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Overview · James D. Landauer / John R. White Award ·
James Felt Creative Counseling Award · CRE Committee Service Award ·
William S. Ballard Award · Louise L. & Y.T. Lum Award
CRE Chair's Award

The James Felt Creative Counseling Award is a celebration of outstanding achievement and ingenuity by members of The Counselors of Real Estate. Established in 1992, and first awarded in 1995, the James Felt Creative Counseling Award enhances the public recognition of the CRE Designation, the counseling profession, and The Counselors of Real Estate organization itself.

The award honors the memory of the late CRE James "Jack" Felt, a prominent real estate pioneer, founding father of The Counselors of Real Estate, former Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission, and a trustee of many well-known corporate and eleemosynary boards. Felt was known for his strong sense of integrity and client accountability in applying his creative counseling techniques to resolve complex real estate problems. Says Steven Leader, CRE, and nephew of Felt, "The award reflects Jack's personal and professional standards, ethics, integrity, creativity, and competencies displayed throughout his real estate career."

All members of The Counselors of Real Estate (except those holding national office at the time it is presented) are eligible to receive the award. Counselors may submit their own work, or they may also nominate the work of a fellow-CRE for consideration.

Each submission is judged on the basis of the scope of the assignment, the Counselor's role in the assignment, the creativity and innovation applied in addressing the assignment, and the public or social benefits achieved.

The CRE Chairman of the Board selects a five-person CRE Selection Committee to judge the submissions. The Selection Committee reviews each submission on a confidential basis.

A Call for Submissions is disseminated to all members of The Counselors. Submissions should include AN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY that includes the following:
  • Title of the assignment
  • Background (overall objective of the assignment, client/employer issues, etc.)
  • Property Description & Special Features
  • Process (outline of methodologies, information, and skill sets used)
  • Conclusions (summary of recommendations made to the client or employer)
  • Creativity Quotient (statement of explaining why the assignment was innovative and creative)
  • Results (brief assessment of the benefits to the client or employer and the community)
  • Date Assignment Completed
Submission should be emailed to Paul Coady, Manager of CRE Services, at

Past Recipients:
2013    Stephen B. Friedman, CRE, received the 2013 James Felt Creative Counseling Award for his work as development advisor to the City of Park Ridge, Illinois from 2002 to 2011 on part of the city’s Uptown Master Plan, known as the Bredemann/Reservoir Area. Friedman’s advisory services resulted in the development of the Shops and Residences of Uptown. Working closely with the city leaders at the time, Friedman achieved consensus regarding a development concept that balanced community goals, economic feasibility and the physical capacity of the site. He then managed a developer solicitation process, evaluated development proposals, assessed economic feasibility and developer return, and was part of the team that negotiated the terms of a redevelopment agreement with the developer.

2011    John J. Hentschel, CRE received the 2011 James Felt Creative Counseling Award for his work with USAID’s Municipal Economic Growth Activity (MEGA) in the Republic of Serbia an initiative that, in part, helped local governments foster economic growth and employment by redeveloping and reusing well located surplus military properties. As a result of a bureaucracy with disposition authority and responsibilities dispersed among multiple Ministries, a nascent real estate market with little transparency or data, and rudimentary valuation procedures that ignored the productive capacity of complex properties, the Municipalities’ efforts to obtain the properties had been stymied. Applying the interdisciplinary skills of a Counselor, he crafted an innovative “Win-Win” model to expand national wealth that advocated cooperation, coupled the interests of the Military and Municipalities, leveraged resources, enhanced the value of the surplus military properties and cultivated private capital investment for their economic and physical redevelopment.

2010    Christine H.H. Camp, CRE and Karen Char, CRE were awarded the 2010 James Felt Creative Counseling Award for their work in developing and implementing a long-term real estate strategy for the Hawaii Opera Theater. This strategy allowed the theater to continue to produce outstanding performances and nationally recognized educational programs.

2009    Robert J. Nahigian, CRE, principal, Auburndale Realty Company, Newton, Massachusetts, was honored with the 2009 James Felt Creative Counseling Award for his work on relocating, expanding and arranging for financing for the Abby Kelley Foster Charter School (AKFCS) in Worcester. In presenting the award, CRE Brian Corcoran noted the sheer scope of the project and said of Nahigian, "Rob showed extraordinary technical skill and creativity, and completed a successful transaction in a relatively short period of time so that the school could meet increased demand and continue to serve its Worcester constituents."

