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Real Estate Apprentice Announces Top 10 Finalists

  • ALISO VIEJO, CA, September 7, 2007 – The Real Estate Apprentice Foundation has just announced the Top 10 Finalists for Season Five for its bi-annual national grant program. According to Stefan Swanepoel, founder of the Real Estate Apprentice Foundation, “This group of finalists is especially unique and strong as the first 6 months of 2006 have been a tough real estate market. The final selection by the judges from the 30 semi-finalists was very difficult as numerous candidates really featured strongly.”

    The Top 10 finalists come from widely varied backgrounds and represent an excellent cross section of the industry today:

    Jo Anne Armstrong worked in the fashion industry drafting patterns for designers. She grew up in a suburb of St. Louis through Elementary school and was in the gifted music program playing clarinet and violin. Jo Anne moved to Texas for college where she majored in Fashion Design, won a national design competition with Geoffrey Beene and was awarded an internship. She received her licensing courses through Champions School of Real Estate, a RealtyU School in Texas.

    Julie Baker of Overland Park, Kansas is a rookie agent working full time with Prudential Kansas City. She received her real estate education at Career Education Systems, a RealtyU School in Kansas, and has a diverse background including horse training, coaching track and martial arts. Julie is also a personal fitness trainer and has worked in supply chain management for a global company. She has a degree in Human Relations Management.

    David Gongora studied for his license at Gold Coast School of Real Estate, a RealtyU School in Florida. David was born in Newark, NJ where his family’s dexterity to overcome fueled his desire for education and he launched his own online federal sales consulting business in 2001, which is now the 2nd largest in the country. In 2004 he was elected to serve as community councilman for Miami-Dade county area 8-82 and served on the planning and zoning appeals board. He graduated with his bachelors in business administration majoring in Real Estate and Finance from Florida International University in 2006 and is currently part of Hialeah Industrial Real Estate, serving both the commercial and residential real estate markets.

    Mark Gipple joined Keller Williams Realty after a career in marketing for Fortune Companies. Leadership and a strong work ethic were ingrained early being the oldest of six children on a farm in southwest Iowa. In 1989, Mark graduated from high school early and immediately enrolled at Iowa State University (ISU), becoming a first generation college student from his family. He received his licensing courses from Career Education Systems, a RealtyU School located in Kansas City.

    Marjorie Hernandez was a recruiter for the US Navy prior to entering the real estate profession. She was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and moved to the United States when she was 14 years old. As a civilian she continued her career in electricity and electronics until 1998 when she enrolled in college as a full-time engineering student. After 9/11 she was recalled to active duty and served 18 months as a member of the Navy Police. Marjorie joined the Spring, Texas office of Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors in Houston. She received her licensing courses from Champions School of Real Estate, also a RealtyU School located in Houston.

    Kathy Hines was born and raised in Mississippi where her father told her, “if you are going to do something, Texas is a good place to do it.” Kathy has a broad work experience including investment banking and interior design and holds a Bachelors Degree. She also received her real estate training from Champions Real Estate School at their Dallas facility. Kathy practices real estate fulltime with Century 21 Judge Fite in Richardson, Texas a Dallas suburb.

    Teresa Russell is a former luxury hotel manager and business owner. Her business, The Wedding Company, planned events and from weddings to corporate outings in the Washington D.C. area. Teresa received her real estate education and pre-license training through Champions School of Real Estate in Houston, Texas and now works for Nino and Associates in the same city.

    Kent Simpson is a native of Las Cruces, NM, where his family has farmed their land since 1932. The desire to travel and experience different places led Kent to the restaurant business; leading from the Southwest to a host of locales from Washington to Miami, Naples, Vail and others. The decision to enter real estate was a natural progression: passion for people with desire to have an influence on the region’s growth. He received his real estate training at Hogan School of Real Estate, a RealtyU School in Tucson, and has become an affiliate with Prudential Foothills Real Estate in the same city.

    Rachael Townsley was involved in sports, Arabian horse showing, math and science activities and was a Valedictorian in high school. She completed a 4yr degree in 2 ½ yrs at Texas Tech while maintaining a 3.81 GPA and working at an insurance agency. She attended the Academy of Regulated Real Estate Courses, a RealtyU School in Lubbock, Texas, and works fulltime for HomeIndex, REALTORS, also in Lubbock.

    Annie Whistlers was born in Hanoi, Vietnam and earned a BA in Tourism and English in addition to her MBA from Webster University. Annie was a business manager for Choa Vietnam Travel and has a strong entrepreneurial background and dedication to advanced education. She also received her licensing courses from Career Education Systems in Kansas and is working part-time for Air Capital Real Estate, LLC, located in Rose Hill, Kansas
    The winner along with the first and second runner-up selected will be announced on Wednesday, September 12, 2007. For more information visit www.RealEstateApprentice.com.