Real Estate Times Announces 2020 Excellence Award Winners for Architecture, Brokerage, Construction, Engineering, Green Design and Other Awards


BOSTON—Boston Real Estate Times, New England’s largest commercial real estate digital daily and video magazine, today announced the winners of the 2020 Excellence Awards in Commercial Real Estate. The individuals and companies selected for this award will be honored at the publication’s annual breakfast summit on June 18, 2020 at Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA.

Major sponsors of this event are Green Site Services, The Mishra Group and Boston Sound & Light Company.

“The companies and individuals Boston Real Estate Times is going to honor on June 18 are trailblazers in their own right and have left an indelible mark on Boston real estate and beyond,” said Upendra Mishra, publisher of Boston Real Estate Times. “We had over 200 nominations by our readers this year and it was difficult to choose winners in these categories. After prudent research and due diligence, we selected 11 recipients. On behalf of our readers, we would like to congratulate all of them and thank our readers for their nominations.”

To buy a ticket for the award ceremony, please click here.

Jay Doherty, CEO of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, will receive the 2020 Person of the Year Award. Ed Zuker, founder and CEO of Chestnut Hill Realty, will be honored with the “Lifetime Achievement” Award.

Here is the complete list of Boston Real Estate Times’s 2020 Excellence Award Recipients:

Jay Doherty

Person of the Year

Jay Doherty

CEO, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes

Mr. Doherty today leads Boston’s oldest development firm with its origins in Boston real estate in the early 1900s.  CC&F projects in pipeline include a 12-acre, 1.1 million square foot mixed use project in the Alewife area of Cambridge that will provide new mobility for the area with a bridge spanning the MBTA commuter rail tracks.  Also pending construction is the 445-unit redevelopment of the former Boston Cab site in Boston’s Fenway.

Mr. Doherty joined CC&F in 1981, taking over all New England operations in 1989.  While managing the firm’s mainstay business of office/R&D development, beginning in the early 1980s, he began focusing the company on the earliest efforts in Greater Boston to create development around the MBTA’s core system, a development approach later to become known as transit oriented development (TOD). Since the mid-1980s, Mr. Doherty has led in the creation of 2,000,000 square feet of Greater Boston transit-oriented office/R&D projects, and, more recently, in the creation of 2,500 residential units in Cambridge, Boston and Quincy.

Mr. Doherty is a former President and Chairman of NAIOP’s Boston Chapter and is the Chair of the Transportation & Housing Committee of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. He is a graduate of Middlebury College and Harvard Business School.

Ed Zuker (Photo: CHR)

Edward Zuker

Lifetime Achievement Award

Founder & CEO, Chestnut Hill Realty


Under Mr. Zuker’s leadership, Chestnut Hill Realty has grown exponentially during the last five decades. Today, CHR is one of New England’s leading vertically integrated residential real estate companies that specializes in multifamily housing. The company’s holdings now include a portfolio valued in excess of $1 billion, comprising about 5,000 residential units and over 160,000 square feet of commercial property.

Mr. Zuker has overseen the conversion and sale of more than 2,000 condominium units, and the acquisition, renovation, repositioning and operation of 6,000 rental apartment units.

A dedicated advocate and leader in the real estate industry, Mr. Zuker served as President of the Rental Housing Association (RHA), Vice President and Clerk of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB), and President of the Brookline Property Owner’s Association

A native of Brookline, MA, Mr. Zuker studied finance and architecture, and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami.

Al Spagnolo

Architecture and Design


Al Spagnolo, Co-Founder and President

Based in Boston and New York, SGA is an award-winning national architecture, interior design, planning, branded environments practice and virtual design and construction firm. Winner of the Fast Company “Most Innovative Companies” award for architecture, SGA embodies tech-forward design that redefines how projects are visualized and delivered.

SGA designs life sciences, higher education, interior design and complex and challenging real estate projects that require imagination, creativity and fresh thinking. The strength of their experienced team is speed to the market, problem solving, fast-track public approvals, and a seamless integration of design, development and construction process. Since its founding in 1991, SGA has delivered about 450 million square feet of completed space.

Mr. Spagnolo is Co-Founder and President of this respected architectural practice and he provides leadership and guides decisions on the firm’s significant urban, commercial, life science and higher education commissions.

