ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Realtors® recognized Todd Dantzler, 2000 president of the state Realtor association, as its 2012 Realtor of the Year. The award – one of several – was presented during Florida Realtors' recent annual Convention & Trade Expo at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla.
"This is a surprise," said Dantzler upon accepting the award. "Being a Realtor – it's been my life. It's who I am." Florida Realtors has presented both the Realtor of the Year and Associate Realtor of the Year awards for more than 50 years. Winners are honored as the greatest individual lifetime contributors to their local Realtor board, community, state association and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
On the local level, Dantzler has served on committees and projects for his home Realtor organization, the East Polk County Association of Realtors (EPCAR), as "far back as we have records," according to Association Executive Marisol Espinoza. He joined EPCAR in 1981 and has since been an active part or chair of almost every committee.
Speaking of Dantzler, Espinoza said, "He doesn't serve for the recognition or the prestige of the position. He truly wants the association to grow and be the best it can be. He is always willing to contribute in whatever way he can."
Dantzler is just as involved with Florida Realtors – his contributions to committees, work groups and task forces for the state association take up four pages and span 32 years (from 1980 to 2012) in the entry form that his local association submitted for Realtor of the Year consideration. Leading up to the year he was Florida Realtors' president, Dantzler served the state association in numerous ways, including the leadership positions of secretary, treasurer and president-elect.
At the national level, he decided to dive into the public policy side of the National Association of Realtors back in 1997. An NAR board member for many years, he also became involved in its Land Use, Property Rights and the Environment Forum.
Dantzler is as dedicated to his community as he is to his profession. He is a current Polk County commissioner and serves on the board of directors for the Central Florida Development Council and for the East Polk Committee 100. He is a member of the Winter Haven Hospital's board of trustees, and is active in his church, where he serves as a deacon.
Associate Realtor of the Year Florida Realtors honored Joan Alipo of the Jupiter-Tequesta-Hobe Sound Association of Realtors (JTHS) as Associate Realtor of the Year.
"Wow – all I can say is honestly, I'm so proud and so overwhelmed by receiving this award," said Alipo. "I just want to thank everyone, really, and my husband for always supporting me at every Florida Realtors and NAR event!"
A former president of her local association, she was named JTHS Realtor of the Year in 2005, is a member of its Honor Society and has achieved the Lifetime Professional Achievement Award. As an example of her positive leadership, Alipo was instrumental in forming a partnership between JTHS and the town of Jupiter on several housing initiatives, which resulted in her local association receiving NAR's prestigious "Ambassador for Cities" Award in 2009.
She is the current vice chair of Florida Realtors' Global Business Committee, and served as District 3 Vice President in 2011; as DVP, she advocated for the "Paws For Patriots" program and continues to promote it through her email and website.
Supporting global business and international real estate opportunities is a cause near and dear to Alipo's heart: She worked closely with NAR on behalf of JTHS, becoming the International Ambassador Association to Denmark in 2009, and represented her local association during the Embassy visit to Denmark during the NAR Midyear Meetings in Washington, D.C., in 2009; the Peru Embassy visit in 2011; and the Embassy visit to the Netherlands in 2012.
A long list of community organizations benefit from Alipo's efforts: She supports Easter and Christmas programs for underprivileged children, rolls up her sleeves for Habitat For Humanity projects and reaches for her wallet to support the military. She developed and organized the "Parade of Neighborhoods," an affordable home project to help all citizens realize the dream of homeownership.
Realtor Achievement Award Florida Realtors honored Dale Peterson with the 2012 Achievement Award, which recognizes a Realtor who serves as manager, broker of record, or officer in his or her company. The award acknowledges the winner's previous three years' contributions to the community, local, state and national Realtor associations.
A member of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR), Peterson is the current treasurer for his local association, while also serving on its Budget and Finance Committee.
At the state level, Peterson has long been a fixture at Florida Realtors, but increased his participation in recent years. Last year, he chaired the Property Management Council. He's an active member of the Resort and Second Specialist Forum and the current District 9 Vice President. Nationally, he was an NAR director in 2010 and 2011, and also served on NAR's Resort and Second Home Real Estate Committee.
Within the community, Peterson's commitment to the local economy includes founding a local fishing fleet. He's also a trustee of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council, which he chaired in 2011.
