It’s 7 degrees on a January morning and Jeffrey L. Smith is cooking up comfort food — metts, brats, mashed potatoes — for fellow Star One Realtors staff in Fort Mitchell. “I’m a five-star chef on a one-burner stove,” Smith quips.

Tough conditions — the weather, a Bunsen burner, a frightening real estate climate — don’t faze a guy who has been in the business for 33 years and helped lead the complicated 1995 merger of Northern Kentucky Realtor organizations. Smith’s lengthy resume reveals someone who is deeply invested in the industry on local, state and national levels.

In September, Smith will be sworn in as president of the Kentucky Association of Realtors during the 13,000-member body’s annual convention at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. The job entails being closely involved with state legislative initiatives, the Kentucky Real Estate Commission, education and national lobbying efforts.

As president-elect, Smith already sees specific challenges. KAR’s membership is down 10 percent, and Realtors have important bills on the table in Frankfort that address workers compensation and how to handle non-resident brokers who dip in for special deals.

Smith, a broker, handles both residential and small commercial sales regionally, specializing in his native Boone County. Janie Wilson, who until recently was president of the Northern Kentucky Realtor body, appreciates how much he helped her during her tenure. “He’s a matter-of-fact person, level-headed, and he gives you that calming reassurance,” Wilson says. “I’m looking forward to his (KAR) presidency.”

Drees Homes has been designated a 5-Star Plus Energy Star builder by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The fancy language means Drees routinely builds homes that are at least 15 percent more energy efficient than those built to the 2004 International Residential Code.
Drees built 125 Energy Star homes in Ohio alone from October 2006 to September 2007, EPA statistics show — more than any other builder except Columbus-based Beazer.

Reggie Tarantino was elected president of the Southeast Indiana Board of Realtors. Tarantino co-founded the Century 21 Home Team in Greendale in 1998, after working for Coldwell Banker West Shell. A former Hidden Valley resident, she’s building a home in scenic Guilford.
Builder Resources founder Bill Heckman wasted no time bringing in new talent at Huff Realty, where he is now general manager. Huff named Jennifer Burger as the new marketing director (she previously held the same job at Builder Resources) and Patricia A. Fouts as director of placement. Burger, of West Chester, has an MBA in marketing from the University of Cincinnati. Fouts, of Villa Hills, has worked for years in sales, personnel and office management for various firms. “I have a lot of empathy for people getting started in sales,” says Fouts, who will help new agents launch their Huff careers at its 12 offices in Ohio and Kentucky.

Kate Bridgman is the new special projects coordinator for the University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center. The UC grad and former leasing agent for North Ridge Real Estate will organize the center’s Roundtable events, its Real Estate Executive Advisory Council and the university’s Board of Executive Advisors in Real Estate.

Jennifer Harris of Re/Max in Florence, was named the Region 5 director for the Kentucky Board of Realtors, while Rebecca Trout of Huff Realty will serve as an at-large delegate on the KAR leadership team this year.


David Metz has been promoted to senior vice president for land sales and acquisitions at NAI Bergman in Blue Ash. Metz heads a sales and leasing team that includes his two sons and wife, Cindy. He has been with the firm since 2003.

Notice the explosion of Cincinnati real estate blogs? Some of my favorites include Sibcy Cline’s Bill Garland, who weighs in nearly daily on breaking industry news (, and Amy Broghamer’s earnest, practical advice ( She’s with Re/Max, as is Kevin Duffy, who offers his pickup truck for philanthropic efforts at his personality-filled but awkward site
( Probably the sauciest RE blog out there belongs to marketer extraordinaire Peter Chabris ( Recent headlines there: “Cincinnati Realtors: Trim The Fat!!” and “Who Wants To Spend the Next 4 Saturdays in a Car?!”

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