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2021 Awards and Recognition


The Bert L. Thornton President’s Award is given at the President’s discretion to a person(s) who is: committed to the organization, currently engaged in its activities, an effective spokesperson, representative at all times, and in touch with both the needs of other AI professionals and the changes that the organization must help its AI professionals to meet.

The J. Scott Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an AI professional who best demonstrates high ethical standards; contributed to the Appraisal Institute at the chapter, regional, national and/or international level(s); provided service to his or her community; and contributed to the appraisal profession. A minimum of 20 years of service is recommended to be eligible for this award.

The Outstanding Service Award  is presented to an AI professional who has contributed ideas, service hours and dedication to ensure a specific program or effort is implemented at either the chapter, region, national and/or international level(s). This AI professional must be instrumental to the success of the program or effort, which also must be far enough along to measure and provide proof of success. Additionally, the program or effort must be beneficial to chapters, regions, national, international, designated members, candidates, affiliates, practicing affiliates and/or the profession.

The Women's Initiative SPOTLIGHT Award is presented to recognize an AI Professional who has made an important contribution to fostering the growth of women in the valuation profession

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2021 Burt L. Thornton President’s Award Winners

Sherry Engleberg

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Sherry Engleberg has been associated with the Appraisal Institute’s Colorado Chapter since 1988.  She became the executive director in 2008 and the Region II executive director in 2010. 

Engleberg began her association management career in 1985 and has served as executive director for several Colorado associations.  She previously served as office manager for a major Denver company and for a major Washington, DC company.  During her four years in Washington DC, she was thrilled to enjoy a luncheon with First Lady Pat Nixon and attended the Inaugural Ball for then President Richard M. Nixon.

She graduated from Sidney, NE High School, Colorado Women’s College (AA), and while attending CWC, was selected as head cheerleader for Colorado School of Mines and the University of Denver (BA) Alpha Chi Omega Sorority.  She has served as president or board member of many major non-profits in Denver and is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Denver. 

Engleberg enjoys Nebraska Huskers football and spending time with her family. 

Eric P. Haims, MAI, AI-GRS

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Eric P. Haims, MAI, AI-GRS, is a managing director at BBG, Inc. in the New York City office. With 30 years of commercial real estate appraisal and consulting experience, he has appraised thousands of commercial properties located in the Metropolitan New York area and across the country.

Haims’s primary market area is the five boroughs of New York City and his secondary market area is the surrounding Counties of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Nassau, Suffolk, as well as Southern Connecticut/Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey/Bergen, Morris, Essex and Hudson Counties. Haims’s concentration is on Valuation, Litigation and Support Services, Expert Witness Testimony, Arbitrations, Appraisal Review, Discounted Cash Flow Analysis, Estate Tax and Planning, Gift Tax, Matrimonial, Tax Appeal, Consulting, Land Valuation and the Valuation of TDRs.

Haims also specializes in the appraisal of commercial properties for both litigation and condemnation purposes pursuant to eminent domain, including assisting in the preparation of expert witness testimony for both direct and cross examination and the writing of rebuttal reports. He has appeared as an expert witness on real estate valuation in Federal Tax Court, the Surrogates Court of Kings County, United States Bankruptcy Court-Southern District of New York, New York State Supreme Courts in Manhattan, White Plains, Jamaica, Queens and Syracuse, New York and Supreme Court of New Jersey, Hudson County. 

Beata Swacha, CAE, CPA

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Beata Swacha is the chief financial officer for the Appraisal Institute, where she oversees the financial health of the organization, and contributes to its strategic direction. She also leads the Institute’s Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources and Office Services teams.

During her tenure, her efforts have led to strengthening the organization’s financial wellbeing with 11 consecutive years of operating surpluses, as well as more than doubling of the organization’s reserves. With her commitment to efficiency and improvement, she has championed major initiatives including implementation of a program to support chapters’ accounting needs and modernizing the Institute’s more than two-decades-old technology platform.

Swacha serves as the liaison to the Appraisal Institute’s Finance Committee, and is treasurer of the Appraisal Institute Education and Relief Foundation, as well as serves on the Lake Park High School Board of Trustees in Medinah, Illinois. Over the years she has developed and taught various professional development programs covering accounting, budgeting and finance topics.

Swacha has more than 21 years of experience supporting the financial, accounting and operational needs of a wide range of non-profits, including associations and educational organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Loyola University, Chicago, and a Masters of Accountancy degree from DePaul University, Chicago. She has passed the CPA exam and holds the CAE certification.

Shelly H. Tanaka, MAI, AI-GRS

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Shelly Tanaka, MAI, AI-GRS, is vice president and co-owner of John Child & Company, Inc., a Hawaii real estate appraisal and business valuation firm established in 1935. 

Her real estate valuations span a variety of property types on all major islands and have included appraisals of conservation, utility, and right-of-way easements, hospitals, senior living facilities and other complex or limited-market properties.  She has also prepared market assessments, feasibility analyses, and fiscal and economic impact studies for a variety of projects including CCRCs, hotels, shopping centers, and two master-planned communities on Oahu and Maui.  

