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News & Information: Orlando REALTOR® magazine - Special Feature

Seeing Service

Friday, February 08, 2013  
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Orlando REALTOR® | January/February 2013

For ORRA Chairman of the Board Steve Merchant, 2013 is going to be about serving the member,
the association, and the community.

For ORRA’s newly installed Chairman of the Board Steve Merchant, the broker/owner of Global Realty International, 2013 is going to be all about member engagement and appreciation.

"I have a passion for the well being and the success of ORRA’s membership,” says Merchant. "This year I want to focus on activities that encourage members to take advantage of all that ORRA has to offer; to experience the benefits for themselves. From education to events to committee opportunities, there is just so much that ORRA makes available to help us be more successful as real estate professionals.”

One area of Merchant’s focus on member engagement and appreciation is community service. "Many, many of ORRA’s members are quietly involved in volunteer activities that fulfill the REALTOR® mission of improving our community,” says Merchant. "We’re planning programs that will provide some well-deserved recognition to both individual REALTORS® and to Orlando’s REALTOR® family as a whole. In addition, ORRA will be encouraging REALTOR® volunteerism by coordinating opportunities for members to engage in community-service activities under the ORRA banner.”

Already checked off of Merchant’s 2013 community-service agenda is the creation of a brand-new committee to oversee ORRA’s community-service efforts and a new feature in Orlando REALTOR® magazine that profiles the good-doings of an ORRA member.

"Each year as I’ve served on the ORRA Board of Directors, I’ve learned more and more what an important impact our members and our association can have on our community,” explains Merchant. "ORRA is always hard at work protecting our community by lobbying for homeowner and property rights issues, but this year I wanted to add to that activism by shining a spotlight on how REALTOR® volunteerism also supports the community.”

Merchant, ORRA’s 2010 Grant Clark Volunteer Award recipient, comes by his penchant for service honorably: He is a 22-year veteran of the United Marine Corps. The former pilot enlisted directly from high school, made his way up the ranks, and served in many leadership positions as his squadrons were deployed around the world.

He’s also made his way up the ORRA ranks, serving for many years on the board of directors and on a whole slew of committees. Prior to taking office on January 1, this University of Florida alum and stalwart Gator fan (who also holds an MBA from the University of Central Florida) took some time to share his thoughts on priorities and objectives for his year as ORRA’s chairman.

Q    During your year, what would you really like to see happen at ORRA?
A    My fondest wish is to see more members participate in ORRA, whether it is through attending events, serving on committees or taking advantage of the resources available on the website.

Q    What would you like all members to know about ORRA?
A    Members should know that ORRA is an association of members led by great volunteers and supported by a wonderful staff who all share a common goal: your success.

Q    Why did you choose to become so involved with ORRA?
A    I want to give back to the association that has given so much to me. ORRA has had an enormous impact on my career by providing education and networking opportunities that have helped me become successful as a REALTOR®, broker, and property manager.

Q    What factors do you see most affecting the future of Orlando’s housing market?
A    I believe the future of Orlando’s housing market will be impacted by how our legislators ultimately address some big unresolved issues, such as revamping of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The future effect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on housing and mortgage financing is another area of impact. Knowing that one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country — the National Association of REALTORS® — is protecting our interests in these areas is a wonderful thing.

2013 ORRA Chairman of the Board Steve Merchant can be reached at

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