For Wermager, it's all about the people
When Marti Wermager married and moved to the area, she wasn't doing the job she was entirely suited for.
"I never really saw people. It was so isolating for me," she said.
Originally from Moorhead, Wermager graduated from college with a job in medical sales. She moved to Sioux Falls and eventually the Twin Cities, where she met and married her husband, Warren, who had a house on Big Cormorant Lake.
They have one son, Riley, 16.
After getting married, she moved to her husband's lake home, and worked from there. But she wasn't happy.
They decided to put their house up for sale and move closer to Detroit Lakes. When they listed their house, their realtor asked why they were moving, and Wermager shared that they were moving into town and she was looking for a different job with more people interaction. The realtor said she might have a job for her.
Wermager interviewed and was offered both the job she had previously applied for and the Lakes Country Association of Realtors' executive officer position the realtor had told her about. She took the latter.
"It's a good fit for me because of my sales background. I was also an office manager and a paralegal (at some point in her career)."
And now, working with the realtors and agents she has been with for the last five years is her favorite part of her job.
"I like the one-on-one contact," she said.
She also likes that she doesn't have to deal with the disgruntled people with complaints -- those go to the state office.
As the executive officer, Wermager said, "It's always hard to describe what I do. I can't fit it into two sentences."
She reports to the association's board of directors of nine people, and she takes care of everything -- paying bills, education for members, organizing meetings, etc.
"The board of directors, any decisions they make, it's my job to carry through with that."
While there are 175 members in the Lakes Country Association of Realtors, there are also 250 members of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but many of them are members of both. She works with 82 offices -- 53 are real estate offices, with the remainder being banks, lenders and brokers.
There are 13 associations in Minnesota -- "we're one of the smallest" -- and they cover realtors in Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids, Hawley, Pelican Rapids and Perham. There are no boundaries on the associations though, so any realtor can be a member if they so desire.
And with the couple hundred realtors she's worked with the past five years, she can recognize the agents and members by voice.
"I'm usually the first stop," she said, so she talks to them on a very regular basis.
There is a difference between being a member of the association and not -- members are realtors, and non-members are agents. The association is also bound by a code of ethics, and as "part of our job here, we enforce that code of ethics."
While she may not be able to pinpoint what she does in just a few sentences, Wermager enjoys juggling it all.
"It's truly just me," she said of the office.
"I envisioned reading magazines and filing my nails," she said with a laugh, "but I've never had time for that!"