2008    E. Nelson Bowes, CRE was honored for his role in resolving the insurance claim dispute concerning the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. His work on the development and implementation of a methodology to calculate the depreciation of The World Trade Center and determine its "Actual Cash Value" brought the developer, The Port Authority and seven separate insurance companies together on a satifactory agreement. The resolution of this dispute was seen as the last major obstacle in the re-development of The World Trade Center site.

2007    William Utnehmer, CRE was honored for taking a non-profit school from concept to reality in less than two years. Utnehmer was selected for his creative real estate consulting work on the overall development, financing, and ongoing stability of a new campus of Los Angeles’ Rudolf Steiner Waldorf School, which opened January 8, 2007. The Waldorf School’s educational philosophy is a 90-year-old methodology based on nurturing children to think critically and cultivate a deep sense of moral, social and ecological integrity.

2006    Maxine Mitchell, CRE, and Robert Miller, CRE, were honored for their work in the development and maintenance of a rental housing database designed to assess appropriate rent levels for specific units using the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Their work for three housing authorities (Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Los Angeles) resulted in substantial benefits, including increased efficiency, which decreases backlogs and staffing needs; increased program reliability and performance; and decreased housing rental costs for many units leased with Housing Choice Vouchers.

2005    Douglas Siedenburg, CRE, was honored for his innovative work on one of the largest economic development transactions in the history of Iowa - the new Wells Fargo campus project in West Des Moines. The West Des Moines campus project consolidates 3,300 team members of the Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance Group from 11 separate leased locations to one new site. Siedenburg was part of a large and diverse team of economic development experts working on one of two Wells Fargo expansion projects.

2004    Robert M. Taylor, CRE, was honored for his long-term and on-going real estate consulting services for The People's Republic of China. Taylor's work was grounded in traditional ideas and concepts being reshaped to provide the Chinese government with alternatives for solving its real estate challenges during the country's transition from a controlled to a free market economy.

2002    Mahlon "Sandy" Apgar, IV, CRE, was honored for his work in developing and launching a five-part program to privatize U.S. Army housing, an initiative projected to result in an estimated savings of $1.6 billion for the federal government. As Assistant Secretary of the Army from 1998 to 2001, Apgar had overall responsibility for the world's largest real estate portfolio and supply system.

2000    Blaine Chase, CRE, and Maurice Robinson, CRE, were honored for their work as appraisers in determining the value of the Grand Canyon National Park. In a complex assignment that took more than a year to complete, they helped devise a methodology to value The Grand Canyon. As a result, the National Park Service adopted this new methodology for all parks needing appraisal in the future.

1999    Peter Bowes, CRE, was honored for his work as an independent facilitator for the City/County of Denver in negotiations between the City and Ascent Entertainment for the development of Denver's new Pepsi Center. Bowes executed the assignment as a volunteer, and through his impeccable reputation, integrity, and commitment to the community, made the completion of negotiations possible.

1998    Bowen "Buzz" McCoy, CRE, was honored for his pivotal role in determining the best practices in real estate investing for the largest pension fund in the U.S., the State of California Public Employee's Retirement System (Cal Pers). Through this effort, Cal Pers' real estate investment practices became aligned with the real estate industry and thereby encouraged increased activity by other large funds.

1997    Rocky Tarantello, CRE, and Alfred Gobar, CRE, were honored for their efforts as charter directors of So-Cal Housing Development Corporation-a regional non-profit affordable housing development firm based in California. This pro bono assignment attracted high-profile support and created maximum opportunities for affordable housing, social services, and public-private partnerships.

1995    Franklin Hannoch, Jr., CRE, was honored for his role in the relocation of the Family Court Division of the New Jersey Supreme Court from the Essex County Court Complex in Newark to a nearby historic building. The relocation enabled renovations to on the current courthouse, saved millions of dollars in real estate taxes, and allowed for refinancing with floating low interest, tax-exempt bonds.

(No award was given in 1996, 2001, 2003, 2012 and 2014.)

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