Citizen of the Year Award Recipients
The Citizen of the Year award recognizes one citizen annually for their exemplary business experience, conduct, civic activity and industry involvement. Following are the award recipients for the Columbus REALTORS®.
For more information, or to nominate yourself or someone else, please click here.
||Columbus City Auditor
|| Michael Stinziano
||Councilman, Columbus City Council
|| Bob Weiler
|| Kim Maggard
||Mayor, City of Whitehall, Ohio
||Columbus City Attorney
||President/CEO, Homeport aka Columbus Housing Partnership
||Debbie Phillips Bower
||Clarence E. Mingo II
||Franklin County Auditor
||CEO, Columbus Board of REALTORS®, 1985-2009
||former Ohio State Senator, Attorney General, and Auditor
||former Franklin County Commissioner
||State Representative for Ohio's 23rd House District
||Mayor, Grove City
||Franklin County Auditor
||Jo Ann Davidson
||Ohio House of Representatives
||Dorothy and Robert Teater
||former Franklin County Commissioner (Dorothy) & Columbus City Schools Board of Education (Robert)
||President, Columbus City Council
||YWCA & Columbus School Board
||Executive Director, The Open Shelter
||Cynthia Cecil Lazarus
||Columbus City Council
||President of the Board, Nationwide Children's Hospital
||Chairman of the Board, Huntington Bancshares
||Chairman of the I KNOW I CAN and Project GRAD boards
||Columbus Board of Education
||Kaira Sturdivant Rouda
||Make Room Columbus, the city’s first homeless shelter for families
2017 Citizen of the Year, Columbus City Auditor Hugh Dorrian
Auditor Hugh Dorrian became Treasurer of the City of Columbus in 1966 and three years later was appointed City Auditor. After more than 50 years, he's still walking into his wood-paneled office and sitting down to work among his binders, adding machine and a 46-star flag that was last official when William Howard Taft was president.
Under Auditor Dorrian's leadership, the City Auditor's office has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of United States and Canada for 35 consecutive years.
He’s the recipient of numerous individual awards, including the Borromean Medal for Distinguished Alumni Achievement from St. Charles Preparatory School; Outstanding Local Public Service Award from the School of Public Policy and Management at The Ohio State University; the Ethics in Government Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ohio Government Finance Officers’ Association; and the Minority/Female Business Advocate Award from City of Columbus Equal Business Opportunity Department.
Auditor Dorrian was inducted into the City of Columbus Hall of Fame in 2012 and, in 2014, was a National Management Association Hall of Fame recipient.
2016 Citizen of the Year -- Council Member Michael Stinziano
Columbus City Council Member Stinziano has worked closely with Columbus REALTORS® on numerous public policy issues, and has attended almost every Association-sponsored event, participated regularly with Columbus REALTORS® Leadership Academy, and interacts often with its Young Professionals Network. Like his father, who served 22 years as a State Representative and was a long-time central Ohio REALTOR® before moving to Chicago in 1995, he count REALTORS® among his strongest supporters.
Council Member Stinziano was elected to Columbus City Council in November 2015, where he currently serves as chair of Council’s Public Utilities, Judiciary & Court Administration, and Technology committees. He has also served as a member of numerous professional boards, including the Columbus Bar Association's Government Agencies Committee and is an Adjunct Law Professor at Capital University Law School, where he teaches the course on legislation.
Outside of the legislature, he has served on the boards of the Franklinton Development Association, The Friends of the Hilltop, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus, The lnternational Visitors Council, Kids Voting Central Ohio, and as a member and former Secretary of the Board of Gladden Community House.
