The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) announces the winners of its 2023 Industry and AHMA Awards, which will be presented during its Biannual Top Issues in Affordable Housing winter conference, March 6-8.

The list of award winners includes individuals and organizations whose professionalism, dedication, and accomplishments in assuring quality housing for low-income Americans raise the multifamily affordable housing industry standards.

NAHMA Industry Statesman Award

Given annually to NAHMA Executive Council members either in or nearing retirement, in recognition of many years of outstanding leadership and service to NAHMA.

Michael Johnson spent more than 40 years with ALCO Management Inc., where he started as an accounting manager and worked his way up to executive vice president and chief administrative officer before retiring in 2023. He served as a member of the NAHMA Board of Directors, including serving as president from 2017 to 2018, and was awarded the NAHMA President’s Award in 2019. Johnson served as a SAHMA Board of Directors member from 2003 to 2011, leading the organization as its president from 2007 to 2009. He continues to serve on the SAHMA Leadership Council.

J. Kenneth Pagano has spent nearly 50 years in the affordable housing management industry, including working for New Jersey Housing Finance Agency (NJHFA) and as president & CEO at Essex Plaza Management LLC. He is also a founding member of JAHMA, where he helped set up the JAHMA Foundation, which was established to provide scholarships for those tenants living in JAHMA affordable housing properties. Pagano joined NAHMA in the early 1990s, held several positions in the organization, and became president from 2015 to 2016. In 2005, Pagano was honored with the NAHMA President’s Award.

“Both of the Stateman Award honorees’ careers mark an unparalleled commitment to advancing quality affordable housing for Americans in need, and their service to NAHMA over the years has been tireless, as well as instrumental in the success of the organization,” Kris Cook, CAE, NAHMA CEO, said. “We sincerely appreciate their commitment of time, energy and leadership on behalf of affordable housing in general, and of NAHMA in particular.”

NAHMA Chair’s Award (formerly the President’s Award)

Given annually by NAHMA’s chair of the board for outstanding leadership or other contributions to NAHMA and the affordable multifamily housing industry.

Cindy Lamb is the chief financial officer for CSI Support & Development and has been with the organization since 1994. She has active roles in the MAHMA and the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives. Lamb served on the NAHMA Board of Directors from 2018 to 2023. Lamb is receiving the Chair’s Award for her impact on the industry, specifically for her calm and composed leadership. She was always ready to provide invaluable feedback to NAHMA staff and HUD personnel to benefit the affordable housing management industry.

NAHMA Industry Partner Award

Given annually to a government agency or other affordable housing organizational partner that has made a significant contribution to the cause of affordable housing in the previous year.

Donna O’Brien is theregional director of the Northeast Region for USDA’s Rural Development Multi-Family Housing (MFH), which oversees 13 states and has a portfolio of about 21,000 MFH projects. She has 42 years of service with USDA, including work in Single-Family Housing, Community Programs, Water and Waste and most presently in Multi-Family Housing programs. O’Brien has partnered with HUD, New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency, Housing Authorities, Affordable Housing Organizations and other state and local Agencies to ensure that very-low, low- and moderate-income tenants are afforded a decent, safe and sanitary place to live.

“NAHMA commends Donna on her many years of service and leadership within the USDA Office of Rural Development and her long-time commitment to the public-private partnership in advancing the preservation and development of safe, quality affordable multifamily housing,” Cook said.

NAHMA Industry Achievement Award

Given annually to a NAHMA Executive Council member who has contributed significant or noteworthy leadership or other contributions to NAHMA within the past year or two.

Alicia Stoermer Clark, the president/CEO of Seldin Company LLC, has been a NAHMA Board of Directors member since 2021. Additionally, she has served on the NAHMA Educational Foundation from 2018 through her current term expiration of 2026, including as the chair from 2021 to 2023. Clark is being recognized for her commitment of time, energy and leadership to the foundation. Her leadership resulted in incredibly successful fundraising events over the past several years, which, as a result, greatly increased the foundation’s ability to provide deserving residents living in affordable housing with meaningful scholarships to advance their educational goals and the opportunity for them and their families to move toward financial self-sufficiency.

AHMA of the Year

Given to AHMAs using criteria such as size, number of members, success in membership recruitment, membership retention, education and training course attendance, financial stability, and other factors.

Large: SAHMA had a 94% renewal rate, added 31 new members, and welcomed back 11 members who rejoined in 2023. On average, SAHMA offered five webinar opportunities a month, with 58 live webinars in 2023. In addition to virtual training, SAHMA offered four half-day Zoom classroom courses on various topics. The association hosted seven state conferences and trade shows throughout the spring and its Leadership Conference in August. Many in-person conferences’ attendance experienced growth and exceeded expectations, including 38% of conference attendees reporting as first-time attendees across the state conferences. SAHMA continues to concentrate on providing a diverse and extensive catalog of member services.

