Awards and Testimonial

ROTY: Realtor of the Year

Even though it sounds like something that might require extra strength antiseptic,being named REALTOR® of The Year (ROTY) is quite an honor. As the 2009 co-selectee, I can attest how rewarding it is to be recognized. With about 600 members, the Hawaii Island REALTORS® (HIR) is comprised of members from all over Hawaii Island.

The Nominees…

To be selected REALTOR® of The Year, each nominee’s contribution to our industry is scrutinized against others using a broad range of selection criteria. Nominees are recommended by their peers while selection is made by a committee of former winners. Selectees are seasoned agents who dedicate themselves to serving the public, demonstrating the highest ethical standards. They devote countless hours improving our professional organization at all levels. Consideration is also given for community involvement and promotion of the REALTOR® image.

The National Association of REALTORS® requires that their members subscribe to a strict code of ethics. Selection as REALTOR® of The Year underscores a personal and professional commitment above and beyond this already strict professional benchmark.

The Winner…

The 2021 recipient was selected from a wide field of anonymous nominations. The dedication and contributions of the nominees is a testament to our professional organization. In the end, Tracy Lewis, who should have been recognized years ago, was a unanimous choice.

Over the years, Tracy has trained countess agents (including yours truly) as part of his brokerage. The public doesn’t realize that most new agents (especially in years past) receive little formal training once they receive their license. Most learn through “on the job training.”

Armed with a yellow pad and green pen, Tracy required each of his agents to learn or relearn the basics. It’s not a contract, it’s a “proposal” and, in the “School of Tracy,” it’s never a “deal.” We do transactions. Going to the office in shorts was a no-no. He demanded professionalism to the highest ethical standards. But it wasn’t always a formal office. A “board” meeting took on an entire new meaning with Tracy especially if the surf was high.

Today, Tracy continues his diligent work of molding us into better agents as an instructor for our local REALTOR® association. He teaches everything from contracts to technology. He is such an effective instructor that he’s tried to retire but we won’t have any part of it. Thank you Tracy, for teaching us and on a personal note, for all you do for my family. It’s hard to list his accomplishments and contributions but it’s ever so easy to see why his name is a well-deserved addition to the elite group of former awardees:

  • 2020 Kapono Pa
  • 2019 Pat Halpern
  • 2018 Cathy Fedak
  • 2017 Wailani Herbst
  • 2016 Howard Meguro
  • 2015 Julie Hugo
  • 2014 CJ Kimberly
  • 2013 Peggy Yuen
  • 2012 Rochelle Augustin Beck
  • 2011 Julie Ching
  • 2010 Debi Au
  • 2009 Mealoha Kraus and Denise Nakanishi
  • 2008 Gary Rothfus
  • 2007 Heather Hedenschau
  • 2006 Arabel Camblor
  • 2005 Wade Park and Frank Goodale
  • 2004 Gary Davis
  • 2003 Christine Makaweo
  • 2002 Gae Callaway
  • 2001 Mary Begier
  • 2000 Adele Eggel
  • 1999 Chris Brilhante
  • 1998 Helene Tajiri and Donna Herbst
  • 1997 Edith Crabb
  • 1996 Nancy Cabral
  • 1995 John Tolmie
  • 1994 Robert G. Williams
  • 1993 Michael Shewmaker
  • 1992 Glenetta Bennett
  • 1991 Daniel Wilson
  • 1990 Doris Smith
  • 1989 Yukio Takeya
  • 1988 Pat Ito
  • 1986 Paul Ingledew
  • 1985 Patricia Scullary and Delene Osorio
  • 1984 Bill Pendered Jr.
  • 1983 Jerry Hirata
  • 1982 Alvin Inoue
  • 1981 Vern Yamanaka
  • 1980 Alma Prigmore
  • 1979 Elroy Osorio
  • 1978 Doris Smith
  • 1977 Beverly Paplimu
  • 1976 Peter Shayne
  • 1975 Helene Hale
  • 1974 Kenneth Griffin
  • 1973 Edward Araujo
  • 1972 Masashi Yamanaka
  • 1971 Leina’ala Devine
About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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