By Joshua Burd
On the eve of Election Day, the state’s top commercial real estate association took a night to highlight some of it recent legislative triumphs — and the members behind those victories.
NAIOP’s New Jersey chapter hosted a crowd of more than 300 on Monday night for its annual President’s Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner, honoring a mix of young industry leaders and some of the state’s most accomplished, influential professionals. Several of those honorees were recognized for their advocacy in key public policy initiatives, such as securing new funding for transportation projects and empowering the private sector to oversee environmental cleanups.
When it came to the latter, NAIOP honored Jorge Berkowitz of Langan Engineering & Environmental Services.
“He has been invaluable in helping the chapter achieve its advocacy goals and he was instrumental in developing the original Site Remediation Reform Act,” said Kim Brennan of Colliers International, the chapter’s vice president for associate affairs, referring to the 2009 law. She later added: “As the first New Jersey licensed site remediation professional, he is the embodiment of one of the most important public policy achievements in NAIOP New Jersey’s history.”
Berkowitz, a senior associate with the Parsippany-based firm, was among three inductees this year to the chapter’s hall of fame. All told, the association recognized nine individuals:
- Legacy Award: Patrick Eichner of Avison Young
- Pillar Award: Neil Yoskin of Cullen and Dykman LLP
- Pillar Award: Stacey Weinberg of Federal Business Centers
- Advocacy Award: Greg Lalevee
- Volunteer of the Year: Patrick Leary of Gottesman Real Estate Partners
- Rising Star: Brian Golden of JLL
- Hall of Fame: Jorge Berkowitz, Andrew Merin and Thomas Michnewicz
The annual awards dinner, which took place at the Hilton Short Hills, drew one of the largest crowds for the industry’s fall event circuit. Honors such as the Pillar Awards highlighted individual efforts to grow membership within the chapter and take the lead in responding to regulatory concerns.
“Our advocacy success depends greatly on people like Neil,” NAIOP New Jersey President Dave Gibbons said of Yoskin, who chairs Cullen and Dykman’s environmental practice group. “He’s a true pillar of the New Jersey chapter.”
In recognizing this year’s honorees, the chapter also highlighted other members’ roles in key functions such as community service. Association leaders said Leary, the vice president for asset management and acquisitions for Gottesman Real Estate Partners, has been among the industry’s standouts in that area.
“(He) encourages his colleagues to get involved,” Brennan said, pointing to Leary’s leadership in service initiatives such as the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Habitat for Humanity. “Patrick’s personal commitment to NAIOP is an example of service to the association for all members to emulate.”
Monday night’s program also included the presentation of the Frank D. Visceglia Memorial Scholarship to two recipients. Nicole Visceglia-Rodgers of Federal Business Centers and Jeff Milanaik of Bridge Development Partners presented the scholarships.