Council Member Stinziano received a bachelor’s degree in leadership studies from the University of Richmond. Later, while working for the Woodrow Wilson International Center, a Smithsonian Institution think tank, earned a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and, after returning to Columbus, graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
2015 Citizen of the Year -- Bob Weiler
Bob has been a member of Columbus REALTORS® since 1957, and served as its president in 1976. He’s a certified general real estate appraiser with a MAI designation, a developer of numerous subdivisions and apartment/office/industrial complexes in central Ohio, and an Adjunct Professor of real estate law at Capital University Law School and at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
He cofounded "I KNOW I CAN", a renowned college access program assuring Columbus city school graduates a college education; delivers (with wife Missy) Meals on Wheels for LifeCare Alliance; is a Board member of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC); a member of the American Red Cross 100 Donors Club; and a past chairman of Capital University Board of Trustees, where he was inducted into the University Hall of Honor and received the distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award.
Bob has served as president the Columbus Board of Education; is one of the longest serving (29 years) Center of Science and Industry (COSI) Board members; and is a member of the Board of Trustees and past chair of the Metropolitan YMCA.
He is also a mentor/teacher with Big Brothers-Big Sisters; a 50-year member of Pilot Dogs, Inc., and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Columbus/ Franklin County Affordable Housing Trust, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing; Columbus Urban League; Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA); and the Columbus Bar Foundation.
2014 Citizen of the Year -- Kim Maggard, Mayor, City of Whitehall
The Honorable Kim Maggard, Mayor, City of Whitehall, has 10 years of experience leading city government and is a strong advocate of economic sustainability for all. She is a passionate supporter of underrepresented segments of the city of Whitehall and of central Ohio and has a committed track record of directing or contributing to various civic programs.
During her first year as Mayor, she worked to stabilize Whitehall residential and commercial property values, and through the city’s partnership with Huntington Bank created the “My Home” Program, where the city has set aside $150,000 to provide down payment assistance to entice homebuyers to take a new “look” at Whitehall homes. The city also works with area real estate agents to market Whitehall’s affordable homes and home sales are now stabilizing property values in city’s residential neighborhoods.
Whitehall was also the first municipality to take advantage of a partnership with the Franklin County Land Bank, and was granted two commercial “eyesore” properties. One abandoned property is being resold as a business and another was transferred to the Whitehall Community Investment Corporation, along with $250,000 of city money, to completely rehab the property for business leases.
Mayor Maggard holds a Bachelors of Science Degree with emphasis in Law Enforcement Administration and Sociology from Eastern Kentucky University; a Secondary Teaching Certificate with emphasis in Sociology from Morehead State University; and a Graduate Study in Library Science from Kent State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
2013 Citizen of the Year -- Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr., Columbus City Attorney
Rick is currently serving his third term as Columbus City Attorney. He holds a degree in Government from Oberlin College and a law degree from The Ohio State University, where he graduated cum laude, was Editor of the Law Journal and was a Senior Advisor on the Moot Court Governing Board.
Rick enlisted in the United States Army, served in Vietnam and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and two Bronze Stars. He began his career as an attorney with the law firm of Paul F. Beery Co. LPA, a practice specializing in motor carrier law.
In 1973, he was appointed Majority Counsel in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he worked until March 1980, before resigning as Executive Assistant and Counsel to Speaker Vern Riffe to run for Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney. He later worked as a solo practitioner before becoming a partner in the law firm of Bricker and Eckler in 1983.
Rick was elected to the Ohio Senate where he served for nine years until he was elected to serve as the first judge of the Environmental Division of the Franklin County Municipal Court in 1991, a position he held for eleven years before becoming Columbus City Attorney.
Rick serves on the Boards of the Ohio State Legal Services Association, the Brass Band of Columbus, the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation, the African American and African Studies Community Extension Center Advisory Board, and is the former President of the Ohio Municipal Attorney’s Association.
2012 Citizen of the Year - Amy Klaben
The Columbus Board of REALTORS® (CBR) recently honored Homeport’s CEO/President Amy Klaben as its 2012 Citizen of the Year for her long-time commitment of service to the community and for her support of the real estate industry.
As only one award is made annually in this category, this prestigious award is recognized as a sign of excellence throughout the real estate industry.
