The Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh announced its top award winners for 2007 at a Feb. 1, 2008, Mardi Gras gala Downtown. The 2,800-person organization recognized five members for exemplary public service and career achievements.
Realtor of the Year: Suzanne Gruneberg
The association’s highest honor went to Suzanne Gruneberg, a Realtor since 1988 and the broker of record at RE/MAX Premier Group’s offices in Mt. Lebanon, Peters, and Upper St. Clair.
Ms. Gruneberg has served on the association’s board of directors and as chair of several committees. In 2007, she helped lead the association’s task force for enhanced professional standards in the real estate industry.
In addition, Ms. Gruneberg is a licensed real estate instructor who has authored and taught multiple courses for the Realtors Educational Institute. She currently teaches pre-license and ethics courses to new and aspiring agents.
The Realtor of the Year Award is a service-based honor that was created in 1960.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Harold M. “Buck” Weston
Harold M. “Buck” Weston has been a leader of the association and the regional real estate industry since opening his own brokerage in 1951. He grew his company to 11 offices before merging with Northwood Realty Services in 1982.
Mr. Weston was extensively involved in the association during the 1960s and 70s and served as president in 1973. He was a founding director of West Penn Multi-List and served as treasurer from 1979 to 2000.
Mr. Weston, who is 85, served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II and has been married to the former Gayle Meyres since 1943. The couple has five children, 20 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.
Distinguished Service Award: Richard J. Stampahar
Richard J. Stampahar was awarded for his decades of service to local, state, and national Realtor causes. He is a past president of the both the Pittsburgh and statewide Realtor associations. Mr. Stampahar began his real estate career in 1969 and has practiced as a commercial and industrial broker at Grubb & Ellis since 1978.
In addition to his professional affiliations, Mr. Stampahar is well-known in state political circles. He is a former chairman of the Allegheny County Republican Party and serves as O’Hara Township treasurer.
Realtor Active in Politics: Janice Smarto
Janice Smarto, the manager of Prudential Preferred Realty’s Greensburg office, was awarded for her longstanding involvement in Realtor political causes. She is a former president of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors and currently serves on the board of directors for both the local and national associations.
Last year, Ms. Smarto was appointed by the National Association of Realtors to oversee all political fundraising efforts in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Additionally, she has served as the official Realtor liaison to six state and federal officials whose districts included Westmoreland County.
Affiliate of the Year: Rick Hughes
Rick Hughes, co-founder of Lending Consultants LLC, was named as the first-ever Affiliate of the Year. The award recognizes individuals in real-estate-related fields for their service to the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh. Mr. Hughes is serving his third term as chairman of the association’s affiliate committee. In that role, he has worked to build more productive relationships among Realtors and ancillary service providers.
Mr. Hughes has extensive experience in the mortgage industry and is working toward a certified mortgage planning specialist designation, which certifies that financial professionals have met rigorous, peer-developed and reviewed standards endorsed by a national professional body.