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Roberts Ivy Becomes The First Architect To Receive The Neil Polk Lifetime Achievement Award

Robert Ivy recently made history by becoming the first architect to receive the Neil Polk Lifetime Achievement Award. Ivy, the CEO and Executive Vice President of the American Institute of Architects, is a respected architect, scholar and entrepreneur. A native Mississippian, Ivy received the award for his artistic approach to design that seamlessly unites form and function. The award was presented on April 11, 2016. Previous recipients of the honor include Shelby Foote, Eudora Welty, Walter Anderson, Leontyne Price and Morgan Freeman.

Carl Elefante, President of the American Institute of Architects, commented, “Robert Ivy has proven himself worthy of the honor. He has served as the chief executive officer of the AIA since 2011. He is a practicing architect, author and editor. This award crowns his professional and personal achievements as a native of Mississippi. The AIA is delighted to give him this honor.”

The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, or MIAL, voted to honor Ivy. MIAL president, Nancy LaForge, explained the reason for the one-of-a-kind honor, “There is no one else from Mississippi that has contributed to making architecture more accessible to the public like Robert Ivy. He has shown exceptional devotion as an author, commentator and writer of architecture globally. Now, he is taking his rightful place on the list of honorees of the Noel Polk Award.”

Highlights of Ivy’s Career

Born in Mississippi, Ivy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Sewanee. He subsequently enrolled at Tulane University where he earned a Master’s in Architecture. Ivy then joined McGraw-Hill Construction as a company vice president. During this period of his life, he worked for the Architectural Record where he was responsible for 33 publications, many of which won signature awards during his tenure. Currently, Ivy works for the American Institute of Architects where he encourages architects to address key issues such as sustainability, climate change and incorporating digital technology into designs.

Ivy has won many awards including a 1998 McGraw-Hill award for his management skills. In 2009, he won the prestigious Crain award. Other important awards followed including the “Master Architect” award and MIAL Neil Polk Lifetime Achievement Award.

The AIA Magnifies Its Influence Under Ivy’s Leadership

Since Robert Ivy became the CEO of the AIA, the organization has transformed to keep up with technology changes that affect architecture in the 21st century. The organization is committed to heightening awareness of architecture’s influence on everyday life. Ivy has pursued building better infrastructure based on digital technology and addressing critical issues such as sustainability, responsible use of resources, climate change and design’s impact on health.

The AIA was founded in 1857 by a small group of men with conventional ideas, but Ivy has expanded the organization’s role to embrace digital technology and urban collaboration among different fields of endeavor. The AIA now has more than 90,000 members, and Ivy is fully committed to encouraging architects to expand their efforts to solve many public problems that a building’s design can alleviate.

The AIA has grown steadily under Ivy’s leadership, and it now has its highest membership of its 160-year history. There are now seven global chapters of the AIA. American architects develop properties all over the world including new markets in China and Canada. The AIA provides architects with support, community collaboration and resources to advance their careers and businesses. The organization also engages government and civic leaders to solve common issues.

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Robert Ivy Earns High Marks for Scholarship and Collaborative Architecture

Ivy committed heavily to using architectural designs for better urban planning during the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. He believes that architecture can be used to promote other important urban goals such as fostering better health.

The AIA subsequently committed to a decade of collaborative design to improve public health. The initiative involves conducting university research, encouraging app and technology development to design smarter buildings and collaborating with community organizations.

Known for memorable speeches and thought leadership that stimulate intellectual debate, Ivy is also celebrated as the author of “Fay Jones: Architect.” Fay Jones was a respected artist, architect and admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright. Ivy published the biography in 2001. During a long career and apprenticeship with Wright, Jones designed more than 218 projects including educational and commercial buildings, pavilions, chapels, metal structures and residential constructions. Ivy’s biography of Jones was praised by the Art Library of North America for “the highest standards of scholarship, design, and production."

Ivy has also received the prestigious honor of being named a Master Architect by Alpha Rho Chi, the national fraternity of architects. Previous honorees include I.M. Pei, R. Buckminster Fuller and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Ivy is one of seven architects to be so honored and the first of the 21st century. Other awards and honors that Ivy has received over his long career include:

- Editor-in-chief and Editorial Editor of Architectural Record
- G.D. Crain Award in 2009 for achievements as an editor and entrepreneur
- Editorial Director of McGraw-Hill Construction Media
- Juror on the panel that chose Frank Gehry to design the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial
- 26 Jesse H. Neal Awards
- 2008 MPA Digital Award for Website of the Year
- 7 Ozzies: Folio Design Awards

Robert Ivy believes strongly that architecture can make a big difference in quality-of-life issues, and it’s this kind of thought leadership that has resulted in Ivy receiving signature honors such as the MIAL Lifetime Achievement Award. Ivy commented recently in an interview, “Design has played an integral role in public health throughout the course of the history of the U.S., dating back to the draining of swamps in Washington, D.C., to the Olmsted design of Central Park in New York. The idea with Central Park was to eradicate substandard housing and normalize a part of the city that was challenged. Originally, it was not primarily a recreational space -- it was conceived in the context of improving public health.”

