Focusing on creating a healthy team of client-focused agents

New name: Experienced team
BEST Real Estate WY, LLC, opened its doors at 808 Coffeen Ave on Jan. 1, 2018, but it is no stranger to the real estate community.
Owners, Jill & Kevin Bates, have been self-employed for years and worked in real estate and the New Construction Industry for over 30 years in Arizona and Sheridan.

“Excellence in customer service is of great importance to us and what we know that biggest isn’t always the BEST, and our clients deserve nothing but the BEST. So we wanted to have the opportunity to positively impact and control the environment that our customers are working in with us in to ensure they are receiving the BEST customer service, the BEST Real Estate experience and ultimately the BEST Real Estate outcome with every transaction whether Buying or Selling.
One of the goals with opening BEST Real Estate was to create a healthy, positive, happy and productive environment not only for our clients but also for our agents and staff.

BEST Real Estate has assembled a TEAM of positive client-focused real estate agents who want to grow their business and truly help their clients.”


Jill Bates

The owner/broker of BEST Real Estate WY, LLC and THE BATES TEAM, Jill was born and raised in Sheridan, Wyoming, left Sheridan after high school for 14 years and returned with her husband, Kevin, also a Sheridan native, to work and raise their children. Kevin, owner of Sunrise Homes Const., LLC, and Jill are the proud parents of two boys, Colton, a freshman at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT and Carson, a freshman at Big Horn High School.

Jill has always thrived in leadership positions going back as far as she can remember from class president to Chamber of Commerce President at age 20, in AZ, to manager of the Year at age 24 for a large health care organization in AZ – continuing to hold various leadership positions, serving on boards, and helping coach and develop children in sports and working with students and adults to help them prepare to be successful in the workforce.

Along with Real Estate & Construction, Jill has owned her own businesses and climbed the corporate ladder so opening her own real estate office as the Owner/Broker was no surprise. A strong work ethic and being driven is part of her DNA. In high school, outside of getting trophies and lettering in sports Jill received the awards for “Hardest Worker” and “Most Inspirational” that truly could be honors she would still receive yet today.

“It is amazing that times in life that can be deemed negative or a setback clearly helped sculpt the person I have become. At age 10, when my parents got divorced, I unconsciously made three decisions that have been drivers for me the last 40 years – (1) Get my education, (2) Always be able to provide for myself and my family, and (3) Create a lifestyle so that I am always a part of my children’s lives engaged in their sports and activities wherever that may be. I believe, that my parents’ divorce, helped define who I am and gave me tremendous strength and maturity starting at an early age.”

Real estate was never on Jill’s radar in high school, since she hadn’t had exposure to it, but by age 20, Jill earned her first real estate license. Jill’s mother-in-law, Marilyn Bates, was a Real Estate Owner/Broker and father-in-law, Larry, and husband, Kevin, were Contractors, in Arizona. It’s been a family business since then.

Jill’s parents, Rex Arney & Anita Schamber, were great examples of the importance of education, both earning their Doctorate degrees, so in addition to real estate, determined for more, Jill went on to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management. That, along with a combined 30 years+ experience in New Home Construction and real estate, Jill became and has continued to be, a Top Real Estate Producer in Sheridan County. Her team, THE BATES TEAM, lead the County for 2017. 
“Our goal is to continue to work hard to get better each day and provide the BEST service to our clients.”

“One real area of my expertise has come from the combination of my Human Resources background and my real estate experience. I enjoy and excel at recruiting and relocating people to our community. I understand all the aspects that must be considered when deciding to move to our area. I customize my time to help prepare them to make the BEST decision for themselves and their families when moving to our area.”

In 2009 Jill and her mother-in-law Marilyn began branding THE BATES TEAM. With Jill’s personal motto to “Make it a GREAT Day”, Jill wanted to create a team that would strive for that same positive attitude & commitment to making each day the BEST it can be.

“Although we have spent the last 9 years branding ‘THE BATES TEAM’., when we opened BEST, we wanted to create the opportunity for more experienced real estate agents that have already branded themselves to have a place to call Home, as well, at BEST,” Jill says.

What is at the heart of the BEST team is Service Excellence. That means taking the extra steps to ensure the client receives the BEST experience. That’s what the BEST team does. “The client is the one in control; this is their buying or selling process. We are here to help make it the BEST experience possible,” Jill emphasizes.

Excited for the new venture laid out ahead of her, Jill has created a positive, warm, and supportive team and feels very blessed to have so may great people in her life – family, friends, business associates, clients and more. Whether it is experienced agents or friendly support staff, everyone on the team is an integral part of the coming success of BEST Real Estate. If you have any questions, or are interested in meeting such a fun and lively group, contact them at (307) 675-BEST (2378).


Saralee Mackey
Sales Associate

Saralee Mackey feels very lucky to have been able to raise her two children in Sheridan and meet her wonderful husband Joel. Her career in real estate started over 30 years ago working with properties in California; assisting in their management and acquisition. Having other sales and management jobs in the Sheridan community, then coming back to real estate and joining THE BATES TEAM in 2017 was awesome and has been very rewarding.

“I feel it is important for my clients to know this is their journey. Their wants and needs come first for any transactions we are doing. If someone is buying their first home, looking for a building site, changing to a different residence or investing in commercial property it is important they feel comfortable and confident I have their needs first.” Mackey says.
Saralee is excited for 2018 and being a part of BEST Real Estate WY, LLC. The company statement of “You Deserve the Best” is truly what the new company, and she, can do for their clients.


