Dave Parks went from an aimless teen to senior vice president and co-owner of a highly successful real estate company – a transition he says would not have been possible without his time in the military.
Parks served in the Marine Corps for 20 years and was an active duty Marine captain awaiting retirement on 9/11. Now president-elect of the Louisville Board of Realtors, Parks is co-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weisberg, Realtors along with his sister, Judie Parks-Gornett.
After graduating from Saint Xavier High School, Parks enrolled at Bellarmine but dropped out during his first semester. “I was a hot mess,” he admits. “I wanted to change my life but I just didn’t see a path.”
At 19, he was working as a bank teller, Domino’s Pizza manager and property manager for a 40-unit apartment complex. “It wasn’t that I didn’t work hard. I worked about 70 hours a week,” he recalls. “I just didn’t see any future in it. … I was a bright young man without a lot of direction. I walked into a Marine recruiting station and he asked me, ‘What makes you think you can be a Marine?’ Only he used a few more expletives.”
For the next 20 years, the Marine Corps was home. “Probably in my 12th week of boot camp, I knew that I was in the right spot,” he affirms.
When he reenlisted after his initial four-year commitment he entered officer training. “I put in a lot of thought before I decided to take it on,” he says. “When I was an enlisted guy, I was in charge of people, but the really tough decisions were left to someone senior to me.”
Over his military career Parks served as an aircraft maintenance officer and as a recruiter, retiring as assistant for officer procurement.
In 1986, he married his wife, Jennifer, now a CPA and an accounting manager for the Kentucky Medical Association. They have two daughters, Kate and Jessica. “My wife is amazing. She is one of the strongest, most supportive men or women I have ever known in my life,” he says. “She’s patient, she’s kind, she’s resilient and she’s tough.”
Both attended Ohio State University, where Parks received his bachelors of science and business administration in 1992 through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Educational Program.
“I was a staff sergeant while at OSU,” he explains. “They leave you on active duty. Your job is to be a good student.” He did his job well, graduating magna cum laude.
“There’s no question my experiences as a Marine are why I did better in college the second time,” he says. “I can’t say enough about what the Marines have done for me in every area of my life. In every part of my life, it touches my success.”
Although he retired in 2001, Parks stays active with local Marines and serves on the board of the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky.
By 2008, his mother, Pat Parks, and her partners in Parks & Weisberg were ready to retire. Today, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weisberg, Realtors has around 100 agents and staff in three offices in Louisville and Southern Indiana handling residential and commercial real estate and property management.
The military has helped Parks with “about 50 things,” he says. “Whether it’s leading people, whether it’s keeping your head calm and moving forward through tough markets or the courage to plan and execute that plan even in the face of adversity.” VT