There are an incredible number of ways that architects can promote better living, and these include designing buildings capable of providing disaster relief, promoting exercise, reducing energy use, maximizing natural light and fresh air and delivering recreational options. Ivy and the AIA will continue to follow a mandate to expand the role of architects in the foreseeable future.

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Boraie Development Will Open a $79M Residential Tower in Newark with Shaquille O’Neal

Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal surely has made his mark in basketball, but now he has decided to expand in his hometown’s real estate. Last April, he attended the ceremony for topping off the building, along with the team of professionals who worked with him in the project. Among them included the mayor of Newark and Boraie Development Vice President Wasseem Boraie.


The 7’1” talked about the residential building in detail and how he decided to make it happen. According to him, his mother urged him to make the city beautiful again. The apartment complex will feature more than 20 units, and it will tower over the other buildings in the area. It has been over 50 years since the last time Newark had a high rise in it. For more details visit Crunchbase.


Sam Boraie is responsible for developing the building, which is just a few steps from the historic New Jersey Performing Arts Center. It also allows easy access to the Hahne & Co. building, which has Whole Foods. Colloquially, the project is known as Shaq Towers, but its formal name is One Rector Street. It will soon welcome renters by the end of the year, but potential residents can start the application process in September.


According to Wasseem Boraie, the company purchased the property first, which was a place where the old Science Park High School was situated about ten years ago. However, even after the acquisition of the property, the construction had to be postponed. It only began in October 2017, which was the right time for the building to start, according to Boraie.


Boraie Development has always been known for being methodical. During the waiting period, the team worked around gathering the supplies and making sure they would have everything they need in case the construction would take place.


After the Shaq Towers, the former NBA player who is now a host, actor, and investor among others, has announced his plans to continue developing more real estate buildings. He will be working once again with Boraie Development, and this time it will involve a mixed-use building, which will have an even bigger budget of $150 million. It will have a total of 350 apartment units with 35 stories.


For decades, Boraie Development is the company behind several important buildings not only in Newark but the whole state of New Jersey. Boraie is a family-owned firm that provides various services from property management to real estate marketing for institutions and private individuals. You can visit their website






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How Penelope Kokkinides Experience In Medicine Helps Transform Innovacare Health

During the third quarter of 2016, Innovacare Health, in an attempt to freshen out its top brass leadership appointed Penelope Kokkinides as its new Chief Administrative Officer. She assumed this position alongside Jonathan Meyers who settled for the Chief Actuary officer and Mike Sortino as the Chief Accounting Officer. Her leadership abilities and efforts to make Innovacare Health the leading Puerto Rican health provider have continually paid off, culminating with her invitation to the White House.


Penelope before joining InnovaCare Inc


Before joining Innovacare, Penelope Kokkinides had already spent close to two decades in the healthcare sector. Most of this time was spent in government service where she specialized in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. She particularly made a perfect candidate for Innovacare due to her vast experience in designing and managing healthcare programs and operations while improving the organizational efficiency.

Penelope also takes credit for the development of the health model currently used AmeriChoice, a UnitedHealth Group subsidiary, while working as their Vice President for disease and care management department. The Columbian University MPH graduate had also worked as the Chief Operating Officer at Touchstone medical before moving on to Centerlight Health Systems where she served as CEO and executive vice president.


Kokkinides takes the Puerto Rican health campaign to the White House.


In 2017, Penelope Kokkinides, together with a delegation of seven other women-medical professionals, had a roundtable discussion with President Trump at the White House. The meeting aimed at deliberating on the role of women in promoting healthcare industry. Her colleagues during these deliberations included healthcare executives and nationally acclaimed caregivers. She used her time to express the plight of healthcare in Puerto Rico citing that the island was in dire need of extra funding lest the locals turned to migrating to the rest of the States in search of affordable medical aid.

Penelope also brought to the president’s attention the fact that Puerto Rico’s health funding cuts implemented since 2011 were disproportionate to the rest of the States. The long-term health practitioner drew these facts from her hospital's records given that Innovacare’s all-popular Medicare advantage plan serves close to 600,000 citizens.

This devotion to health care on the Island paid off days later when the government announced improved adjustments to the Puerto Rican health system. Penelope Kokkinides bold representation of the Island is the boldest yet and its fruits are now visible. The move has also endeared her to the Puerto Rican masses as their unofficial healthcare representative.