REBNY Honors Best-in-Class NYC Commercial Property Managers at 14th Annual Leadership Breakfast

Con Edison President Craig Ivey delivers keynote address on guidelines for a cleaner and more efficient energy system in New York

At the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) 14th Annual Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast held on June 1st at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom, 10 awards were presented to outstanding commercial property management professionals.

“Running high quality commercial buildings that make up the iconic New York City skyline requires strong leadership, sound professionalism, great skill, and teamwork,” said John Banks, REBNY President. “We applaud and thank the award winners, who comprise the heart and soul of our industry, for their hard work and dedication.”

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REBNY’s 14th Annual Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast award winners, award presenters, planning committee members, and keynote speaker Craig Ivey, President of the Con Edison Company of New York at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom. Photo credit: Diego Guallpa

The 2017 awardees honored at the breakfast, organized by the REBNY Commercial Management Breakfast Planning Committee, were:

– Chief Engineer Bill Hurd, Assistant Property Manager Anthony Vulaj, and Property Manager Susana Kalaj of SL Green Realty Corp.’s 810 Seventh Avenue, winner of the coveted Best Engine Room Award

Edward A. Riguardi Commercial Management Executive of the Year Avi Itzikowitz, Director of Operations for ATCO Properties & Management, Inc.

John M. Griffin Community Service Award winner Deborah Tomasi, Managing Director at Boston Properties

Rising Star of the Year Evin Epstein, Sustainability Administrator at SL Green Realty Corp.’s 420 Lexington Avenue

On-Site Manager of the Year Joanne Porrazzo, Vice President and Property Manager at Vornado Realty Trust

Portfolio Manager of the Year Gene Hennessy, Vice President and Senior Operations Manager at Rudin Management Company, Inc.

Small Building Engineer of the Year Gary Haftek, Chief Engineer at Edward J. Minskoff EquitiesInc.’s 51 Astor Place

Large Building Engineer of the Year Steve Nathan, Chief Engineer for Silverstein Properties Inc.’s 4 World Trade Center

Security Professional of the Year Thomas Clark, Emergency Action Plan Director at Paramount Group, Inc.’s 1633 Broadway

Porter of the Year James Streppone, Day Cleaning Foreman at Fisher Brothers’ 605 Third Avenue

The event, held in the Grand Ballroom at the New York Hilton Midtown, included a keynote speech by Craig Ivey, President of the Con Edison Company of New York. In his address, Ivey discussed New York City’s energy needs, natural gas capacity, the growth of renewables, and how new technology, and the Governor’s REV process are shaping energy planning for the commercial property management community in this region.

Ivey outlined Con Edison’s $1.3 billion investment in new meters that will allow for two-way communication between customers and the company about energy consumption. These smart gas and electric meters will result in energy savings and allow the utility to restore outages faster.

“We believe that with careful planning, wise decision-making, and the strategic use of new technologies, we can build an energy system that will be cleaner and more efficient. We can create a system that lifts our economy while helping New York State and New York City meet their environmental goals,” Ivey said.

REBNY’s 14th Annual Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast was sponsored by: Journal Sponsor Rudin Management Company, Inc.; Platinum Sponsors: ATCO Properties & Management, CBRE, Fisher Brothers, IUOE Local Union 94, Platinum Maintenance Services Corp., Silverstein Properties, Inc., SL Green Realty Corp., Vornado Realty Trust; and Gold Sponsors: 32BJ SEIU, Benjamin Maintenance, Boston Properties, Brookfield Properties, Collins Building Services, Inc., Firequench, Inc., First New York Partners, Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc., JRM Construction Management, LLC, RFR Realty LLC, The Durst Organization, and Total Fire Protection, Inc., among others.

ABOUT THE 14TH ANNUAL COMMERCIAL MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS

Thomas Clark, Emergency Action Plan Director at Paramount Group, Inc.’s 1633 Broadway, was presented with the Security Professional of the Year Award. The industry veteran has overseen safety and security at the 2.6 million-square-foot property for 29 years conducting Fire/Life Safety, Active Shooter, and Medical Emergency training and drills for tenants and staff members. He also serves as the Property Management liaison for all fire system work being performed for tenant build-outs. Clark was recognized by peers for his professionalism, mentorship of security staff members, and outstanding skill, which was exemplified in 2006 when he jumped into action performing CPR and using Automated External Defibrillators to resuscitate a tenant’s employee who had collapsed, passed out, and went into cardiac arrest on the 30th floor. The 32BJ SEIU member is a certified First Responder who started his career as a security guard in 1988 and became a Fire Safety Director in 1990. He volunteers at Encore Community Service’s senior center on 49th Street where he serves seniors lunch and hosts holiday food drives.

