February 21, 2011 — Austin

Celebrating a year of accomplishments, the Texas REALTORS® recognized outstanding members and local associations February 15 during its annual Winter Meeting at the Hyatt Regency.

“This event is a celebration of the past year’s achievements and a chance to honor all those who have devoted their time, energy and efforts to enhancing our industry,” said Dwight Hale, chairman of the Texas REALTORS®.

Receiving one of the most anticipated awards of the day, John Eckstrum of First Group in Conroe was named Texas REALTOR® of the Year. This title is bestowed annually to a member who, over the past 10 years, has made outstanding contributions to the industry through involvement in their national, state and local REALTOR® organizations.

Larry Johnson, CEO of the Arlington Board of REALTORS®, received one of the most esteemed leadership recognitions, the Tom D. Morton Award for top association executive in Texas. His work improving membership resources has contributed greatly to the success of his local association and his creation of a community service foundation in the association’s name has strengthened REALTORS®’ contributions to the Arlington community.

The William C. Jennings Award for best commercial real estate transaction was awarded to Cody Harris of United Country – Southland Realty in Palestine for his involvement in a complex and comprehensive development project that resulted in revitalized buildings and new educational programs for Palestine residents.

In addition, Texas REALTORS® gave special recognition to continuing-education instructors and programs. Lyssa Graham Reynolds of Boulevard Realty in Galveston was named Educator of the Year. After working in real estate for many years, Reynolds has dedicated herself to teaching courses that focus on practical information real estate professionals can use every day in their businesses.

Several local REALTOR® organizations have also taken substantial steps to further real estate education in Texas and were honored with Education Program of the Year awards. These awards are given in recognition of outstanding local-association education programs that meet member needs and increase the quality of professionalism in the real estate industry.

In the legal category, the Austin Board of REALTORS® was recognized for “Real Estate Reality.” The award for most innovative program went to the Houston Association of REALTORS® for “H-Town Day” and the best series or short program award was given to the Greater Forth Worth Association of REALTORS® for “Starbucks Sessions.” The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® in Dallas was also recognized for best marketing practices for “Prospecting 101, 102, 103.”

The Texas REALTORS® also inducted six members into the National Association of REALTORS® Omega Tau Rho fraternity, which recognizes REALTORS® who have made outstanding contributions to the real estate industry. Inductees included: Marietta Alba of San Antonio; Mario Arriaga of Houston; Danny Frank of Houston; Dwight Hale of San Antonio; Chaille Ralph of Houston; Barbara Tarin of San Antonio; Kay Weeks of MetroTex; Carrie Weikert of Austin; and Leigh York of Granbury.

Finally, the Texas REALTOR® Hero Award, which recognizes a Texas REALTOR® who has done exemplary work in promoting and advancing homeownership in Texas, was given to Michael Bray of Prudential BKB, REALTORS® in El Paso. He was recognized for his voluntary work redesigning and teaching a new Texas REALTORS® course on affordable housing, which led to more than 1,000 Texas REALTORS® statewide completing the updated manufactured housing training in 2010.