Long Realty’s Barb Frohling retires at half-century mark

Wrapping up a remarkable 50-year career with Long Realty Company—spanning more than half of the 92-year-old company’s lifetime—Barb Frohling has retired, effective September 28. In a true up-through-the-ranks story, Frohling climbed the corporate ladder from part-time secretary and receptionist to the company’s director of commissions.

Frohling started with Long Realty during the summer of 1968 as part of a Palo Verde High School cooperative-education program. “That was my first job, and I never left,” Frohling said.

Since then, she’s worn “six or seven different hats,” with the company, Frohling said. Her trajectory included stints in the company’s insurance, licensing, human resources, accounting, and commissions divisions. As director of commissions—her final posting—Frohling was responsible for ensuring agents receive their commissions, promptly and accurately, once their transactions close.

Along the way, she earned sales licenses for both insurance and real estate, but never worked under either license. “It was a great way to learn the business and the terminology, and to understand what the agents were going through,” she said.

Tucson—and Long Realty—was very different in 1968. “When I started, we had one office, a little building on East Sixth Street at Campbell Avenue, with maybe a dozen agents,” she said. “They were mostly older, second-career people. The average agent now is much younger. It’s good to bring in new blood, and the technology has gone through the roof.”

The building is still there but the company has moved on, now fielding some 1,400 sales pros from its mix of 41 company-owned and independently owned franchise offices.

Greater Tucson has moved on, too. When she started with Long Realty, “Oro Valley was not in existence,” she said. “The southeast side was not developed. Marana was a farming community.”

Frohling leaves some big shoes to fill at Southern Arizona’s leading brokerage. “Barb’s been a mainstay of this organization for generations,” said Rosey Koberlein, CEO of Long Companies. “She was on duty throughout our greatest period of growth. She’s part of the living history of the company, and she’ll be tremendously missed.”

A part of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, Long Companies comprises four separate businesses: Long Realty Company, Long Mortgage Company, Long Title Agency and Long Insurance Group. Long Realty Cares Foundation, a community-building philanthropy, is under the umbrella as well.

“We don’t think of it as Barb retiring because her character and high standards are part of our tradition now.” said Laura Mance, president of Long Realty.

Added Tony Finley, Long Companies’ chief financial officer: “Barb is dedicated, smart and graceful. Most importantly, she cares.”

The feeling is mutual. “The whole reason I’ve been with Long Realty so long is that I’ve enjoyed the work, but, even more, working for and with the people in the company,” Frohling said. “From our agents and staff to the managers, and all four of the CEOs I’ve worked with, they’ve all been nice people.”

Next on the Frohling agenda: “Travel with my husband and getting back on my bike.” A competitive road cyclist with a fistful of state championships, Frohling is still recovering from a July crash. Attending football and basketball games at the University of Arizona is another must-do. “I’m a huge fan,” she said, with season tickets for both sports.

Beyond that, retirement planning is still in the “to be announced” phase. “What a fabulous 50-year foundation to her next adventure,” Koberlein said. “Whatever Barb does next, she’ll do it with energy, enthusiasm, and total commitment. Why would she change now?”

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