Evin Epstein, Sustainability Administrator at SL Green Realty Corp.’s 420 Lexington Avenue, was honored as the winner of the Rising Star of the Year Award. Overseeing all green initiatives for SL Green’s Tri-State portfolio, comprised of 33 million square feet across 76 properties, Epstein’s colleagues commended her determination, positive attitude, and contributions to the firm’s sustainability endeavors including spearheading all community initiatives. Through her work, the company achieved one of the first LEED V4 certifications in the country for an existing building, completed the Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge, and won IREM’s Sustainability Award for Workplace Environment and EPA Partner of the Year with 20 Energy Star Labels. The LEED certified GA—who is currently pursuing her LEED AP and WELL certifications, and serves as a member of REBNY’s Sustainability Committee—is a driving force behind SL Green’s participation in the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implementation of sustainability programs for One Vanderbilt.

Gary Haftek, Chief Engineer for Edward J. Minskoff EquitiesInc.’s 51 Astor Place since 2014, was honored with the Small Building Engineer of the Year Award. He has been praised by colleagues for his skillful involvement in the commission of the newly-constructed office building’s systems and tenant space improvements. Among his accomplishments, Haftek created all property management programs for the 400,000-square-foot trophy tower’s base equipment. The Local 94 union member has also been commended for his dedication and outstanding relationships with all building tenants, contractors, and vendors.

Gene Hennessy, Vice President and Senior Operations Manager at Rudin Management Company, Inc., was named winner of the Portfolio Manager of the Year Award. Involved in all facets of building operations and property management for 10 million square feet across 16 buildings, he was recognized by peers for his relentless work to maintain safe, clean, comfortable, and efficient buildings for tenants. Raised on a farm in Ireland, Henessey came to the United States in the 1970s seeking a better life for his family. Starting with Rudin Management Company, Inc. in 1979, he worked his is way up through the ranks from the engine room to excelling in senior management. Hennessy is highly regarded by his coworkers for his unequaled work ethic and team leadership skills.  Some of  his many accomplishments include running day-to-day operations, building capital improvements, managing a workforce, and playing a key role in the restoration of operations to buildings affected by natural and man-made disasters.

Avi Itzikowitz, Director of Operations for ATCO Properties & Management, Inc., who was honored with the Edward A. Riguardi Commercial Management Executive of the Year Award, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of ATCO’s New York Metropolitan portfolio and several properties in other markets. Since joining the company in 2003, Itzikowitz has been praised by his peers as a results-oriented operations manager with a strong record of building value in commercial, residential, retail, and industrial properties through increased cash flow and satisfied tenants. He is credited with leading the conversion of a 250-acre industrial site into a mixed-use commercial/retail park complex, the achievement of Energy Star rating and LEED Silver EB certification for two key ATCO properties, and the installation of two, 50 kilowatt solar systems in New York and a 310 kilowatt solar system in New Jersey. He initiated the installation of a more than 8,000-square-foot green roof and planned and implemented several elevator modernization projects in the ATCO portfolio as well several Local Law #11 facade projects. Itzikowitz serves on REBNY’s Management Division Board of Directors and as a board member for the New York Energy Consumers Council, Local 32BJ SEIU Thomas Shortman School, Diabetes Research Institute’s Empire Ball, The Torch Foundation, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Steve Nathan, Large Building Engineer of the Year Award winner, serves as Silverstein Properties Inc.’s Chief Engineer for 4 World Trade Center (WTC), provides oversight for 2 WTC, and will soon be transitioning to the commissioning team for 3 WTC where he will serve as Chief Engineer. The highly accomplished ambassador for Silverstein Properties Inc. and Local 94 union member, with more than 26 years of property management experience, has been lauded by colleagues for his perseverance, dedication, and resilience. He is noted as a highly-regarded, consistent resource for technical expertise on building systems for all properties in the company’s portfolio. Previously, Steve Nathan served as Assistant Chief Engineer for the original 7 WTC where he played a key role in conducting the safe evacuation of all building occupants on September 11, 2001. He then served on the building commissioning team and as Chief Engineer for the new 7 WTC. 