Commercial Realtor Achievement Award The Commercial Realtor Achievement Award honors a Realtor's lifetime of contributions to commercial activities at the local, state, national and community levels. Receiving the 2012 Commercial Realtor Achievement Award is Cynthia Shelton, president of Florida Realtors in 2009 and a member of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA). She was recognized by Florida Realtors as its Realtor of the Year in 2010.
Shelton has continuously demonstrated a strong commitment to the commercial activities of her local association. She served as a board member of the Commercial Society of ORRA and was an active member of its Commercial Overlay Board and the Retail Subcommittee. Prior to her ORRA membership, Shelton was a member of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors (GTAR) and served as its president in 1994.
During her tenure as president of the state association, she helped create the Florida Realtors Education Foundation, which provides real estate-related educational scholarships. And, Shelton was instrumental in the implementation of a branding campaign for Florida Realtors, the first of its kind in the history of the association.
At the national level, she has been involved in NAR's commercial activities for 25 years. She has served on NAR's Board of Directors for many years, most recently from 1997 to the present. Last year, Shelton was NAR Region 5 Regional Vice President.
Her efforts on behalf of the commercial real estate industry extend to other organizations; in 2002, she served as the national president of the CCIM Institute, the largest network for commercial real estate professionals. She also is a faculty member for CCIM Institute and was honored with the Hank Thompson Award, Florida CCIM Member of the Year. In 2011, the Central Florida Commercial Association of Realtors awarded her with the Wilbur Strickland Award in recognition of her dedication and support. Shelton has been an active member of the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) organization since 1999.
Humanitarian of the Year Award Two people were named as co-recipients of the 2012 Humanitarian of the Year award this year, proving that Realtors make a difference in communities. John Castelli, a member of the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale (RAGFL), has devoted numerous volunteer hours to helping both children and the elderly.
For the past two years, he has been president of RAGFL's Charitable Foundation, established in 1987 to help people with specific needs that cannot be met by any other source. He led the foundation's largest fundraiser in history – attracting the most attendees and raising the most money.
For many years, the foundation has hosted a Christmas party for children of families staying at the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, a 57,000-square-foot 200-bed residential facility. These kids know Castelli as Santa – wearing his own Santa suit and a professional wig and beard to play the part convincingly. Last year, the children were encouraged to write letters to Santa with their wish lists. Even though he had just been in the hospital, Castelli gave the performance of a lifetime: 29 children, from toddlers to teenagers, were given hope and trust along with the toys, shoes and clothing on their lists.
And, in his spare time, Castelli volunteers at Sunserve, a not-for-profit community foundation that provides the elderly with day care, recreational activities and medical services.
Phil Wilson, a member of the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of Realtors, was also honored by Florida Realtors as Humanitarian of the Year for 2012 in recognition of his volunteer efforts spanning more than two decades. He has been the community auctioneer for the American Cancer Society for 25 years. Wilson has used his skills as a professional auctioneer to help raise funds for nearly every community group in Charlotte County, including the YMCA, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, 4H Club, Rotary Club, American Heart Association, Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Leukemia Cup Race, Future Farmers of America, Kiwanis Clubs, high schools, churches, medical centers and many others.
Wilson was instrumental in the "Save The Courthouse" project with the county historical society. A talented fiddle and saxophone player, he has played fundraisers for nursing homes, the Salvation Army and the Military Heritage Museum among others.
No stranger to winning awards for his giving nature and kind heart, Wilson received his local Realtor association President's Award for Outstanding Community Service, and also won the Rotarian of the Year Eagle and "Service Above Self" awards. The Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce recognized Wilson and his wife Linda with its 2011 "Pacesetter" award for community excellence.
Other Florida Realtor award winners this year:
Education Individual Achievement:Beverly Pindling, Orlando Regional Realtor Association
Graduate Realtor Institute Scholastic Achievement:Yara Rodriguez, Miami Association of Realtors
Florida Realtor Magazine Best Article: Eddie Tybuszynski, Realtor Association of the Palm Beaches, for the article, "Referrals That Won't Stop"
Florida Realtor Magazine Editorial Excellence:Joe Adkins, Orlando Regional Realtors Association, for the article, "$100 Company Phone Bill"
Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its more than 115,000 members in 63 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.