2023 Magel Award Recipient

Michael Theo, RCE, CAE

Michael Theo, RCE, CAE, CEO of the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, is the 2023 Magel Award Recipient. NAR generally recognizes winners at the May REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, but Michael is retiring at the end of 2023. The Association Executives Committee will additionally recognize him at the AE Institute in San Diego in March 2024.


Read More About Michael

Mike Theo joined the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association staff in 1985, managing the association’s legal, legislative, political, research and public relations operations. In 2011 he was named President and CEO of the Association. He holds the REALTOR® Association Certified Executive (RCE) designation from the National Association of REALTORS® and the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives. In addition to being a past chair of NAR’s Association Executives Committee, Mike has been active in a number of organizations in the Madison community, including the following:

  • Board of Advisors, Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, UW-Madison School of Business
  • Past Chairman, Wisconsin Society of Association Executives
  • Board of Directors, The Madison Club
  • Board of Directors, Wisconsin Education Business Roundtable
  • Executive Committee, Competitive Wisconsin Inc.
  • Chairman, 2017 Association Executives Committee – National Association of REALTORS®

Mike will be recognized as the 2023 William R. Magel Award of Excellence recipient during the 2024 Joint AE Institute in San Diego in March.


The William R. Magel Award of Excellence is presented annually to an individual who has truly excelled in his or her role as an association executive of a REALTOR® association.

The most compelling candidates are those who are well-known within the AE community, with an extensive record of participation, mentorship and contributions that is consistent with the Award’s qualifications. The Magel Award recipient should be a person of such achievement and stature that we all say “of course,” when the recipient is announced.

View the list of past recipients

Who Was William R. Magel?

William R. Magel began his career as an executive officer in 1956 at the Kalamazoo Board of REALTORS®, Michigan. He also served as executive vice president of the Bronx Board of REALTORS®, New York; executive vice president of the New York State Association of REALTORS®; executive vice president of the REALTORS® National Marketing Institute; administrative vice president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®; and senior staff vice president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He was appointed to begin service January 1, 1979, as executive vice president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® before he suffered from a heart attack and passed away on July 19, 1978.


All paid local, state, and regional MLS association chief staff officers are eligible. Eligibility must be confirmed before the nomination is processed. Individuals receiving this award are to be thoroughly screened and evaluated to make sure that the distinction of this award remains the highest, and it is truly an honor that will never be taken passively by association executives of the REALTOR® association.

Award Criteria

The candidate must have served at least ten (10) years, prior to nomination, in the capacity of either a chief executive officer of a local or state association of REALTORS®, or a combination of both. The candidate must have served at least one (1) term as a member of the Association Executives Committee. The candidate must have exhibited leadership abilities in his/her capacity as an association executive.

A statement shall be obtained from the local or state association for whom he or she served as executive officer specifying in detail the manner in which the candidate excelled in serving his or her respective organization.

Nomination Procedures

Nominations for the Magel Award are now closed. The 2024 nomination process will open in Fall 2024.

Nominations may be submitted by any person other than the candidate and must be accompanied by a letter prepared by the person making the nomination, setting forth the details of the nominee’s accomplishments and contributions consistent with the criteria.

Up to five recommendation letters will be permitted. In the Recommendations and Recognition Advisory Board's experience, the best letters are those that bring to light or emphasize intangible qualities that cannot be communicated through objective sources such as lists of committee participation.

At the Recommendations and Recognition Advisory Board's discretion, applications may be carried over for one year. In those instances, the nominator will be contacted and will have an opportunity to update the application packet.

Selection Timeline

The name of the recipient will be announced during the Association Executives Committee meeting at NAR NXT, The REALTOR® Experience. The recipient will receive a personalized plaque at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings.

Questions regarding the William R. Magel Award of Excellence may be directed to Cynthia Bair at 800-874-6500, x3280, or cbair@nar.realtor.