Press Release

REBNY Announces Real Estate Industry Leaders to be Honored at 124th Annual Banquet


September 11, 2019

Share This

Industry to Celebrate Outstanding Civic Accomplishments, Humanitarianism, Professionalism, and Public Service

Posthumous Tribute to Building Service Workers Labor Leader Héctor Figueroa

David Greenbaum, Jodi Pulice, Jay Kriegel, Henry Celestino, Kevin Wang, and Robin Fisher to be Presented with Prestigious Awards

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) today announced the distinguished real estate professionals who will be presented with the industry’s top honors at REBNY’s 124th Annual Banquet. The honorees will be recognized for their outstanding professional success, their exceptional contributions to the industry, and their unparalleled commitment to the civic welfare of New York City. The Banquet will take place on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at the New York Hilton in Midtown Manhattan.

“Our honorees serve as a reminder that the real estate industry loves New York City, with each making exceptional contributions to the five boroughs,” said REBNY Chairman William C. Rudin. “It is a particular honor to posthumously recognize our dear friend, Héctor Figueroa. His life is an inspiration to every New Yorker. We look forward to celebrating his legacy and the rest of our distinguished honorees.”

“The REBNY Banquet is one of my favorite evenings of the year, with thousands of dedicated real estate professionals gathering to catch up with old friends and forging relationships with new ones,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “Each and every one of this year’s distinguished honorees embodies the spirit that makes our industry so important to the fabric of New York City.”

The following award winners will be recognized at the largest annual real estate networking event in New York City:

• Héctor Figueroa, President of the Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, will be posthumously awarded The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award for his meritorious service to the community and lifelong commitment to improving the livelihoods of his members.

• David R. Greenbaum, Vice Chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, will receive The Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award for his invaluable contributions to New York’s civic welfare and to the broader real estate community.

• Jodi Pulice, Founder & CEO of JRT Realty Group, will receive The Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award for her exceptional accomplishments in real estate, her leadership, and her service to the real estate industry over her career.

• Jay Kriegel, Senior Advisor for  Related Companies, will receive the John E. Zuccotti Public Service Award for his exceptional accomplishments and service in the public’s interest.

• Henry M. Celestino, Vice Chairman of L&L Holding Company, will receive The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award for his superior accomplishments in property management and his outstanding professionalism, civic achievement, and contributions to the real estate industry.

• Kevin R. Wang, Owner of KRW Realty Advisors, will receive the Louis Smadbeck Memorial Broker Recognition Award for his exceptional personal and professional integrity, leadership, prominence in the brokerage community, and service to REBNY’s committees.

• Robin Fisher, Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank, founder and CEO of BLACE, will receive the Young Real Estate Professional of the Year Award for her strong integrity, professionalism, and personal ethics. This award is selected by the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association of New York.

Those wishing to attend the 124th Annual Banquet should purchase their tickets early here.

Place your company’s brand in front of New York City’s political and business elite through sponsorship opportunities at the Annual Banquet and by advertising in REBNY’s 2020 Journal.

Contact McKenna Warren  for more details on how to sponsor this event.


The Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award

David R. Greenbaum is Vice Chairman of Vornado Realty Trust. Prior to being appointed Vice Chairman in April of this year, Mr. Greenbaum was President of the New York Division of Vornado which owns a commercial real estate portfolio in New York City encompassing over 80 buildings aggregating 30 million square feet. Mr. Greenbaum oversees all aspects of the New York City portfolio including ground-up development, redevelopment, leasing and building operations. Mr. Greenbaum is also responsible for all aspects of the ownership and operation of theMART, a 3.7 million square foot building in Chicago, as well as the 1.8 million square foot 555 California Street campus in San Francisco. Mr. Greenbaum, a former tax attorney at Weil Gotshal & Manges, joined The Mendik Company in 1982, a private owner of commercial real estate properties. Mr. Greenbaum was named President of The Mendik Company in 1990. In 1997, The Mendik Company merged into Vornado Realty Trust. Mr. Greenbaum is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors for the Real Estate Board of New York and serves on the Board of Directors for the 34th Street Partnership, The Grand Central Partnership as well as the Times Square Alliance, all public/private efforts to enhance New York’s mid-town business districts.  Mr. Greenbaum is a Trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission, a private watch-dog organization which oversees the City’s and State’s fiscal policies and is also a member of the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate Advisory Board. Mr. Greenbaum was selected by the New York City Partnership to participate in the David Rockefeller Fellows Program.  Mr. Greenbaum also serves on the Boards of the Jewish National Fund as a Presidential Advisor, the Lighthouse Guild, and the Jeffery Modell Foundation.  Mr. Greenbaum is the 2010 recipient of The Real Estate Board of New York Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Greenbaum earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and his J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

The Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award

Jodi Pulice is the Founder and CEO of JRT Realty Group. She is responsible for a leasing and management portfolio of almost 10 million square feet of commercial and industrial space nationwide for a myriad of clients, including some of the largest institutional real estate investors in the country. Among her accomplishments are leasing and sales transactions totaling more than $3 billion, including the sale of the Seagram Building in Manhattan, as well as being a part of the leasing team for the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Service (DCAS) with transactions totaling more than 3 million square feet. Additionally, Jodi was part of the original team for One World Trade Center, as the leasing representative for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNY) and the Durst Organization. She has been named one of Smart CEO’s New York Brava Award Winners, one of the Top 50 Women in Real Estate by the Association of Real Estate Women, one of the 2018 Notable Women in Real Estate Crain’s New York Business, among her many honors. She is a Board Member of the Long Island YMCA, the UNFCU Foundation for Women, the Jeffrey Modell Foundation, and REBNY's Commercial Board of Directors. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Wagner College.

The John E. Zuccotti Public Service Award

Jay Kriegel was a Senior Advisor at Related Companies where he focused on business strategy and project development. He helped spearhead the Hudson Yards development, the largest project in history, on the West Side. Mr. Kriegel was a part of the fabric of New York City for over five decades, as he first joined City Hall to work with Mayor John Lindsay in 1966. He has also assisted the City of New York in national campaigns to save the deductibility of state and local taxes in the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and shaped the City’s bid for the 2012 Olympics from 1997-2005. That effort led to the development of the 26-acre West Side Rail Yards. His other professional involvements include Prep for Prep, New Visions for Public Schools, ExpandedED, the Association for a Better New York, the Lindsay Fellows at CUNY, Building Skills New York, and the 400 Foundation.

The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award

Héctor Figueroa was President of 32BJ SEIU until his untimely death this year. In 1995, he began working with SEIU’s Justice for Janitors campaign, followed by his work in Puerto Rico as SEIU Director for the island. In February 1999, he was asked to serve as deputy trustee for 32BJ and was elected as Secretary-Treasurer of 32BJ in 2000. During his time at 32BJ, Héctor built and led the research and political departments, and served as leader for the tri-state and New York Metro areas. As Director of the 32BJ New York Metro District, Héctor led operations and bargained strong contracts for 70,000 members in the metropolitan New York area, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Long Island. Under Héctor’s leadership, the union has become a political powerhouse, fighting for immigrant and worker rights and establishing the American Dream Fund; the union’s voluntary political action fund. Under Héctor’s leadership, the union and its 175,000 members have been at the forefront of  national fights to defend and expand voting rights, to fight the root causes and effects of climate change, and is a stalwart champion for racial, social and economic justice.

The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award

Henry M. Celestino has more than four decades of experience in residential, retail and commercial construction, site development, engineering, building operations and management at properties throughout the metropolitan region. As Vice Chairman at L&L Holding, he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day construction, engineering, building operations and management throughout the company’s nearly 10 million-square-foot New York City portfolio.

He also plays an integral role in the redevelopment and commissioning of such landmark L&L projects as 200 5th Avenue, 195 Broadway, 390 Madison and 425 Park Avenue. He has also guided the engineering, planning and installation process for several large mechanical and architectural capital infrastructure projects.

