Miami Realtor(R) Named 2007 Realtor of Year; FAR Honors Award Winners at Convention

ORLANDO , Fla., Sept. 5 /PRNewswire/ — Frank Kowalski , the 2005 president of the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR) and a member of the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, has been named FAR’s 2007 Realtor(R) of the Year. The award – one of several – was presented at FAR’s recent 91st annual Convention & Trade Expo at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“In 2005, we had an acronym, TEAM, which stands for ‘together everyone achieves more,’” Kowalski said after accepting the award from FAR President Nancy Riley . “I have to recognize all the members of my team. Norma, my wife, is first and foremost. I’ve been a Realtor since 1972, and I also want to recognized my first broker, who is ancient, of course – my brother, Ted Kowalski .”

Kowalski went on to thank his leadership team from 2005, calling them the “four horseman” – Mike Dooley , Chuck Bonfiglio and Wendell Davis. Then he asked all 2005 district vice presidents to stand and be recognized. Next he asked all the “folks who chaired committees, councils or forums.” Finally he asked everyone who was a member of FAR in 2005 to stand up and be thanked. “This belongs to all of you,” Kowalski said. “I’m just the conduit to take this award home.”

FAR has presented both the Realtor of the Year and Associate Realtor of the Year awards for about 50 years. Winners are honored as the greatest individual lifetime contributors to their local board, community, FAR and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Since joining his local association more than 30 years ago, Kowalski has served or chaired many of its committees, including Education, Leadership and RPAC. He was Treasurer for the Corporate Board of Directors and President in 1980. He won the Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, and was named Realtor of the Year twice at the local level – in 1978 and in 2002.

On the state level, Kowalski has served FAR in most of its leadership positions. He was FAR President in 2005, has chaired or vice-chaired many FAR committees and served as District 4 Vice President in 1986. He’s been a loyal and generous financial contributor to RPAC for years. He has been active in Smart Growth initiatives and was a member of the Florida Real Estate Commission, serving as its chairman in 1990. He also was the charter president for the Florida chapter of Certified Residential Specialists.

At the national level, Kowalski has served NAR as the President’s Liaison to Germany , as a member of the executive committee, as a federal district coordinator and as a director for five years. Over the years he has participated in many NAR committees, such as Political Strategy, and in its key initiatives, including the Council of Residential Specialists of the Realtors’ National Marketing Institute. Kowalski served as national president of the Council of Residential Specialists in 1996.

Kowalski’s contributions to his community include volunteering for political efforts and serving his church. He served as director and president for the Elephant Forum, and is a former director for the Royal Palm Forum. He has been an adjunct professor at Miami-Dade Community College and also coached Pop Warner football.

Meanwhile, Matey Veissi, also a member of the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, received the 2007 Associate Realtor of the Year Award.

Here’s a partial list of her work on behalf of her local association: She’s a charter member of the Board of Directors, the creator and a charter member of the Leader International Council, has chaired just about every committee and served as the 1998 president of the Residential Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches. She received the Chairman’s Lifetime Award in 2005 and was named Realtor of the Year in 1996.

On the state level, Veissi is a member of the Florida Real Estate Commission, serving as its chairman in 2003. She also was appointed by the governor to the Governor’s Task Force on license law review for the state of Florida. She has chaired and/or served on numerous FAR committees and is currently chairman of FAR’s Strategic Planning Committee. She has been a member of the Honor Society since 1990, and was recognized in 2003 with FAR’s Realtor Achievement Award.

On the national level, Veissi was the President’s liaison to the Bahamas Real Estate Association from 1999 through 2004, she’s been a member of the International Operations Committee every year since 1999 and she’s a member of FIABCI, the Women’s Council of Realtors and the International Advisory Council.

She has been an adjunct professor at Barry University in Miami since 1977. She also is a volunteer with the House-for-the-Homeless organization and the Camillus House (also a program for the homeless), both in Miami . Veissi has worked with schools and youth sports programs in her community, including the Coral Gables/South Miami Youth Sports Advisory Board.

Receiving the Realtor Achievement Award for this year is Sherri Meadows , a member of the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors. This award covers the previous three years’ contributions to the community, local, state and national Realtor associations. Locally, she served her association in numerous capacities, including as chairman of the Legislative, RPAC, By-Laws and Publicity committees. She has been president of the local Women’s Council of Realtors and was honored as the local Realtor of the Year in 1995.

At the state level, Meadows has been a FAR director and served on many committees, including as chairman of the Legislative and Political Forum. She is a current NAR director and has been a member of NAR’s Public Policy and its Land Use, Property Rights & Environment committees, as well as a NAR Convention Roundtable spokesperson. She also is the current president of the state Women’s Council of Realtors.

Meadows belongs to a number of community organizations, including the Ocala-Marion County Chamber of Commerce, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the American Cancer Society. She also has helped her local associations with its Habitat for Humanity build and serves as secretary and director of the Dixie Paint Horse Club.

Additionally, FAR honored Tricia Carlisle Northcutt, a member of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors as winner of the 2007 Humanitarian of the Year Award. She created the non-profit Children’s Volunteer Health Network because she believes “all kids deserve to be healthy, they are our future and our hearts.” Once she realized that there are children out there who, for a variety of reasons, don’t qualify for government-sponsored health programs, she knew something had to be done. In the beginning, Northcutt devoted about 60 hours per week getting the Children’s Volunteer Health Network up and running; now, she volunteers about 30 hours per week to her cause. The network’s mission is to facilitate free medical, dental and mental healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured children in Okaloosa and Walton counties by using volunteer providers.

Since its creation in April of 2005, the Children’s Volunteer Health Network has helped more than 300 children and their families. Through the network, they’ve made 1,100 medical, dental and mental health appointments and boast more than 80 volunteer doctors, dentists and mental health counselors. All of the funding for the Children’s Volunteer Health Network comes from grassroots donations and 85 percent of every dollar donated goes directly to helping the children.

Winning FAR’s Newcomer Award for 2007 is Patricia E. Pavelka Carrico, a member of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. This marks the fourth time that FAR has given this award. The Newcomer Award recognizes an outstanding individual who has entered the Realtor profession within the past three years or less, and during that time has made notable contributions to the local and state associations, as well as to his or her community.

In her first year as a Realtor, she earned her GRI, joined several committees, including the International Business Council and has been active in RPAC fundraising and the Women’s Council of Realtors. Carrico is a candidate for, or has pending designations in numerous councils and real estate memberships, including ABR, CIPS, CRB and CRS. She is a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, a sponsor for New Hope Charities of Palm Beach. She participated in eight Habitat for Humanity builds sponsored by her local association, and volunteered for the Reach Women’s Shelter. Carrico also is a licensed mortgage broker and interior decorator.

Other FAR award winners this year are as follows:

Education – Individual Achievement: Roland Guidry , Emerald Coast Association of Realtors.

Graduate Realtor Institute Scholastic Achievement Award: Diana Foster , Hernando County Association of Realtors.

Florida Realtor Magazine Editorial Excellence Awards: “How to Sell Industrial Real Estate,” Stan Stouder , Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach; and “How to Start Your Own Brokerage,” Noel A. Edwards, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale ; and, Best Article, “How to Set Up a Paperless Office,” Joe Ballarino, Naples Area Board of Realtors and Association of Real Estate Professionals.

The Florida Association of Realtors, the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 150,000 members in 67 boards/associations. FAR’s Media Center Web site is available at http://media.living.net .

SOURCE Florida Association of Realtors(R)

© 2007 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

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