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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 26, 2003 16 years ago

Winning Work

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Commercial Realtors Dan Page and Karen Cook were recognized as Realtor of the Year in Sarasota.

Winning Work

Commercial Realtors Dan Page and Karen Cook were recognized as Realtor of the Year in Sarasota.

By Sean Roth

Real Estate Editor

Karen Cook and Dan Page are known for their dedication and perseverance. Those traits, as well as their community involvement, won the two real estate professionals annual Realtor of the Year awards from the Sarasota Association of Realtors and its Commercial Investment Division.

Page, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate's commercial director for Sarasota and Manatee counties, received the association's 2003 award, while Cook, director of special projects in new development properties for Michael Saunders & Cos., was given the commercial division's award.

The association's awards have become a "Who's Who" of the biggest names in local real estate (see charts).

The CID award recognizes high-performing Realtors. Past winners include Ian Black, president of Ian Black Real Estate, and John Swart, president of Lakewood Ranch Realty. Cook is the first woman to win the commercial division's Realtor of the Year Award.

"I feel like I am in good stead," Cook says. "It is so wonderful to be considered so highly by your peers."

Curt Singleton, CEO of the Sarasota Association of Realtors, says both winners deserved the awards, long before now. "This was just their year," he says. "All of their community involvement. Their passion and commitment to the community as a whole is admirable."

Page, who has been a Realtor for more than 35 years, started his own firm in Michigan in 1968. He moved to Sarasota in 1983, and joined the Boomhower Realty Co., which has changed names and owners several times in the past two decades. Most recently it was acquired by Coldwell Banker.

Throughout the changes, Page has remained at the same desk. He's in charge of a staff of 10 commercial agents, which sold about $50 million this year.

Page is a member of the board of directors for the Sarasota Association of Realtors, the Florida Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Sarasota' Commercial Investment Division, the Florida Certified Commercial Investment Member Chapter (CCIM) and the CCIM Institute. He is also on the NAR Executive Committee. He was Sarasota's Commercial Realtor of the Year in 1996.

"I was really surprised," says Page. "It is just very gratifying. This is a very big honor."

Cook started her real estate career as a "Girl Friday" for Gary Moyer's Chevron Development, which built shopping centers.

"When I first met the developers they had just leased the office and didn't even have furniture," Cook says. But the company grew quickly from there. Chevron is best known for The Colonnade on Bee Ridge in Sarasota and Bradenton's Pebble Springs and Fountain Court shopping centers.

After five years setting up a property management and real estate company for an individual investor's extensive portfolio, Cook formed her own real estate brokerage, Karen Cook and Associates. That company lasted about five years until she was approached by Michael Saunders & Co. about marketing a large commercial property

"I was at the place with Karen Cook and Associates where I was going to have bring on more resources," she says. "Consequently, I started the project."

Cook is also a significant player in a number of organizations. She served on the Professional Standards Committee of the Sarasota Association of Realtors, and in 1996 she was CID president. She has also served as a member of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the Committee for Economic Development, the Sarasota County Openly Planning for Excellence, the Boys & Girls Club and the Tiger Bay Club. She is a volunteer with the housing authority, acquiring property for the Hope 6 grant. She has been on the CID board since 1995.

"It just works out," Cook says of her community involvement. "You just have to keep all the balls up in the air. It usually means either a breakfast meeting or a lunch once a week. Some weeks every day there is an event. It's a moving target."

"Karen is very community oriented," says Swart. "She does lots of community work. It was not just one deal in particular. It was many different transactions. It was the overall person."

Runner-up

Charles Palmeri from Sarasota's Prudential Palms Realty has been chosen as the second place winner for highest commercial gross income for Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services in Florida. Palmeri recorded $11 million in sales in the third quarter of the year (from June to September).

"I have brokering since about 1968," he says. "Last year and this are probably my best years ever." Palmeri got his start in New York start in 1958 as a developer. In 1977, he moved to Sarasota and joined Sarasota Realty Group. In August of 2002, Prudential Palms acquired the real estate company.

"That quarter really represents four sales," Palmeri says. Two of the sales, about $6.1 million, represented the sale of former Scotty's properties. "I went to shop at a Scotty's and noticed it wasn't doing very well, so I called them (the company) up. I asked them if they had been thinking of listing those properties. It turned out they had decided to sell and I wound up listing four of the properties. I saw an opportunity to list, and they could have said no."

Sarasota Association of Realtors

Realtor of the Year Award

1993: Roger M. Cramer

1994: Loyd M. Robbins

1995: Chip Hogan

1996: R. Kim Gilliland

1997: Timothy M. Crowley

1998: Doris Edwards

1999: Dick Byrd

2000: William C. Furst Jr.

2001: Sharon Krueger

2002: Judy Crowley

Commercial Investment Division

Realtor of the Year Award

1993: Ian Black

1994: J.C. Jordan

1995: Tom Richardson

1996: Dan Page

1997: Carl Wise

1998: John Harshman

1999: John Swart

2000: Joe Hembree

2001: Lee De Lieto

2002: Dan McLeroy Jr.

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