CAI announced the recipients of its highest honors at an annual awards ceremony on May 19 in Dallas in conjunction with the 2023 CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW. The honors salute individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made outstanding contributions to advance community association living.


Distinguished Service Award

Clifford J. Treese, CIRMS, pictured above, was presented with CAI’s most prestigious recognition given periodically to an individual for outstanding contributions. Treese, owner of Association Data, Inc., in Mountain House, Calif., has devoted nearly five decades to CAI and community associations. A past president of CAI and the Foundation for Community Association Research, Treese gathers and analyzes copious data to develop national statistics about the community association housing market for the annual Community Association Fact Book.


Treese was a founding designee holder of the Certified Insurance and Risk Management (CIRMS) credential, a member of the Federal Legislative Action Committee, and a key liaison and advocate for CAI with federal agencies. Treese is a member of the education faculty, a regular author and contributor to many of CAI’s publications, and a key subject matter expert on all areas of the community association housing model.


Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

Sandra K. Denton, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, general manager of Sienna Associations in Missouri City, Texas, has been an outstanding CAI leader over the span of three decades. As a past president of CAI in 2005, Denton’s leadership was critical to CAI’s governance structure and the membership model. Denton is a CAI faculty member, a past chapter president, past legislative action committee chair, government and public affairs committee member, past president of the Foundation for Community Association Research, past chair of the Community Association Managers International Certification Board, a conference speaker, a diversity, equity, and inclusion task force leader, and worldwide ambassador.


Educator of the Year

Pepe Gutierrez, CMCA, was recognized for his outstanding contributions elevating CAI’s education programs around the world. Gutierrez, CEO of MegaFincas Alicante in Spain, is an international ambassador for CAI, organizing dozens of educational programs in 2022 in India, Dubai, Spain, and Colombia.


Recruiter of the Year

Tonya Gale, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, was recognized for the third year in a row with the award given to a member who has demonstrated continued leadership by supporting CAI membership campaigns and recruiting the greatest number of new members. Gale, owner of Epic Association Management in Las Vegas, has been a dedicated CAI advocate since 2011, serving various leadership roles for the CAI Nevada Chapter. She recruited 59 new CAI members in 2020, 31 in 2021, and 34 in 2022.


CAI Rising Star

Leah K. Burton, Esq., was presented with the honor given to an individual whose leadership abilities and professional contributions signify even greater accomplishments in the future. Burton, an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson law firm in Plano, Texas, has been on the board of directors for several Texas chapters and has worked with the Texas Legislative Action Committee to strengthen relationships and support. Burton is recognized for her powerful presentations, which have been given at three consecutive Community Association Law Seminars and covered topics such as racism, mental health, and gun violence.


Excellence in Government and Public Affairs Award

Edward San George, PCAM, president of INTEGRA Management Corp., in Mount Arlington, N.J., has been involved with the CAI New Jersey Chapter, legislative action committee, and political action committee for many years. Following the Champlain Towers South condominium partial collapse, San George has been a key contributor to several CAI initiatives, including the Condominium Safety Public Policy Report, legislation in New Jersey, federal legislation, and reserve study standards.


Legislative Action Committee of the Year

The Florida Legislative Alliance advocated for condominium safety initiatives and responded to various legislative options to the condominium collapse in 2021.


2022 President’s Award

Given solely at the discretion of CAI’s immediate past president, this award recognizes an individual who has displayed exemplary service and commitment to CAI and who has been instrumental in helping the president achieve CAI’s goals. Jessica Towles, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CAI’s 2022 president, honored Kelly G. Richardson, Esq., a partner in Richardson | Ober law firm in Pasadena, Calif., with the award.


“There are so many people who help you achieve the goals of CAI and who exhibit exemplary service and commitment to the organization,” says Towles. “One person in particular, Kelly, took on a mentorship role and encouraged me to serve. He helped me on a personal level when working through difficult decisions, burnout, and more. Kelly has been instrumental in my success, and I’m honored to present him with this award.”


 >>For a complete list of honorees and their outstanding contributions, visit

  • Daniel Brannigan

    Daniel Brannigan is CAI's Director of Publishing and Managing Editor of Common Ground™ magazine. He has been editor of CAI's flagship publication since 2010 and previously edited CAI's newsletters Community Manager, Minutes, and Law Reporter. Daniel has helped guide Common Ground to awards for feature article design and single-topic issue from Association Media & Publishing's EXCEL Awards. Community Manager picked up six awards for general excellence and newswriting under Daniel's guidance from 2007-2010. A former reporter, Daniel is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, daughter, pug, and cat.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!