late 1977 but still a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder who has been a Reston resident for nearly six years. A bout with gout "knocked hell out of me and put me on a diet that took off excess weight," he said.
As marketing vice president for Gulf Reston, Inc., a slimmer Shur has recently been tapped for two professional awards in his field. He describes his business as "understanding the consumer and reacting to him with the right product and accompanying advertising and promotion."
In January, the National Association of fHome Builders named Shur its sales and marketing person of the year. On Wednesday, the D.C. chapter of the American Marketing Association, will recognize Shur as 1978 marketing executive. What pleases Shur about the latest award is that he is the "first non-chief-executive officer" to receive it. He also will be the first person from the building and realty field to be so honored.
A native of Cleveland and the son of a heating and air conditioning business owner, Shur grew into aspects of the home building business. But he studied art two years with the goal of becoming a commercial artist. "I tried it but didn't feel comfortable in that competition. So I switched to building. In a sense, I educated myself-working as a laborer and then in roofing and gutte work. Later he went into house sales in the Cleveland area.
Shur's selling and managing record was good enough, apparently, to get a bid to come to Reston as residential markegting director in 1972. "I was recruited by what we call a 'head-hunter' and Jim Todd (now presidenenen of Gulf Reston) made the decision to bring me here." After surviving what was a tough housing market in 1974 and 1975, Shur saw grow sales rise to $35 million in 1977, with a further increase expected this year-mostly in land sales.
As head of all Reston marketing since 1974, Shur has gradually developed a strategy that emphasizes housing affordable to people interested in Reston and to attracting more professional associations to locate in the new town in northern Fairfax County. Reston now has 27 associations in contrast to none six years ago.
Why has Shur been successful? "Maybe it's because I felt that I had to work a little harder and be a little more imaginative because I never went to college. And I do work with a lot of college-trained people. That's not a hang-up but an incentive."
People who've known Shur before and since he came to Reston generally regard him as both hard-working and warm. "He's not afraid to smile or laugh," said one. "In fact, he seems to sincerely enjoy life and certainly doesn't take himself too seriously."
Shur, his wife and their two teen-age boys plan to occupy a new patio house (where two houses are sited side by side on adjoining lots to give more space between the other house) that is being built for them in Reston's south lake section, where residential development is heaviest these days. In addition to playing tennis, Shur coaches youth teams in soccer, basketball and football.