NAIOP Honors Chapters and Individuals with Annual Chapter Merit Awards

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, honored 14 chapters and nine individuals as part of the annual Chapter Merit Awards. The awards were recognized during a special members-only webinar featuring Larry Sabato, Ph.D., election analyst and bestselling author, founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

The Chapter Merit Awards (CMAs) recognize success in education, special events, legislative advocacy, membership, diversity/equity/inclusion, and leadership, as well as individual recognition and Chapter of the Year. Recipients are selected by a committee of their peers comprised of volunteer judges.

Congratulations to this year’s award winners!

Chapter of the Year
The Chapter of the Year Award honors chapters for overall excellence throughout the year, including involvement with NAIOP Corporate, chapter growth, community service and more. This year’s winners have truly raised the bar, demonstrating an unyielding dedication to providing value for NAIOP members at every level.

Medium Chapter: NAIOP Raleigh Durham
Large Chapter: NAIOP Arizona

Outstanding Leadership by a Chapter President
The award for Outstanding Leadership by a Chapter President is presented to a chapter president who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to their chapter's growth and success. This year's winners have worked to increase and diversify membership, elevate programming, empower volunteers and engage local leaders.

Small Chapter: Nick Lombardi, NAIOP Oklahoma
Medium Chapter: Mike Ferguson, NAIOP Raleigh Durham
Large Chapter: David Strickland, NAIOP Southern Nevada

Chapter Volunteer of the Year
The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to a chapter volunteer for their exceptional efforts and contributions to their chapter. This year’s winners possess incredible work ethic and commitment and have proven integral to their chapters’ success.

Small Chapter: Matt Harris, NAIOP Northern Nevada
Medium Chapter: Kirstyn Hobler, NAIOP Central Florida
Large Chapter: Rod Martin, NAIOP Southern Nevada

Outstanding Contribution by a Chapter Executive
The Outstanding Contribution by a Chapter Executive Award is presented to chapter leaders for their valued contributions, innovation and knowledge. This year’s winners have developed exciting initiatives, engaged members in fresh ways, and grown their chapters’ membership.

Small Chapter: Lexi Kopilchack, NAIOP Dayton Area
Medium Chapter: Jessica Freeman, NAIOP Raleigh Durham
Large Chapter: Debbie Koenig, NAIOP Georgia

The Education Award is presented to chapters that organized an exceptional program, series, event or seminar with educational content. These winning chapters hosted unique and engaging market tours, speaker series and more.

Small Chapter: NAIOP Austin
NAIOP’s newest chapter is being recognized for their first in-person event, the “East Austin Update” speaker panel, which combined breakfast, networking and an insightful discussion. The event was hosted in a building nearing completion, allowing the developers a unique opportunity to showcase their exciting new product to NAIOP members before the building was officially delivered.

Medium Chapter: NAIOP Central Florida
This chapter is being recognized for their month-long series, “O.CON: Industrial Closers Getting Coffee,” examining the future of Greater Orlando’s industrial real estate market. The hour-long conversations were professionally recorded in advance of the lunch-hour series, when the chapter president and series host would invite guests live on-stage for a real-time Q&A with the audience.

Large Chapter: NAIOP Southern Nevada
As chapters resumed live events last year after a long period of all-virtual programming, this chapter is being recognized for their successful use of the best of both worlds in their hybrid event series. In professionally recorded videos, top developers shared candid conversations about project challenges and successes, shared project updates, and made predictions and assertions. As part of a virtual event, the developers then engaged with webinar attendees in a live Q&A.

Legislative Affairs
The Legislative Affairs Award recognizes chapters whose government affairs activities and advocacy influenced important state and local issues. This year’s winners have strengthened relationships with decision-makers and elected officials, and made their voices heard on issues critical to commercial real estate.

Small Chapter: NAIOP Northern Nevada
This chapter takes a comprehensive approach to advocacy with the NAIOP Northern Nevada Development Council, which meets regularly to discuss important regional issues with public policy impacts; an active Government Affairs Committee that hosts popular monthly lunch sessions; a collaborative partnership with NAIOP Southern Nevada in the biennial Legislative Sessions; and regular public policy communications to chapter members.