Klaben’s passion for giving back led her to Columbus Housing Partnership (CHP) where she served as a volunteer for eight years and was on the Board of Directors for three years.
As head of CHP, now known as Homeport, Klaben is responsible for the management of all aspects of this 25 year old nonprofit housing organization, including the development and implementation of all new construction and rehabilitation of single and multi-family rental and homeownership projects; the homebuyer education and economic literacy programs that serve approximately 2,500 people annually; and the asset management of the 2,000-unit rental portfolio that houses 5,100 people, and includes resident service programs.
She also oversees the AmeriCorps Vista and AmeriCorps Community Building Programs; works closely with the Chief Financial Officer to ensure fiscal accountability of the organization; and serves as Homeport’s spokesperson.
Before coming to Homeport, Klaben practiced law at Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur for 13 years, and was a partner at the firm for four years. Her areas of expertise were in real estate and corporate law, with concentrations in commercial and residential transactions, apartment management and financing.
In the community, Klaben currently co-chairs the NeighborWorks National Real Estate Advisory Committee; and is a member of the Franklin County Community Advisory Committee; the Community Housing Capital Board of Directors; and JPMorgan Chase National Community Advisory Board. She also serves as secretary for the Housing Council and is a former member of the National Enterprise Foundation Advisory Board.
Klaben comments, “I am honored to be the recipient of this award, but this is a team honor – from my staff to our Board of Trustees to the Columbus Board of REALTORS® who helped get us started 25 years ago – we have all worked together to make the impossible happen every day for central Ohio families looking for safe, decent and affordable housing.”
Klaben graduated with honors from both Capital University where she received a B.A. degree and from Northeastern University School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctorate.
2011 Citizen of the Year - Debbie Phillips Bower
Debbie Phillips Bower joins the elite list of CBR Citizens of the Year, representing the 2011 award. Debbie’s long list of accomplishments starts at Ohio University where in 1973, received a B.S. in Psychology.
A one, five, ten, and twenty five Million Dollar club member, Debbie has been spreading her real estate seed in Columbus for over 35 years, and consequently, has been observing her success grow larger each passing year.
Originally from Upper Arlington, Debbie is an incredibly strong and motivated supporter of her community. She is currently the Chairman of the Upper Arlington Community Foundation and Vice President of the Greater Columbus Arts Council.
Through her long list of civic activities, she has also made time to receive numerous professional awards including the 2004 Northwest Woman of the Year, RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, as well as the RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award.
Being in real estate for 27 years, Debbie has experienced many changes in the industry; being able to adapt to those changes, she says, is key for success, and a good lesson to newcomers.
“I've been in the industry for 27 years but it might as well been 100. With the way things have changed, technology and communication at warp speed these days, one has to be on top of it all the time. I would say to all new people, still remember it is a people business, face to face, one on one! To do your best, be honest and remember who you are working for.”
Today, Debbie is an owner and active REALTOR® with RE/MAX Premiere Choice. Along with business partner Charlotte Van Steyn, the two opened the first franchise of RE/MAX Premier Choice in 1993. Since then, they have opened three more franchises in Upper Arlington, Dublin, and Granville with business part Robert Miller.
Debbie, her two daughters, and two grandchildren all reside in Upper Arlington.
2010 Citizen of the Year - Clarence E. Mingo II
Clarence E. Mingo II humbly accepted the award, noting that it was the support of his family and community that propelled him to his current position. He also emphasized the importance of serving others with distinction.
Named to the Commissioners on the Ohio Court of Claims in 2007, Mingo serves on the Franklin County Juvenile Court Advisory Board. He and his wife Angela have two young daughters.
2009 Citizen of the Year - Larry Metzger
For more than two decades, Larry Metzger has led the CBR, always striving to better both the profession and the community. Metzger was hired in late 1985 after serving the Lexington, Kentucky and the Decatur, Illinois boards; and after a career as a high school teacher.
