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Photo by Allen Ngai
Photo by Allen Ngai

The best and brightest in real estate gathered at Terrace on the Park on June 14 where they were honored by the Star Network for their contributions to the industry.

Honorees in real estate were awarded for their development, residential, and commercial accomplishments.

The Humanitarian Award was given to Joe Mattone, Sr., Chairman & CEO, Mattone Group. Mattone, a graduate of St. John’s University in Queens, started his real estate career in 1955 and founded his own real estate company in the 1970s. In addition to his success in the real estate industry, Mattone has a long history of philanthropy, serving as a chair at St. Vincent’s Home and St. John’s University.

He is also on the board of directors at Futures in Education, an organization that helps to raise money for scholarships.

The Rising Star Awards were given to Xiao Wu (Katie) Qu, Associate Broker of Prime Realty and Jonathan Talmi, Principal Broker/Owner, Exit Realty Next.

“I’m very honored to get this award,” Talmi said. “It’s great to get recognized by my peers but more important to share it with other people in the industry. I’m a second generation realtor so it’s just amazing to be here.”

The Shirian family, who own and operate The Lion’s Group NYC, were honored with the Excellence in Family Business award. Albert Shirian founded the company in 1984 and two years later, his brother Ramin joined the company. Aaron Shirian, Albert’s son, is now the managing director of the company.

The family started building two and-three family homes in neighborhoods such as Woodside, Bayside and Flushing. Their portfolio has expanded to include large residential projects in Long Island City, which has seen a development explosion in the last few years.

“We have been a business since 1988 when my father and his brother started and since then we’ve been as family as a family business can get,” Aaron Shirian said. “We were raised on construction sites and raised to be partners so it’s always nice to be recognized for that.”

The event also featured a keynote address by Tami Bonnell, CEO of Exit Realty Corp. International, titled “The best is yet to come!” Bonnell provided some advice to attendees on how to improve day after day, year after year in every aspect of life.

In addition, the event included a raffle where 100 percent of the proceeds were donated to Candles for Hope, a charity dedicated to providing birthday parties for displaced children. For more information or to donate, visit www.candlesforhope.org.

Those being honored include Kevin Alexander, President & CEO, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation; Satbir Singh Bedi, Director, Bedi Holdings USA; Eric Benaim, CEO/President & Founder, Modern Spaces; Rodney Bonds, Franchise Developer & Master Franchisor, Rapid Realty; Veta Brome, Broker/Owner, EXIT Realty Genesis; John Ciafone, Esq., The Law Office of John J. Ciafone, Esq. LLC; Sophia Constantinou, Vice President of Sales, Lyons Mortgage Services, Inc.; 91-year-old Arlington Leon Eastmond, Jr., President & CEO, EASCO; Dr. Chetachi Ecton, CEO, GREECO; Jennifer Fox, Real Estate Broker/Owner, Century 21 Bay Benjamin Real Estate; Hope Knight, President & CEO, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation; Steven R. Meyer, Real Estate Broker/Owner, Century 21 Bay Benjamin Real Estate; Robert Gaskin, Principal, RCGA Architects; Prianka Kakkar, President, Search My Title, Inc.; Michael Meyer, President, F&T Group; Tyler Morse, CEO/Managing Partner, MCR Development; Denis Mangan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer, Flushing Bank; Al Pennisi, Esq., Senior Partner, Pennisi/Daniels & Norelli LLP; Stephen R. Preuss, Senior Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield; Donna Reardon, Licensed Real Estate Broker Associate/Branch Manager, Douglas Elliman; Vincent Riso, Principal, The Briarwood Organization; Michelle Rosa-Patruno, Senior Loan Officer, United Mortgage Corp.; Irena Škoda, ŠKODA Design + Architecture; Harry Toor, Senior Funding Director, Connect2cash; Lily Tran, Licensed Associate Broker/Manager, Exit Kingdom Realty; and Palmina Whelan, Managing Director, American Airlines/ Corporate Real Estate.

“Queens is perhaps the example of a great area where real estate has thrived where people have done well and where the borough has really come to fruition and has been almost on the par of Brooklyn which is internationally renowned,” said John Ciafone, of the Law Office of John J. Ciafone. “Queens is right behind it. I think it’s a great honor. I’m honored to be part of it and it’s a pleasure to be awarded tonight and acknowledged among some great people who have done some great things for this borough. I think the borough has an even brighter future ahead.”

Sponsors of the event, in association with PropertyShark, included: Flushing Bank, The Mattone Group, CUNY, EASCO, Cushman & Wakefield, Quontic Bank, California Closets, National Grid, Modern Spaces, EXIT Realty, MCR Development, Lyons Mortgage, United Mortgage, The Briarwood Organization, Holt Construction, Twin Peaks, Empire Promotions, Godiva, HAB Bank and Broadway Stages.

Photos by Arthur De Gaeta and Allen Ngai

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