Manhattan, NY 1,000 members of the building community gathered to pay tribute to four industry legends at the NY Building Congress 2017 Industry Recognition Gala on November 16th at the Grand Hyatt. Brookfield Property Partners executive VP of design & construction Sabrina Kanner, Kasirer founder and president Suri Kasirer, and WSP USA CEO Gregory Kelly were presented with Industry Recognition Awards The PANYNJ executive director Rick Cotton was honored with the George A. Fox Public Service Award.
The Gala, which featured remarks by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, was Co-Chaired by HOK president Carl Galioto and SL Green Realty Corp. CEO Marc Holliday.
In his first Gala since taking over as president and CEO of the Building Congress, Carlo Scissura began the program by discussing the strength of the construction industry and the role of the building community in the growth of the city’s economy. “The members of the Building Congress are ensuring a better future for the city, the region and the state,” said Mr. Scissura. “I will be reminding everybody in Washington, Albany, and the City every day I can of the importance of this industry, the importance of supporting this industry, and the importance of ensuring that the people in this room continue to work.”
Holliday presented the evening’s first Industry Recognition Award to Kasirer, who he described as a “force of nature and icon within our industry.” He highlighted her pivotal role in some of the city’s largest projects, including the construction of the Cornell Tech campus, Delta terminal at JFK Airport, and Barclays Center and the renovation of Madison Square Garden, and praised her abilities in helping government and the private sector find common ground. “Throughout her career, Suri has exemplified leadership and demonstrated an unwavering passion for her work. It is for these efforts that she is receiving a 2017 Industry Recognition Award.”
Kasirer began her acceptance by emphasizing the importance of the Building Congress, where she serves as a Vice Chair of the New York Building Foundation. Ms. Kasirer praised Mr. Scissura for the progress he has made in his first year at the Building Congress, including the organization’s Five Borough Agenda. She explained that her firm shares a similar outlook on the city, telling the attendees, “New York is no longer a city built around one borough, but it’s truly a five borough city. At our firm, we recognize that New York is a five borough city and we are so proud that we are doing work in every one of the five boroughs.”
Dominick Servedio, executive chairman of STV Group and Past Chairman of the Building Congress, presented the second Industry Recognition Award to Mr. Kelly. Mr. Servedio told the attendees of Mr. Kelly’s success at WSP, his active participation in the building community, and his role at the Building Congress, where he serves as Treasurer. “For his commitment to infrastructure investment, best practices, and innovation, the Building Congress is proud to present Greg Kelly with a 2017 Industry Recognition Award,” said Mr. Servedio.
During his acceptance, Kelly said it was an honor to be introduced by Servedio and congratulated the other honorees. He spoke about all that the industry has accomplished and the role it has in the continued success of the city. He praised the tireless work of the building community, explaining, “It’s extremely rewarding to be part of an industry that gives its all every day to make New York great and knowing that your all is as good as it gets.”
Ric Clark, chairman of Brookfield Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, presented the third Industry Recognition Award to Ms. Kanner, who he has worked with for more than 30 years. Speaking of Ms. Kanner’s career, he said, “What’s most striking is the enormous imprint Sabrina has made along the way, not only on Brookfield, but on the physical landscape of New York City and other major cities around the world, on the industry and on the Building Congress.”
In her acceptance, Kanner said she feels she has the best job in the world and praised Mr. Clark and Brookfield for their encouragement and support. She highlighted the importance of the Building Congress as a forum for the discussion of industry-related issues. “We count on the New York Building Congress to be the voice of the industry in City Hall, Albany, and in Washington so that we will be heard, so that our agenda finds the right audience and so the city we love moves forward and grows stronger.”
Ms. Kanner also noted the continued growth of the industry in the city, but explained that more still needs to be done. “The people of New York need housing, infrastructure and improved transportation and they need the design andconstruction industry to execute with strength. I know you’re all with me when I say we will not let them down.”
Galioto presented Mr. Cotton with the 2017 George A. Fox Public Service Award. Mr. Gailoto discussed Mr. Cotton’s position at the Port Authority, which he has held since August, and his prior role as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Special Counsellor for Interagency Initiatives, where he was the point person on such major infrastructure priorities as LaGuardia and JFK Airports, the Moynihan Train Hall and Penn-Farley Complex, the expansion of the Javits Center, and the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway project. “Anyone who has worked with Rick Cotton knows that he is a man of great integrity, who is dedicated to public service and the betterment of New York, making him a very deserving recipient,” said Mr. Galioto.
In his acceptance, Mr. Cotton recognized his Port Authority colleagues that were in attendance and praised Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving the state’s infrastructure. He said that the recent completion of major projects, including the Tappan Zee and Koskiuszko Bridges, were done to the credit of the entire building community. In closing, Mr. Cotton assured the attendees that the Port Authority was committed to moving forward on the projects in its capital program, explaining, “We will continue to work hard with all of you to do these projects faster, to innovate, to economize where possible, to deliver on time and on budget and to do it all in a way that respects customers, the environment, and communities in which we build.”
Cheryl McKissack Daniel, Journal Chair for the Gala and President and Chief Executive Officer of McKissack & McKissack, recognized the efforts of the event’s Co-Chairs. “There are many people to thank, including our topnotch Leadership Committee, but I would like to single out Carl Galioto and Marc Holliday, who assembled an incredible committee and worked tirelessly to produce an amazing Gala,” said Ms. McKissack Daniel.
In closing, Mr. Scissura emphasized the magnitude of this year’s Gala, and he and Mr. Galioto expressed appreciation to the organizations that helped make the event a tremendous success.
“This has really been our biggest event in the history of the Building Congress, so a round of applause for all of you for making this the place to be tonight,” said Mr. Scissura. “This event started for the 75th year of the Building Congress and I am proud to say it has become a wonderful tradition,” said Mr. Scissura.
“We are especially grateful to the Gala Underwriters – Brookfield Property Partners; HOK; SL Green Realty Corp.; Suffolk; Thornton Tomasetti; and WSP USA,” said Mr. Holliday.