1986 CBR President Sandy Simpson presented the award to Metzger, saying his fellow officers "made the best decision this organization ever made" in late 1985 when hiring Metzger. In addition to his work on behalf of thousands of members, Metzger has "also been a servant of the entire central Ohio community," Simpson said.
Started in 1973, the CBR Citizen of the Year Award recognizes outstanding community service, and those who better the image and future of central Ohio. Metzger joins other central Ohio leaders including John McConnell, Jimmy Crum, Melvin Schottenstein and Ann Wolfe in being named CBR Citizen of the Year.
Metzger was gracious in being added to the prestigious list of Citizen of the Year award winners. "These have been the fastest 24 years and some of the most rewarding," Metzger said. "I can't talk about what I've done; I can only tell you what you've done and allowed me to be a part of."
Metzger will end his career after 25 years when he retires as CEO in December. He congratulated incoming CEO Stan Collins, a 38-year employee of CBR, who since 1986 has served as AEO. During his acceptance speech, Metzger reflected on the many accomplishments that have marked the last two and half decades at CBR. Helping form the Columbus Housing Partnership, CORPAC (Central Ohio REALTORS® PAC) and the REALTOR® Charitable Foundation Fund are among the highlights of Metzger's tenure.
"Whenever we grow our industry, we grow America," he said. "I'm not the citizen of the year -- you all are -- the Columbus Board of REALTORS® is."
2008 Citizen of the Year - Betty Montgomery
Betty Montgomery's long career in public services has included a number of highlights and awards. A dedicated crimefighter for her earliest days in the workforce, she directed a 250 percent increase in the felony conviction rate of the Wood County Prosecutor's Office. As State Senator from the 2nd District in northwest Ohio, she drafted farreaching legislation that continues to make a positive difference in our state. Her work included Ohio's first Living Will law, its first brownfields legislation, and the Ohio's Victim's Right Law. During her years in the Senate, she served on many committees, where she chaired the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, and was vice-chair of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission.
As Ohio Attorney General, Betty dramatically increased state support for local law enforcement, as well as rebuilt all of Ohio`s crime labs, introduced DNA and 21st century technology to Ohio, thus helping the office join just four percent of the nation's law enforcement agencies by earning accreditation for both the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
At all times during her service as Attorney General, she emphasized protection of Ohio's most vulnerable citizens -- senior citizens, youth and crime victims. Her office also received national recognition for excellence in service and advocacy in many areas, including legal work before the U.S. Supreme Court. This commitment reflected itself in her Consumer Section that was recognized in 2000 as being the nation's most outstanding consumer protection agency in the country by the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators (NACC). Additionally, her Senior Citizen Initiative was one of five agencies, and the only public agency, recognized by the American Bar Association with the national "Pro Bono" Award in 2002.
Betty is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and of the University of Toledo College of Law.
2007 Citizen of the Year - Dewey Stokes
Dewey R. Stokes has been a staunch and committed supporter of the real estate industry. For years, he has held the line on transfer taxes, been open and accessible to our members and has keep us abreast of real estate issues being heard by the commission. His work, both professionally and in the community, has been exemplary -- making him an outstanding leader and choice as our 2007 Citizen of the year.
Dewey has lived in Franklin County all his life and has spent the past 12 years as a County Commissioner. He has worked side by side with elected officials, community leaders and its citizens to continue to make Franklin County one of the best counties in America.
Dewey has been a "public servant" in the truest sense of the word. He served the public as a Columbus Police Officer for 26 years and as County Commissioner for 12 years. During his tenure as a Columbus police officer, Dewey Stokes was elected by his peers as President of Local Lodge #9 and eventually elected as President of the National Fraternal Order of Police serving in that capacity for 8 years. To this day, he continues to serve on the local and National Fraternal Order of Police Boards.
As a boy, Dewey spent a great deal of time at the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus thereby making him aware of the need to promote such outlets for our youth. He gives credit to the organization for helping to shape his character and to this day supports organizations that are committed to helping our children develop the necessary skills to become good citizens.
