As a former winner of a “40 under 40″ award in Buffalo, New York I know what an honor it is to receive a “30 under 30″ award.  It’s a great way for the industry to recognize those that go above and beyond – the up and comers – the future of our business.2011 30 Under 30 Winners Photo Compilation

Today, the National Association of REALTORS® announced its 2011 list of  “30 Under 30″ honorees. This group exemplifies the personal drive many Realtors® have to be the best and provide a high level of service to their clients, despite tough market conditions and a constantly evolving industry. It would be great for every Association and MLS to be lucky enough to have one of these winners to promote their dedication and success. It would also make sense to see if you can involve them in committees and groom them to become part of your Board of Directors.

“I am amazed at the outstanding qualities and work ethic this year’s ‘30 Under 30′ honorees possess,” said National Association of Realtors® President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “As Realtors®, we bring the most value to our clients by applying new perspectives to their knowledge and experience. In that regard, it’s important for us not only to recognize these Realtors® for their success, but also to learn from them, since they are the future of the real estate profession.”

The 2011 “30 Under 30″ class is a diverse crowd of young real estate professionals. However, among the group are several common threads: a willingness and determination to pass along their knowledge and teach others; an entrepreneurial spirit; and the ambition to try something new and take risks. These traits have helped some members of this year’s class triple their personal sales volumes, become their association’s youngest president, and pursue an M.B.A. and other degrees while working a full-time career.

In the context of today’s market challenges, it’s as important as ever for this year’s honorees to educate their clients on the different aspects of home ownership, as well as the buying and selling process. “I try to take the time to make sure clients understand everything from their financing to their escrow, as well as the contractual process. The more the client knows, the better, in my opinion,” said Craig.

In addition to educating their clients, these young
professionals are making a distinctive mark in their local markets. Matthew Peterson, a broker-owner of Prodigy Real Estate in Maplewood, Minn., created a business model that helps young people get started in a business that many enter as a second career.

Jason Anderson, president-broker with Halo Group Realty LLC in Allen, Texas, entered the real estate business at age 25 and developed his own website with a direct multiple listing service feed and his own property management software. After two years he founded TAG (The Anderson Group) Realty Advisors and later sold it to Halo Group Realty. Many other honorees have struck out on their own, realizing the value in innovation and drive.

Some have combined their start-up ideas with helping those in need, reinforcing the Realtor® commitment to improving the quality of life in communities. Blake Sloan, broker-owner of Sloan Realty Group in Myrtle Beach, S.C., helped start, which earmarks $100 for every foreclosure sale for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In 2010, the group donated more than $185,000.

Success in real estate today is often predicated on being able to adapt to rapidly changing markets. Tiffani Conatser found this to be true when she saw an opportunity to work in foreclosures even when the market was at its peak. “While most other agents were busy selling residential real estate in the early to mid-2000s I chose to shift my business to selling bank-owned homes,” said Conatser, a salesperson with Crye-Leike Realtors® in Nashville, Tenn. “The market at the time seemed almost too good to be true. I saw an opportunity in REOs (real estate-owned properties) while most agents turned their nose up when they heard the term ‘bank-owned home.’”

Despite their varying paths to real estate success, there’s one value held strongly by all the “30 Under 30″ honorees and the rest of the Realtor® community: the importance of home ownership. Scott Engle, broker-owner of Realty Source Inc. in El Cajon, Calif., grew up in an apartment and always wondered what it would be like to have his own home. “Now I understand the motivations of a first-time buyer and the importance and value of home ownership,” said Engle.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of REALTOR® Magazine’s “30 Under 30″ program. Over the years 360 rising young stars have been recognized for their commitment and dedication to the real estate industry.

The 2011 “30 Under 30″ honorees are:

Jason Anderson, Halo Group Realty LLC, Allen, Texas; Becky Barrick, Keller Williams Realty Puyallup, Lake Tapps, Wash.; Bret Butler, Windermere, Bellevue, Wash.; Tiffani Conatser, Crye-Leike, Realtors®, Nashville, Tenn.; Chase Craig, Idaho Smart Agents, Meridian, Idaho; Ryan Dallas, RE/MAX Realty Associates; Champaign, Ill.; Armando Diaz, Realty Executives, Merced, Calif.;

Dino D’Orazio, Keller Williams Real Estate, Blue Bell, Penn.; Scott Engle, Realty Source Inc.; El Cajon, Calif.; Kira Epstein, Long and Foster Real Estate Inc., Bethesda, Md.;  Kyle Gable, Ackerman & Co., Atlanta; Jill Johnson, Keller Williams Signature Partners, LLC, Wichita, Kan.; Paul King, IST Realty, Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.; Aleksandr Milshteyn, Edward Surovell, Realtors®, Ann Arbor, Mich.;

Joanne Paleo Taranto, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, Weston, Mass.; Leonardo Pareja, Keller Williams Realty, Arlington, Va.; Matthew Peterson, Prodigy Real Estate, Maplewood, Minn.; Samara Presley, Smart Choice Realty Co. Inc., Raleigh, N.C.; Christopher Price, Keller Williams Realty – The Indy Property Source, Indianapolis; Jessica Sadler, Urban Durham Realty, Durham, N.C.;

Lindsay Sanger, RE/MAX Elite, Rockledge, Fla.; Blake Sloan, Sloan Realty Group, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Joshua Smith, RE/MAX Professionals, Surprise, Ariz.; Tyler Smith, Keller Williams Realty, Folsom, Calif.;  Teresa Staiano, Prudential Douglas Elliman, Flushing, N.Y.; Angela VanEman, American Way Realty, Mankato, Minn.; Seychelle Van Poole-Engelhard, Keller Williams Realty, Van Poole Properties, Dallas;

Devon Viehman-Wheeldon, Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates – Christie’s International Realty, Jackson, Wyo.; Pamela Wye, W.C. & A.N. Miller (A Long & Foster Co.), Washington, D.C.; DelRae Zimmerman, Brokers 12 Inc., Minot, N.D.

Complete profiles of all of this year’s honorees are online in the REALTOR® Magazine section of