Roy Hirshland

Commercial Brokerage Firm of the Year

T3 Advisors

Roy Hirshland, Co-Founder and CEO

T3 was founded in 2001 on a single idea—to create a real estate company that was purpose-built exclusively for innovators. In fact, problem-solving and thinking creatively has become T3’s way of life.

As T3 Co-Founder, Mr. Hirshland says that in late 2000 he realized that the innovation economy companies of the world were rapidly changing and had huge real estate and workplace challenges—and that the traditional real estate brokerage industry was underserving this market. With the help of many leading tech VCs, advisors and CEOs, he formed the idea that became T3 Advisors.

In addition to Waltham, T3 today has offices in New York, Palto Alto and San Francisco.

Patrick Callahan

Construction Company of the Year

Callahan Construction

Patrick Callahan, President

Callahan Construction Managers is a full-service construction management company based in Bridgewater, MA, with regional offices in White Plains, NY.  Callahan has served the New England and Northeast regions as a family business for over 65 years. As one of the region’s largest open shop construction firms, Callahan provides a wide range of preconstruction and construction management services to local, regional, and national clients.  Callahan was voted a 2018 “Best Place to Work” by the Boston Globe.

The firm is led by Patrick Callahan. As president, Callahan’s corporate responsibilities include strategic planning, oversight of all financial and administrative operations, and management of the company’s leadership team. Mr. Callahan works directly with clients, carrying forward his family’s commitment to excellent client service, from preconstruction to project completion – and beyond.

Mr. Callahan began working in the family business in 1988, and over the years has gained leadership experience in all areas of management, including finance, legal, planning, personnel, and business development. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Plymouth State College and is a board member of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts.

Judith Nitsch

Engineering Firm of the Year

Nitsch Engineering

Judith Nitsch, Founder

Lisa Brothers, CEO

Nitsch Engineering is the largest Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) civil engineering firm in Massachusetts and is certified as a WBE in the states of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Nitsch Engineering is also certified as a WBE by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Nitsch Engineering specializes in providing civil engineering, land surveying, transportation engineering, structural engineering, green infrastructure, planning, and GIS services.

Lisa Brothers

Lisa Brothers is the CEO of the company. Ms. Nitsch is the founder of Nitsch Engineering. Her work over the past 40+ years in the civil engineering field has focused on the design and management of site development and infrastructure-related projects.

A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Ms. Nitsch has been a Registered Professional Engineer in 27 states and is currently registered in 11 states. She received an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from WPI in 2015, and an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2010.

Ms. Nitsch is a Peer in the U.S. General Service Administration’s Design Excellence Program. Additionally, she is in her third term as a member of the U.S. Department of State Overseas Building Operations Industry Advisory Group. She served on the Board of Directors of CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women) for five years and was the 2014 President of this national organization. Ms. Nitsch currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Boston Architectural College.  She is a Trustee of Eastern Bank, a member of the ULI Boston Advisory Board, and a Fellow of ACEC, ASCE, SWE, and SMPS.

Meredith Elbaum

Green Design & Sustainability

Meredith Elbaum

Executive Director, Built Environment Plus

Built Environment Plus, formerly known as the US Green Building Council Massachusetts Chapter, Inc. (USGBC MA), operates as the local partner of the national USGBC, and continues to partner with ILFI, as the home of the New England Collaborative, and to promote WELL, Fitwell, Passive House, Envision, and others partners advancing our mission.

Meredith Elbaum serves as the organization’s Executive Director. As a sustainability advocate and educator, she joined the USGBC MA, as Executive Director, in November 2017. Before becoming ED, she was developing climate action plans, master plans, design guidelines and green buildings as President of the Elbaum Group, LLC.

Fueled by an interest in materials transparency, Ms. Elbaum launched the Health Product Declaration as its Interim Executive Director.  For almost a decade she was Director of Sustainable Design at Sasaki. During that time she helped in the USGBC MA Chapter’s creation and served as a founding board member. She also co-created the Architecture and Design Sustainable Design Leaders Network. Ms. Elbaum earned a BArch from Rice University and a MSArch from MIT and she currently teaches architecture students at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Peter Abair

Organization of the Year


Peter Abair, Executive Director

MassEcon, a statewide non-profit alliance of private and public sector partners, champions Massachusetts as the best place to start, grow or locate a business.