Joanne Porrazzo, of Vornado Realty Trust, took home the On-Site Manager of the Year Award. As Vice President and Property Manager, she oversees the day-to-day operation for 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Vornado’s 2.1 million-square-foot office building. Since joining the company in 1998 as an Assistant Property Manager for 150 East 58th Street, also known as the Architects & Designers Building—and later managing 595 Madison Avenue, 689 Fifth Avenue, and 90 Park Avenue—Porazzo has overseen landlord work, replacement projects, and installations totaling more than $150 million. She is noted by her colleagues as a consummate professional and great team builder with an impressive and consistent track record for coaching dedicated professionals, while seamlessly running large, intricate buildings with relatively junior management teams.  The long-standing member of REBNY and LEED AP professional is also a member of BOMA where she has earned the designations of Real Property Administrator (RPA) and Facilities Management Administrator (FMA).

James Streppone, Day Cleaning Foreman at Fisher Brothers’ 605 Third Avenue, received the Porter of the Year Award for his more than 25 years of outstanding service. Among his acclaimed leadership skills, Streppone is commended by his peers for his high work standard, problem solving skills, and dedicated professionalism among colleagues, vendors, tenants, and management. He is noted for putting the needs of the building first at all times and goes above and beyond to ensure the safety and efficiency of his crew.

Deborah Tomasi, Managing Director at Boston Properties, was presented with the John M. Griffin Community Service Award. She has been recognized by her colleagues as a professional dedicated to helping others. Tomasi is credited with establishing the, “Defeat the Streets: Paving a Brighter Path for Our Homeless Youth” committee to support the Covenant House, a nonprofit charity serving homeless youth. She also sits on the organization’s Lifeline Committee, which raises nearly half a million dollars annually for the non-profit organization. The former Cushman & Wakefield Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, was lauded by her peers for her dedication to mentoring budding professionals in the industry and advocating for the real estate management industry.  Additionally, Tomasi serves as an Adjunct Instructor at New York University; is a member of WX, New York Women Executives in Real Estate; and serves on the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) New York Board of Directors and as the organization’s Chairman of Pinnacle Advertisement & Sponsorship Sales.

FULL CAPTION FOR GROUP PHOTO (ABOVE)

Back row (L-R): Michael Aisner, RXR Realty, Co-chair of REBNY’s Commercial Management Council; John Banks, REBNY President; Hank Celestino, L&L Holding Company LLC; Jack Whalen, Fisher Brothers; Karla Kudatzy, CBRE; Gaston Silva, Vornado Realty Trust, Co-chair of REBNY’s Management Board of Directors; Carl Hum, REBNY Senior Vice President for Management Services and Government Affairs; Gene Boniberger, Rudin Management Company Inc.; Michael Prunty, Empire State Realty Trust; Susana Kalaj, SL Green Realty Corp., Best Engine Room Award; Craig Ivey, Con Edison President, Keynote speaker

Middle row (L-R): Ryan Baxter, Vice President for Public Affairs, Management Services and Government Affairs; Kevin Hoey, L&L Holding Company LLC; Daniel Kindbergh, Brookfield Properties; Louis Trimboli, CBRE, Co-chair of REBNY’s Commercial Management Council; James Streppone, Fisher Brothers, Porter of the Year; Gary Haftek, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc., Small Building Engineer of the Year; Gene Hennessy, Rudin Management Company, Inc., Portfolio Manager of the Year; Anthony Vulaj, SL Green Realty Corp., Best Engine Room Award; Jason McCalla, Silverstein Properties, Inc.; Howard Styles, International Union of Operating Engineers Local Union No. 94

Front row (L-R): Sukanya Paciorek, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation; Cindy Ramotar, REBNY Senior Executive Assistant/Event Coordinator, Management Services/Government Affairs;  Thomas Clark, Paramount Group, Inc., Security Professional of the Year; Avi Itzikowitz, ATCO Properties & Management, Inc., Edward A. Riguardi Commercial Management Executive of the Year; Deborah Tomasi, Boston Properties, John M. Griffin Community Service Award; Evin Epstein, SL Green Realty Corp., Rising Star of the Year; Bill Hurd, SL Green Realty Corp., Best Engine Room Award; Joanne Porrazzo, Vornado Realty Trust, On-Site Manager of the Year; Steve Nathan, Silverstein Properties Inc., Large Building Engineer of the Year; Bill Dacunto, Silverstein Properties Inc.