NAIOPs Chapter Merit Awards Honor Outstanding Programs and Individuals

Spring 2020 Issue
By: Trey Barrineau
NAIOP New Mexico was named chapter of the year in the Medium Chapter category during the Chapter Merit Awards Celebration gala, part of NAIOP’s Chapter Leadership \u0026 Legislative Retreat in Washington, D.C., in early February.

Recognition goes to exceptional leadership and impressive local efforts in education, special events, membership and legislative advocacy.

A total of 16 chapters and seven individuals were honored at NAIOP’s Chapter Merit Awards Celebration gala, held during the Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat in Washington, D.C., in early February.

The Chapter Merit Awards (CMAs) recognize success in education, special events, membership, legislative advocacy and leadership. Recipients are selected by a committee of their peers comprised of volunteer judges.

“Congratulations to all our award winners,” said NAIOP President and CEO Thomas Bisacquino. “They are truly deserving of this high honor. I encourage everyone to reach out to these folks to learn more about the great programs that have made them the winners they are.”

These programs included podcasts, charitable initiatives, competitions for college students and much more.

Chapter of the Year

NAIOP Washington State was named chapter of the year in the Large Chapter category.

In 2019, the chapter formed the Coalition for a More Affordable Washington to ensure that lawmakers hear from the commercial real estate industry regarding significant increases to the state’s real estate excise tax. The coalition’s efforts have raised more than $310,000 toward that advocacy effort. Additionally, the chapter’s diversity and inclusion programming won the 2019 Association Ally award from CREW Seattle.

NAIOP New Mexico received the chapter of the year award in the Medium Chapter category.

During 2019, the chapter hosted 10 monthly luncheons on topics related to governmental affairs and commercial real estate that drew an average of 301 attendees for each gathering. It also hosted members-only breakfasts concentrated on industry issues and career development that averaged 94 attendees per event.

Outstanding Leadership by a Chapter President

Lauren Young, president of NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area, was honored in the Large Chapter category. During 2019, the chapter reached an all-time high of 751 members and 63 sponsor firms. The San Francisco Bay Area chapter also received the Highest Number of New Members Award for adding 75 new members in 2019.

In the Medium Chapter category, the award went to Donald Smith, Jr., president of NAIOP Pittsburgh. His efforts in 2019 saw membership rise 19% to more than 400, a figure that earned a separate award for the highest chapter growth rate.

Chapter Volunteer of the Year

James M. Mansfield of NAIOP Colorado was honored in the Large Chapter category for his work organizing the NAIOP Colorado Winter Classic hockey tournament. Since its inception six years ago, the event has raised more than $150,000 for Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Pediatric Cancer Research Center.

In the Medium Chapter category, the award went to Yvonne Baker of NAIOP Central Florida. Under her leadership, NAIOP played a key role in reducing the state’s business rent tax from 5.7% to 5.5%. Florida is the only state in the nation with this tax, which is an assessment on the rent businesses pay to use commercial property.

James Reeves of NAIOP Northwest Florida received the award in the Small Chapter category. Among his accomplishments, he raised $20,000 in one month to support NAIOP’s legislative priorities.

Outstanding Contribution by a Chapter Executive

In the Large Chapter category, Katrina Bruce of NAIOP Southern Nevada was recognized for many accomplishments. These included guiding the chapter through a complete makeover of four 1,200-square-foot cottages at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City, Nevada, which provides a safe transitional home for abused, abandoned and neglected children. The renovations totaled more than $225,000, and chapter members volunteered more than 1,200 hours of labor.

Brandon Mendoza of NAIOP Pittsburgh received the award in the Medium Chapter category. Mendoza testified at several public hearings, wrote an op-ed on inclusionary zoning for the Pittsburgh Business Times, developed white papers for the chapter’s pressing issues, and oversaw the rollout of a new website, newsletter and social media strategy.  Additionally, he appeared on a local television show, “Our Region’s Business,” to discuss NAIOP Pittsburgh’s awards banquet and other topics.


NAIOP Massachusetts was honored in the Large Chapter category for its Big Dig podcast. The chapter partnered with BLDUP, a local online publication and commercial real estate search engine, to create the podcast series. Each episode focuses on a relevant, timely topic and features guests who are important figures in the industry.

NAIOP Vancouver was the winner in the Medium Chapter category for its 2019 Education Day, which featured case-study-based learning sessions led by local experts.

NAIOP Northern Nevada’s Developing Leaders Institute was the winner in the Small Chapter category.  With classes made up of a maximum of 12 students, the program is designed to foster greater interaction and more hands-on learning.

Legislative Affairs

In the Large Chapter category, NAIOP Georgia won for its efforts to secure passage of the Private Permitting Review and Inspection Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2019. It reduces inconsistencies and delays in the permitting process in Georgia, which helps developers and other stakeholders.

NAIOP Raleigh-Durham was the winner in the Medium Chapter category. In 2019, it hosted a breakfast with members of the North Carolina General Assembly as a way to introduce the chapter’s legislative priorities. The chapter also hosted the NAIOP Raleigh Mayoral Candidate Forum, which attracted more than 150 attendees and was covered by three newspapers, a magazine and a news station.

NAIOP Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky won in the Small Chapter category. In 2019, it worked closely with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to advocate for the community benefits of economic development with a specific focus on tax abatements.

In another award, NAIOP Massachusetts won the Capitol Dome award for overall excellence in legislative affairs.


NAIOP Arizona was honored for its efforts in the Large Chapter category. In 2019, the chapter saw membership increase by nearly 8% with a retention rate of over 90%. Renewal efforts focus on incentives, including drawings for prizes, and personal outreach to members who had not yet renewed.

NAIOP Raleigh Durham was recognized in the Medium Chapter category. It had the highest membership retention rate of all the medium-sized NAIOP chapters in 2019. This was accomplished by educating members on pricing and benefits, recruitment socials and targeted follow-ups with prospective members after events.

The Dayton chapter received the award in the Small Chapter category. Since 2016, membership has grown 39% to 65 members, and it had the highest retention rate among NAIOP’s small-market chapters in 2019.

Special Events

NAIOP Colorado won in the Large Chapter category for the Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge, a competition in which graduate students from the University of Colorado and the University of Denver work with leaders in the Colorado real estate community to provide solutions for a commercial site. The Challenge culminated in May 2019 when the finalists presented their recommendations to an audience of more than 750 real estate professionals at the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center.

NAIOP Central Florida was recognized in the Medium Chapter category for its Developers Showcase, which provides a trade-show-like platform for Central Florida developers to share new, planned and existing projects with NAIOP’s network of brokers, developers, owners, investors and associated professionals. A casino element was incorporated to encourage the brokers to visit each booth. The event attracted 22 developer booths and more than 250 guests.

In the Small Chapter category, NAIOP Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky’s case study competition for real estate and architecture students at the University of Cincinnati was the winner. The competition was developed to expand the chapter's relationship with the university and build a pipeline of talent into the local industry. Eight NAIOP mentors led 34 students in teams to create a mixed-use development. The winning team received $2,500.

Trey Barrineau is the managing editor of publications for NAIOP.