Dewey is a graduate of Groveport High School and the Law Enforcement Academy. He has served on numerous boards such as the Solid Waste Authority, Columbus Area Labor Management, and Villas at St. Theresa Independent Living Center. He is currently active with the The Shamrock Club of Columbus, Kiwanis, Hilltop Business Association, Charity Newsies and is a member of the Martin Luther King Center.
Dewey and his wife Florence have been married for over 40 years and have four children and six grandchildren.
2006 Citizen of the Year - Larry Wolpert
Larry Wolpert, state representative for Ohio's 23rd House District, has been selected to receive the CBR 2006 Citizen of the Year Award. Representative Wolpert's is serving his third term as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and his district includes Hilliard, Grove City and other western portions of Franklin County.
During the 126th General Assembly, he will chair the Local and Municipal Government and Urban Revitalization Committee. In 2003, he formed the Ohio House Growth and Land Use Subcommittee, which studies Ohio's land use and policies. Before joining the Ohio House of Representatives, he spent 20 years working for the Government Relations Department of Grange Insurance and has served two terms on the Hilliard City Council. He manages the Wolpert Family Farms in the Hilliard/Dublin area, where the Wolpert family has been farming since 1848.
Representative Wolpert resides in Hilliard and is a member of the Hilliard and Grove City Chambers of Commerce and of the Franklin County Farm Bureau. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Legislator of the Year from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, A Friend of Hospice from the Hospice & Palliative Care Organization and is the recipient of the Homer F. Mincey Award from the Alliance for Adequate School Funding for his work on improving Ohio's education system. He also has received the 2006 Hall of Fame Award from the Hilliard High School Alumni and Friends Association, Healthy Eyes Healthy People Award from the Ohio Optometric Association, The William Schneider Award from the Franklin County Republican Party, and the John M. Ashbrook Award from the Ohio League of Young Republicans.
2004 Citizen of the Year - Cheryl Grossman
Mayor Cheryl Grossman is this year’s recipient of CBR’s Citizen of the Year award. She began her career in local politics as Grove City Council President, served on the Grove City Planning Commission and, in 1995 was elected to serve as Mayor.
She attributes her success in politics to working hard at being responsive to Grove City residents and businesses. She says the often-untold story of her success is found in every corner of our community. From the heartfelt commitment of our proud volunteers, to the many public and private entities that work with the City to make us all stronger – this is the foundation for any successful venture. Grove City’s citizens are second to none.
Her most beneficial community involvement from a political standpoint is the partnerships the City has formed with our federal, state, county, school, township, and chamber representatives. Grove City is a leader because we all work together.
For anyone interested in a career in public service, Mayor Grossman advises “Be fair, above all else. You need to be able to listen and make decisions based on what is right for the people you represent. And it’s important to be creative. Sometimes, swimming against the stream reaps the most rewarding outcomes.”
On receiving this award, Mayor Grossman stated, “I am truly honored to know that the Columbus Board of REALTORS® has acknowledged my efforts on behalf of the people and businesses of Grove City. But this is not my award…this is Grove City’s award. It is earned because many hearts and minds and hands work together everyday in Grove City to build upon our success.”
2003 Citizen of the Year – Joe Testa
Our Citizen of the Year award winner, Joe Testa, has spent most of his adult life serving the public, beginning with his tour in Vietnam in the United States Navy. Joe has been employed by Franklin County now for 22 years, having served as Chief Deputy Recorder, and then Recorder before being elected Franklin County Auditor in 1992.
After being introduced, Joe immediately clarified that he was accepting the award on behalf of his entire staff, who were also present for the dinner, because “These are the people who really get the job done.
Five years ago, the Auditor’s office rolled out the Web site and, within a few months, were in the top ten government Web sites in the country! Joe was surprised and commented on the ‘after hours’ usage of the Web site, evidence of REALTORS®’ time spent working around the clock – literally.
