From left: Peter Reinhart, Michael McGuinness, Carol Ann Short and Nick Kittredge
By Joshua Burd
It was a night to honor the chief executives of two of the state’s most influential real estate trade associations, as hundreds turned out for an annual industry dinner at Monmouth University.
The event, hosted by the university’s Kislak Real Estate Institute, recognized Carol Ann Short and Michael McGuinness, CEOs of the New Jersey Builders Association and NAIOP’s New Jersey chapter, respectively. Each received the institute’s Service to the Industry Award in honor of their decades of advocacy in the government and public affairs realm.
Such efforts are critical for an industry that is one of New Jersey’s main economic engines, they said, but one that faces countless policy issues such as affordable housing, infrastructure funding and regulatory reform.
“It is critical that we as nonprofit trade associations, both NAIOP and the Builders Association, clearly articulate our positions and interests to policymakers as early and often in the process as possible,” Short said, “because government profoundly affects and impacts the work that we do — whether it involves changes to government policy, regulations, funding or something else.
“And as leaders of trade associations, Mike and I are both keenly aware of this impact and must always remain actively and vigilantly engaged on behalf of our membership,” she added. “Advocacy is a coordinated effort across the industry.”
The annual Leadership Excellence Award Dinner in West Long Branch, one of the industry’s most anticipated events of the spring, drew a registered crowd of more than 500 executives and professionals. Aside from honoring Short and McGuinness, the Kislak dinner also recognized Prologis, the global industrial real estate giant, with its Leadership Excellence Award.
It was the 24th installment of the annual event, which has a history of highlighting some of the industry’s most influential players in New Jersey. Like Short, McGuiness thanked his family, support staff and board members at the trade association, many of whom turned out to celebrate.
“Reaching this milestone in my life would not be possible without the encouragement, support and sacrifice of those around me,” McGuiness said, noting that he was “rather stunned and humbled” when Peter Reinhart, director of the Kislak institute, asked him to accept the award. “My parents, Catholic school teachers, Boy Scout leaders and the Jesuits at Saint Peter’s Prep and Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City ingrained in me the desire to serve others and not seek the spotlight.
“Then, putting things in perspective, I realized that I had spent 31 years — half of my life — working for the advancement of the real estate industry in New Jersey.”
That includes 11 years with NJBA and another 20 with NAIOP.
“Commercial real estate development is transformational to a community,” McGuinness said, “and I am thrilled to be part of this family.”
The event also recognized two past honorees who died earlier this year — Caren Franzini and Arthur M. Greenbaum. Reinhart paid tribute to Franzini, the longtime CEO of the state Economic Development Authority, saying “she will always be remembered as a legend in New Jersey and in New Jersey real estate circles.”
Donald M. Moliver, dean of the university’s Leon Hess Business School, recalled that Greenbaum was part of a group of about 20 who met on campus decades ago to discuss the founding of a real estate program at Monmouth.
“As you can imagine, he quickly became a founding father of our program. He was immensely talented and a great friend to many,” Moliver said of Greenbaum, a founder of the law firm Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP. He added that Greenbaum’s legacy “will stand the test of time.”
Part of that legacy includes supporting the business school and the Kislak Real Estate Institute, one of the few real estate programs in New Jersey. In accepting the Leadership Excellence Award on behalf of Prologis, Nick Kittredge, the company’s East Coast president, pointed to the importance of educating the next generation of real estate professionals.
In doing so, he reached out to the students who were sprinkled into the crowd of industry powerhouses.
“The students in this room tonight should know that our commitment to community also extends to you as you look to learn more about this industry,” Kittredge said. “Tonight is a great opportunity to meet a new contact, potential mentor or someone that can help you break into this wonderful industry.”