REBNY’s Commercial Management Leadership Awards Celebrate Unsung Heroes of NYC’s Real Estate Industry

L&L Holding Company’s Hank M. Celestino is named Commercial Management Executive of the Year at 13th annual breakfast event

Keynote speaker Ric Clark shares his “placemaking” vision for Brookfield’s developments

A record 1,000 real estate industry professionals gathered to celebrate outstanding leaders in commercial property management at the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) 13th Annual Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast on June 2, 2016.

“Running high quality, high service commercial buildings that make up the iconic New York City skyline requires the best in class,” said John H. Banks, III, REBNY President. “We are proud to annually celebrate the leadership and civic contributions of these unsung heroes who comprise the heart and soul of our industry.”

Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast 2016 - Newsroom

Among the exceptional commercial property management leaders presented with top honors:

  • Hank M. Celestino of L&L Holding Company, LLC was honored with theEdward A. Riguardi Commercial Management Executive of the Year Award
  • Louis J. Mantia of Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. took home the John M. Griffin Community Service Award
  • Mark Windt of Jones Lang LaSalle won the On-Site Manager of the Year Award
  • Michael Aisner of RXR Property Management LLC was named winner of thePortfolio Manager of the Year Award
  • Noel Gerena of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc. was awarded the Small Building Engineer of the Year Award
  • Dennis Rozario of Brookfield Properties took home the Large Building Engineer of the Year Award
  • Edward Dillahunt of Fisher Brothers won the Security Professional of the Year Award
  • Maritza Garcia of Edison Properties was honored with the Porter of the Year Award
  • Ryan Waggner of Vornado Realty Trust won the Rising Star of the Year Award
  • RXR Realty’s 450 Lexington Avenue was unveiled as the winner of theBest Engine Room Award. The award was accepted by Michael Placente (Chief Engineer) and Nick Mazzola (Assistant Chief Engineer).

The event, held in the Grand Ballroom at the New York Hilton, included a keynote speech by Ric Clark, Senior Managing Partner of Brookfield Asset Management and Chairman of Brookfield Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, in which he shared an update about Brookfield’s latest global activity. Clark explained the concept of "placemaking” in recognition of the changing demands in how the next generation prefers to work.

“It dawned on us that our customers aren’t the companies signing leases with us in commercial buildings, but really their workforce – mostly that 20 to 30-something demographic group that is responsible for driving most of the productivity in today’s business. This is the group that we feel our developments need to appeal to and help facilitate their productivity and innovation,” he said. “They have a desire to have work/life/play balance, but they need to shift from one to the other immediately, so everything needs to be adjacent.”

Clark identified public transportation, residential communities, and great amenities and retail as the components necessary for this demographic to have access to and explained how Brookfield’s desire to build places that will attract retail and motivate millennials gave birth to their concept for Brookfield Place.

Additionally, it was announced at the breakfast that Sustainability Boot Camp – an energy efficiency and sustainability training pilot program for New York building managers, superintendents, operators and engineers, which launched this past March – would be extended through the end of 2016 offering courses for BOMA’s Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) training. The boot camp is presented by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, in collaboration with REBNY, the Building Owners and Managers Association of New York (BOMA NY), and Urban Green Council, and sponsored by CodeGreen Solutions, ConEdison Solutions, National Grid, NORESCO, and Zones.

About the Commercial Management Leadership Award Winners:

Hank M. Celestino, Executive Vice President of Management and Construction atL&L Holding Company, LLC, who was honored with the coveted Edward A. Riguardi Commercial Management Executive of the Year Award, is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company’s diverse, six million-square-foot New York City portfolio of trophy properties. Among his accomplishments since his first years in the industry working as a tradesman and site work equipment operator, Hank has played an integral role in major redevelopment initiatives including 114 Fifth Avenue, 222 Broadway, 200 Fifth Avenue and 195 Broadway. He has also guided the engineering, planning and installation for all of L&L Holding’s large major capital projects. Additionally, Hank has served a number of charitable endeavors including the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, Friends of Karen, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Northern Westchester Hospital Foundation, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and Mt. Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital.

Louis J. Mantia – who recently retired from his post as Senior Managing Director atCushman & Wakefield, Inc. and more than 40 year career in property management – was presented with the John M. Griffin Community Service Award by John Griffin, Sr.  Lou managed a 10 million-square-foot portfolio while at Cushman & Wakefield and gave generously to the industry serving BOMA NY as a Board Member, on its Preparedness, Energy/Sustainability and Advocacy Teams, and as chair of the international Government Affairs, Energy and Environmental Committees. He was also recognized by peers for his devotion to civic betterment through his service as Chair of the Covenant House New York Lifeline Organization and with Mercy Home for Children.