Medium Chapter: NAIOP New Mexico
The chapter had several major victories this year, including helping to pass a Broadband Access and Expansion Act, providing broadband access throughout the state; successfully working for an extension of a Sustainable Building Tax Credit through 2026; and supporting the Local Economic Development Act, which provides a portion of state and local gross receipts and compensating tax revenue on economic projects, and creates a program to provide grants to businesses to reimburse rent and lease payments.

Large Chapter: NAIOP Southern Nevada
This chapter’s Government Affairs Committee comprises forward-thinking Board members and members who connect regularly to provide critical issue updates and collaborate on the best ways to address them. The chapter was heavily engaged in several federal, state and local issues in 2021, including commissioning an economic analysis of land constraints on the Southern Nevada economy. In addition, the Southern Nevada Lands Bill was introduced by Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto, and the chapter remains in communication with her office to track the bill’s progress and provide critical insights.

Special Events
The Special Event Award celebrates chapters that have planned and executed exceptional and unique chapter events.

Small Chapter: NAIOP Northwest Florida
The chapter is being recognized for their Sporting Clay Tournament, which provided a much-anticipated, unique in-person event. The event attracted interest from both attendees and sponsors and proved to be a great success – one that the chapter plans to repeat annually.

Medium Chapter: NAIOP South Florida
The chapter is being recognized for their successful Broward Bus Tour. The chapter’s bus tour committee took a fresh approach to designing the tour with areas featuring interesting, unique, big or controversial projects benefitting Broward County.

Large Chapter: NAIOP Minnesota
In its 18th year, NAIOP Minnesota’s University Real Estate Challenge served as a key way for the chapter to engage the next generation of industry leaders. The competition involves teams from five universities in the region, all with alumni active in the chapter. The chapter adapted the event to a virtual format due to student travel restrictions, successfully engaging the students with industry judges and later broadcasting the competition to other members in the chapter.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award recognized chapters that have worked to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within their chapter and in commercial real estate. This year’s award winners have stood out for their efforts in supporting the next generation of commercial real estate professionals and increasing diversity within the industry.

Medium Chapter: NAIOP Greater Philadelphia
The chapter is being recognized for the NAIOP-Drexel Summer Program, a full scholarship educational camp for rising high school juniors and seniors of color. The program provides a week of challenging and exciting activities to introduce high-performing students to the commercial real estate industry. Participants receive a full scholarship for the program, individual coaching and mentorship from local industry executives, tours of active Philadelphia real estate projects, classroom instruction and participate in group projects.

Large Chapter: NAIOP Georgia
This chapter is being recognized for their Commercial Real Estate Diversity Internship Program. The chapter partnered with corporate members to provide diverse candidates with paid summer internships across a variety of disciplines within commercial real estate. NAIOP facilitated mentors, Lunch & Learns and property tours to expand their exposure and relationships. In addition, the chapter invited program participants to attend chapter events throughout the internship program year to facilitate additional networking and educational opportunities.

The Membership Award is presented to chapters that have demonstrated success through their retention and recruitment programs, conveying NAIOP’s exclusive member benefits.

Medium Chapter: NAIOP Central Florida
The chapter is being recognized for a targeted approach to membership recruitment along with innovative ideas for programming and events for new and prospective members. The popular Up Close Events and Project Spotlight Events were offered as a members-only benefit; the chapter plans to continue growing these types of events going forward.

Outstanding Achievement in Membership Growth
Congratulations to NAIOP’s newest chapter, NAIOP Austin, for their remarkable membership growth! From start to finish, 2021 proved that this chapter generates enthusiasm and interest in an exciting commercial real estate market and brings Austin-area CRE leaders together for networking, education and lively events.

Highest Number of New Members
NAIOP celebrates NAIOP Arizona for achieving a record highest number of new members among all 52 chapters last year, based on year-end membership data.