President Jim Fox Introduces 2017 Board of Directors and Officers, Discusses Plans for Year Ahead

Very few accomplishments in life are done alone; the success of the Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS® certainly exemplifies that. We are a model of success and admired by our industry peers for joining forces 3 years ago. An example of our strength and talent are reflected in the volunteer leaders who to make us great.

Last week, ACAR held our Inauguration, at which time we installed our 2017 Board of Directors and Officers. Over 200 ACAR members were present for the festivities, and many photos of the event can be viewed here and on our Facebook page.

I’d first like to thank and recognize the 2017 Board of Directors and Officers—or as I like to call them, the Knights of the Round Table.

2017 Board of Directors Installation

ACAR’s 2017 Board of Directors was installed on January 12, 2017.

  • Karen O’Donnell, President-Elect
  • Judy Gorbett Darwal, Treasurer
  • Stephen Merkle, Immediate Past-President
  • Mike Bankowski
  • Jacqueline Bowman
  • Kristine Burdick
  • Robert Colvin
  • Anthony Crea
  • Tony DeLuke
  • Drew Gaebelein
  • Cynthia Kane
  • Tara Kleckner
  • Sandy LoCascio
  • Barbara Reynolds
  • Brant Smith
  • Sharon Znidarsic

I would also like to recognize those who serve and lead our many committees for their outstanding commitment and service. If you are interested in learning more about our committees and the work that they do, click here.

  • Commercial – Chair: Mike Mendoza; Vice Chair: Howard Lichtig; Staff Liaison: Therese Covell
  • Communication – Chair: Sally Johnson; Vice Chair: Bill Lowery; Staff Liaison: Danielle Capriato & Mike Valerino
  • Community Outreach & Charity – Chair: Tim Damiano; Vice Chair: Rebecca Vorisek; Staff Liaison: Jane Shubert
  • Grievance – Chair: Steve Mosholder; Vice Chair: Brian Polomsky; Staff Liaison: Therese Covell
  • Leadership Development & Nominating – Chair: Cyndi Kane; Vice Chair: Joe Dirk; Staff Liaison: Sandy Naragon
  • Legislative – Chair: Deborah Loughborough; Vice Chair: Tara Kleckner; Staff Liaison: Jamie McMillen
  • Member Services & Affiliates – Chair: Melissa Mentzer; Vice Chair: Mike Bankowski; Staff Liaison: Jane Shubert and Sherry Waples
  • OAR/NAR Leadership Advisory Board – Chair: Ali Whitley; Vice Chair: Barbara Reynolds; Staff Liaison: Mike Valerino
  • Professional Development & Equal Opportunity – Chair: Cindy Slabaugh; Vice Chair: Joanne Zettl; Staff Liaison: Therese Covell
  • Professional Standards – Chair: Suzanne Gallmann; Vice Chair: Dennis Steed; Staff Liaison: Therese Covell
  • RPAC – Chair: Sandy LoCasio and the RPAC Trustees: Gary Post, Seth Task, Maureen Wlodarczyk, Sara Calo, Steve Merkle, Deborah Loughborough, Karen O’Donnell, Marie Pachowski, Judy Darwal, Joanne Zettl
  • YPN – Chair: Kady Overton; Vice Chair: Ahren Booher; Staff Liaison: Jamie McMillen

Through my experience, I’ve discovered three sides of our industry: a remarkable side, an inspiring side and a disturbing side.

  • It is remarkable how many people are committed to ensuring our success;
  • The great work done by people who are unpaid volunteers is inspiring;
  • And the disturbing side is the constant threats to our profession.

Of the three, our focus always needs to be on the disturbing side. Conquer it, and the remarkable and inspiring will continue to shine.

We face local, state and national legislative battles daily. REALTOR® support of RPAC is essential to protect not only our industry, but also private property rights and homeownership. This year, we introduced the Paul J. Everson ACAR RPAC Hall of Fame, which honors ACAR members who have invested a minimum of $15,000. Congratulations to our inaugural class:

  • Joseph Aveni
  • Sara Calo
  • Jim Camp
  • Paul Everson
  • Dianna Hosta
  • Jeanette Kremer
  • Sandy LoCascio
  • John Lynch
  • Karen O’Donnell
  • Dennis Steed
  • Linda Tippel
  • James West
  • Deborah Zarconi

This is ACAR’s fourth year by way of the union of Akron and Cleveland Boards of REALTORS®. For the past three years, we have been very sensitive to our individual legacies. I feel it’s time we focus on being sensible about making the association stronger with greater services and benefits and less sensitive about ways of the past.

This association is responsible for offering an unparalleled experience for members, being relevant and showing we care, as well as being the voice of real estate at the state and national levels. Let me share with you an example of our power to affect our industry.

There are 12 States in the midwest with 283 REALTOR® associations.

ACAR is Ranked 9th in size – how is that for impact?

Ninth in Size

ACAR ranks ninth in size of membership among REALTOR® Associations in the midwest.

Our ranking is impressive, although some may feel our size hinders our ability to provide services, benefits and value. However, we will prove how impressive this is through our emphasis on communication, collaboration, participation and implementation.

Last year we started conducting Community Councils, which was our first attempt to connect with members on the edge of our boundaries. After evaluating our result we felt it did not accomplish its true purpose, which is how The Four Corners Initiative came to be.

I believe The Four Corners Initiative is the catalyst to accomplish our goal of engaging and serving all members.

Our geographic footprint is large, and we need to find ways to let members know we care and show our value by going to them with a road show, ie: Roundtable Discussions, Political Town Hall Meetings, and/or Top Producer Panel Workshops. I have met individually with many of our committee chairs and vice-chairs about incorporating this initiative into their 2017 goals and objectives and to combine their efforts on programs with other committees.

In addition to showing the love to outlying ACAR members, I would like ACAR to be an ambassador to surrounding Boards of REALTORS® by collaborating whenever feasible on education, strategic planning sessions, and sharing information. We are a leader and need to lead by example and let the other Boards know we care.

What we do is important and affects so many people. Positively impacting people is why NAR and OAR have teamed up with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. ACAR leadership is exploring how to also join forces with area chapters to make a difference in the lives of the children in our communities. We are excited about this relationship and supporting this important cause.

I’ll conclude with words of advice from Vince and Joe Aveni when I started my real estate career, which I recite often: This business is not about you, it’s about everyone else, but you. The moment you make it about you, is the beginning of the end of you! I ask all of you to be a Hall of Famer in someone’s life, make a difference, make it about them and we all win!

It’s an honor to represent ACAR, one of the largest trade organizations in Northeast Ohio and I look forward to working together to make a difference. May God bless The Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS®.

Jim Fox is the 2017 President of The Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS®. He is the Broker and V.P. General Sales & Operations at Stouffer Realty in Akron/Fairlawn.


One response to “President Jim Fox Introduces 2017 Board of Directors and Officers, Discusses Plans for Year Ahead

  1. I love your vision for our membership and your commitment. I look forward to working with you this year!

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