Mary Ann Ladendorf Named Realtor® of the Year for 2015.

The Peoria Area Association of Realtors® (PAAR) has named Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell’s Mary Ann Ladendorf as 2015 Realtor® of the Year at an awards banquet that took place February 5, 2015. Since 1970, this award has been given to a PAAR member that has made outstanding contributions to the real estate associations and profession.

Ladendorf’s journey as a Realtor® started in 1984, when she joined the Pekin Board of Realtors® / Pekin Association of Realtors® where she was involved on many committees and served as President. She became a member of PAAR in 1997 and also served on or chaired many committees including the Contracts/Forms Committee, the Governmental Affairs Committee, RPAC Awareness, Building Fundraising Task Force, Professional Standards Committee, the MLS Committee, the Finance Committee, and has been a valued member of the Board Of Directors (several times).

In addition to her real estate involvements, Ladendorf has been very committed to her community and has made time to volunteer for many local organizations, from the YWCA to the Chamber of Commerce, also serving on various Banking Boards. She is also devoted to and very involved with St. Vincent de Paul. In addition to all of these, Ladendorf is a top sales producer.
When asked for the secret to her success, she said, “I believe that I must keep my life in ‘balance.’ I believe that the physical, emotional and spiritual must be in balance to maximize satisfaction with life and the gifts life has given me. Staying organized and balanced is my key to enjoying a very successful career in real estate for over 30 years, enjoying my family and friends and serving my community.”

The Industry Achievement Award was bestowed posthumously on Mary Ann Knell, The Knell Group | Peoria Home Office. This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the Peoria area real estate industry and the on-going promotion of private property rights. Through their efforts they have been instrumental in the advancement of residential and/or commercial sales and development, and served as a role model for other real estate professionals.

Mary Ann Knell demonstrated a truly great professional dedication; was a proven real estate professional and made outstanding contributions to the Greater Peoria Area real estate industry. Entering the real estate professional in 1985, Knell is recognized by other Realtors® and developers as a true visionary who was always looking to improve and challenge herself, and eventually would do the same for her team, as she strived to be innovative and a first class force in the real estate industry.

Diane Cullinan Oberhelman, founding partner and current chairman of Cullinan Properties Ltd, said, “Mary Ann Knell was a founding partner with Cullinan Properties and she was involved in the development of Weaver Ridge, Thousand Oaks and the Shoppes of Grand Prairie. She was always willing to go above and beyond in her field to accomplish what was best for the community and the real estate industry. Mary Ann was not only instrumental in the advancement of real estate; she also helped to mentor and develop many agents and was an inspiring role model to so many of the area’s most successful agents. Her professional accomplishments are many and are not limited to the real estate industry”.

In addition to real estate, Knell demonstrated leadership in many volunteer activities, including serving on the WTVP Channel 47 Board of Directors, OSF School of Nursing Board of Directors, Junior League of Peoria, St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Member, the Peoria Art Guild, Lakeview Museum and Bradley University Chief’s Club.

Mary Ann’s son, Peter Knell, and her husband, Denny Knell, accepted the award, with gratitude on behalf of Mary Ann and the entire Knell group and family.

The Distinguished Member for Community Service Award was given to Mike Van Cleve, Realtor® at Traders Realty. The award recognizes an individual for exceptional volunteer contributions to the community. Van Cleve has only been a member of PAAR for a couple of years, but has already established a successful real estate career. In addition to work, he is a tireless volunteer for the Heart of Illinois Special Recreation Association, helping HISRA in numerous areas including a Special Olympics volunteer and as the Peoria Wildcats basketball head coach. He volunteers nearly 1000 hours each years and has been honored by HISRA with a Presidential Volunteer Service award several times.

Van Cleve also is a volunteer for the Illinois Valley Striders and serves on the Steering Committee for the Steamboat Classic, playing a large role in developing the Access Steam Program that provides training for people with disabilities. Van Cleve is the Vice Chair of the Advocates for Access Board of Directors. Advocates for Access is the local center for independent living, serving people with disabilities with housing, home repair, personal assistance, ramps, hard of hearing support, youth transition services, amplified phone program and community re-integration. He serves on, and is the past chair of, the city of Peoria Mayor’s Advisory Committee for the Disabled. He is currently working with a committee to develop a Good Deeds Day in Peoria.

The Affiliate of the Year Award was given to Cindy Woods, Loan Consultant with Caliber Home Loans. The award recognizes an individual who is actively involved in the real estate industry and who provides valuable services and support to members of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors®. Woods is known for her enthusiasm, her hard work and her relentless dedication to her customers. A long term PAAR Affiliate member, Woods has been providing lending services in some capacity for 30 years; processing assistant, loan processor, an underwriter, compliance oversight and is certified in VA underwriting. Ms Woods is trained in – and has trained others – in FHA, Rural Development, VA and Commercial Loan regulations. Most recently, she was awarded the 2014 Circle of Excellence — which is reserved for the top 10 percent of loan officers in the nation — in her position as loan consultant with Caliber Loans. When Woods is not helping people with loans, she has participated in several PAAR planning committees and is involved in the community by volunteering to teach high school students how to manage money and the value of investing in real estate.

The Rookie of the Year Award was given to Mary Davis of Kellar Williams Premier Realty for her achievement in high sales production and enthusiasm for the industry. To qualify for this award, a Realtor® must be a member for no more than two full calendar years prior to the award year, show a sincere interest and enthusiasm for the profession and have minimum sales production in a 12 month period. After many years of devoting herself to education, Mary Davis found herself at a career crossroads, when she started looking into real estate, ultimately finding a profession and company that meet her needs. Davis joined PAAR at the end of 2013, and in 2014, posted the top sales production for a rookie agent. In addition to outstanding sales achievements, last fall she pledged a percent of all commissions for several months, to the PAAR Turkey Drive to help area food pantries. According to her manager, Davis is the epitome of what brokers want in their agents: she took advantage of all the education being offered and learned quickly. In a very short time, Ms Davis has been very successful; she loves the people she works with and always has their best interest at heart, and also getting excellent reviews from her Realtor® peers.


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