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July 2023 Feature Story - Kibe Lucas

From Liquor to Legendary

Story written by Lindsey Hardman

Photos by Sydney Davis, DMD Real Estate Photography

Owning a bar, liquor store, restaurant and gas station at 25 years old (23 depending whom you ask) sounds like an A+ in College Continued 101. 

“I was a trainwreck,” Kibe Lucas says of the experience, “but it set me up for success in real estate.” 

Known for his humble heart and compassion for people, Kibe is a far cry from his humble beginnings. After his alcoholic father left - leaving him, his four siblings and their mother behind -  he learned that the world is a place where you can either cave in, or bloom. 

Although it took some trial and error, Kibe chose to bloom where he was planted. 

After owning and managing Sheep Creek Lodge for 12 years (and selling it and buying it back…twice) he knew it was time for a change. But it needed to be specific - he knew he wasn’t cut out for an average 9-5. So, he considered his gifts, passions, and what got him up in the morning. It didn’t take him long to recognize his natural ability in building relationships. 

If he had a superpower, it would be connecting with people. 

With a chuckle, he adds, “The bar was my training ground for that!” 

If you are lucky enough to spend even 5 minutes with this man who has made such a deep impact on our community, it’s easy to find yourself better than you were 5 minutes ago. That instinctive skill tends to bring out the best in those around him, and he credits that gift to his unique background in hospitality. He says the bar business is what led him to understand that ultimately, people just want to be seen, heard and understood. 

So, he took it upon himself to do just that. Once he discovered the endless opportunities to change lives in real estate, he leaped and never looked back. He sold Sheep Creek Lodge in February of 1992 and had his real estate license by May - with no job lined up in between. 

Since then, to say he took Alaska by storm would be an understatement. In 2021, he received the coveted National Association of REALTORS® Good Neighbor Award. With people nominated all over the US, it is (of course) an honor to be nominated. But as the first Alaskan to ever be nominated, he also became the winner. It was a different kind of honor - one that brought him to tears and quite frankly, made him uncomfortable. 

Perhaps the most humbling part of the award is the $10,000 that gets donated to the charity of the recipient’s choice. Kibe chose an organization that is close to his heart - a charity that he helped catapult - The Children’s Place, a Wasilla-based nonprofit that provides child advocacy services for abused and neglected children. In his acceptance speech at the Children’s Place Annual Gala, Kibe decided to take it a step further and asked the crowd if anyone would be willing to match that $10,000. 

He didn’t have any expectations. But when you’re the person a whole community looks up to, it doesn’t take much convincing. 

The evening ended with $30,000 in total being donated to The Children’s Place - all because one self-proclaimed “trainwreck” decided to bet on himself, and make a commitment to making the world a better place in any way he could…with no expectation of return. 

In addition to the Good Neighbor Award, Kibe has also been the recipient of a long list of production awards, as well as REALTOR® of the Year for the Valley Board of REALTORS® - one he most cherishes, as it’s voted on by your peers. His success is not defined by his accolades, however. He notes that a major part of his advancement in the industry is due to his unyielding belief that success is simply a continued realization of worthy goals. 

“If you’re living a life focused on worthy goals, I think you’re successful. It doesn’t have to do with a monetary amount. Are you growing? Are you learning? Are you making a difference? I made up my mind when I started this business that no one was ever going to out work me, and nobody was going to out learn me. That’s the only thing that’s made me different.” 

As for his own worthy goals, one that has been at the top of his list from the beginning is investing back into his people. He cares deeply about the opportunities he can give his team members, and puts an emphasis on providing an atmosphere and culture where they can go home with more than just their paychecks. That desire to make an impact has already created a legacy. 

His legacy starts with caring about people. 

“What we do is extremely important. When you’re helping someone with the largest purchase or sale of their life, you better care. You better care about their outcomes. The more you care about their outcomes, the better you’ll do in this business. And you can’t fake caring.” 

Better have some grit too, he says. Without it, this is not an industry where you’ll thrive. 

His combination of grit, compassion and constant thirst for self development has proven to be his jackpot in this marathon called life. He places a high value on mentorship, and is quick to credit his own mentor, Darren Hardy, with his growth and success. 

“How we learn is how we interpret,” he shares, matter-of-factly. “None of us survive in a vacuum. Failures and successes both have things to teach us, but I’d rather learn from successful people. Find someone who resonates with you and learn from them.” 

