Kurt and Levine

Kurt Brueckner of Titus Brueckner and Levine PLC accepts the Sterling Award for Small Business alongside partner Matthew Levine to his right.

The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce held its 33rd annual Sterling Awards ceremony on Nov. 16 to honor local organizations that have benefited Scottsdale both through their services and their other contributions to the community.

The event, which was Harry Potter-themed this year, featured an array of elaborate props and set pieces, including a custom-made “Phoenix” podium that resembled the podium in the popular films.

Scottsdale Area Chamber President and CEO Mark Stanton said the awards recognize the individuals and businesses “that make our community a place to live, work and thrive.”

Each award was announced via video by prominent executives from sponsors Prestige Cleaners, Cox Business, Banner Behavioral Health and APS, who donned their best wizarding regalia and performed some magic – with the help of a green screen.

The well-attended event featured a slew of notable guests, including Mayor Jim Lane, who turned out along with Scottsdale’s business community.

Scottsdale Area Chamber President CEO Stanton said the awards recognize the individuals and businesses “that make our community a place to live, work and thrive.”

Micro Business – Justo’s Gym

The southern Scottsdale gym beat out Lux Transportation and public relations firm Technical Solutions for the award in the Micro business category.

“The lion’s share of membership for all chambers of commerce is micro business – those companies of five or fewer employees that really risk it all to find success,” Stanton said.

The gym offers classes that feature physical training and martial arts and a variety of services, including an infrared sauna and red light therapy.

Justo’s gym also provides classes tailored for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and disabilities.

The company also offers free weekend boot camp classes.

Owner Steven Patton said he operated the gym out of his garage for seven years before it outgrew the space and required a retail storefront.

He credited his family and his customers for their success.

Small Business – Titus Brueckner & Levine, PLC

The law firm, which is celebrating its 30th year in business, beat out tour company Arizona Outdoor Fun and small business software provider Swiftpage for the award in the Small Business category.

Titus Brueckner & Levine is a full-service business law firm that provides services in real estate and construction, banking, estate planning, intellectual property and other commercial categories.

The firm has been a member of the Chamber since it began operations three decades ago and since then, its partners have served in chamber leadership and offered its services pro bono to the organization.

The company’s leadership and employees also donate to and volunteer with many local organizations, including Arizona Kidney Fountain, Congregation of Chadash, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Scottsdale Charro Foundation and many more.

“You can do a lot of things in this life but if you don’t give back, you really haven’t lived a life,” said John Titus.

Big Business

The award for Big Business went to Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. The company beat out Plexus and V.I.P. Mortgage Inc. for the honor.

An ultra-luxury real estate services company, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s has 11 offices and over 900 agents. The company was ranked third in sales volume in Arizona and 47th in the country in 2017, with over $3.3 billion in sales, according to data from Real Trends.

The company also has a history of giving back to the community, having worked with organizations like Russ Lyon Charitable Foundation, Hospice of the Valley, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and more.

Chairman Jim Lyon, whose grandfather started the company in 1947, thanked his CEO Todd Gillenwater, President Deems Dickinson and employees for helping them earn the award.

Lyon said that in the end, “our business is all about relationships” and touted his company’s exceptional customer service record.


The non-profit award went to Community Celebrating Diversity, an organization founded in 1993 to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and promote diversity in Scottsdale.

The local Valley of the Sun YMCA and Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health, or NOAH, were also up for the award.

Community Celebrating Diversity holds MLK Day events, diversity education programs and collaborates with Scottsdale Unified School District to present a Youth Voices Program.

The organization also gives out scholarships to college-bound high school students.

President Ray Brooks took the stage with former board member Don Logan, who helped start the organization at a time when the state of Arizona had refused to recognize King with an official state holiday.

“At a time of immense political tension and a time of social instability that was going on right here in this state, Don had the courage to stand up and advocate for something he believed strongly in that didn’t have to do with, necessarily, race and civil rights, but had to do with equality and value of human beings…” Brooks said. 

Jim Lyon, chairman of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, accepts the Sterling Award for Big Business. He heads the high-end realty company started by his grandfather in 1947.