In addition to her real estate and business valuation appraisals, Tanaka frequently consults with clients on ground lease extensions and negotiations in Hawaii, and has served as an arbitrator and expert witness for both real estate and business valuations.  She has also worked on several class-action lawsuits providing complex and timely analysis to assist in trial preparation and settlement negotiations.

Tanaka served on the Appraisal Institute’s Board of Directors from 2016-20 and was one of two Board members to receive the Edward W. Adams, SRA, Outstanding Board Service Award in 2020.  She also served as vice chair or member of the national Finance Committee during this time and was a member of the Women’s Initiative Committee during its inaugural year.  She continues to serve as chair of the Board of Directors for the Appraisal Institute Education and Relief Foundation, immediate past chair of Region VII and on two project teams for the Appraisal Institute’s Board of Directors. 

Tanaka currently chairs the State of Hawaii Real Estate Appraiser Advisory Committee and sits on the board of directors for Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.  She earned her MBA from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

2021 J. Scott Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Jim Amorin, CAE, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS

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Jim Amorin, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, of Austin, Texas, has been chief executive officer of the Appraisal Institute since August 2018, having served as acting CEO from August 2017 through August 2018. He serves on the organization’s Executive Committee and on its policy-setting Board of Directors as a non-voting member.  

He was the 2009 and 2017 Appraisal Institute president, and has served twice each as the organization’s president-elect, vice president and immediate past president. He also has chaired or served on the Appraisal Institute’s Executive Committee, National Nominating Committee, Finance Committee, Audit Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, General Appraiser Council Admissions Committee, Qualifying Education Committee and the AI Relief Foundation Board of Directors, in addition to region and chapter roles

He received the Appraisal Institute President’s Award in 2012 for work related to the Capstone program as well as work on several project teams. In 2013 he was awarded the Appraisal Institute Education Trust’s Y.T and Louise Lee Lum Award.

Amorin is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in finance and real estate & urban land development. Before becoming Appraisal Institute CEO, he was vice president at Atrium Real Estate Services in Austin.

Arlen C. Mills, MAI, SRPA, SRA

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A long-time member of the Appraisal Institute, Mills received the SRA designation in 1965 and the MAI designation in 1969. Over the decades, he has held many positions in the Appraisal Institute. National positions include the chairmanships of the External Affairs Committee and the Vice Presidents Committee. He served on the Executive Committee for three years. Additionally, he was a member of the Southwest Regional Committee for 12 years.

In 1989, Mills was the recipient of the Y.T. and Louise Lee Lum Award from the Appraisal Institute. During the early 1990s, he contributed to the development the USPAP Guidelines and Appraiser Qualifications, as well as the original USPAP course.  In 1993 he received the Appraisal Institute's Percy and Betty Wagner Award for advancement of appraisal education and knowledge. He also received the Appraisal Institute's George L. Schmutz Award for his special contribution to the advancement of appraisal knowledge through his publications on residential appraisal report form preparation. On Oct. 5, 1996, The Appraisal Foundation Board of Trustees elected Mills to membership of The Appraisal Foundation in Washington, DC. He served on the five-member Appraiser Qualifications Board for a number of years and was chair from 2000-01. 

Mills has been an instructor and lecturer since 1965. Additionally, he has over the past 30 years written valuation courses including: “The Valuation of Apartment Properties,” “The Small Residential Income Property Appraisal Report,” “The Individual Condominium Unit Appraisal Report,” “Communicating the Appraisal: the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report” and “Communicating the Appraisal: the Individual Condominium or PUD Unit Appraisal Report.”

Mills has served on AI’s national faculty for decades, during which time he has taught:

  • “15 Hour USPAP”
  • “7 Hour USPAP”
  • “Basic Appraisal Principles”
  • “Basic Appraisal Procedures”
  • “Residential Report Writing and Case Studies”
  • “Residential Market Analysis and Highest and Best Use”
  • “Residential Site Valuation and Cost Approach”
  • “Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches”
  • “High Value Historic Homes”
  • “Residential Litigation”
  • “Commercial Site Valuation and Cost Approach”
  • “Sales Comparison of Small Mixed-Use Properties”
  • “Alternative Uses and Cost Valuation of Mixed-Use Properties”
  • “Income Approach for Small Mixed-Use Properties”
Terrell R. Oetzel, MAI

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Terrell R. Oetzel, MAI, has been completing real estate appraisals and counseling since receiving his Masters Degree from Michigan State University (College of Agricultural Economics), majoring in real estate appraising. He initially started working for Donald V. Whipp, Jr., MAI, CRE, during the summer of 1963. Following graduation in June of 1964, he continued to work for Mr. Whipp. His primary responsibilities were the collection of data and the analysis of data collected for appraisals and counseling.

As experience was gained, he started to write appraisal reports. The majority of the work involved investment type real estate (commercial, industrial, and apartments).

Oetzel received his MAI designation in November of 1971. Since that time, he has continued to complete real estate appraisal and counseling assignments.

