Published March 2016
FLCAJ recently caught up with Alan Penchansky, Executive Director of the Florida Communities of Excellence Awards, for an update on the program and plans for the 2016 Conference & Awards Gala on Friday, May 13, 2016, in West Palm Beach. Along with Becker & Poliakoff and the Florida Community Association Journal, Penchansky is one of the founding sponsors and has served as the Executive Director since the program’s inception in 2009.
Q Where will this year’s event be held, and what does the agenda look like?
A The 2016 Conference & Awards Gala will be held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, which is a beautiful facility, and easily accessible from across the state. The agenda will be similar to last year’s, and there will be a special VIP area for communities selected as finalists to receive their plaques and have their pictures taken. The Awards ceremony will be followed by a gala after-party with deejay, food, drinks, and prize drawings.
Anyone who is a member of a community here in Florida can attend, regardless of whether the community entered, but everyone must register. Registration is done online at our site at www.communitiesofexcellence.net.
QWhat’s new this year?
A There will be a special screening area with comfortable seating where guests can watch the video submissions at their convenience in the afternoon. The Community Video Showcase category has received a large number of entries as more associations are producing promotional videos.
Q How many Awards will be given out?
AAround 30 across all categories. The reason we don’t know the total at this point is that the number of Trendsetter Awards is not fixed. They are given out at the discretion of the judges to communities that have been very innovative in the way they’ve gone about improving the quality of life for their residents.
Q Who judges the entries?
AWe have three dozen independent experts who volunteer their time to evaluate and rate the submissions. They are the only ones who have any control over the selection process. We have the judges and bios on the Communities of Excellence website.
Q In addition to communities, do you also recognize managers?
A Yes, with the Managers of Excellence Awards. The annual luncheon honors the managers at outstanding communities that have received multiple awards over the years. It’s really an honor to be able to raise the profiles of these outstanding professionals. This year our luncheon keynote will focus on the use of the latest digital communications platforms by residential communities. The luncheon is a ticketed/by invitation event and not part of the free activities in the afternoon.
Q How has the Awards grown over the years?
AThe most important benchmark is the participation of communities, which has risen every year. The communities that have participated to date represent more than three-quarters of a million Florida residents. That’s our number one measure of success. The program relies on the support of corporate sponsors who underwrite the annual Awards Gala and provide input on all phases of the program. The 2016 program saw more sponsors coming forward than ever before. The trade show, where sponsors exhibit, is a very popular part of the annual event.
Q How do people register?
A Community association board members, residents, and active managers are welcome, even if their community didn’t submit an entry in the awards. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required. For more information visit the Communities of Excellence website www.communitiesofexcellence.net.