Henry A. Long and P. Wesley Foster Jr. are marking ten years together as Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. and contemplating, with some understandable satisfaction, the firm's rise to an expected $300 million in total volume of sales this year.
They started their realtor Business from scratch in 1963 with only one salesperson. Now they have 23 area-wide offices and a total staff900 persons.
Both Long and Foster attended military schools. Both served in the military. Both are married and both live in Northern Virginia. Yet, their colleagues regard them as two entirely different persons.
Foster, 44, is president of the firm. A native of Atlanta who attended VMI, he served as an army artillery officer until 1959. He later worked for Kaiser, Aluminum in sales before winding here here selling houses for John Minchew in Camelot. By 1968 he had met Henry Long and they decided to go into the realty business.
Long, 41, executive vice president, is a graduate of VPI and a native of Northern Virginia. He was a B-47 pilot (He still does some private flying) with the SAC until 1965, when he went into commercial real estate development and selling. And that's been his specialty with the firm. He is a long-range planner of the firm's business course.
On the other hand, Foster is the activist in the firm's brokerage expansion and strong position in both the selling of new houses for builders and the reselling of existing houses for owners. One of his sales managers recalled: "I bought my first house from Wes (in Camelot). He lived there then and was both a good neighbor and a friendly one. He works terribly hard and is goal-oriented. One big goal is to make the firm the area's largest."
Already this year the firm has opened offices in Fredericksburg, Frederick and Potomac. Others are scheduled to be opened in Great Falls and Wheaton. Although most of the offices are in Virginia, two are in the District.
In the commercial development field, the partners have built warehouses and apartments. They currently have a $30 million planned unit development under way in Manassas. They also have done a $2 million racquet club and an office park in Reston. The firm also has developed office and warehouse space in Merrifield.
Long also created a new building, firm (Scott, Long and Foster) which will do everything from churches to office building.
Although the partners lead private live separated from their business associations, they agree that what they have done is based on serving needs existing in the area. "We agree totally that our basic company philosophy has been responsible for our tremendous growth in ten years. We understand that the dollars we earn can only be a product of the professional services we give," said Foster.