The Think Realty Honors are awarded in the fall of each year to industry leaders who represent the very best of what the real estate industry has to offer. These individuals are nominated by their peers, judged during a rigorous three-step process, and reach finalist status by peer review before one nominee in each category is awarded the year’s honor.

“Think Realty is not just a real estate investing community; we are a self-correcting community of investors, and that means Think Realty and Think Realty members are daily advocates for those who are doing things correctly and serving the industry as a whole,” said company president Eddie Wilson of the annual awards. “We seek, with the Think Realty Honors, to recognize those who are leading the industry and serving the industry versus just taking from it,” he added. “Yes, our winners are successful, and yes, they support their vision of who they are in the marketplace, but they also have an organic, holistic view of the entire industry and strive to make it better.”

Of pivotal importance in the awards process is the second-round panel of judges, comprised of former winners, who bring their firsthand knowledge of the industry and of the awards process to the evaluation. This year, our judges panel includes 2016’s Humanitarian of the Year, Master Investor of the Year, Emerging Leader/Rising Star of the Year, Alternative Asset Investor of the Year, and Investor Support Organization of the Year. This group will, together in a fully anonymous setting, evaluate 2017’s nominees and determine the makeup of the finalists’ round for this year’s Think Realty Honors.


Transparency in the Process

Historically, honors of this profile and caliber in the real estate industry have often been designated and awarded behind closed doors. As a part of our ongoing effort to bring transparency to the real estate industry and to the integrity of our own awards process, this year Think Realty will expose the methodology behind the 2017 honors.

In the first round, the Think Realty Magazine editorial team removes all ineligible nominees from the pool and contacts remaining nominees (and those who nominated them) for references, resumes, and verified testimonials. Nominees are ineligible if they are employed by Think Realty or have other stated conflicts of interest.

The remaining nominees who accept their nominations and submit the appropriate materials will be evaluated on a fully anonymous basis by the judges’ panel of former winners. The panel will establish a group of finalists from which a multipart panel of objective Think Realty leaders and visionaries, including our president, Eddie Wilson, our founder, Mike Wrenn, and other individuals at all levels of the organization who interact daily with these industry leaders, will award the final honors.

Those awards will be announced during an exclusive luncheon at the Think Realty National Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 14, 2017, where finalists and winners will be present to network with and educate Think Realty members.

Nominations are open until July 15, 2017, and you can complete the five-minute nomination process here.


Meet the Judges Panel

In order to give you a clear idea of the caliber of our awards recipients and what they have been up to since being honored in 2016, Think Realty Magazine spent a few minutes catching up with this year’s judges’ panel. All judges are currently active in the industry and play influential roles in shaping public perception of real estate investing.


Andy Williams, Recon Realty
2016 Humanitarian of the Year

Recon Realty is a veteran-focused, private real estate investment firm specializing in analyzing markets, identifying opportunities, and acquiring properties in growth markets. Williams’ stated goal is to empower the elite military veteran passionate about real estate to a transition into the real estate industry.

Since receiving the 2016 Humanitarian of the Year award from Think Realty in 2016, Recon Realty has not only continued in its mission to “reach, train, and empower as many veterans as possible in the real estate industry,” but Andy and his wife, Ashley, have taken their message to a much broader audience as the newest hosts of HGTV’s Flip or Flop series based in Fort Worth, Texas. The two not only tell stories from their military days as they rehab homes in the Fort Worth area; they also use their show to highlight the experiences and strengths that veterans leverage toward success in real estate.

Andy and Ashley Williams may often be seen at Think Realty events hosting their veterans’ “Rally Points” to empower fellow veterans and provide a path into real estate investment.


Engelo Rumora, Ohio Cashflow
2016 Emerging Leader/Rising Star

Engelo Rumora has made a name for himself in the turnkey real estate industry as a tough-talking “Aussie” proud of his background as a professional soccer player who quit school at the age of 14 to pursue that dream. To date, Engelo reports he has been involved in more than 350 real estate deals equating to more than $50 million in real estate transactions. His brokerage offers all agents 100-percent commissions on every sale, making it a “one-click broker” and a groundbreaking organization.

