2019 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Judges

A distinguished panel from across the country representing expertise in multifamily design, development, finance, marketing and property management is chosen to judge the Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards each year.

Each entry is judged on its own merits, based on the information provided by the applicant in the official entry.

2019 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards Judges

2019 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Judges:

Kathy Browning

Design Consultants

Principal Designer, Owner

Ms. Browning is the owner of Design Consultants, a 39-year-old business working exclusively in the building industry in model home merchandising. As an active member of Tidewater Builders Association and the National Association of Home Builders, she serves on various committees and boards, and is often a speaker at the International Builders' Show. Ms. Browning has judged award programs throughout the country, including the Best in American Living Awards and The Nationals.

Victor Buchholz

Looney Ricks Kiss

Principal, Looney Ricks Kiss, Inc.

Since joining Looney Ricks Kiss in 1994, Mr. Buchholz, AIA, has focused on architecture, urban design and high-density planning with a goal of creating pedestrian-friendly, sustainable communities. This focus has translated into great places, and time- and market-tested developer solutions for world-class office environments, resort communities and complex mixed-use centers. His work includes Eddy Street Commons at Notre Dame, WaterColor Town Center in Seagrove, Fla., FedEx World Technology Center in Memphis, Tenn., CityWay in downtown Indianapolis, Burnet Flats in Austin, Texas, La Cantera Town Center in San Antonio, and the Mercado in Rosemary Beach, Fla. Mr. Buchholz is an Urban Land Institute (ULI) Full Member and is actively involved at national and local levels. He is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and resides in Memphis, Tenn.

Gary Campbell

Gilbert Campbell Real Estate

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Campbell is chief executive officer of Gilbert Campbell Real Estate, a company that owns and manages 2,000 units of rental housing in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He is responsible for management operations, which include marketing, finance and maintenance. He is also involved in developing and acquiring new rental communities for the company. He is a builder-member of the National Association of Home Builders, past president of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, past president of the Apartment Association of New Hampshire, as well as a member of ULI Boston, IREM and the Northeast Realtors.

Lita Dirks

Lita Dirks & Co.

Founder and Owner

Ms. Dirks, owner of Lita Dirks & Co., is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in model home merchandising. Ms. Dirks' contributions to the industry include judging national and regional design competitions, conducting lectures and seminars and authoring nationally published articles.

Her professional affiliations include MIRM (Master in Residential Marketing), ULI (Urban Land Institute), NAHB 55+ Housing Industry Council, NAHB Design Committee, NAHB NSMC (National Sales & Marketing Council), IIDA (International Interior Design Association), as well as a Seniors Housing Marketing Specialist with a CAASH designation. Ms. Dirks has served on the IRM Board of Trustees and the NAHB 55+ Housing Industry Council Board of Trustees, as well as the NAHB NSMC Board and NAHB Design Committee. Currently, Ms. Dirks sits on the ULI Lifestyle Residential Development Council. She has chaired most of the NAHB NSMC and IRM Committees, including chairman of The Nationals awards in 1992. In addition, Ms. Dirks was awarded the IRM Presidential Award two years in a row and, in 1993, was honored by the NSMC as the recipient of the prestigious Bill Molster Award. She was named as a “Legend” by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver in 2016. Most recently, she was inducted into the Best of American Living Hall of Fame in 2017.

Ruth Eisenhauer

Legend Management Group


Ms. Eisenhauer is president of Legend Management Group, which manages a portfolio of over 4,800 apartment homes located in suburban Washington D.C. and Baltimore. She is a 36-year veteran of the multifamily real estate industry. She has led the company’s growth and put in place best practices for the company to be continually recognized nationally for resident satisfaction. Prior to joining an affiliated company, NVProperties in 1990 as the asset manager, she was with Trammel Crow Residential in the Virginia office and Jacques-Miller, Inc., a real estate syndicator in Nashville, Tenn. Ms. Eisenhauer’s memberships include the NAHB Multifamily Leadership Board and the Advisory Committee of the NAHB Multifamily Housing Council.

Jannah Hobday


Vice President, Marketing - Residential

Ms. Hobday serves as the vice president of marketing - residential of JBG Smith. Ms. Hobday has over 19 years of real estate marketing experience. She oversees the residential marketing team and all the marketing of all multifamily assets. Prior to joining JBG Smith in 2017, Ms. Hobday was with Greystar as the director of marketing for the Northeast portfolio. Ms. Hobday has worked with several real estate developers in the eastern United States and beyond, including The Bainbridge Companies and Kettler. Her multifamily experience spans all asset classes, including work with lease-ups, asset repositioning, conventional and affordable communities. Additionally, Ms. Hobday brings a comprehensive background to the team, including SEO and SEM marketing tactics, launching online campaigns and websites, branding and strategy, media placement signage and collateral production as well as on-site support.

