Bradenton Realtor® Honored as 2021 Realtor of the Year
ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Realtors® recognized Barry Grooms, 2020 Florida Realtors president, as its 2021 Realtor® of the Year. The award – one of several – was presented during the state association’s recent Convention & Trade Expo at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla.
“Wow, what a year, guys – and let’s set the record straight, it (2020) wasn’t a bad year,” Grooms told the audience of about 425 people on accepting his award. “It was a different year, and challenging at times. But, when my leadership team picked our theme for last year, ‘Better, Faster, Stronger,’ who knew that by April, during a pandemic, we would have crushed our goals. And that’s all because of you – you took safety practices seriously and you acted with care, kindness and responsibility.”
He thanked his leadership team, his wife Sherry, his family, his office, the Florida Realtors staff, all Realtor members and especially Florida Realtors CEO Margy Grant for working together to weather the challenges created by COVID-19.
“Thank you for choosing me as your 2020 president,” Grooms said. “It truly was an honor. … One day, COVID will be over. This will pass, and life will then return somewhat to normalcy. And when that happens, I’ll be disappointed if you don’t keep something up: During COVID, you guys called each other, you checked in on each other and you took care of each other.
Florida Realtors has presented Realtor of the Year and Associate Realtor of the Year awards for 67 years. Winners are honored as the greatest individual lifetime contributors to their local Realtor board, community, state association and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).
Over the course of his real estate career, Grooms has passionately worked to make a positive impact on his profession, advance the industry and help his Realtor colleagues. He is a member of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.
A leader in regional, state and national real estate organizations, Grooms served his local association on countless committees and as president in 2009. He was recognized as its Realtor of the Year in 2010, and most recently, was honored with its Distinguished Service Award in 2019. The Distinguished Service Award recognized his contributions to the local, state and national Realtor organizations and the community.
At the state level, Grooms has served on countless Florida Realtors committees, forums, task forces and subcommittees over the years, ranging from chairing Public Policy to Finance to the Business Trends & Technology Forum. He has been a key contact for Florida Realtors with state legislators, helping to provide information and research on issues important to all Floridians; and, he has served in every officer position, from District 13 vice president to Florida Realtors president in 2020.
During his year as president, Grooms faced unprecedented challenges caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting economic lockdowns, turmoil and concerns created by COVID-19. He realized that 2020 was going to be completely different than what he’d dreamed of, but he took on the challenge with dedication, perseverance, good humor and a can-do attitude, all with the goal of helping Realtor members manage their business and get through the pandemic safely.
His leadership and advocacy during this time helped to encourage Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare real estate “an essential service.” That declaration enabled Realtors across the state to follow COVID-19 guidelines, turn to virtual and digital technology, and use recommended practices to continue to conduct business and safely help their clients even during the pandemic.
Grooms has always felt passionately that “Realtors do so much more” and “are so much more” than most people realize. In 2020, Florida Realtors created and produced its “Celebrating the Realtor Heart” project, which culminated in a large-scale, black and white photo gallery showcasing Realtors across Florida and the positive impact they have on their communities.
On the national level, Grooms currently serves on the National Association of Realtors’ Board of Directors and the 2021 Major Investor Council. He also has served on NAR’s State and Local Issues Mobilization Support Committee, the State and Local Issues Policy Committee, Meeting and Conference Committee and the Realtor Safety Advisory Committee. A strong supporter of Realtor advocacy and public policy efforts, he is a major investor in RPAC (Realtors Political Action Committee).
He also finds time to give back to his community. Grooms volunteers for a variety of causes and community efforts, including Realize Bradenton, Boy Scouts of America, Hope Family Services, Keep Manatee Beautiful, Meals on Wheels, Children’s Miracle Network, the Anna Maria Privateers and Hurricane Irma relief. He has served as a director for the Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce and for Feeding Empty Little Tummies.
Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research, and legislative representation to its more than 200,000 members in 51 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Newsroom website is available at floridarealtors.org/newsroom