by Richard Johns / Published Jul 2015
The Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston, Florida played host to this year’s 2015 Florida Communities of Excellence Conference and Awards Ceremony. More than 500 board members, managers, and industry suppliers were on hand for this year’s event. The ceremony, now in its seventh year, presents awards to condominium, HOA, and cooperative communities that demonstrate excellence in 12 different categories. One award in each category is presented to large communities (more than 400 homes/units) and one to small communities (up to 400). From these, the “Community of the Year” winners are selected. Also presented, are the Trendsetter Awards that recognize innovation in areas not covered by the other categories. This year saw the largest field of entrants and the most corporate sponsors in the history of the Awards, and included the screening of the top three entries in the new “Community Video Showcase” category for the best community-produced videos.
The day started at noon in the Grand Ballroom with the fifth annual Managers of Excellence Reception and Luncheon with a keynote presentation by Julie Adamen. She spoke to a crowd of nearly 180 board members, managers, and community association industry professionals. Following her presentation, Ken Direktor, of Becker & Poliakoff, awarded five community association managers with their Managers of Excellence Awards. These awards are presented to managers whose community or communities have demonstrated an outstanding record of participation in the annual Awards. The 2015 honorees join a group of 29 winners from previous years. The five managers that received this recognition in 2015 were:
Several of the winners, when asked, “What does winning the Managers of Excellence Award mean to you?” responded positively. Karen Rudder of St. George Plantation replied, “It simply validates our results of hard work since I have been at St. George Plantation HOA.” Anna Brautigam of Yacht Harbor replied, “It feels great to win this achievement. This industry requires a lot of hard work and dedication; there is a lot of work and talent that goes unnoticed in this industry.” Chad Peck of Stonecrest POA commented, “This is a true honor to be recognized, an honor to be respected by this industry, and to work with such a great supporting board that made this possible.”
The main event of the day was the presentation of the Communities of Excellence awards. Tom Hudson, of WLRN Radio in South Florida was the Master of Ceremonies and distributed the “hardware”, as he put it, to the winning communities. This year, 27 communities from across the state were recognized. “The Awards are a highly anticipated annual event for Florida’s private, residential communities and the numerous businesses and industries that serve their needs,” said Direktor, Chair of the Community Association Law practice of Becker & Poliakoff, a founding sponsor of the Awards together with the Florida Community Association Journal. “Each year, they spotlight the resourcefulness, creativity, and dedication of volunteer board members and professional managers in addressing the challenges that condominiums and homeowner associations face.”
“Every year the judges’ work seems to get harder,” said Alan Penchansky, Executive Director of the Awards. “A superb community is competing against other outstanding communites, and the margins are often very small. This year, for the second time only, the judges declared a tie in one of the categories.”
The list of 2015 Communities of Excellence Awards winners is as follows.
Water Conservation—Water Management and Conservation Programs
Energy Efficiency—Energy Management and Conservation Programs
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (Presented by ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance)—Environmentally Sound Landscape, Wetland, Preserve, and Lake Management Policies
Civic Volunteerism & Advocacy (Presented by VolunteerFlorida)—Supporting Local and Regional Non-Profit and Charitable Cause
Communications & Community (Presented by Hotwire Communications)—Promoting Positive Community Relations through Effective Use of E-Mail, Newsletters, Social Media, Website, and Other Communications
Family-Friendly Programs & Initiatives—Promoting Family Participation and Well-Being
Safety & Security—Programs to Protect and Ensure the Safety of Residents and Property within the Community
Disaster Preparedness—Protecting Lives and Property, as Well as for Community Restoration in the Aftermath of an Emergency
Policies and Procedures to Ease the Impact of Financial Burdens During Challenging Economic Times
The Comeback Kid—Recognizing Communities Whose Boards and Managers Have Developed and Implemented Successful Turnaround Programs by Revitalizing Distressed Properties
Trendsetter Award—Innovation in Any Area Not Covered in the Existing Categories
Community Video Showcase—Three winners
Community of the Year (Condominium)
Community of the Year (HOA)
Congratulations to these communities that represent just a handful of associations that strive to make Florida a better place to live for their residents. Direktor was asked, “As you look back on today’s event, what were you most impressed with?” He replied, “I was particularly impressed seeing the pride and enthusiasm of the managers for their profession and the accomplishments of their peers, and the engaged and forward-thinking board members who take such pride in the advancement of their communities through teamwork and innovation.”
The Florida Communities of Excellence Awards is a unique program that shines a spotlight on the positive and productive initiatives taking place in condominiums, homeowners associations, and cooperatives across Florida. Now in its seventh year, the independently judged program recognizes the top communities in the state for their accomplishments, while enabling others to learn from their example.
For more information, please visit www.communitiesofexcellence.net.