SARASOTA, Fla. (December 20, 2021) – The Commercial Real Estate Alliance (CREA) of the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) announced Joe C. Hembree as 2021 Commercial Realtor® of the Year at their Installation Breakfast on Friday, December 17. Also at the event, Ben Bakker, a Senior Commercial Advisor with Michael Saunders & Company, was installed as the 2022 President of the Alliance.

The Commercial Realtor® of the Year award is presented to a Realtor® member of the CREA who epitomizes the Realtor® image and has a proven track record of dedication to their fellow agents and community. Joe C. Hembree with Hembree & Associates was selected as the 2021 Commercial Realtor® of the Year for his contributions to CREA as both the 2020 and 2021 President of the Alliance.

Incoming President Ben Bakker presented the award to Joe. “We are very thankful for Joe Hembree, our outgoing President and well-deserved 2021 Commercial Realtor® of the Year,” said Bakker. “Taking on the role of President for a year is no easy task. But to do it for two years in a row while guiding us through the complete uncertainty of a pandemic is no small feat. Joe led our group with grace and resolve, and our organization was fortunate to have him at the helm.”

Ben Bakker with Michael Saunders & Company was installed as the 2022 President of the Commercial Real Estate Alliance. The 2022 CREA Officers and Directors will serve the Alliance by working to improve the knowledge and professionalism of members to build a better commercial property marketplace in the two-county area.

“I am deeply humbled and honored by the incredible privilege of this position as President of CREA,” said Bakker. “I am excited for the future growth of our membership, more opportunities given to hone our craft in commercial real estate, and for giving our industry a voice to our political representatives in Tallahassee. We’ve got a solid team working to deliver what we do well for our commercial members, and to do it with consistency in 2022.”

The newly installed officers are President Ben Bakker, Michael Saunders & Company Commercial; President-Elect William Wilson, Florida First Capitol Finance; Vice President Matt Fenske, SVN Commercial Advisory Group; Treasurer Tom Johnson, Lakewood Ranch Commercial; and Past President Joe C. Hembree, Hembree & Associates, Inc.

The CREA directors serving in 2022 are Saralyn Dorrill, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick; Melissa Harris, Ian Black Real Estate; Neil McCurry, Sabal Palm Bank; Ken Swan, Wagner Realty; Harvey Wasserman, Harvey Wasserman & Company; Barbara Williams, Mapp Realty & Investment; and Ex-Officio Ken Hoskinson, Hembree & Associates.

The Commercial Real Estate Alliance is a special interest organization of RASM with more than 280 professionals active in the commercial real estate market, including commercial brokers and salespersons, lenders, attorneys, insurance agents and professionals. For more information about the Commercial Real Estate Alliance visit