Oetzel has appraised and counseled on many types of real estate including fee simple interests, leased fee interests and leasehold interests.

Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, AI-RRS

Scott Robinson headshot

Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, AI-RRS of Salisbury, North Carolina, for whom the award is named, served as the Appraisal Institute’s 2016 president.  He was a leader in the organization and the valuation profession worldwide for decades before his tragic passing in January 2021.

Robinson’s leadership and service didn’t begin or end with his work with the Appraisal Institute. He led a life dedicated to service, including decades of service to his community.

Robinson was engaged in real property appraisal and consulting since 1987, when he joined Robinson Associates, the firm his father started in the 1960s with a focus on commercial real property valuation, litigation support, forensic appraisal, expert witness, and review appraisal. 

Robinson was actively involved with the Appraisal Institute since 1987, including a four-year term on the national Board of Directors. He served in all offices for the North Carolina Chapter and was active at the regional and national levels of the Appraisal Institute for 30 years. 

Robinson was a trained instructor for the Appraisal Institute whom many considered their mentor. He presented around the United States and in over 20 countries on many valuation issues.

Since 2014, Robinson served as a vice president for World Association of Valuation Organizations and was to serve as its 2022-23 president.  He was about to be installed into the Appraisal Standards Board. Additionally, he served on the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition since 2014 and was on its Executive Committee.

He also received an honorary membership from the Romanian Appraisal Society, ANEVAR.

Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in 1981 from Wake Forest University. He served his community for many years including positions as chair of the Salisbury Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Adjustment, Secretary for the Church Council at St. John’s Lutheran Church, and Secretary for the Board of Trustees of Salisbury Academy.  An Eagle Scout, Scott served on the county's Eagle Scout Board of Review and was an assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 443.  Scott was a recipient of the Hickson Fellowship from Kiwanis International, and a two-time recipient of the Appraisal Institute’s President’s award.

2021 Outstanding Service Award Winners

Ryan L. Zink, MAI

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Ryan L. Zink, MAI, is the senior managing director of Valbridge Property Advisors – Tampa. Zink graduated from Indiana University in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in real estate finance.  Shortly after, he began his real estate appraisal career in Anderson, Indiana at American United Appraisals before joining Clayton, Roper & Marshall in Orlando, Florida in 2001.  Zink also worked for several years at Integra Realty Resources – Orlando and Grubb & Ellis as managing director before forming Capstone Valuation Advisors with his two partners, Scott R. Tew, MAI and James Toro, MAI, SRA, in 2012.  During a seven-year period, Capstone had grown to six office locations throughout the state of Florida before Capstone joined Valbridge Property Advisors in 2019.  Zink currently oversees the day-to-day operations in Tampa and a broader market area that also includes Orlando, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

Zink’s experience includes a wide range of asset types including institutional grade assets, restaurants, gas station/convenience stores, healthcare, self-storage, residential subdivisions, agricultural properties, wetlands, conservation easements, mitigation banks, golf courses and a wide range of other property types.  Current and former clients include the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, financial institutions, pension funds, insurance companies and private ownership groups.  Zink has also provided litigation support to wide range of clients and has been qualified as an expert witness in circuit and bankruptcy courts.

Zink has held a variety of positions with the Appraisal Institute over the past 20 years, including the East Florida Chapter - president, Region X director, Education & Relief Trust Fund – trustee, and University Relations Committee – chair.  Zink has helped lead the efforts over the past several years to form the newly created University Relations Committee.  This committee has been tasked with i) establishing and maintaining relationships with universities and colleges; (ii) providing networking opportunities, mentorships and career outreach programs for individuals in graduate and undergraduate programs; (iii) fostering the growth of the valuation profession; and (iv) increasing the AI presence and advancing AI education with universities and colleges.

2021 Women's Initiative SPOTLIGHT Award

Sara W. Stephens, MAI, AI-GRS

Sara Stephens

Sara W. Stephens, MAI, AI-GRS, is president and owner of Richard A. Stephens & Associates, Inc., a Little Rock, Arkansas real estate appraisal firm established in 1967 by her late husband Richard A. Stephens, MAI, AI-GRS, SRA.  Her practice focuses on appraisal review, condemnation, and eminent domain assignments, completing assignments for both property owners and condemning entities.  She provides litigation support as well as easement valuation and acquisition. 

Stephens served as President of the Appraisal Institute in 2012, the second woman to hold the position.  She has testified before Congress, served on the Appraisal Institute’s Board of Directors, Admissions Designation and Qualifications Committee, Chaired the Audit Committee, and has been an LDAC discussion leader.  In addition, she served on the initial International Property Measurement Standards Coalition. 

Stephens currently serves on the International Relations Committee and several project teams. She is an active member of the Arkansas Chapter, serving two terms as president, and is a member of its Board of Directors.

She is currently a member of the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board.

Stephens is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a Master of Arts, in Secondary Education with Emphasis in Mathematics, and received a Bachelor of Science Degree, Magna Cum Laude, with emphasis in Mathematics and English from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).

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