NORTH COUNTY — Local realtor Rocky DeVon was named ‘2022 Realtor of the Year’ by the North Central Washington Association of Realtors (NCWAR).
Annually, NCWAR recognizes one member who has done exceptional work to advance their associations and the real estate industry with the Realtor of the Year award.
DeVon, 57, who is in his 22nd year of real estate sales, founded Oroville RE/MAX Lake and Country nearly 20 years ago.
He has served as the NCWAR Regional Director for Okanogan, Douglas and Chelan Counties since 2006 and as the Washington Director since 2009.
DeVon was raised in Oroville. His family’s ranch is over 135 years old.
“I’m told we have the oldest homestead in Oroville. It’s basically everything between the Similkameen River and Highway 97 ,” said DeVon.
He said his start in real estate was unexpected and the opportunity came while helping fellow apple orchardist Stan Porter.
“Back in the day, we were a fairly large grower, for the times. At the end of harvest I would always ask if anyone needed help or a crew,” said DeVon.
Upon learning Porter needed help after a series of unfortunate events and a health crisis, DeVon jumped on the opportunity to assist.
“I took my crew out, a semi, forklift and three tractors and about 30 of my crew. I picked his orchard for him,” said DeVon.
Porter, who was known as “Happy Stan, the Real Estate Man ” owned Sun Lakes Realty, one of Oroville’s longest running successful businesses.
“When Stan got back from the hospital he thanked me and asked me to join him in real estate,” said DeVon.
DeVon said he was happy being a farmer. Porter continued to encourage him to join him in real estate.
According to DeVon, in 2000 “the apple industry took a hard turn off the edge of a cliff and crashed” and he decided to take his orchards out.
“For a little while I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said DeVon.
He hauled apples and drove trucks, anything he could think of to make a living.
DeVon got his real estate license at the beginning of 2002 and has never looked back.
“We are right at the beginning of the twentieth year,” he said.
Real estate has changed a lot over the years.
“We used to have to drive to the county to get property information,” said DeVon.
He said he learned to integrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into his ability to find property.
“I learned to export maps into handheld GPS, long before that was a thing. That gave me a huge technological advantage over everyone else for more than ten years,” said DeVon.
When he started at Oroville Realty, DeVon said he was fortunate.
“They didn’t have a land agent. I didn’t have anyone to teach me the old ways. I had to learn new ways on my own. Technology was my forte,” said DeVon.
A client recently told DeVon, they appreciate RE/MAX Lake and Country, and are glad they listed with them, because of the modern way the company goes about things and the wisdom that comes from experience.
“They felt they had the best of both worlds,” said DeVon.
Keeping up with the changing times and respecting the past, DeVon said, has been part of his success. His experience in reality includes the fall of the housing market in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic. DeVon said the first couple of months of the pandemic absolutely killed business.
“I approached Pat Davisson and Dwayne Birmingham at the two grocery stores and told them if they had people who needed groceries delivered, and were afraid to go out, I would do that. Pat took me up on it. I spent my days out delivering groceries to the people for free, just to have something to do. I didn’t know what to do with myself,” he said.
DeVon said then everything changed and he did a year’s worth of business in five months.
“I was working 18 t0 20 hours a day, seven days a week,” said DeVon.
He currently serves as Scoutmaster for Oroville and Tonasket Boy Scout Troop 26.
“I’ve been a scout leader for 26 years. I’m on my third term of being Scoutmaster. I’ve also been a Cubmaster three times. Walt Hart was my Scoutmaster when I was a Boy Scout and stayed involved with scouting with me, up until just a couple of years ago. Walt finally decided to retire,” said DeVon.
DeVon has worn many hats within the community and said he has received several awards including 2015 Community Service Award in recognition of outstanding service to the real estate industry and community.
He is the current Oroville Chamber of Commerce President.
“We are putting on the Fourth of July fireworks show this year. We have a lot of people coming on board who want to help make our events even bigger, and better for next year. It’s going really, really well,” said DeVon.
He said he started out in life wanting to be a farmer. He has done that and so much more.
“I think God gave me unique skill sets. He opens the right doors, gives me a shove and away I go,” said DeVon.