During his time in office, Joe has become a true friend of the REALTORS®. Aware of our critical need for accurate property tax information, Joe has made and continues to make great strides in providing easy access to that information. Remember when he used to provide continuing education classes and tours of the Auditor’s office?
Nowadays, we don’t need to drive to his office; we can get property tax information within minutes through a few clicks of the mouse. The Auditor’s office records are available both through their Web site and directly through our CBR Tempo MLS.
After heartfelt thanks, Joe concluded, “I believe that we have formed a true public private partnership. And, I pledge to continue to enrich that partnership for as long as I am allowed to serve in public office.”
Joe is a newlywed and resides in German Village with his wife Sally.
2002 Citizen of the Year - Jo Ann Davidson
Jo Ann Davidson was selected as CBR's 2002 Citizen of the Year. This prestigious award is in recognition of her long-time commitment of service to the Central Ohio Community through her professional and community involvement.
Upon accepting this award, Jo Ann Davidson said, “In my public service as well as my work with chambers of commerce, I have always placed a high priority on being actively involved in our system of government – either as an informed voter, a candidate or in supporting those who are in position to make good public policy. The one group that has consistently dedicated themselves to this type of involvement has been Realtors®.”
I greatly respect Realtors® for placing this involvement as a high priority in their personal careers and as a part of their organizational activities. This respect makes it a special honor for me to be recognized as the 2002 Citizen of the Year by the Columbus Board of Realtors®.”
In her public service career, Jo Ann has served ten terms as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives where, for five years, she served as Speaker of the House. She also served as Vice Chair of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, Member at Large of the Reynoldsburg City Council, Clerk of Truro Township and as a member of the Franklin County Mental Health Board.
Jo Ann is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ohio Legislator Award and the Watchdog of the Treasury Award from the United Conservatives of Ohio. In 1991, the National Republican Legislators named her Legislator of the Year and, that same year, she was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame.
She is a recipient of YWCA's Women of Achievement Award and of the Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government. Jo Ann holds an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Ohio University and from Capital University, an Honorary Degree in Government Leadership from the University of Findlay and an Honorary Doctor of Public Administration from The Ohio State University.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Findlay, Franklin University, the John Glenn Institute of The Ohio State University and is an Honorary Board Member of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute. In the past, she has chaired the Franklin County Republican Central Committee and has been active with the Reynoldsburg-Pickerington Rotary Club.
2001 Citizens of the Year – Dorothy & Robert Teater, Ph.D
Dorothy and Robert Teater are long-time partners, having been married for 48 years, and this year, they will share CBR’s Citizen of the Year award for their long-time commitment of service to the central Ohio community through their professional and community involvement.
Dorothy, in her public service career, has served as a Franklin County Commissioner; member of the Columbus City Council; and Program Administrator of Consumer Affairs for the city of Columbus. She has also been active in numerous professional and civic activities and has served on the Board of Directors of the Columbus Area Council on Alcoholism, the Better Business Bureau, CMACAO, St. Anthony’s Hospital and North Broadway United Methodist Church.
Dorothy is the recipient of numerous awards, including the YWCA Women of Achievement Award; the Distinguished Service Award from The Ohio State University; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kentucky College of Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
Robert is founder and president of Teater-Gebhardt & Associates, Inc., where he has directed and participated in a number of complex natural resource development projects, including the International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals and the International Center for Water Resource Management.
He served for four years as Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture at The Ohio State University (OSU) and on the faculty of Agronomy at OSU. Robert has also been active in numerous professional and civic activities and has had a distinguished military career, retiring at a May General from the Ohio National Guard.
Robert is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal for service on several Army and Department of Defense boards and has been honored with numerous other awards.
Robert also owns and operates a 186-acre farm in Franklin County – raising corn, soybeans and alfalfa. He enjoys putting into practice the many sound agronomic practices he has learned and taught over the years.