To celebrate success in real estate and the changing face of the industry, Long Island’s esteemed real estate professionals mingled at the Carltun in East Meadow’s Eisenhower Park on Nov. 19 for the inaugural Real Estate Achievement and Leadership Awards Gala.
RichnerLIVE, the events division of Richner Communications, and Herald Community Newspapers honored nearly 50 of the highest-performing real estate professionals and real estate groups at the event.
Guests rung in the night with a networking and cocktail party where they could take group photos at a selfie photo booth, be fitted for custom-fitted shirts at Jacomino Bespoke Clothiers, meet with different event sponsors and mingle with honorees and other real estate professionals.
Joe Bruha, senior marketing manager of Grassi and Co., an event sponsor, was so pleased at his first RichnerLIVE event in September — the Top Lawyers of Long Island Awards Gala — that he came back with a group of his colleagues for more networking and mingling.
The company provides accounting and business consulting in the sectors of real estate, construction, architecture and engineering, among other areas. “It’s definitely a great opportunity for us to be here,” Bruha said.
Following the opening festivities, guests made their way into the dining room for the awards ceremony. Richner presented the honorees with ornate crystal awards engraved with their names. Master of ceremonies Alyssa Seidman, editor of the Bellmore and Merrick Heralds, introduced the professionals as they walked to the stage to cheers of support and appreciation.
“Tonight is about celebrating the leaders in the real estate industry and their commitment to excellence and the community,” said Amy, the executive director of corporate relations and events at RichnerLIVE.
Real estate attorney Asaf German, founder of the Law Office of Asaf German, earned recognition in the Residential Law Award category and as a Community Champion. He earned praise from the Long Island chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, of which he is an ambassador, as its 2019 Man of the Year.
His colleagues said they are inspired by his two mantras: “Health is wealth” and “Teamwork makes the dream work.” These were put into action when he raised over $460,000 in 10 weeks for the LLS, coordinating a team of more than 75 members and sponsors.
Keynote speakers Kristen Jarnigan, the president and chief executive officer of Discover Long Island, and Mitch Pally, the chief executive officer of the Long Island Builders Institute, addressed the room between awards with a speech on the modern real estate landscape on Long Island.
Jarnigan moved four years ago from Arizona as an outlier in the trend of people growing up on Long Island before moving out to start a family elsewhere, she said. Through her company, she is responsible for bolstering the local $6.1 billion tourism economy and encouraging people to vacation and travel to Long Island.
“I’m living proof that people will come here if you talk about what makes it special,” she said. “Yes, we’re expensive, but sometimes you get what you pay for . . . and when you speak positively about Long island, it does make a difference.”
Pally is nearing his 10th anniversary as chief executive officer of the Long Island Builders Institute and is a key player in guiding the region’s business associations, non-profit associations and planning groups.
He addressed the growing appearance of developments like the Nassau Hub that integrate residential, retail and office space, among other uses, to create a live-work-play environment. “Long Island is finally understanding the importance of integrated uses,” he said.
Community members nominated honorees based on their expertise, narrowing the pool down to 18 who were Residential Award winners. Thirteen were recognized in the Commercial Awards category and 10 who were given Special Awards. The latter included Rising Star, Lifetime Achievement and Richner Community Award.
The gala concluded with a surprise when Jarnigan and Pally were each named a Long Island Champion.