The Santa Fe Association of Realtors (SFAR) roars into the New Year by announcing several awards presented at its recent Realtor of the Year dinner held at the Eldorado Hotel with a fun, jungle theme.

John Shepler was honored with the 2019 Realtor of the Year award. John is the owner and qualifying broker of Shepler Commercial LLC, formed in 2009, and has been offering commercial real-estate services since 1984. He was a 2011 recipient of the National Association of Realtors award for outstanding achievement in the commercial real-estate industry and 2009 Special Recognition award from SFAR.

Earning his CCIM (certified commercial investment member) in 2010, he has offered his commercial leadership skills by serving as SFAR’s Commercial Council chair from 1999 to 2010. Since 1999, John has been a director of the association’s board in various capacities, currently serving as secretary/treasurer. As a volunteer, John has been instrumental in using his commercial real estate skills to guide both local and state Realtor organization leases and purchases.

The Realtor of the Year award is based on how the awardee upholds and exemplifies the Realtor Code of Ethics, industry professionalism, community service, and participation in local, state and national Realtor associations.

Gary Wallace, a Realtor with TERRA Santa Fe, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to real-estate service and volunteerism. Gary has served as a member of both local and state Realtor association boards, along with years of service on the bylaws, community services, grievance, multiple listing service and professional standards committees.

He was honored with the Santa Fe Realtor of the Year award in 2006 and New Mexico Realtor of the Year in 2015. His most recent volunteer service has been in helping to guide the development of an ombudsman program. Gary is a past president and member of the Stanley Mathis Foundation devoted to funding Realtor education and development across New Mexico. He is a major donor to the Realtors Political Action Committee and state Benevolent Fund.

Monica Partridge, a Realtor affiliated with Coldwell Banker Trails West, was honored with the 2019 Rookie of the Year award. Since her start in real estate a year ago, Monica has become an integral member of several association committees, including Community Service, Education and Membership. She is a very active member of the Women’s Council of Realtors, volunteering regularly even though she does not hold an official title.

The 2019 Affiliate of the Year Award was given to Istvan Zsako, owner of Zsako Inspections. Istvan is a licensed residential and commercial contractor who is a certified home inspector by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and AHIT (American Home Inspection Training). He was instrumental in helping get home inspectors recently licensed by providing testimony and engaging legislators. Since 2012, Istvan has been a member of the association’s Affiliate Committee and a very active supporter of both SFAR and Women’s Council of Realtors events. His nominees lauded his integrity and professional attitude.

Ray Rush with Sotheby’s International Real Estate was honored with the 2019 Legacy award for his service to the real-estate community. As noted by many of his nominees, Ray Rush is considered a “living legend” who has mentored numerous Realtors over the years. Acknowledged as a broker for his demonstrated ethical and professional service, Ray is a past recipient of the Realtor of the Year award and a past president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. His peers shared how he leads by example, freely offering his talents and expertise to others with many noting his generous support given towards the Dollars 4 Schools program.

Paco Arguello is chief executive of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. Contact him at 982-8385 or

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