The Arkansas REALTORS® Association held their 90th Annual Convention September 15-17, 2014 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. The theme for this year’s Convention was “Saddle Up!”
The three day program included committee meetings, the annual membership meeting, recognition luncheons and banquets, and nationally-recognized speakers who covered legal, technological, motivational, and operational subjects. Speakers included Craig Valentine, Elizabeth Mendenhall, Ashton Gustafson, Tom Lundstedt, Dale Carlton, Tim Brooks, Tim Grooms, of Quattlebaum Grooms, Tull & Burrow, PLLC., and Gary Isom & Andrea Alford, of the Arkansas Real Estate Commission. The Convention also included an awards luncheon, REALTOR® of the Year celebration and Inaugural Gala.
In the Opening Session before members heard from speaker Craig Valentine, Christina Smith of the Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support at the Arkansas Department of Human Services presented Arkansas REALTORS® with the State of Arkansas Governor’s Certificate of Recognition for their outstanding dedication to volunteer work and commitment to community service, most especially with the Special Olympics Arkansas program. The 2014 Graduate REALTOR® Leadership Academy Class also presented their Young Professionals Network video during the session.
Ronald B. Stinchcomb of Fayetteville was named 2014 Arkansas REALTOR® of the Year at the REALTOR® of the Year banquet on Tuesday evening. The REALTOR® of the Year is a peer award based on point-system criteria set by the National Association of REALTORS® and the Arkansas REALTORS® Association that includes community service, service to the local, State and National REALTOR® organizations, and application of the principles of the Golden Rule in all life situations.
The Awards luncheon on Wednesday September 17, 2014, honored members and local boards for outstanding accomplishments in 2014. Awards for boards that excelled in raising funds for Arkansas REALTOR® Political Action Committee (ARPAC) and Special Olympics Arkansas were presented at this luncheon. The ARPAC awards that were presented recognized the Northwest Arkansas Board of REALTORS® for “Most Dollars Raised”, the Phillips County Board of REALTORS® for “Highest Percentage of Participants,” the Phillips County Board of REALTORS® for “Highest Percent Over Goal” and the Hot Springs Board of REALTORS® for “Most Dollars Raised Over Goal.” ARPAC Chairman, Sharla Lau of Fort Smith, also gave out the REALTOR® in Politics award to Cliff Goodin, of Russellville. The Special Olympics Arkansas (SOAR) Awards that were presented went to the boards that raised the most amount of money for SOAR. Texarkana Board of REALTORS®, Fort Smith Board of REALTORS®, and the Northwest Arkansas Board of REALTORS® all won first place for the small, medium, and large board categories respectively. The Texarkana Board of REALTORS® also received an award for the most funds raised per member while the Fort Smith Board of REALTORS® received an award for the highest increase in fundraising over last year. For almost 30 years, Arkansas REALTORS® have been fundraising for Special Olympics Arkansas and to date have raised more than 2 million dollars for the organization. Doyle Yates of Fayetteville was awarded the L. Wayne Camp award which is awarded to recognize continuing and outstanding volunteerism by a REALTOR® for Special Olympics Arkansas.
The 2014 Graduate REALTOR® Leadership Academy (GRLA) program members were honored and given their graduate plaques at the awards luncheon. The GRLA Class includes Kathi Melton, Hot Springs, Melanie Silvey, Northwest Arkansas, Whitney Long, Faulkner Co., Delaine Landrum, Paragould, Scott Johnson, Little Rock, Kevin Clifton, Fort Smith, Ryan Morris, Russellville, Clara Sims, Harrison, Allison Pickell, Little Rock, David Huffman, Little Rock. The Shaddox Award, an award that honors a member who exceeds normal definitions of kind, caring, compassionate, generous, and committed to working with Hearts & Homes of Arkansas, was awarded to Velda Lueders, Faulkner Co. Bill Olson, Batesville, Larry Kelly, Bentonville and Mike Stout, Conway. received Omega Tau Rho medals of service.
The Inaugural Banquet celebrated the installation of the incoming Arkansas REALTORS® Association President Jonathan Moore, Rogers, as well as all incoming 2015 Officers and Directors. Bill Ladd, 2014 Arkansas REALTORS® Association President introduced Chris Polychron of Hot Springs, 2003 Arkansas REALTORS® Association President and 2015 President of the National Association of REALTORS® to carry out the induction. The incoming Officers include President-Elect Ronald B. Stinchcomb, Fayetteville, Secretary-Treasurer Maurice Taylor, Little Rock, Immediate Past President Bill Ladd, Russellville, District 1 Vice President Velda Lueders, Conway, District 3 Vice President Nanette Wemhaner, Van Buren.
The incoming Directors include Felicia Johnson, Jonesboro, Shirley Miller, Cabot, Keith Montgomery, North Little Rock, Jackie Keene, Fayetteville, Glee Cosner, Fort Smith, Nancy Wright, Mena, Paulette Richie, Bryant, Jason Edington, Arkadelphia, Larry Rhodes, Fort Smith, Bob Walker, North Little Rock, Karen Crowson, Benton, Bob Dodson, Harrison, Kent Dover, Hot Springs, Sandra Kelly, Paragould, Libby Sheard, Little Rock, and Jennifer Welch, Siloam Springs. Debbie Rawls, Paragould, was installed as a National Association of REALTORS® Director.