In Dallas, the Five Star Institute announced the formation of the advisory board for the Federation of REO Certified Experts  (FORCE) for 2014–2015.
Leading the board is newly appointed Executive Chair Mike Prewett, who began his real estate career in 1986 working exclusively in the default management industry. Nearly 30 years later, he now serves as president and owner of Southern REO Associates, which closed more than 14,000 REO properties throughout Atlanta and Northern Georgia, including 1,200 in Metro Atlanta last year alone.
Joining Prewett are panelists Angela Robinson, Joyce Essex, Nancy Braun, Ruben Pena, Tracey Bitonti, and Zachary Beschorner.
Robinson has built a reputation for herself with her on-target property valuations, keen business acumen, attention to detail, and strategic execution. She also brings to the board more than 17 years of realty experience, including appraisals, property management, REO, short sales, new construction and rehab sales, and interior design. Working at elite REO, she leads a full-range team whose goal is to deliver unparalleled service.
Having worked in the city for more than 25 years, Essex has been ranked the No. 1 agent in Los Angeles from 2008–2010. She is also ranked in the top 1 percent of agents internationally, having sold more than $750 million in real estate since 2008. An REO marketing specialist, she helps lead the team at Essex and Harvey, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the top Coldwell Banker office in the world.
Across the country, in Charlotte, Braun leads Showcase Realty, overseeing its various departments: luxury homes, relocation services, residential homes, investment properties, property management, and short sale and foreclosure services. Backed by 17 years of experience of a top producing real estate broker, she attributes her success to her focus on innovation and her attention to detail.
A Realtor for TC Austin Residential Group and native of San Antonio, Pena has been a key player in the city's real estate development over the last few decades. Licensed since 1978, he has been actively involved in the local market, serving both residential and commercial clients. He has also collaborated with city council members in the past to assist in identifying affordable housing solutions and has served as both a planning member and a featured panelist in the San Antonio Annual Affordable Housing Summit.
For the past two decades, Bitonti has specialized in representing banks and asset management companies to sell properties recovered through the foreclosure or deed in-lieu process. Her business is focused in the Greater Dayton area, encompassing Montgomery, Greene, and parts of Clark, Warren, and Miami Counties. Over the years, she has grown her business to include her husband and partner Steve Bitonti and a staff of three full-time licensed assistants. With this team in place, she takes enormous pride in providing fast, efficient service and smooth, solid transactions.
Finally, Beschorner joins the advisory board with more than 11 years of REO experience. He has experience listing and selling for several different REO companies and has done extensive BPO work for most major firms. Working with him at Fusion Realtors in Iowa is a full-time REO staff that is responsible for managing all REO properties, along with 18 licensed agents who all possess multiple years of REO experience with major companies.
Together, the board will have a hand in all of FORCE's functions and will guide its more than 1,200 members in forging productive and meaningful relationships with lenders, servicers, asset management companies, and investors.
Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.