The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors (GCAR) bid farewell to a year of remarkable accomplishments, and installed the leadership that will guide the organization through 2016, at its annual installation and awards ceremony, held Thursday, Jan. 7 at Mountain City Club.
Outgoing President Travis Close opened the meeting by calling on GCAR Government and Public Affairs Director Robert Nodes, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), to lead those present in the Pledge of Allegiance. Ron Tucker, also a veteran of the USAF and chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee at GCAR, joined Nodes in leading the Pledge.
Close then recognized the special guests present, including Tennessee Association of Realtors (TAR) President Randy Durham and National Association of Realtors (NAR) Director Kathy Tucker. Both are Chattanooga area Realtors and members of GCAR. “Having them in those roles helps us every day, so please thank them when you have the chance,” said Close.
Close then recognized the 2015 GCAR officers and directors, saying, “It’s been a pleasure and an honor serving you this year.” These included President-elect Nathan Walldorf, Secretary-Treasurer Robert Fisher, and Directors Robert Backer, Kim Bass, Jennifer Cooper, Russ Elliott, Fidel Fonseca, Barry Hamilton, Teresa Hogg, Happy Huddleston, Denise Murphy, Brenda Pargeon, Geoff Ramsey, Janice Robertson, Vicki Trapp, and Sabrena Turner.
Close also thanked the 150 members of GCAR who volunteered to serve on committees and task forces, though he did not name them. “This organization runs on volunteer leadership, and I thank them for a great year,” Close said.
Finally, Close thanked the staff at GCAR, which is headed by CEO and Executive Vice President Carol Seal. He specifically mentioned their response to the shootings on July 16, in which Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, one of which was the U.S. Navy Reserve Center, located near GCAR on Amnicola Highway. “Watching them worry about their members, and not just about what to do, was humbling,” Close said as many in the room applauded. “You’re in good hands.”
Close also recognized the 2015 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) board, which included President Wells Eady, President-elect Trapp, Secretary-Treasurer Hamilton, Bass, Close, Cooper, Jason Farmer, Dan Greiss, Huddleston, Byron Kelly, Paula Palmer, Ron, and Turner.
Before installing the leadership that will guide GCAR through the coming year, Close recapped the highlights and major accomplishments of the Association in 2015. These included: debuting a new logo; engaging local politicians on the storm water issue; donating $10,000 to the Chattanooga Heroes Fund started by Denver Broncos quarterback and former Tennessee Vols football favorite Peyton Manning; paying off the mortgage on the headquarters; and breaking the record for the number of participants in a GCAR election (900 out of 1,700 members voted).
Another major highlight of 2015 for GCAR was raising $50,000 among local real estate professionals for the Realtors Political Action Committee. This amount was $15,000 more than Realtors raised in 2014. Close cited the high level of participation among local Realtors as one of the factors in raising that much money.
He and Seal also honored the major RPAC donors in 2015 with locally hand-crafted trophies. Giving at the Sterling R level, which ranges from $1,000 to $2,500, were Linda Brock, Becky English, Gina Sakich, Nickie Schwartzkopf, Kathy, Turner, and Walldorf. Giving at the Crystal R level, which ranges from $2,500 to $5,000, was Amy Chastain. Giving at the Golden R level, which requires an RPAC investment of at least $5,000, were Durham, Lois Killebrew, Ramsey, and Close.
“Remember: every dollar counts,” Close said.
George Kangles Award
Durham then presented the George Kangles Community Citizenship Award, an honor GCAR established in 2011 to remember the late George Kangles, and his time and dedication to serving the Chattanooga community and every level of the Association.
Recipients of the honor, which is not an annual award, are chosen on the basis of their involvement in governmental and political affairs, their political activism with regard to the issues that impact GCAR’s members and the real estate industry at large, their participation and investment in RPAC, and their positive impact on the governmental affairs of the Association, among other related criteria.
“Throughout almost 40 years in real estate, our honoree has reached a level that must be recognized and praised,” Durham said.
Specifically, the recipient served 11 years as a member of GCAR’s Board of Directors (serving twice as president), served 11 years as a member of the MLS Board of Directors (again serving twice as president), served as vice-president of the TAR, and is a member of the NAR Board of Directors.
The recipient is also a committed RPAC investor, and holds the Graduate Realtors Institute (GRI) and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designations.
“Whether she’s sharing her hard-earned knowledge of the business ... or explaining the intricacies of mortgage lending to Senator Corker, this dedicated and motivated dynamo of energy has set a standard of excellence we would all do well to imitate,” Durham said. “We said we could only grant the George Kangles Award for exceptional service and citizenship, and in my opinion, we’ve hit the jackpot with our recipient: Kathy Tucker.”
Although Kathy said a mere, “Thank you,” before returning to her seat, she did so to a standing ovation.
Past recipients include Durham and Killebrew.
Installation of new
officers and directors
Close then installed the 2016 MLS officers and directors. These included Trapp as president and Eady, Farmer, Greiss, Hamilton, Cooper, Huddleston, Kelly, Palmer, and Turner as directors.
Next, Charlie Walldorf installed the 2016 GCAR officers and directors, including his son, Nathan, as president. “I thought this was going to be a roast of Nathan,” he said as he stepped to the podium.
The senior Walldorf called his son “smart, friendly, an exceptionally hard worker, open, honest, and transparent.” He also said Nathan will “uphold the reputation and integrity of the Association.”
Also serving in 2016 are: President-elect Mark Hite, Treasurer Jennie Brockman, and Directors Backer, Bass, Close, Cooper, Elliott, Hamilton, Jon Hughes, Denise Murphy, Palmer, Pargeon, Ramsey, Robertson, and Brandi Pearl Thompson.
While delivering his opening remarks as president, Nathan presented his five goals for 2016. Of particular importance to him is nurturing unity within the real estate profession. “Our clients prosper when we work together and make a deal happen for them,” he said. “So, one of my goals is to help us become more united as professionals.”
Nathan also plans to improve member engagement at GCAR. “The Association offers much more than a MLS,” he said. “I’ve learned how to run a business by watching how GCAR is run. We set goals every year and annually evaluate what’s been happening and where we need to go. Being involved with GCAR has also given me a broader view of our industry.
“Since we have task forces and committees on which people can serve,” he said, “I want to see more people get on board.”
Nathan also wants to add value to the GCAR membership, help to maintain the integrity of the MLS, and ensure GCAR has an effective governing board. “If our leadership gets things done, and we run our meetings well, and our task forces do good things, great things will happen in the coming year.”