“What makes my company stand out from the crowd?”
This is a question most business people find themselves posing at least once throughout their prospective journey. Many consider this to be a key asset. For Zee B. Lamb, the new Chairman and CEO of Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates in Kitty Hawk, the answer has always been clear: a family dynamic.
Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is the longest operating family-owned vacation rental and real estate sales company on the Outer Banks. “You don’t see a lot of companies down here anymore that are named after someone. It’s usually some other kind of beach-type name,” Zee says.
The impressive span of Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates dates back to 1968 with Zee B. Lamb’s parents, Joe and Ann Lamb, who taught young Zee the importance of a strong work ethic as he watched their real estate company grow from 25 cottages at the time to over 500 today.
“My mother would clean cottages. She’d take me along and I’d scrub toilets,” he said. “Now here I am working in a leadership position.”
Set on a career in business, Lamb would go on to attend Duke University where he graduated in 1980. While in college, believing he would return to the Outer Banks and work for his parents, in 1979 Zee obtained his real estate brokers license during his junior year.
“I had planned to get involved in my family business and I did for about a year and a half, but then I decided to go to law school at UNC-Chapel Hill,” Lamb says. “A law degree is a great thing no matter what profession you pursue. A background in the law is very beneficial regardless of your chosen field.” While in law school, Lamb also attended graduate school in Public Policy at Duke University.
Lamb’s venture into law and political science would ultimately prepare him for a county government career spanning 21 years as County Manager across Northeastern North Carolina in Chowan, Bertie, and Nash County—the latter of which he recently retired from in January. Prior to becoming a County Manager, Zee was elected as a Pasquotank County Commissioner from 1988 until 1997.
In addition, Zee worked in state government serving as General Counsel for the State Board of Elections and as Legal Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Lieutenant Governor.
With an extreme caliber of experience in addition to a number of prestigious roles and accolades received and held over the years, Zee attributes the fruitful structure and distinction of the real estate agency to its roots in family values and longevity.
“I believe the family element of our company and the personal interaction with our owners and guests is an advantage when it comes to retaining guests on a year-to-year basis,” Lamb explains. “We’ve got guests that have been staying with us for 30 years showing that we go out of the way to accommodate their needs.”
Above all, Zee looks forward to carrying on the legacy his parents worked so hard to establish over five decades. His father, Joe Lamb Jr. is currently the longest active Real Estate Broker in North Carolina. He will continue the journey alongside his immediate family who also work for Joe Lamb & Associates.
“I enjoy government and always have, but I also enjoy contributing to my parents’ business,” he says. “They were working seven days a week from 1968 until recently, so I’m glad to be able to come in and work with my brother, my sister, and my brother-in-law and add value to the business.”