Peter Abair serves as the organization’s Executive Director. He joined MassEcon after serving as Executive Director of the MassBioEd Foundation, a non-profit committed to building the life sciences workforce in the region. He also served as Director of Economic and Global Affairs at MassBio, where he provided consulting services to companies looking to locate to or grow in Massachusetts, managed global partner programs and led the development and publication of MassBio’s annual economic analysis of the life sciences industry.

Prior to joining MassBio, Mr. Abair served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in several economic development functions including Director of the Massachusetts Department of Economic Development, Massachusetts Office of Business Development, and Associate Director of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. He also served as Director for Government Affairs at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education.

Wendy Pierce

Property Management

Wendy Pierce

Director of Property Management, Life Sciences

Lincoln Property Company

Wendy Pierce joined Lincoln Property Company in 2017 as Director of Property Management for Life Sciences. She has over 25 years of experience in property management leadership. She is responsible for a 17-building lab and life science portfolio totaling over 2.1 million square feet across Cambridge, Waltham, Lexington and Suburban Boston.

Prior to joining LPC, Ms. Pierce spent three years as Director of Property Management at BioMed Realty where she oversaw a portfolio of three million square feet of Class A lab buildings in Cambridge and Boston. Previously, she held senior management positions at JLL overseeing the management of a portfolio of buildings including a prominent tower in Boston and providing management oversight for five highly regarded clients.  Most of her career was spent rising through the ranks working for companies, such as Leggat McCall and Spaulding and Slye.

Ms. Pierce is RPA certified through the BOMI Institute and has completed LEED certification coursework through USGBC.

David Connolly

Real Estate Law

David Connolly

Partner, Hinckley Allen

David Connolly’s practice is focused on sophisticated real estate development and real estate investment matters, focusing on all aspects of real estate law, including acquisitions and dispositions, commercial leasing, office and retail development, residential housing development, financing, and institutional real estate investment advice.

Mr. Connolly has represented regional and national developers, national value-added funds, national and regional automobile franchisees and dealerships, and public and private pension funds. He has appeared before numerous municipalities and state and local governmental agencies in the areas of real estate development, liquor licenses, and land use regulations, including zoning, planning, and subdivision matters.

Paul Natalizio

Real Estate Finance Leader

Cornerstone Realty Capital

Paul Natalizio, Founder & President

Founded in 2004, Cornerstone specializes in structuring and sourcing innovative financing for all property types. After almost 20 years in the world of banking and real estate asset management, Paul Natalizio founded Cornerstone Realty Capital with the primary focus of assisting clients with commercial mortgage financing by providing the best service possible.

Mr. Natalizio began his career in banking in 1985 with National Westminster Bank in New York City after receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Babson College. During the ensuing 15 years, Mr. Natalizio managed multiple commercial real estate lending teams at several banking institutions, including being the Group Head of Real Estate Workouts for Bank of Ireland.

Mr. Natalizio is a member of the Board of Directors of the Rental Housing Association, a Division of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and a Board member of Winchester Country Club in his capacity as Greens Chairman. He is also a past President and past Board member of the New England Chapter of CCIM. He is an active fundraiser for Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee and the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) which raises funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Paul Ognibene

Urban Developer of the Year

Urban Spaces

Paul Ognibene, CEO

Founded in 2004, Urban Spaces is a Cambridge-based real estate development company that aspires to have a transformational effect on the communities it serves. The company develops mid-sized residential and commercial projects in growing neighborhoods that are in close proximity to public transportation, universities, and employment hubs. An entrepreneurial spirit, expertise, tenacity, and flexibility enable Urban Spaces to create and complete unique and successful development opportunities. Recent projects include 85-95 First Street in Cambridge; 121 First Street, Cambridge; 1975 Massachusetts Avenue, adjacent to the Porter Square station on the MBTA Red Line in Cambridge; and 65 Washington Street in Salem, MA.

Urban Spaces is led by Paul Ognibene, who serves as the company’s CEO.  Mr. Ognibene sets the vision and direction for the company and provides executive oversight of all client relationships, contract negotiations, and multi-million-dollar budgets. He graduated from Boston College and Harvard Business School.