Medium: AHMA of Washington had another record-breaking year in 2023. It increased membership, the number of trainings offered, and the number of attendees at the trainings. The association held a successful convention with the highest attendance ever, and its financial position continues to strengthen. AHMA of Washington had 98 renewals and eight new members for a total of 114 members and enjoyed a 96% renewal rate and an overall 7% net growth rate. It presented 22 trainings in 2023 with 623 total attendees. The April convention saw 530 attendees and 19 exhibitors—the highest-ever convention attendance. To engage with maintenance personnel, the AHMA held an in-person maintenance training in the fall and added a maintenance track at our annual convention. More than 200 maintenance staff members attended these two training sessions.

Small: JAHMA and PennDel AHMA

JAHMA leadership has embraced the ever-changing affordable housing industry and has continued to take an active role in upholding the standards set before them. Through virtual learning, in-person events and an annual Spring Management Event conference, JAHMA has delivered exemplary education to its members and industry as a whole.

PennDel AHMA leadership continued their focus on providing exemplary education, informative membership meetings and a two-day conference and expo. For the first time since 2019, PennDel AHMA hosted a two-day Fall Management Conference & Expo at a new location in Bethlehem, Penn.

“NAHMA believes that both AHMAs are instrumental in furthering the cause of excellent affordable housing and maintaining high standards in the industry, and their many accomplishments over the past year have been noteworthy. The NAHMA Nominating Committee felt that the joint award was appropriate, given the collaborative work between the AHMAs on many educational offerings throughout the year, as well as in recognition of the exemplary work of the AHMA executive director and staff colleagues in keeping both AHMAs running at such high levels of performance simultaneously,” Cook said.

AHMA Communities of QualityProgram Award

Given to AHMAs according to size that have a substantial number of COQ awards in their area, demonstrate support for the program, and introduce new or innovative activities.

SAHMA: Since November 2022, a total of two properties have joined the COQ program. The AHMA congratulates new region program participants on Facebook and Twitter and welcomes new properties in the biweekly SAHMA Update. SAHMA continues to market the program through social media posts, marketing, and at its state conferences and Leadership Conference by prominently recognizing the properties participating at each state conference by devoting a page in the on-site agenda to the COQ program. Specially designed ribbons for participants to wear at conferences are also distributed. SAHMA has a total of 614 properties participating in the program.

AHMA Innovation Award

Given in recognition of a new program, service, or activity that an AHMA began sometime in late 2022 or in 2023.

SAHMA successfully implemented the new SAHMA Facts & Snacks to offer different educational opportunities to make learning more accessible to all members. The programs are 30-minute peer-to-peer discussions on varying topics facilitated by volunteers. The discussions, which are currently offered quarterly, are a free SAHMA member benefit. Since beginning these SAHMA Facts & Snacks in February 2023, the survey response has shown the members find value in the conversations and continued interest in attending future discussions. Each discussion is facilitated in Zoom Meetings utilizing the breakout rooms, allowing attendees to discuss industry topics, such as Professionalism and Fair Housing for Maintenance, What Residents Want, Curb Appeal Solutions, and Creative Solutions for Resident Services and Activities.

LAHMA, as part of its Education Series, held six in-person educational classes in six different locations across Louisiana in 2023. It expanded from four locations to two additional locations in 2023. The educational classes averaged approximately 150 participants across the six locations for each educational series. In addition, LAHMA participated in state-level conferences to promote LAHMA and NAHMA, including presenting at the Louisiana Rural Economic Development Summit and serving as a conference sponsor with a vendor booth at the three-day Louisiana Housing Cooperative Affordable Housing Conference.

Joint: AHMA of Washington and Rocky Mountain Heartland AHMA created a new program of bundled webinars. The AHMAs packaged content from their successful on-demand webinar catalog into a series of webinars on different topics and offered discounted pricing for the bundles. Each AHMA has its own unique bundles. The bundle pricing and content vary between AHMAs. However, they worked together on the concept, and we shared resources, such as recorded webinars, to create the bundles. In 2022, the AHMAs had 20 participants use the bundle, and in 2023, 28 participants utilized the training bundle.

“The training collaboration that resulted in bundled webinars for New Hires and Rural Development created by the two AHMAs is truly innovative and a perfect example of why NAHMA gives out an innovation award,” Cook said.

NAHMA Communities of Quality Award

Given annually to a NAHMA Executive Council member who has the most newly listed properties on the NAHMA National Recognition Program COQ Registry―based on data maintained by NAHMA staff.

Lutheran Senior Services, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo.,is the recipient of the NAHMA Industry Award for having the most newly certified Communities of Quality in 2023.