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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently recognized a couple of REALTORS®—Michael Ford from West Memphis, Ark., and Diana Bull from Santa Barbara Calif.—with the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented yearly to no more than two of NAR’s 1.4 million members. Winners were recognized during the 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.

NAR established the award in 1979 to honor REALTORS® who have made outstanding contributions to the real estate industry and who serve as leaders in their local communities. It is considered the highest honor an NAR member can receive. Recipients must be active at the local, state and national association levels, but must not have served as NAR president.

“Michael’s commitment to our association at every level and his charitable work throughout Arkansas truly represents what the Distinguished Service Award is all about,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, Calif. “Michael’s impact on his community and the real estate industry is immeasurable and it’s my privilege to recognize his efforts with this award.”

Ford has been a REALTOR® for more than 40 years and is broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Heritage Homes.

“I am both honored and humbled to join the amazing group of NAR’s Distinguished Service Award recipients,” Ford said. “When I entered this profession, I had no idea where the journey would take me, and I certainly never imagined this honor. Over my 41-year career, I’ve been fortunate to have many incredible mentors who’ve led and inspired me. I hope that I’ve shared that enthusiasm with fellow REALTORS® and have inspired their involvement and participation in local associations.”

Ford has served as a member of NAR’s board of directors for 23 years. He was an NAR vice president in 2015 and served as NAR’s Region 9 vice president, which covers Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, in 1997. Ford has chaired the REALTORS® Political Action Committee Trustees Fundraising, Issues Mobilization, and Political Communications committees and he served as the RPAC Major Investor Liaison in 2012.

Ford served as Arkansas REALTORS® president in 1995 and remains active in his local association, currently serving as vice president of the Eastern Arkansas REALTORS® Association. He was the association’s president from 1984–1986 and is a two-time RPAC Hall of Fame inductee.

A lifelong resident of West Memphis, Ford was a director of the Arkansas State University Mid-South Foundation from 2003 to 2006 and from 2009 to 2012, and he has led the First Community Bank of Eastern Arkansas Advisory Board for a decade.
Ford and his wife, Lesia, also a REALTOR®, volunteer for many charitable organizations including the American Heart Association, Special Olympics, Delta Arts Council and Relay for Life.

“I’m honored to present Diana with the Distinguished Service Award as her unending dedication to our association and profession is extraordinary,” said Malta. “Diana has had a tremendous impact on the real estate industry through her trailblazing accomplishments and selfless service to her fellow REALTORS® in California and across the country.”

Bull, who led her own real estate brokerage and mortgage operation for more than 40 years, is the chief financial officer and broker associate with Pacific Crest Realty, a company owned by her daughter, Staci Caplan, the 2020 president of the Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®

“I’m so very humbled and blessed to be selected as a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. During my 49 years as a REALTOR®, it has been an honor to have worked with so many previous DSA honorees,” said Bull. “Those who wear the DSA badge are dedicated, passionate and prepared in all their endeavors. I’ll always be grateful that I learned so much from them and garnered many cherished friendships along the way.”

As an active member of NAR, Bull has held numerous leadership positions during her nearly five-decade REALTOR® career. She has served as a member of NAR’s board of directors for 31 years. In 2016, Bull was NAR’s Liaison for Law & Policy; in 2006, she was NAR’s Region 13 vice president, which encompasses California, Hawaii and Guam. Bull has also served on the association’s Finance and Budget Review committees since 2001.

In 2011, Bull was granted REALTOR® Emeritus status and she is also a member of the RPAC Hall of Fame.

Bull was President of the Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® in 1982. In 1996 and 1997, she served as the first female treasurer of the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) and was C.A.R.’s president in 1999. In 2012, Bull was president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Santa Barbara chapter. In 2008, she was named as one of the “Top 50 Women in Business” by the Pacific Coast Business Times.

A life member of the California Scholarship Foundation, Bull is also a nationally published author and a certified instructor in real estate finance.

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