SARASOTA, FL (Friday, December 2) – The Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) installed the 2017 officers and directors and recognized six members for their achievements at the Installation and Awards Banquet on December 1, 2016. Held at the end of each year, the banquet reflects on the year’s achievements and presents goals for the upcoming year.

Immediate Past President Linda Formella thanked RASM members for an accomplished year and welcomed 2017 President Xena Vallone. During her term, Vallone’s focus will be membership value, engagement, community outreach, advocacy and professional development.

“I am looking forward to 2017 with a great leadership team in place, our Board of Directors, our committee chairs and wonderful RASM staff,” said Xena Vallone, 2017 RASM President. “This year, I hope to instill the value of the Association, how it benefits them, their customers and furthers their career.”

Officers for the 2017 year include: President Xena Vallone, Xena Vallone Realty, President Elect Greg Owens, Keller Williams on the Water, Treasurer Amy Worth, RE/MAX Platinum Realty, Secretary Kristin Triolo, Sarasota Homes International and Immediate Past President Linda Formella, Michael Saunders & Company. Other board members include: Marie Avery, Georgina Clamage, Sharon Gould, Barry Grooms, Alex Krumm, Maryann Lawler, Diane Lee, Renee Marquiss, Brian McGreevy, Robert Milligan, Denise Oyler, Roger Piro, Christina Pitchford and Rita B. Smith.

Six members were also recognized for their contributions and achievements in 2016. The following recipients were nominated and selected by their peers:


From left to right: Steve Zeris, Julia Montei, Stafford Starcher, Darla Furst, Tony Barrett and Rebecca Dalton.

Stafford Starcher, RE/MAX Alliance Group – 2016 Realtor® of the Year
The Realtor® of the Year Award is the most prestigious award given by the Association.  It represents the Realtor® that epitomizes the Realtor® image, has a proven track record of dedication to their fellow Realtors® and has given of themselves freely over the course of time to further Realtors® in the community and the Realtor® organization. Stafford is a 13-year member of RASM and was President in 2015. He was instrumental in the merger of the Sarasota and Manatee associations making the transition a very smooth and easy process for the Board of Directors. He has served on the professional standards committee for many years and is currently one of the appointed Ombudsman. Stafford has been active at the state level and is a 2012 graduate of the Florida Realtors® Leadership Academy, Vice Chair of their Legislative and Business Research Committee and has been appointed 2017 Committee Chair. He is also a member of the 2016 Florida Realtors® Public Policy Committee and will continue serving in 2017.

Darla Furst, Michael Saunders & Company – 2016 Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award was created to honor a member whose service to the Association and to all Realtors® has been of such quality and effectiveness as to deserve special recognition. Darla’s industry involvement is extensive, serving on the professional standards committee for many years, RPAC, Communications and Realtor Attorney. Darla served as FREC Commissioner from 2010 to 2016 where she served twice as Chair. In 2012 she was invited to the White House with other NAR Leaders to attend a “think tank” on how the recession was affecting the real estate industry.

Tony Barrett, Barrett Realty – 2016 Humanitarian Award
The Humanitarian of the Year Award is presented each year to a member who has demonstrated commitment and leadership to a specific program or programs to improve the quality of life in our community. Tony is the owner and broker of his firm and is the founder of Heroes Welcome Home, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds to honor returning veterans with home ownership. They have been providing down payment assistance to qualified veterans since 2014. He is also part of the Hero’s Helping Hero’s, which donates money to firefighters, policy, teachers and nurses in need. Tony is a veteran himself and has worked in public safety for 25 years a Paramedic Firefighter and is currently an active fireman for Sarasota County.

Julia K. Montei, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate – 2016 Newcomer Award
The Newcomer Award was created to honor a member whose ethics and spirit of cooperation is exhibited by faithfulness to the principles of organized real estate and to the outstanding commitment to professional development. Julia became a Realtor® in 2015 and her enthusiasm for community involvement is evident in her many volunteer positions. In addition to her involvement with seminars and events, she is a member of the Global Business Council, Young Professionals Network, and recently graduated from the Leadership Academy.

Rebecca Dalton, LWR Communities – 2016 Business Partner of the Year
The Business Partner of the Year Award honors a Business Partner member for outstanding contributions to the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, the real estate industry, and to the community. Rebecca is the Realtor® liaison for LWR Communities and has been a member of RASM since 2012.  She is a graduate of the Leadership Academy and has served on Professional Development and is the 2016 Green Committee Chair.  She is also very involved in the Business Partner events and in the community.

Steve Zeris, Keller Williams on the Water – President’s Award
The President’s Award is a special honor bestowed by the current RASM President to a member of RASM who best embodies the Realtor® spirit and has contributed to and supported the President’s goals for the past year. Steve took the role of chairing the MLS Express Committee.  He used his public speaking skills to host hundreds of members, but like every great leader, has graciously shared the spotlight and worked quietly behind the scenes to ensure successful events.