But did you know that Sean worked in the television news industry for 25 years before switching careers to spend full-time in real estate sales?
“A career in TV may look glamorous to the average viewer, but it’s an insane lifestyle,” said Sean. “The pressure is intense and the work hours are brutal. You never know if the show you’re working on will bomb or be successful. If you drop a half rating point, then crazy things can happen overnight. But, I really love real estate. It’s a terrific career.”
Sean grew up in Northern California and, as a teenager, won sailing races in San Francisco Bay. In high school, he was a member of the drama club. While attending the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), he served as managing editor of the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper. “We published 38 pages, five issues a week, over $1 million in annual revenue, as the largest campus newspaper on the West Coast,” said Sean. He graduated from UCLA in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
Sean’s father, Bill Hillier, worked in TV in programming. The family moved to Pittsburgh, New Haven, Seattle, Boston and Baltimore before arriving in San Francisco when Sean was 11. His father helped launch a show called “Evening Magazine” that later became known as “PM Magazine.”
During the summer of 1976, KPIX-TV in San Francisco, a CBS affiliate then owned by Westinghouse (Group W) Broadcasting, premiered a local weeknight television news and entertainment show. Westinghouse aired the show on four other stations it owned at the time. By the end of the decade, “PM Magazine” had become the first nationally syndicated show airing on 115 stations in the U.S.
After UCLA, Sean got married to Martine in 1986, who he met in high school. They celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary earlier this month.
In the late 1980s, Sean worked at several TV stations in the LA market (Channels 2, 5, 9, 11 and 13) as a news writer. They then moved to Memphis and Hartford to work at TV stations in management positions. Sean arrived in San Diego in 1999 to help launch an early evening newscast at KUSI-TV/Channel 9. He was then recruited in June 2008 to help build a newsroom at KSWB-TV/Channel 5. “At Fox 5, my boss and I had only about six weeks to get everyone hired and launch our first newscasts,” Sean said.
Before leaving Channel 5 in December 2009, Sean had been investing in real estate for several years. Today he owns four homes in Arizona, two homes in Colorado and works primarily with investors. His investment company is called East County Home Solutions LLC, and his office is located at Windermere Real Estate SoCal in La Mesa. Sean and Martine have lived in La Mesa for 15 years.
“I love real estate because no two deals are the same,” Sean said. “I still work a lot of hours but the atmosphere is not the same as a TV newsroom. I love the people at PSAR. Our members are down to earth, genuine and responsive.”
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Don’t forget to read next week’s story. Hint: His best-ever customer complaint later became his wife.