Kristin Jensen


Co-Managing Director, Seattle Office

As co-managing director for the Seattle office, Ms. Jensen’s primary focus is on expanding Gensler’s presence in the local market. Rooted with a professional degree in architecture, Ms. Jensen’s has over two decades of experience in commercial real estate development. Prior to joining Gensler, Ms. Jensen was the vice president of development at Touchstone, where she oversaw the development of hospitality, office, retail, mixed-use, build-to-suits, master planned communities and land development in the Seattle area. Ms. Jensen has built strong relationships in the business community as a board member and past president of NAIOP Washington state. She is also a member of CREW and ULI.

Barrie Nichols

The Michaels Organization

Vice President of Leasing & Marketing, Student Living

In her role, Ms. Nichols is responsible for developing and managing the marketing strategies, leasing goals, and related budgets for the company’s on-campus and off-campus assets.

Prior to joining The Michaels Organization, Ms. Nichols held the position of vice president of leasing and marketing with Campus Apartments, where she was responsible for the oversight of nationwide leasing and marketing for over 31,000 beds, for both on- and off-campus projects, valued in excess of $2 billion. She worked directly with on-site personnel in 27 different states. Prior to joining Campus Apartments, Ms. Nichols was senior vice president of sales and leasing with GMH Communities Trust.


National Association of Home Builders

Vice President, Multifamily

Mr. Schwanke is NAHB's vice president for multifamily housing. In this role, he oversees the Multifamily Council, and provides information and services to market-rate multifamily developers and builders, as well as builders who provide affordable housing through the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. He works to ensure that NAHB's lobbying efforts include issues affecting the multifamily sector.

He built his real estate and multifamily sector expertise during more than 30 years at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), where he most recently served as senior vice president, case studies and publications, overseeing the development of case studies, textbooks and other publications. He has directed the development of more than 70 books and reports and has personally authored or co-authored 10 books or publications, including the "Mixed-Use Development Handbook" and "Multifamily Housing Development: Ten Case Studies of Innovative Projects." He has also organized numerous conferences and made more than 100 presentations on real estate trends, real estate finance and capital markets issues, and mixed-use development.

Todd Sears

Herman & Kittle

Executive Vice President

Mr. Sears, CFA®, serves as an executive vice president at Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc., working with the property management and the design functions for HKP. He also serves as a member of the senior management team of HKP and held previous titles including director of finance, CFO and EVP of Portfolio Management & Analysis. Mr. Sears was previously the executive vice president of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) from 2000 through 2005, and prior to that worked in two areas of state government: first in various positions at the Indiana Housing Finance Authority (IHFA, now known as the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority), including deputy director, and second as the executive secretary of the Indiana State Board of Tax Commissioners. In 2008, Mr. Sears earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute. He has served on the board of the Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), the CFA Society of Indianapolis, and the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. He currently serves as adjunct faculty at Butler University’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business, on the Finance Committee of New Hope of Indiana, and as a referee for US Rowing.

Thomas Tomaszewski

The Annex Group

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Tomaszewski has over 20 years of experience in the construction and development industry. With a vast understanding of the built environment, Mr. Tomaszewski‘s expertise includes work on complex and difficult-to-develop projects throughout the country, with a niche specialization in student and affordable multifamily housing.

As chief operating officer of The Annex Group® and president of Annex Construction, Mr. Tomaszewski oversees all company operations in regard to construction and pre-construction activities, as well as leading all construction-related entities under The Annex Group umbrella. Mr. Tomaszewski has been involved in the creation of over 2,000 apartment units and $500 million in real estate and construction during his tenure with The Annex Group. Mr. Tomaszewski, along with founder Kyle Bach, are principals of The Annex Group

Ashley Yax

Village Green

Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Ms. Yax has been with Village Green since 2008. In her time with the company, she has demonstrated a passion for excellence and a determined spirit manifested in a “never quit” attitude. Ashley’s knowledge of the multifamily industry is truly unparalleled, as is her focus on customer service and in driving results. Ms. Yax oversees Village Green’s internal ad agency servicing over 60 clients. She supports all lease-up properties and is heavily involved with consulting and development for new construction and renovation assets. Ms. Yax also directs public relations and branding and marketing for the Village Green Holdings.