Coldwell Banker under new ownership

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Coldwell Banker under new ownershipNew Coldwell Banker owners, Jason and Deidre Patin

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The most prominent real estate office in town is under new ownership, as Jason and Deidre Patin announce this week their acquisition of Coldwell Banker Best Realty from longtime owners Kathy Vejtasa and Bernie Connolly.

“We are excited for this great opportunity and look forward to continuing the legacy that Kathy and Bernie began more than 35 years ago,” said Deidre.

Although the Patins assumed ownership on Oct. 1, Vejtasa and Connolly were honored for their contributions to the industry and their service to the community during the Jan. 19 annual installation dinner for the Ridgecrest Area Association of Realtors.

Connolly and Vejtasa began pursuing careers in real estate in 1979. They left other professions to open up their own office in 1982.

“They took a risk giving up ‘real’ jobs teaching [Vejtasa] and working on the base [Connolly] when interest rates were at the all-time high in the 1980s,” said Rita Read, who recently retired after a long career in the industry herself, working alongside Vejtasa and Connolly for many of those years.

Their office grew from seven agents to the maximum of 40 in the 1990s.

Read noted that Vejtasa and Connolly were instrumental in recruiting, developing and training many aspiring agents in the community, scores of whom have spent part of their careers at Coldwell Banker.

“Bernie and Kathy believed education and knowledge were the keys to success.”

The office branched out into commercial, as well as residential, realty and added services that included property management, property investment, financing and more.

Coldwell Banker was instrumental in the development of many prominent neighborhoods, including Heritage Village, College Heights and Vista Del Cielo.

The realtor office’s agents and brokers also gave back to the community, sponsoring and organizing community events that help fund needed projects and services in the remote Indian Wells Valley.

“Kathy and Bernie, we are honored to recognize your accomplishments in the Ridgecrest area,” Read said. Connolly and Vejtasa accepted an award of appreciation to the standing ovation of a full house.

Jason and Deidre Patin were both raised in Ridgecrest, meeting at Burroughs High School in 1988. The couple moved to Southern California in 1992 to work in the film industry.

They moved back in 2003, with their two oldest children. Jason earned his real-estate license in 2007. During his real estate career, he also served Ridgecrest first on the Planning Commission then on the City Council. He is now director of the Parks and Recreation Department, as well as a member of the Youth Advisory and Quality of Life committees.

Deidre holds a bachelor’s degree in business, and continues her career with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division as a public affairs specialist. She is also an active community volunteer and president of the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation.

Their sons, Christian and Bradley, are both grown with families of their own. The Patins also have two daughters, ages 8 and 7.

Connolly and Vejtasa still own the Coldwell offices in Tehachapi and California City. “They have both been an incredible help to us during the transition,” Jason noted.

“We have some of the best agents and staff in the valley and are eager to take Coldwell Banker into the future and serve the real estate needs of the Ridgecrest community.

Bernie will remain the broker of record at the local office, but both Deidre and Jason said they plan to earn brokers’ licensed as well.

The Patins also noted encouraging signs in the market that support a growing, thriving community.

“There are several developers with projects under way — both housing and apartments,” said Deidre.

“Last summer, Coldwell Banker Best Realty saw a huge increase in renters coming in, and most were new to the Ridgecrest area.

“As we move forward, we may see the need for one of us to be in the office full time. We have discussed this, but have made no decision on which of us that might be at this time.”

Story First Published: 2019-01-25