MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Board of Realtors Annual Awards Dinner had a particularly festive tone Thursday night at the Mount Vernon Country Club, despite the snow outside that wasn’t sticking.
What did stick, or stand out to those attending — all 150 or so of them — is that the awards dinner continues to grow each year, so much so that extra tables were needed to accommodate about 30 attendees seated outside the main dining room. But their seats were fine, given the good loudspeaker system, and the food was fine, too, guests noted.
One of the highlights of the evening, when the awards ceremony started after dinner, was seeing the recognition bestowed on Realtor Gina Oswalt of the Howard Hanna realty firm and its Mount Vernon and Sunbury offices. She received the Crystal Mile Ward for being a local Realtor for 16 years who has served on the Knox County Board of Realtors for the past eight years.
Oswalt will take over as Board of Realtors President in 2019, after serving as vice president last year. She will be joined in 2019 by board Vice President Al Lindeman and Secretary-Treasurer Chris Harmon, along with fellow board members Jeff Kusner, Dustin Graham, Anissa Treen and past president Rogena Shank.
“It takes a fantastic committee to make all these things happen,” Oswalt said of a board with a spirit of teamwork that embraces community event participation such as Adopt a Family and the Spring Clean-up.
Another Crystal Mile honoree was Tim Smith of Real Estate Showcase, who was recognized for his 29 years of service and dedication to the Knox County Board of Realtors.
Oswalt also received, as did 11 other Realtors, the Achievement Award for those individuals with $1 million in sales volume this year. The others earning the award were Bill Blanchard, Holly Blanchard Hoar, Martha Denman, Debra Fowler, Stephen Mullendore, John Nussbaum, Bob Phillips, Lovel Quinn, Rogena Shank, Gwendolyn Sparks and Bob Stulka.
“In Knox County, you work hard to be a million-dollar producer,” Oswalt said before the awards announcements. “I made $1 million in sales my first year, and later earned $2.5 million.”
The Distinction Award winners, for individuals with $2.5 million in sales volume in 2018, were Martha Edelblute of Real Estate Pros, and Dustin Graham of Real Estate Pros, and Dustin Graham of Coldwell Banker Quest.
Team Awards started with the Distinction Award, for teams that took in $3.75 million in sales volume this year. The Al Lindeman Team from Remax Stars of Mount Vernon included Lindeman and teammates Gianna Munske, Kelly Briscoe, Chris Briscoe and Karleen Wilhelm. The Distinction Award also went to the John Yoder Team of Key Realty, which included Yoder and teammates Dave Gore and Tisha Van Houten.
The individual Excellence Award for $5 million in sales volume was earned by Shannon Hundley of Coldwell Banker Quest. The Excellence Team Award for $7.5 million in sales volume was earned by the Bob Harrod Team from Remax Stars, consisting of Harrod and Bethany Wittman, Allison Kaiser and Bryan Treen.
Two teams, both from Remax Stars, received the highly coveted Pinnacle of Performance Award, for earning $11.25 million in sales volume. One was Toth and Team, consisting of Sherrie Toth, Joe Toth and Joseph Toth. The other Pinnacle team — and multiple winners in this team category over past years — was the Sam Miller team, consisting of Sam Miller, Carol Miller, Sibley Poland, Joe Conkle and Scott Craigo.
Asked what distinguishes a Pinnacle Team, Sam said it was knowledge from each team member that they have collectively accumulated a large amount of realty experience during their careers. No one Realtor has to do it all alone, he said, which is what some Realtors in the profession face on a daily basis. Miller said Remax Stars has teams of specialists, with one handling marketing, and another that works only with buyers. Miller said he mainly handles listings.
As for the Knox County real estate market itself in 2018, Miller said it has been “spectacular.” There are more potential buyers wanting to buy residential real estate than there is real estate available, and many potential buyers are seeking to move up in housing class with their purchase. But being a Realtor is also a tough profession to stay with in the long-term, he offered, with 80 percent of all Realtors earning a license getting out of the profession within two years.
The Knox County Board of Realtors also bestowed Affiliate Awards on area businesses that provide support to the board by sponsoring events such as golf outings.
“They’ve never been recognized before but we’re going to do that tonight,” Oswalt said.
Affiliate Award winners were ACS Knox Title & Closing Services; Bower Home Inspection, LLC; CES Credit Union, Inc.; Fine Line Trim, LLC; First Knox National Bank; Knox Radon EMT, LLC; Owl Creek Title Agency; Perry Scott Home Inspections, LLC; The Peoples Bank; and Union Home Mortgage Co.
Before the annual Realtor awards were announced, checks were presented to Food for the Hungry and Toys for Tots of Knox County. As they do each year, local Realtors brought in toys before the awards dinner and gave them to Toys for Tots coordinator Holly Bredefeld, who is based with the Mount Vernon Fire Department and works with fire departments in Knox County that collect toys. The goal is to provide 1,000 children with about five toys each, and they are collected at local fire stations, as well as Interchurch Services of Knox County and The Salvation Army.