Since receiving his award, Rumora has become a widely-read author online and in print, sponsored a “Free Home for the Holidays” contest where he gave a north Toledo property away to a homeowner who submitted a video detailing his need for the home, and is finishing a book about real estate and his life.


Eddie Speed, Colonial Funding Group (“NoteSchool”)
2016 Alternative Asset Investor

Eddie Speed is a 20-year veteran of the note-buying industry and founder of NoteSchool, a training company that specializes in teaching real estate investors how to buy performing and non-performing (delinquent) discounted mortgage notes. Speed also is a principal in Colonial Capital Management LLC, a private equity fund that acquires discounted, real-estate-secured notes.

The same year that Speed received Think Realty honors as the 2016 Alternative Asset Investor, he was also honored as the first inductee into the Small Balance Real Estate (SBRE) Hall of Fame. He also recently received a “Mentor of the Year” award from the Note Investor Summit.

“We give our clients everything they need to succeed as a note investor,” he said.

Eddie Speed and his NoteSchool instructors may often be encountered at Think Realty Expos providing extended training and on-site advice for new note investors.


Charles Sells, Platinum Investment Properties (PIP) Group
2016 Master Investor of the Year

The PIP Group, which is based out of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, boasts more than $150 million in transactions done on behalf of nearly 800 clients in the concierge real estate investing space. “We started nearly 20 years ago with a curiosity for investing in tax-distressed real estate and are now one of the largest private tax-lien buyers in the country,” said Sells.

PIP Group launched its highly popular “Passive Profits” program in early 2016 and, Sells reports, has doubled the program’s size since that time with deals averaging about nine months from start to finish. Other noteworthy events from the past year also include an active transaction rate that has grown to the point where the company forecloses, repairs, and liquidates nearly 900 properties a year on behalf of its clients.


Rich and Kathy Fettke, Real Wealth Network
2016 Investment Support Organizer of the Year

Real Wealth Network, a California-based real estate investment club, offers members ongoing free education on how to simplify the process of passive real estate investing and assistance in identifying and evaluating quality passive investment opportunities. “We’ve supported our members in building and securing their wealth in hard assets since 2003,” said co-founder and judges panel member Kathy Fettke.

In addition to being awarded Think Realty’s Investor Support Organization of the Year in 2016, Real Wealth Network also was ranked on Inc. Magazine’s 35th annual Inc. 5000, one of the country’s most prestigious ranking systems of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States, and was awarded Infusionsoft’s “Elite Business of the Year” award the year prior.

Kathy Fettke was featured on Think Realty’s “Women to Watch in Real Estate in 2017” panel in Dallas, Texas, and offered early 2017 economic insights at Think Realty events earlier in the year.


John Larson, American Real Estate Investments
2016 Turnkey Provider of the Year

American Real Estate Investments (AREI) specializes in turnkey investment offerings for passive real estate investors around the country. The company offers professionally-managed Class A properties in markets identified by company analysts as being “the most stable single-family investment markets based on population growth, business and economic growth, age of available assets, economic cost of living, median household income, area comps, strength of eventual exit strategy, school districts, and crime rates.”

Since receiving the 2016 Turnkey Provider of the Year award from Think Realty in 2016, AREI has continued to provide access to quality properties in Classes A, B, and C in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, St. Louis, and Kansas City. They have also been featured on HGTV and Fox Business Network.

John Larson was featured in 2017 as one of Think Realty’s “Master Investors” on the cover of the May/June 2017 print edition of the magazine.

You should influence this year’s awards narrative. It’s not too late to nominate your favorite “movers and shakers” in the industry! Deadline for awards nominations is July 15, 2017.

2017 Categories:

Single-Family Investing

Multi-Family Investing

Commercial Investing

Private Lender

Service Provider of the Year

Educator of the Year

Emerging Leader/Rising Star

Master Investor of the Year

Property Manager of the Year

R. Michael Wrenn Humanitarian of the Year

Click here to complete the five-minute nomination process.


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