ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Florida Realtors® recognized Dean Asher, 2013 Florida Realtors president, as its 2014 Realtor of the Year. The award – one of several – was presented during the state association's recent annual Conference & Trade Expo at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla.
"Wow … I'm kind of at a loss for words. I didn't expect my family to be here. When I left this morning, my wife and kids were with friends," said Asher upon accepting the award. "I can only say I would not be here if not for you, and the service you have allowed me to do. It's been so rewarding – I'm humbled and honored that you have given me this honor. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Florida Realtors has presented 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, Asher has served on countless committees, task forces and projects for his local Realtor organization, the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA), including chairing the governmental affairs, strategic planning and nominating committees. He was president of ORRA from 2002-2003 and recognized with ORRA's highest honor in 2004 when the local association named him Realtor of the Year.
Asher has also worked closely with Florida lawmakers to advocate for the real estate industry on property rights and quality-of-life issues as a key contact for legislators, most recently for state Sen. Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando).
Asher has a long list of accomplishments at the state level working with Florida Realtors. He has served in every leadership position, from board of directors to District 12 vice president in 2004 and Florida Realtors president in 2013.
During Asher's tenure as president, Florida Realtors sponsored its first-ever "Rally for Homeownership" during Great American Realtor Days in Tallahassee, where a wounded Florida veteran and his family received the gift of a lifetime – a home donation. Retired Army Sgt. Michael Burke, his wife Nichole, and two children Bryce and Layla were presented with a newly remodeled, mortgage-free home in Port St. Lucie through a program offered by the Military Warriors Support Foundation. The Foundation supports combat-wounded veterans in their transition to civilian life.
Florida Realtors partnered with the Foundation and Chase Bank to make the American Dream of homeownership possible. The state association donated $20,000 to provide a three-year mentoring program and made arrangements to present the home to Sgt. Burke and his family.
Asher's commitment to the real estate profession extends to the national level. He is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) board of directors and has served on many NAR committees, including finance, meeting and conference, and strategic planning. In 2015, he will be NAR's regional vice president for Region 5, which includes Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Asher is just as dedicated to the community as he is to his profession. He was appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and currently serves as the authority's treasurer. A current director of the Central Florida Fair, he has been active with the former Orlando Chamber of Commerce, has chaired the city of Orlando's Municipal Planning Board and was a past president of the Florida Leaders Council.
Asher has long supported the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in his youth. In 2007, the Orlando Business Journal named him as one of its "Top 40 Under 40" in Central Florida.
Associate Realtor of the Year
Florida Realtors honored Sharon Voss with ORRA as Associate Realtor of the Year. Voss is the current chairman elect for ORRA, and has served on numerous committees for her local association over the years. A firm believer in contributing to the Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC) to support issues important to the industry and property owners, Voss is proud to be a Golden "R" and President's Circle supporter. In 2012, she was recognized as ORRA's Realtor of the Year.
At the state level, Voss is the current chair for Florida Realtors Great American Realtor Day and a member of the state association's board of directors. She has served on many Florida Realtors committees, including professional standards, leadership development, and political fundraising.
Voss is also active on the national level, serving as a director for the National Association of Realtors and on NAR's land use committee. She has taken additional education courses to earn professional designations ranging from ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative) to CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) and GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute.)
Giving back to the community is important to Voss. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, the Junior Achievement program, Mother Cabrini's Society, Paws for the Cause and her church. She is also active with the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and the United Methodist Children's Home, and she helped to start a Neighborhood Watch program for her homeowners association.
Realtor Achievement Award
Florida Realtors honored Bob Hudgens with the 2014 Realtor 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. This is the second time that Hudgens has been so honored: He was also the 2009 Realtor Achievement Award winner.
A member of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, Hudgens has long been active with his local board and served on numerous committees including elections, budget and finance, insurance, bylaws, board of directors and, in 2013, the MLS search committee that helped usher in a new MLS for a new era. He is often consulted, not only for his knowledge of the association's history but also for his ease with new technology.
On the state level, Hudgens has served Florida Realtors' in many capacities over the years. Mostly recently, he was chair of the public policy committee in 2012, been a member of the finance committee and has served as the District 9 Florida Realtors PAC (Political Action Committee) since 2013. A longtime investor in his profession, he is a Crystal R member for Florida Realtors PAC and gives tirelessly to the causes and issues important to real estate, property owners and fellow citizens.
Hudgens has served as a director to the National Association of Realtors for years. He has been a member of NAR's federal technology policy subcommittee and its state and local issues committee in recent years.
In the community, Hudgens makes an impact on the lives of hundreds of children through his work on the board of directors of the local Boys and Girls Club. He helped found the Beachside Community Church, which will be moving into a new permanent building in 2014, thanks in part to his support.
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. Louis "Lou" Nimkoff, a member of ORRA, received the 2014 Commercial Realtor Achievement Award.
