Marla Martin, Communications Manager, or Jeff Zipper, Vice President of Communications
407/438-1400, ext. 2326 or 2314

Florida Realtors® Enlists Community Leaders to Judge Scholarship Essay Contest

ORLANDO, Fla., March 28, 2011 – What do a number of educators, Realtors, business executives, media representatives, civic organizers and elected officials across Florida have in common? They all can add serving as a district judge for Florida Realtors® 2010-2011 Scholarship/Essay Contest for High School Seniors to their resumes of community service.

The topic for this year’s essay contest is “How Does a Realtor Professional Benefit the Community?” which provides students with a chance to write about a wide range of real estate disciplines. A total of $28,000 in scholarship funding will be awarded by Florida Realtors: The top student winners in each of the state association’s 13 districts receive a $1,000 scholarship prize, then those 13 district-winning essays go on to compete for three state scholarship awards – each worth an additional $5,000.

Once Florida Realtors’ district vice presidents have announced their district winners, a state panel of judges will review the 13 district-winning essays to select the three state winners. These state scholarship winners will be announced as part of Florida Realtors’ Convention and Trade Expo, set for Aug. 24-28, 2011, at Rosen Shingle Creek near Orlando. Florida Realtors District Vice Presidents for 2011 are: Craig McCall, District 1; JoAnn Davis, District 2; Joan Alipo, District 3; Matey Veissi, District 4; Arlene Carozza, District 5; Carlos Fuentes, District 6; Holly Curley, District 7: Mike Ferrie, District 8; Em Weiner, District 9; Janelle Pruitt, District 10; Jesse Acevedo, District 11; Kathleen Gallagher McIver, District 12; and Barry Grooms, District 13.

The men and women who volunteered their time and expertise to participate in Florida Realtors’ scholarship essay contest as district judges form a distinguished “Who’s Who” list of community leaders from across the state. They include:

District 1: Joyce Dorval, Prudential Trend Realty in Gainesville, and past president, Gainesville Alachua County Association of Realtors; Dawn Robinette, Bosshardt Realty in Gainesville; Scott Costello, publisher/owner of Home Magazine and Advantage Publishing in Gainesville; and Rebecca Wood, attorney, The Law Offices of Rebecca Wood in Gainesville.

District 2: Regina Kaiser, marketing development director, Florida Today communications; Jean Burgdorff, broker-owner, ERA Showcase Properties and Investment; Buzz Petsos, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Cape Canaveral; and JoAnn P. Davis, District 2 vice president.

District 3: State Sen. Joseph Negron of Hobe Sound; Susan Reese, SCRIPPS Media, real estate account executive; and Michael W. Owen, Coldwell Banker, Boca Raton.

District 4: Nancy Hogan, Coldwell Banker, Coral Gables, and a former chairman of the Florida Real Estate Commission; Maurice Veissi, president-elect, National Association of Realtors®, and broker-owner of Veissi & Associates; Alvin Horton, certified public accountant, Miami-Dade; and Matey Veissi, District 4 vice president.

District 5: Brenda Fioretti, president, Naples Area Board of Realtors; Bill Filbin, president, Marco Island Area Association of Realtors; and Gary Verwilt, president, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach Inc.

District 6: Susanna Madden, broker-associate, RE/MAX ACR Elite; Jan Bruzas, 2011 chairman, Pinellas Realtor Organization and managing broker-owner, Realty Executives; Frederic Samson, president, West Pasco Board of Realtors, and broker, Coldwell Banker Action Realty; Lynn Mooney, president, Central Pasco Board of Realtors, and broker, Southshore Homes and Properties; and Christie Zimmer, broker, Frog Realty.

District 7: Debbie McGinnis, president, Realtor Association of Lake & Sumter Counties; Brenda Rodgers, CEO, Realtor Association of Lake & Sumter Counties; Roseanne Brandeburg, Lake County School Board, District 2, and executive director, Lake-Sumter Community College Foundation; Janet Noack, vice president of residential lending, United Southern Bank in Eustis; and Holly Curley, District 7 vice president.

District 8: Dave Hodges, business editor, Tallahassee Democrat; Lucretia Thomas, Thomas Acquisitions and Property Specialist, and past president of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors; a representative from the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce; and Mike Ferrie, District 8 vice president.

District 9: Mike Wiggins, former mayor, City of Pensacola; Linda Lasher, educator for 43 years in English at the high school and college level; Lloyd Patterson, host for WSRE-TV (PBS); and Dr. Sue Harrell, principal at Surfside Middle School.

District 10: Jeannie Snively, project manager, Wheeler Farms Inc.; Donna Kelly, reporter, The New York Times; Rebecca Heintz, MA, professor of English, Polk State College; and Janelle Pruitt, District 10 vice president.

District 11: Sue Gunzburger, Broward County mayor; Jack Seiler, Fort Lauderdale mayor; Walter Duke, Dania Beach commissioner and a member of the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale (RAGFL); and Ken Thurston, Lauderhill commissioner and 2011 chair of the RAGFL Government Affairs Committee.

District 12: Dede Schaffner, chairman, Seminole County School Board; Cheryl Grieb, Kissimmee Mayor Pro Tem; and Christine Moore, Orange County School Board.

District 13: Dr. Arthur Guilford, Regional Chancellor, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee; Lynn McDonald, author and member of the Sarasota Association of Realtors; and Barry Grooms, District 13 vice president.

Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 64 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at


© 2010 Florida Realtors®
Florida's largest professional trade association