Joel Bailey
Sales Associate

The transition from contractor to Realtor has been fun and rewarding. I have always enjoyed building homes that families could cherish for generations. Now, in full-time real estate, I’m finding great satisfaction in helping people buy and sell properties. A home is usually the largest investment people make, so it is my mission to make the process as simple and rewarding as possible. It’s not just about a sale for me; it’s much more. I want my clients to be truly satisfied with the end result.

As a Wyoming native, I’ve lived in all areas of the state. My family and I chose Sheridan as the place to set permanent stakes almost 10 years ago.

I completed my Bachelor’s in Wildlife Biology and Master’s in Physiology from the University of Wyoming. During college I operated my own contracting business. I’d hire fellow students and we would work around class schedules to get projects done. I believe my experience in construction and land development gives me inside knowledge that can help my clients make informed choices, whether buying or selling.

I’m excited to be part of the BEST Real Estate Team. I enjoy the positive and professional environment which not only makes it a great place to work, but carries over into a better experience for clients. You can be confident in my expertise from years of experience in residential, commercial, and farm and ranch properties.

I would love to help with your real estate needs whether it’s selling a property or buying your first home, or looking to purchase the perfect commercial location. BEST is BEST!


Sarah Ackerman
Sales Associate

Sarah Ackerman’s real estate story really starts with her daughter. Sarah realized she needed to find a career that would accommodate being a mom. Growing up in Story, she loves living in a community that cares. Drawn to Jill’s energy, she decided to team up with THE BATES TEAM last year.

“I just felt like these were my people. Jill is so high energy, such a magnetic person. I wanted to work with someone like that,” Sarah said. “Jill is about business, but she is so family oriented. My daughter is like a junior associate. Jill even bought her a small desk to keep in the office for Christmas.”

While Sarah enjoys all the different aspects that come along with her position, she appreciates working with first time homebuyers.

“I feel like it can be overwhelming purchasing your first home. You don’t know where to start, but that’s my job, to help you along,” says Sarah. She looks forward to working with Jill on the listing process, as List Coordinator for BEST.

“I am excited to get more involved, there are so many doors opening up. Watching Jill operate at the level of excellence she does is inspiring to watch.”


Jack Wood
Sales Associate

Jack Wood is a man you may have seen around town lately. Taking on the role of Santa Claus this holiday season, Jack loves contributing to the community. After working for 42 years in trucking, he decided to go back to school at 65 and do something he loves, work with people.

“I am excited for a lot of new growth with a lot of good, professional people that do a good, honest job. As an Agent, I don’t look at clients as a dollar signs; it makes me happy to make you happy. I strive for honesty and professionalism,” he said.

Having worked for 2 years on and off with Jill Bates, they hit it off. When the opportunity came to work with Jill again, it was the only offer Jack considered.

When asked if there was anything more he wanted to say, without hesitation he said, “Call Jack and get ready to pack.” That’s the kind of guy he is.


Alli Johnston
Sales Associate

Alli was born and raised here in Sheridan County. Coming from a family that has deep seeded roots in the area, she understands what it means to truly appreciate all of the wonderful things this part of Wyoming has to offer!

Alli has an Associate Degree in General Studies from Sheridan College and has done everything from railroading to coaching to selling cars. Through her various jobs, Alli has learned great people skills, effective forms of communication, the importance of honesty and integrity, and has gained an appreciation for each individual she works with on a daily basis.

The importance of family, friends and loved ones, and the value in being there for one another, are things that Alli is very passionate about. She is looking forward to helping each one of her clients have the BEST all around experience possible with all of their Real Estate needs.


Michelle Laird
Transaction coordinator

While being a new member to BEST Real Estate, Michelle has been a part of the Sheridan community for 15 years. Excited to expand her already impressive set of skills, Michelle is always ready to learn something new from such an impressive and supportive team.

As the transaction coordinator, Michelle wears many hats. From photography to schedules, she is a do-it-all girl.

“Whatever Jill and the agents need is what I do,” Michelle explains. “I can go on to get my Real Estate license if I want to, or keep expanding my knowledge-base in my current position.”

“Sheridan is a great place to live if you enjoy the mountains. Our family does a ton of camping and 4-wheeling, we love to travel,” she explains. Like her other colleagues, working with BEST Real Estate allows her to stay true to her priorities.


Julie Bagby
Client Service Specialist

Julie joined Jill’s team last year, and hasn’t looked back. Julie and her family have lived in Sheridan for the last 10 years, and Buffalo the 10 years before that. Having spent time raising her family, Julie says, “the week after my kids were in school, I was working for Jill.”

Initially looking for something with flexible hours to accommodate her family’s schedule, the job more than fulfills that need.

“I came into the team saying, ‘This is when I’m available.’ It moved from mostly admin work, to customer service, now I’m looking to get my real estate license. I never saw myself getting into real estate, but Jill is so supportive,” Julie explains.

That’s one thing Julie keeps emphasizing, the supportive work-family she found herself apart of. “I could not have found a better situation for myself if I tried. The team is amazing, and your voice is heard here. I feel like I can fly in the position I am in.”

“I’m considered client service, but I’m the resident cheerleader, there is so much support from everyone and I’m giving back. I suggest finding the job where it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like family.” And clearly Julie has found that with BEST.


Learn more about BEST Real Estate!

*Sponsored article.