Tahona Epperson of Coldwell Banker Mabery Real Estate is this year's Realtor of the year.
The Sedona Verde Valley Association of Realtors represents and provides education opportunities for about 600 members. The award was presented to Epperson at the Dec. 6 annual installation dinner, where members receive honors and the new president and board members are installed.
Epperson started at Coldwell Banker Mabery Real Estate in 2004, and joined the association shortly after.
"Real estate is one of the most important purchasing decisions people make in their lives," she said. "The gratification of knowing I've been able to help someone is what keeps me fueled in this industry."
A committee of past winners determines who will get an award. Also honored this year were Mike Warren from Arizona Adobe Group, and affiliate of the year Lucy Estrada from Empire Title.
"It's an opportunity to recognize those people who have shown excellent service either within the association or outside in the community," Epperson said.
The association offers members several committees to participate in, focusing on topics like government and education.
She's been a member of the multiple listing service committee since 2005, chairing it for the second time in 2014. This allows agents to see the listings of each association member.
"Listings into MLS allows every agent in our members to view those listings in order to sell those properties," she said. "It's one level of marketing we use in order to get information out to the public."
Epperson is serving on the professional standards committee through 2015, and was the Arizona representative in 2013 and 2014 for the National Association of Realtors' Risk Management Committee.
President Barack Obama signed the Dodd Frank Consumer Protection and Wall Street Reform Act into law in 2010, a response to an economic crisis that started in 2007 and primarily stemmed from high-risk mortgages.
This is Epperson's third year on the risk management committee, providing input on the group's new forms that will help members conform to the new rules that take effect Jan. 1.
"It keeps me highly informed and on the issues that face the real estate industry and private property rights," Epperson said. "I'm able to stay on top of the issues and education and technology by being involved."
Having moved to Sedona in 1995, Epperson worked in a variety of fields for nine years before getting her real estate license.
"When I first started doing real estate, it's all about the transaction - putting the deals together, finding the buyers and sellers," she said. "Once you get involved you realize real estate affects everything.
Epperson said she was enthralled by the homes, how spread out they were and the price tags that came along with having a view of the red rocks.
"I had kids too, so I wanted something that allowed a little more flexibility," she said.
She and her husband Steve Epperson Jr. are raising a blended family of seven children. One child is at Cottonwood Middle School, two at Mingus Union High School, one attending classes at Yavapai College, and a recent ASU graduate.
She's been volunteering in the community since she started at Coldwell Banker, delivering for Meals on Wheels at least once a month and raising money annually for Relay for Life.
When she's not selling local property, Epperson said she likes to cook, knit and go camping with her family at Lake Pleasant and Lake Powell.
"And I love new technology," she said. "Any new gadget or gizmo, I am all over it."