Active in commercial real estate since 1983 and a real estate broker for more than 20 years, Nimkoff has served on numerous committees and task forces for ORRA. He is a member of the board of directors and the current chair of the Orlando Regional Commercial Council. In fact, he was honored by ORRA for his efforts in establishing the regional commercial council in 2013 – and recognized as 2013 Realtor of the Year for the local association. Nimkoff also received the 2010 Pillar of the Community Award and the 2012 Grant Clarke Volunteer Award from ORRA; in 2011, the Central Florida Commercial Association of Realtors honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
At the state level, Nimkoff serves on Florida Realtors Commercial Alliance Committee, key contacts subcommittee and board of directors. Since 2011, he has been a federal political coordinator for the National Association of Realtors and is a member of NAR's Commercial Alliance Committee.
Nimkoff earned the designation of CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) and serves on the CCIM Institute Executive Committee and as a board member of the CCIM Foundation. He also holds the CPM (Certified Property Manager) designation and is a member of the IREM (Institute of Real Estate Management) national faculty.
In the community, Nimkoff is president of Leadership Winter Park and a member of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce's executive committee. He is a past chair of the Keep Winter Park Beautiful Board and a past member of the YMCA Board.
Humanitarian of the Year Award
Proving that Realtors make a difference in communities, Louise McLean of Space Coast Realtors was named 2014 Humanitarian of the Year by Florida Realtors for her efforts in helping homeless and needy children.
McLean said she was inspired after watching a 60 Minutes television segment about homeless children in Brevard County several years ago. The next day, she called the Brevard Schools Foundation and asked what she could do to help. She found out that the schools had identified 964 homeless children in the county at that time, and they needed to raise money to meet those students' needs.
So McLean founded the Brevard's Children in Need Committee – which she also chairs – and has been instrumental in raising more than $120,000 to benefit the county's homeless children through organizations such as the Brevard Schools Foundation, South Brevard Sharing Center, Children's Home Society, Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless and the Veterans Homeless Shelter. The number of homeless children who need help has since grown to 1,600, according to the schools foundation.
"The money helps homeless children with needs, from a new coat or shoes to a band instrument – anything to keep them included and involved in school," McLean said.
Her civic-minded activities also include working with the Children's Hunger Project, the Back-to-School Supply Drive, Girl Scouts and a local drive to collect coats for needy children. She also partnered with the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront resort to organize the Prom Queen for the Day event. This year, the event collected 600 donated prom dresses and accessories that were provided free of charge to homeless and low-income students so they could attend their senior prom. The girls also received free hair-styling and make-up sessions, along with free prom tickets, so they could enjoy the night like "Prom Queens."
Newcomer of the Year Award
Winning Florida Realtors Newcomer Award for 2014 was Justin Lindsey, a member of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors. The Newcomer Award recognizes someone who entered the Realtor profession within the past three years, and, during that time, made notable contributions to the local and state associations, as well as to his or her community.
Eager to make a difference in his chosen profession, Lindsey completed the Leadership Development Program for his local association in 2013. The group adopted his idea for its leadership project and developed Soldiers on the Water: a day of deep-sea fishing for wounded military, whether they're veterans or on active duty. The purpose was to give these soldiers a day to relax and get away from their worries for a brief time. As a former captain in the U.S. Army, Lindsey was instrumental in making the needed contacts for the event, and 35 wounded military went deep-sea fishing,
Soldiers on the Water was such a success and created such good will in the community that the Emerald Coast Association's board of directors established it as an official annual event for the association. In 2013, Lindsey served on the local association's Military Affairs and Realtor Outreach committees; in 2014, those two committees were combined and Lindsey was named the vice chair – and once again, he will be planning and implementing the Soldiers on the Water event, with a goal of doubling the number of participants this year.
Lindsey has begun the coursework needed to earn his Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation and is considering becoming an instructor for the National Association of Realtors (NAR)'s Realtor Property Resource for his local association.
In the community, Lindsey founded a chapter of Friends of the Fallen, which provides support to surviving U.S. military spouses and children who have lost a loved one while stationed along the Florida Panhandle. He is also a member of the Emerald Coast Wounded Warriors.
Other Florida Realtor award winners this year:
Education Individual Achievement: Patti Ketcham, Tallahassee Board of Realtors
Florida Realtor Magazine Best Article: Vincent Rigoni, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers & the Beach, for the article, "Robust Property Info," September 2013
Florida Realtor Magazine Editorial Excellence: David and Anne-Marie Miller, Orlando Regional Realtor Association, for the article, "Glad for the iPad," July 2013; and Ryan Bleggi, Naples Area Board of Realtors, for the article, "Super Sales Sleuth," May 2013.
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 127,000 members in 61 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.
SOURCE Florida Realtors