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RISMEDIA, March 25, 2011—ERA Real Estate, an innovative franchising leader in the residential real estate industry, has named RREIN member ERA Tom Grizzard Inc. in Leesburg, Fla., as the winner of its prestigious Gene Francis Memorial Award, a national award presented by ERA Franchise Systems LLC to its “Top All-Around Company.” The announcement was made at the ERA® 2011 International Business Conference in Las Vegas.

According to the company, the award, established in 1980 and named after ERA Real Estate co-founder Gene Francis, is the highest honor given to an ERA company, and reflects the qualities most respected throughout the global ERA system and the real estate industry. Known for his forward-thinking business acumen as well as his philanthropic spirit, Francis established a defining culture of service to which all ERA companies aspire. Each year, five finalists are selected, with the winner announced at the annual ERA International Business Conference.

“Broker-owners Gus and Lauri Grizzard earned this honor by reflecting high personal and ethical standards, strong business sense, consistent growth and a commitment to ERA Real Estate and to their community,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “The growth in their business drivers for 2010 was exceptional: agent productivity in sides increased 149 percent, the inventory sales rate increased 87 percent and the company’s market share doubled due in part to several acquisitions.”

ERA Tom Grizzard was named a Gene Francis Memorial Award finalist in 2007 and 2009, fueling the Grizzards’ determination to capture the award.

“Over the last four years, under Gus’ charismatic leadership, his company has made most impressive strides in production, market share and profitability—despite a significantly declining Florida market—while maintaining strong ties to the community, and I applaud this relentless pursuit of excellence,” says Charlie Young. “While this award is certainly imbued with a strong sense of ERA Real Estate’s history, all of this year’s finalists clearly reflect the new energy within the ERA network through their collective vibrancy, innovative business style and seamless incorporation of service to clients and community, and I congratulate all of the finalists on their achievement.”

“All of us at ERA Tom Grizzard are thrilled and honored to be recognized as this year’s Gene Francis Memorial Award winner,” remarks Gus Grizzard. “Extending strong ties to our community through our business as well as our charitable endeavors brings an added dimension to our work that is invigorating in many ways.”

The Gene Francis Memorial Award finalists for this year included:

Doug and John Van Nortwick, owners of ERA Sellers Buyers & Associates in El Paso, Texas, the market leader in El Paso, recognized for impressive recruiting efforts in 2010 doubling the size of its Las Cruces office, and increasing the companies number of transactions by 56 percent.

David Moody, owner of ERA Sunrise in Atlanta, Ga., the market leader in two of the markets served by the company, who superbly managed leads, REO business and client lists to double both gross commission income and transactions over the last two years.

Bill Soffel, principal of ERA Team VP in Chautauqua, N.Y., who—through a series of strategic acquisitions—led the company to the position of No. 1 real estate brokerage in the Southern Tier of Western, N.Y.

Michael and Kristy Gonzalez, co-owners of ERA Evergreen Real Estate in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and graduates of the ERA Leadership Academy, who led their team of agents to a 35 percent increase in sales volume and an impressive 125 percent increase in sides.

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