Learning from the greats doesn’t promise a rose garden though - it’s equal parts grit and discipline, and putting the mentorship you receive into practice daily. Without that consistency, the needle will never move. Kibe’s favorite quote is his daily reminder of this:

We must all choose one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces. Regret weighs tons.  - Jim Rohn

The bar business was a “recipe for a good time” he says - but he fondly recalls those memories as his training ground for cultivating the discipline he now lives by. In having met Karla, his wife of 31 years in the bar business, he has no regrets - only lessons and pearls of wisdom he continues to carry and pass on to anyone who cares enough to listen. 

Turns out, a lot of people care. That wisdom is hard to miss when he walks into a room. He has a gentle yet well-respected presence that draws people to him, and while that often opens the door to new opportunities and team members, he is decisive about who he chooses to work with. His commitment to excellence is not always reciprocated, and he has no qualms about saying no and waiting for the right partnership or new hire. If you’re not committed to excellence, he says, “I’m not interested in working with you.” 

That commitment includes a desire for others to always be developing their best selves, as well. When connecting with candidates or newbies in the industry, he looks for that accountability to growth and learning. If you want to work with Kibe, you better be ready to make a commitment to yourself and know that learning never stops. 

The Kibe Lucas Team helped 135 buyers and sellers in 2022. From left to right: Justin Howington, Kelly Harris, Kara Rupp, Karla Lucas, Kibe Lucas, Marina Cron, Brittany Thornton and Koltan Lucas

“People think learning is a period of their life, like kindergarten to high school, as though there’s a finish line. I don’t think there is.” 

In addition to being a learner, what else does Kibe look for in those interested in working with him? 

“Enthusiasm and good hearts. Integrity is one of the first things I look at, and attitude is up there. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach attitude. Are you a problem solver or problem creator?” 

He notes that focusing on what you are grateful for changes your life, and being around those who make a conscious effort to do so is important to him. Work/life balance is also a major component in his life, and with the technology available today, he says there is no reason to make the same mistakes he did in the beginning - working 10 hour workdays, 6-7 days a week. He points out that you certainly still need to pay your dues, especially when you are first starting out. New technology does not equal laziness. But harnessing the technology we have now is a gamechanger for fresh new REALTORS® and veterans alike. And he would know! 

These days when he’s not working, he will most often be found fly fishing or traveling. Anything outdoors makes him happy, and over the past year he took it upon himself to focus on his overall health and hired a personal trainer. Feeling better now than he has in years, he has made a commitment to himself to focus on more things that are healthy for him.

“If you don’t have your health, you have nothing,” he shares, and with 3 adult children, 3 grandchildren and now a brand new great-grandchild, his health is not something he takes for granted. 

Kibe has been volunteering with The Children's Place, a local children advocacy center, for the past 20 years. Over those years, Kibe has held nearly every board position, has helped raise over $500,000 and recruited hundred of volunteers.

So what do the next chapters of Kibe’s life look like? 

“Up until the day that I quit breathing, I want to make a difference. I want to do things that matter with people who care. Life is too short to hang out with naysayers, critics, and people who are always complaining. You can focus on what you’re grateful for, or what you have to complain about.” 

On the topic of complaining, his eyes twinkle as he recalls a memory that has stuck with him. 

“An old timer once told me to quit complaining, and I asked why. He said because 50% of people don’t care and the other 50% are glad you’re finally getting what’s coming to you.” 

He laughs out loud. A gentle yet charismatic laugh that makes it easy to see why he is such a cherished member of the community he loves to serve. While he has no plans of stepping away in the near future, he does know what he wants to leave behind when that day comes. It's the reminder that “adversity helps more people succeed than success does,” and by caring about people, you will go farther than you ever imagined. 

He knows what he wants on his tombstone, too. 

“He cared and made a difference.” 

Simple, profound and enormously impactful. The definition of a man who paved his own way so that he could learn to pave the way for others alongside him, and for those coming behind him. 

Kibe Lucas is an exemplary example of what it looks like to succeed in life and not just in real estate. His strength of character and servant leadership has permeated our community over the years, and demonstrates the kind of leader we should all strive to be in our businesses, and at home. 

At the end of the day, he says his desires are simple. 

“I want to focus on things I’m grateful for, make a difference where I can, and have some fun. And I want to catch big fish. BIG fish.” 

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