Mark Windt, Senior Vice President at Jones Lang LaSalle, took home the On-Site Manager of the Year Award presented by Gaston Silva of Vornado Realty Trust, co-chair of REBNY’s Commercial Management Board of Directors. In his role as the agent for ownership at 1285 Avenue of the Americas, Mark and his team transformed the 1.7 million-square-foot, 54 year-old asset into a highly sought after destination for prestigious office tenants and played an integral rule in securing long-term lease extensions for UBS, Paul Weiss and BBDO. Mark holds a NYS Real Estate Salesperson's license and a LEED-GA designation, sits on the Board of Directors for the Avenue of the Americas Association, and served in the armed forces.

Michael Aisner, Assistant Vice President and Portfolio Property Manager at RXR Property Management LLC, was named winner of the Portfolio Manager of the Year Award.  In addition to overseeing six of RXR’s assets totaling over six million square feet, colleagues recognized Michael’s skill for addressing hurdles that limit the effectiveness of management teams by providing expertise to various groups within the organization and developing standardization practices. Michael serves on the REBNY Commercial Management Council (CMC), BOMA Codes & Regulations Committee, and Board of Directors for the New York Energy Consumers Council and Torch Foundation Children’s Charity. He also teaches a night class in Property Management at the NYU School of Professional Studies Schack Institute of Real Estate.

Noel Gerena, of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc. and member of Local 94, was honored with the Small Building Engineer of the Year Award presented by Howard Styles of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local Union No. 94. After starting four years ago as a handyman overseeing demolition and new construction within 101 Avenue of the Americas,  Noel took refrigeration license classes and obtained his Refrigeration Certificate of Fitness which earned him the position of Engineer and later, promotion to Lead Engineer. His peers highlighted admiration for his energy, ambition, willingness to accept challenges and hard work to accomplish his goals.

Dennis Rozario, Chief Engineer for Brookfield Properties, won the Large Building Engineer of the Year Award for his outstanding leadershiprelationship with tenants, can-do attitude, and mentorship to his staff of seventeen engineers. The 25-year property management veteran and Local Union 94 member started his career as an engineer’s assistant in 1990 at Brookfield’s 245 Park Avenue South and followed his career goals to become a Chief Engineer in 2002 for One Liberty Plaza, a 2.3 million-square-foot, Class-A office tower with 10,000 tenants. In this role, he has achieved Energy Star certification and LEED-EB Gold qualification (USGBC) for the property, among other notable energy saving projects. Dennis is a United States Marine Corp. veteran who served both in the United States and abroad.

Edward Dillahunt, who recently retired from his position as FSD/Security Guard atFisher Brothers Management and was a member of Local 32BJ, took home the Security Professional of the Year Award. Recognized by his peers as a loyal and dedicated employee, Eddie managed 605 Third Avenue for 40 years. After starting at Fisher Brothers in 1971, working as a messenger/mail clerk in the corporate office at 299 Park Avenue, Eddie’s strong work ethic contributed to his resulting promotions at 605 Third Avenue. His supervisors identified his unwavering commitment, reliability, professionalism, team player mindset, and mentorship to new guards as exemplary attributes for this award.

Maritza Garcia, a Union Shop Steward - Night Porter at Edison Properties and member of Local 32BJ, took home the Porter of the Year Award presented by Héctor J. Figueroa of 32BJ SEIU. In her role, Maritza has managed 1120 Avenue of the Americas, the Hippodrome Building, for 22 years, overseeing a team of 13 porters and the cleaning of 600,000 square feet every night in addition to a very demanding load of post-construction and move-in cleaning jobs due to the unprecedented amount of leasing that occurred at the building in 2015. Maritza’s colleagues praised her leadership skills, ability to communicate among union cleaners and leadership, and the strong trust tenants have in her team. 

Ryan Waggner, Assistant Property Manager at Vornado Realty Trust, was named winner of the Rising Star of the Year Award. His work at One Penn Plaza over the last two years has included the day-to-day supervision of turnkey construction, major building improvements, tenant relations, and cleaning, engineering and security staff. He was noted by his supervisors as an exceptional young professional who diplomatically resolves problems with tenants, vendors and staff and takes time to mentor and support the administrative staff. Ryan holds a GPRO certificate in Fundamentals of Building Green and Operations & Maintenance Essentials and has completed the CEM Prep for Energy Manager offered by The Association of Energy Engineers.

Concluding the program, Chief Engineer Michael Placente and Assistant Chief Engineer Nick Mazzola of RXR Realty’s 450 Lexington Avenue accepted the Best Engine Room Award presented by Thomas L. Hill of Boston Properties LP.