REBNY Announces Honorees

The Real Estate Board of New York just announced who it will honor at next month’s annual gala:

  • Mary Ann Tighe of CB Richard Ellis
  • Leonard Litwin of Glenwood Management
  • Earle S. Altman of ABS Partners
  • James Farley of Stahl Real Estate
  • Diane Ramirez of Halstead Property
  • Joseph Grotto Jr. of Colliers ABR

The announcement below:


NEW YORK, December 9, 2008 – The Real Estate Board of New York, the city’s leading real estate trade association, today announced the six industry leaders who will be honored at its 113th Annual Banquet on January 15, 2009 at the New York Hilton.

“All of our honorees have accomplished great things in their careers and they have demonstrated the highest professional and ethical standards,” said REBNY President Steven Spinola. “These industry veterans are not only professionally successful, but each contributes significantly to strengthening the communities they serve. We commend each individual for their hard work and dedication to the industry and the City.”

This year’s honorees are:

  • Mary Ann Tighe, CB Richard Ellis, Inc., who will receive The Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award, which is presented each year to a REBNY member for a lifetime of exceptional accomplishment in the profession and invaluable contributions to New York’s leadership in real estate.
  • Leonard Litwin, Glenwood Management Corp., will receive The Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award, which is presented to a REBNY member for a lifetime of exceptional accomplishment in the profession and invaluable contributions to New York’s civic welfare.
  • Earle S. Altman, ABS Partners Real Estate LLC, will receive The Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award, which honors an executive who exemplifies the characteristics of a successful commercial broker.
  • James H. Farley, Stahl Real Estate Company, will receive The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award, which recognizes individuals of superior accomplishment from the management area based on outstanding professionalism, civic achievement and contributions to the real estate industry.
  • Diane M. Ramirez, Halstead Property LLC, will receive The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award, which recognizes meritorious service to the community by a REBNY member.
  • Joseph A. Grotto, Jr., Colliers ABR Inc., will receive The Young Real Estate Man of the Year Award, who is selected by the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association of New York on the basis of integrity, professional and personal ethics and knowledge, ability and accomplishments in the field of real estate, contribution of time and effort to the Association and The Real Estate Board of New York and constructive participation in the life of the community.

“Given the present state of the economy, it has never been more important to attend the biggest real estate event of the year,” added Mr. Spinola.

REBNY encourages those wishing to attend to purchase tickets early. For more information, contact Thomas Griffin at REBNY, 212-532-3100.

About the Honorees

Mary Ann Tighe

Chief Executive Officer New York Tri-State Region for CB Richard Ellis, Inc.

Ms. Tighe has been CEO of CBRE’s New York Tri-State Region since 2002. Under her leadership, CBRE has become one of New York’s preeminent firms. Her on-going accounts include the Archdiocese of New York, CIT, Condé Nast, Crain’s, Limited Brands, Medco, The New York Times Company, The Conference Board and WPP Group.

She began her real estate career as a broker at the Edward S. Gordon Company. Prior to entering the real estate field, she served as a Vice President of the American Broadcasting Companies, the Deputy Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Advisor to Vice President Walter Mondale, and a staff member of the Smithsonian Institution.

She has served the industry as part of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of REBNY since 2001 and is currently Vice President of the Executive Committee. She serves the community as a Board member of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, a Board member of the Partnership for New York City, a Board member of Joan’s Legacy: The Joan Scarangello Foundation to Conquer Lung Cancer and a Member, Chairman’s Council and Business Committee, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ms. Tighe is a six-time winner of the Real Estate Board of New York’s Deal of the Year award for ingenious brokerage, and has also won the 2007 Henry Hart Rice Achievement Award and the 2004 Louis Smadbeck Memorial Broker Recognition Award.

The Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award is named for Bernard H. Mendik, who served as REBNY’s chairperson from 1992 to his passing in 2001.

Leonard Litwin

President and Chief Executive Officer of Glenwood Management Corp.

Mr. Litwin has been involved in apartment house construction and management for over fifty years. His family started as nurserymen over 70 years ago and they still maintain The Woodbourne Cultural Nurseries in Melville, NY, which he is converting into the 200-acre Woodbourne Arboretum. Each of Mr. Litwin’s buildings has a substantial amount of beautifully landscaped areas that contribute to the overall beauty of Manhattan.

Mr. Litwin has remained one of the most active owner-builders of luxury high-rise Manhattan buildings. Glenwood Management Corp. has earned the reputation as one of the best management companies of residential apartment houses in New York City. He has also built hundreds of low income housing units. Mr. Litwin received special recognition for a new building on the NYS and Federal Registers of Historic Places, which was the first building to rise after 9/11.

Mr. Litwin is actively involved in various real estate trade organizations. He is presently the Vice Chairman of the Rent Stabilization Association of New York, a Governor and Secretary of the Real Estate Board of New York, and Co-Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York.

Mr. Litwin supports the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, co-founded The Litwin Zucker Alzheimer’s Research Center at North Shore LIJ, and substantially supports Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and cancer research at several hospitals. He has established The Litwin Foundation to ensure that these endeavors last well beyond his lifetime. Mr. Litwin is also a major supporter of Jewish causes and is a major benefactor of the Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, NY.

The Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award memorializes Mr. Helmsley, his generation’s most admired real estate executive.

Earle S. Altman

Chairman of ABS Partners Real Estate LLC.

Mr. Altman spent over 40 years at Helmsley-Spear, Inc., which was then one of the largest real estate firms in the country. As Senior Vice President, he was in charge of its Sales and Leasing Divisions. Mr. Altman co-founded ABS Partners Real Estate, LLC, in 2000, where he works in ABS’s Acquisitions, Sales, Management, Leasing, and Advisory groups.

