MEREDA Announces 2014 Award Winners

PORTLAND, Maine – Drew Sigfridson, president of the Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA), the state’s leading organization for commercial real estate professionals, announced the 2014 winners of awards presented at MEREDA’s Annual Real Estate Forecast Conference. The conference was held  on January 23 in Portland in front of a nearly 700 attendees.

“These awards are a way for us to say thank you to some of the many people who have kept this organization so strong and vital.”

The Robert B. Patterson, Jr. Founders’ Award this year goes to Tom Lea (Cumberland) of People’s United Bank.  This career recognition award is to acknowledge members of MEREDA who have distinguished themselves by making significant contributions to the real estate industry and to MEREDA over many years.

Tom has been a residential and commercial real estate lender for 43 years. Since 1988 he has focused on commercial real estate lending. Tom has worked with real estate investors and developers in regional and national markets as well as those investing in Maine’s future.  In the past 25 years, he has made hundreds of loans on office, retail, industrial, hospitality, affordable housing and various mixed-use properties. He specializes in providing innovative financing for projects requiring construction, renovation or repositioning, including re-use of older properties to meet new market needs.  Additionally, Tom is past president of MEREDA and participates on its legislative affairs and conference committees.

MEREDA’s success is largely based on the support and commitment from its volunteer members.  Each year MEREDA presents its to an individual who willingly and enthusiastically shares their time and energy working hard for something they truly care about.  MEREDA was pleased to present this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award to two deserving individuals, Jennifer Small (Falmouth) of Malone Commercial Brokers, and Stephanie Wihbey (Portland) of Creative Office Pavilion.

Both Jenn & Steph helped put on MEREDA’s first “Strikes for Scholars” bowl-a-thon fundraiser, which raised more than $10,000 for scholarships for Maine students.  Because of its success, MEREDA plans to make the bowl-a-thon an annual event.

Jenn has been a commercial real estate associate broker since 2003 and works in all sectors of commercial real estate and focuses on end‐to‐end market and financial analysis. At Malone Commercial Brokers, Jenn assists to formulate the most effective and appropriate marketing strategies and plans. She also manages sales and leasing transactions for clients’ properties and projects. In 2009, Jenn co‐authored Malone’s Retail Report. Jenn is working toward the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation.

Steph is an account manager at Creative Office Pavilion. She has held significant accounts and managed complex projects with clients such as Mercy Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, Redington Fairview General Hospital and Diversified Communications, to name a few. In addition to her work, Wihbey sits on the board of the Maine Interior Design Association, MEREDA membership committee and is a United Way volunteer.

The President’s Award is given by the current President in recognition of someone who has significantly stepped up to the plate on MEREDA’s behalf.  This year the Award was being presented to Brian Curley (Portland) of PDT Architects.

Brian participates on MEREDA’s board of directors, legislative and conference committees. Every time MEREDA needs something done, Brian raises his hand. This year he was involved with coordinating and planning our spring conference and the panel discussion. Next year, Brian will be the co‐chair of the conference committee.

Brian joined PDT Architects in 1996 and became a principal in 2003. Brian’s practice covers design for corporate, bank, housing, and retail clients, with special expertise in interior design, sustainability and historic preservation.

The Public Policy Award is presented each year to a member whose efforts have had a significant impact on public policy decisions for the benefit of responsible real estate development in Maine.  We are proud to present this year’s award to Steve Blais (Scarborough) of Blais Civil Engineers who participates on MEREDA’s Legislative Affairs Committee.  Last year MEREDA supported the enactment of Public Law 2013, Chapter 183, to allow a business with a state Site Location of Development permit to make minor modifications to their project without having to undergo a full review to amend their state permit.  Steve devoted many hours of his own time preparing for and testifying at the State House in support of this bill.  Steve’s knowledge and expertise in these areas are extremely valuable, and we appreciate his dedication and commitment to supporting responsible development in Maine.

Steve is president of Blais Civil Engineers which specializes in enhancing the value and use of property through creative site design, regulatory permitting, and project management from concept through construction.



L-R: MEREDA president Drew Sigfridson; public policy award winner Steve Blais; MEREDA business and operations director Shelly Clark; co-volunteer of the year Jennifer Small of Malone Commercial Brokers; the Robert B. Patterson, Jr. Founders’ Award winner Tom Lea of People’s United Bank and president’s award winner Brian Curley of PDT Architects. Missing from photo is co-volunteer of the year, Stephanie Wihbey of Creative Office Pavilion


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