Prior to L&L, Celestino served as Executive Vice President of Building Operations and Construction for Newmark Real Estate, where he was responsible for the property management function of the company’s 25 million square-foot third party institutional portfolio. Before that, Hank held various positions at Schulman Realty Group in Westchester County, N.Y., where he focused on constructing ground-up commercial office complexes along Route 287’s Platinum Mile corridor. During his successful decade-long stint with the company, he was elevated to EVP of Construction and Operations and oversaw Schulman’s 26-building portfolio. Hank also served as a project engineering manager at Burns & Roe Engineering, where he worked on several major projects, including site development for the Clinch River Nuclear Breeder Reactor Plant, a 1,300-acre site in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He also handled manufacturing processing systems evaluations on several offshore drilling rigs, wastewater treatment plants and oil refineries for Burns & Roe Industrial Services Group.

Mr. Celestino has proudly served as a board member on the Real Estate Board of New York’s Management Board of Directors and Commercial Management Council, and BOMA’s Codes & Regulations and Security Task Force Committees. Hank is on the Board of Directors of the New York Energy Consumers Council and is also active with several charitable organizations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Fairleigh Dickenson University.

The Louis Smadbeck Memorial Broker Recognition Award

Kevin R. Wang of KRW Realty Advisors has spent 40+ years in the real estate industry. He is best known for acquiring and enhancing existing property in New York City and throughout the Metropolitan Area through the renovation and repositioning of assets. In 2015, he completed the redevelopment of 501 Madison Avenue. Currently, Kevin is redeveloping “The Hive;” 303 West 42nd Street and 300 West 43rd Street comprising a complete 140K square foot office & retail redevelopment. Kevin has been an active member of REBNY since he began his career at Cross & Brown. He currently sits on the Board of Governors (since 2006) and is the current Chairman of the General Meetings Committee and a member of the REBNY Arbitration Committee. He served as REBNY’s Co-Chairman of the International Seminar Committee from 1990-1995. Kevin is a former Chairman of the YMWREA (1989), and recipient of both the Young Man of the Year Award (1990) and Senior Man of the Year Award (2010). He is also a past former NAIOP Fairfield/Westchester County President and lecturer at NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. Kevin received his Bachelor of Science in Business from Cornell University in 1979. He is a member of the Cornell Real Estate Council and a frequent contributor to the Manhasset Chapter of AHRC and the Tuesday's Children Foundation.

The Young Real Estate Professional of the Year Award

Robin Fisher joined Newmark Knight Frank in 2004 and specializes in the tenant representation of financial service, legal, consumer, business consulting firms, as well as domestic and international non-profits. She also advises retailers and corporate portfolio operators on strategies for local and domestic asset optimization and site selection. In 2013, Ms. Fisher received the Association of Real Estate Women's Founders Award. She was the recipient of Newmark Knight Frank's Rising Star Award for 2010 and the Real Estate Board of New York's Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award for 2008. Ms. Fisher is the founder of BLACE, an event technology service in New York City. She is a member of NKF's Young Leadership Council, an active member of REBNY, and was elected to serve on the 2010 Board of Governors for the Young Mens'/Womens' Real Estate Association (YMWREA) as Vice Chairman. She was elected to serve on the Board of the Executive's Association of New York and sits on the Board of the Association of Real Estate Women (AREW). Ms. Fisher volunteers her time to The River Fund and St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters, who honored her as their Guest of Honor at the 2011 Women of Valor Event.


The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association.  Founded in 1896, REBNY represents commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, and salespeople; banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, and contractors; corporations, co-partnerships, and individuals professionally interested in New York City real estate.

REBNY conducts research on various civic matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes, and other city, state, and federal legislation. REBNY regularly publishes market data, policy reports, and broker surveys. In addition, REBNY provides for its members: informational, technical, and technological resources; networking and charitable service opportunities; qualifying and continuing education courses; professional education programs, seminars, and designations; career-changing awards; legal advice; and a wide range of additional member benefits. For more information, please visit

Follow REBNY on FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter, and YouTube.

# # #


(212) 616-5204