About GKAR

REALTOR® of the Year

The GKAR REALTOR® of the Year is recognized by their peers for their contributions to the real estate profession and to the greater Kalamazoo community.

Joy Watts-1185

Joy Watts

2024 REALTOR® of the Year

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Joy’s journey in the world of real estate began in Kalamazoo, where she was raised and later graduated from Comstock Public Schools. She pursued higher education at Hope College, earning a BA in Business Administration. In 1998, Joy embarked on her real estate career by obtaining her Real Estate Salesperson’s license, and joined GKAR the same year. Her commitment to professional growth led her to acquire her Associate Broker’s license in 2003. Joy’s roots in the real estate industry run deep, as she grew up in a family construction business and now serves as a third-generation owner and current President of Watts Construction Company. Throughout her extensive career in both construction and real estate, she has successfully sold a multitude of properties and established valuable connections with fellow GKAR members. Joy’s commitment to GKAR extends beyond her professional accomplishments, as she has served as a dedicated volunteer in various capacities. She has contributed her expertise to the Budget & Finance Committee, Grievance Committee, Professional Standards Committee, in addition to participating in task forces and facilitating the Broker Forum. Her commitment is further demonstrated through her roles as a GKAR Board Member, President, and President-Elect. Joy has also engaged in activities and programs with other local organizations such as HBA of Western Michigan, Comstock Public Schools, Comstock Community Center and KRESA. A relentless pursuit of knowledge and personal growth drives Joy. She consistently invests in her education by reading, attending classes, earning designations and certifications, all while drawing inspiration from her peers. In her leisure time, Joy indulges in her passion for sports, particularly as a spectator, and enjoys playing volleyball and practicing Tae Kwon Do. She also values quality moments spent with her family, friends, and her beloved rescue dogs.

Nomination Form

The nomination period for the 2024 REALTOR® of the Year is September 1st through September 15th, 2023.

Important Details:

  • Nomination period is September 1st - 4:30 pm, September 15th, annually.
  • Nominees must be a Primary Member of GKAR.
  • Nominees must possess a current Michigan Real Estate License.
  • Nominees must have been a GKAR Member for a minimum of five consecutive years.
  • Self-nominations are permitted.
  • Nominees cannot be a current officer, newly-elected officer, or former REALTOR® of the Year.
  • The recipient will be honored at the local level and recognized at the GKAR Installation & State of the Association Holiday Luncheon. 
  • The REALTOR® of the Year name will be submitted to Michigan REALTORS® (MR) for consideration as MR of the Year and shall be the guest of GKAR at the appropriate MR Convention.

Past REALTOR® of the Year Recipients

1958     Orville B Schroeder
1959     Clarence Hawthorne
1960     C Ray Clapper
 1961     Ty Carter
1962     Robert Early
1963     Harry Hurni
 1964     Arthur Warly
1965     Lowell A Swanson
1966     ---
 1967     BW Borkenstein
1968     Robert E Greene
1969     Dale O Wheeler
 1970     Kenneth S Bright
1971     Bruce R Perry
1972     Arthur C Early
 1973     John W Bosch
1974     Philip C Keelan
1975     Meryl Weimaster
 1976     Philip P Perry
1977     Douglas R Preston
1978     Frank R Stokes
 1979    John B Olheiser
1980     John W Bosch
1981     Rod O' Brien
 1982     Tom Tobin
1983     Jerry Carlson
1984     Lowell I Swanson
 1985     Marian E Greene
1986     Robert L Walton
1987     Sam Cupps
 1988     Woody King
1989     Phyllis Bogren
1990     Kathy King
 1991     Tim Brown
1992     Nick Pratt
1993     Judy Haugh
 1994     Jared Arnold
1995     Lonnie Palleschi
1996     Sally Elser
 1997     Al Rowe
1998     Tim Brown
1999     Marty Wagar
 2000     Ray Becker
2001     Mary Sutton
2002     Don Cain
 2003     Sue Cornell
2004     Wayne Wilkinson
2005     David Maturen
 2006     Dennis Field
2007     Rose Rook
2008     Rick Hoffman
 2009     John Jackson
2010     Rick Berner
2011     John Buttery
 2012     Audrey DeVault
2013     Cheri Schulz
2014     Cathy Gasper
 2015     Nancy Fish
2016     Lee Crossley
2017     Gayle Zientek
 2018     Dan Jaqua
2019    Natalie Rowe
2020    Greg Miller
 2021     Bill Evenboer
2022    Shelly Pattison
2023    Suzzette Deaux
2024    Joy Watts