Mr. Altman helped pioneer the conversion of loft and commercial buildings into residential co-ops and condominiums by consistently citing the fundamental land, building, and conversion values versus ground-up construction, encouraging urban pioneers to take advantage of mid-Manhattan values. He is currently working on a program for middle income housing development in Queens.

Mr. Altman is on the New York City Advisory Board of the M&T Bank and has been a member of its Real Estate Loan Committee since 1989. He has been honored as “Young Man of the Year” in 1971 and the “Senior Man of the Year” in 1982 by the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association of New York, of which he was the Chairman of its Board of Governors in 1964. He is also on the Board of Directors of The Realty Foundation of New York. Mr. Altman has served as a member of the Board of Governors of The Real Estate Board of New York as well as a three-time Chairman of its Sales Broker Committee.

Along with Linda, his wife of 50+ years, he is active in a variety of charitable organizations. He is the Co-Chairman of the Real Estate Council of Carnegie Hall, a benefactor of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and has been a guest lecturer at both Cornell University and New York University. He presently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Baruch’s Newman Real Estate Institute. Mr. Altman has also served in the United States Marine Corps.

The Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award honors the memory of one of the profession’s most esteemed practitioners.

James H. Farley

Senior Vice President for Stahl Real Estate Company

Mr. Farley is responsible for Construction and Development and Management of Stahl Real Estate Company, the owner, developer, and investor with over 4,000,000 square feet of office and retail space and 3,000 apartments.

Mr. Farley began his career in 1980 at Muirfield Contracting, a heavy construction general contractor, where he ran the field operations. His move into the real estate industry came when joined Williams Real Estate where he managed a portfolio of buildings before moving to Nevada at ArDe Realty Corp. He returned to NYC in 1990 to join Stahl Real Estate.

Mr. Farley has overseen the renovations of both 277 Park Avenue and the Lunt Fontaine Theatre, the recent conversion of the landmarked Apple Bank for Savings Building to residential condominiums, the construction of L haus, a residential condominium in Long Island City, and the restoration of the Chanin Building following the Con Ed steam blast. He is currently working on the construction of two new residential buildings, one on the upper west side and the other in Brooklyn.

Mr. Farley serves the industry as a Director at the Real Estate Board of New York, Management Division and as a Member of the RAB Negotiating Committee and of the Building and Managers’ Association International.

He has an MBA from Columbia University, a BS in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College and a Diploma in Construction Management from New York University.

The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award honors the memory of the late Mr. Brooker, the first Vice President for REBNY’s Management Division and one of the profession’s most respected members.

Diane M. Ramirez

President of Halstead Property, LLC.

Together with Clark Halstead, Mrs. Ramirez helped found Halstead Property in 1984, which became the first big firm to utilize storefront offices in Manhattan as well as the first to be on the West Side and in Downtown. Mrs. Ramirez worked as a selling broker for the firm until 1987 when she assumed the management role of Director of Sales. She was promoted to Executive Director of Sales in 1993; and, named President of the firm in 1999. She was also a partner and board member until the firm was acquired in 2001. She began her real estate career in 1973 in Palm Beach, Florida, where she continues to maintain her license.

Mrs. Ramirez is an active member of REBNY, where she serves on the Executive Committee, the Board of ResidentialNYC, and as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors of the Residential Division. She also serves on the Deal of the Year Committee and its Investment Advisory sub-committee, is a voting member of the Residential Brokerage Division, Interfirm Forum, which she co-chaired from 1996-98. She is currently a committee member on Admissions and has served on the Ethics Committee and Education Committee (co-chair from 1994-1996), and is a member of the Real Estate Brokerage Managers Council. In addition, she is an accredited continuing education teacher for the State.

In 1988, Mrs. Ramirez was the first recipient of the prestigious Real Estate Board of New York’s "Deal of the Year" award. She has been presented with the Mann ‘Real Estate Firm of the Year’ Award and the OTTY ‘Eastsider of the Year’ Award, both of which acknowledge outstanding involvement in the community. In 2005, Mrs. Ramirez was honored by the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter with the Celine Marcus Community Service Award. She and her husband, Sam Ramirez, are long-standing supporters of the Valerie Fund in New Jersey and were honored in 2006 for their outstanding involvement in and dedication to the charity.

The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award celebrates the memory of Mr. Gerrety who served with distinction as REBNY’s executive vice president for many years and gave valuable community service to his hometown of Garden City, New York.

Joseph A. Grotto Jr.

Senior Managing Director/Principal at Colliers ABR, Inc.

Mr. Grotto has been active in the real estate industry for over 25 years, since graduating from Denison University. He began his career by interning at the age of 16 at Brown Harris Stevens in the appraisals department and then onto commercial leasing after graduation. He later co-founded J. Grotto & Associates in 1986 with his father and mentor, Joseph Grotto, Sr. When J. Grotto & Associates merged into Colliers ABR in 2003 he joined Colliers ABR as Senior Managing Director. Mr. Grotto’s accomplishments encompass leasing transactions in excess of 1 million square feet, commercial sales totaling over $300 million and numerous consulting projects for both corporations and institutions.

In 1994, Mr. Grotto was awarded the “Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award” by the Sales Brokers Committee of REBNY for the most ingenious sales deal in New York City. He is currently serving on REBNY’s Board of Governors and is part of the Midtown West Rental Conditions Committee and the General Meetings Committee. He serves as the Assistant Treasurer of the Realty Foundation of New York. He is also a past Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association of New York.

The Young Real Estate Man of the Year Award marks exceptional professional performance and commitment to industry causes by a younger member of the profession.

  REBNY Announces Honorees