Boston, MA The New England Chapter of CoreNet Global has named the winners of its annual Awards of Excellence, representing the best of the Boston region in corporate real estate leadership. The 2023 winners will be formally presented with their awards at the organization’s Awards of Excellence Gala on Thursday, May 23rd, at the Westin Boston Seaport.
“The corporate real estate world has been facing unprecedented challenges over the last few years, so we’re thrilled to take opportunities like this to celebrate our industry and the incredible work our CRE professionals do,” said CoreNet Global - New England president, Maureen Rystrom. “Our winners truly represent the important role CRE has in the region’s economic landscape, and I’m excited to celebrate them at the gala in May.”
Leadership Award Winners
Global Corporate End User Leadership: Taran Grigsby, vice president & global delivery lead for transactions & leasing, Fidelity Real Estate
As the head of Fidelity Real Estate’s global transactions and leasing group, Grigsby is responsible for all the transactional work associated with Fidelity’s global corporate real estate footprint as well as all of Fidelity’s investor centers. He oversees a team and a portfolio with almost 10 million s/f and over 250 locations around the world. Grigsby and his team work to further strategic enterprise objectives globally, space optimization, and audit recoveries. As a seasoned attorney and real estate professional, Grigsby’s blend of business and legal experience gives him a broad point of view from which to draw, particularly when it comes to building and leading teams, solving complex problems, and establishing lasting, positive relationships. Prior to joining Fidelity, Grigsby served as general counsel for several organizations in the private and public sector, where he had direct responsibility for legal, transactional, human resources and government relations activities as well as litigation management. Grigsby is an active member of CoreNet Global – New England and serves as the chair of the board of directors of the Family Nurturing Center, a Mass. social services agency dedicated to ending childhood abuse and neglect by strengthening families.
Americas Corporate End User Leadership: Douglas Berry, vice president, project delivery, Iron Mountain
Berry is a member of Iron Mountain’s global real estate senior team, where he is responsible for the successful delivery of over $250M of capital projects on an annual basis, which are critical to servicing Iron Mountain’s global clients. Berry leads an international team of internal and strategic partner resources to develop creative and comprehensive solutions to complex permitting, design, and scheduling challenges to deliver bespoke facilities that support Iron Mountain’s many businesses, including records management, data protection, art storage and logistics, entertainment services, and asset life cycle management. In addition, he leads Iron Mountain’s global facility upgrade program, focused on upgrading security, fire protection, and life safety in facilities acquired through mergers and acquisitions. Berry played a critical role in Iron Mountain’s 2014 conversion to a REIT, serving as an expert in rack structural properties that was critical to winning IRS approval for the conversion. Berry began his career in engineering before earning a dual master’s degree in structural engineering and construction management from Northeastern University. He joined Iron Mountain in 1999. Berry is an active member of the New England Chapter of CoreNet Global, serving on the real advantage committee, as well as a 20+ year member of the National Fire Protection Association. Along with his wife, he also leads a marriage preparation course for engaged couples offered through his church.
Americas Service Provider Leadership: Kirstin Brown, president, Northstar Project & Real Estate Services
Brown is the only woman in a partnership of seven that owns and operates the firm. A senior professional with 30+ years in the real estate industry, Brown manages and executes a portfolio of client projects with a combined value of over $2 billion. Brown led the development of Northstar’s marketing and business development functions and now leads the strategic direction of the firm. Currently, Brown is responsible for two of Northstar’s most visible projects: MIT’s 10-story, 675-bed graduate student housing and BioMed Realty’s Assembly Innovation Park. She also leads Northstar’s charitable committee, which supports Boston Children’s Hospital, Home for Little Wanderers, and Heading Home. Brown is an active member of CoreNet Global – New England, where she was on the board of directors and previously served as the vice chair of the executive committee of the real estate & building industry breakfast for United Way.
Young Leader Award: Emily Wadman, director of workplace experience and facilities, Toast
Wadman leads global workplace experience and facilities for the software company Toast. In her four-plus years at Toast, she has continued to expand her scope and take on more responsibility, ultimately being promoted to a director leadership level. She has helped the company implement such key initiatives as their global expansion, hybrid work, COVID task force and remote worker programming and has helped Toast open five new global locations, thanks in large part to her “hospitality” mindset and ability to learn quickly. Wadman is a member of CoreNet Global – New England and a graduate of its 2022 Young Leader Development Program.
Volunteer Hall of Fame: Andrew Feibelman, vice president, project management & development services, JLL
Feibelman joined JLL in 2016 and currently serves as vice president of client service and business development for the company’s New England project management and development services group. A long-time member of CoreNet Global New England, he has not only led committees and initiatives but helped foster a culture of inclusion, connection and growth. As co-chair of the membership committee, Feibelman and his team have developed and implemented strategies to ensure that membership numbers have steadily increased. As a result, for the last two years the New England Chapter has maintained the highest membership retention rate in the country for a large chapter. Throughout the pandemic, Feibelman and his committee surveyed the New England community to understand what mattered to them and worked to remove barriers to membership renewal for many whose jobs were eliminated because of the pandemic. In addition to his commitment to CoreNet’s membership experience, he is an actively engaged member who participates in and supports programs across the chapter. Outside of his CoreNet service, Feibelman is also a council member of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.
Best Workplace Award Winners
Best New Small Workplace: Rakks Factory and Showroom (Submitted by AW-ARCH)
Rakks’ new factory and showroom aligns the company’s operations and visual presence with its end product: architectural shelving and hardware. The 34,765 s/f project transformed an old warehouse into a facility designed for innovation and impact. AW-ARCH conducted an analysis of Rakks’ operations, developing a plan to optimize their lean manufacturing process. The interior renovation streamlined shipping operations and storage, added a warehouse, and established a new receiving zone to facilitate delivery of raw materials. Photovoltaic panels provide improved energy efficiency, covering 91% of Rakks’ power usage. A renewed façade and front offices enliven the original building and showcase their contemporary products. One side of the structure now opens to daylight and the adjacent wetlands, transforming a building that had been closed off to its surroundings into one flooded with natural light in new communal staff space as well as industrial areas of the building, enhancing the work experience and supporting employee well-being. Daniel O’Connell’s Sons served as the construction manager-at-risk.
Best New Large Workplace: WHOOP Headquarters (Submitted by STUDIOS Architecture)
Occupying four and a half floors with panoramic views of Fenway Park, WHOOP’s new headquarters at One Kenmore Sq. not only reaffirms WHOOP’s Boston roots but signals a bold era of growth in an iconic setting. WHOOP Labs, perched just above the street on level 2, serves as a bridge between the organization and its customers, doubling as technology testing and an employee gym after hours. This space, adorned with WHOOP’s saying “Always On” spelled out across the ceiling in lights, sets a high-energy tone, reverberating throughout the building. Collective spaces, from the communicating stair to the hardware labs and conference rooms, are balanced with workspace wrapped along the windowed perimeter, featuring a racetrack-inspired lighting installation on each floor to encourage movement and mirror WHOOP’s broader identity. WHOOP’s Boston Headquarters not only commemorates the brand’s achievements but also energizes employees and generates anticipation within the Boston community about the city’s tech industry.
Best New Workplace Outside of New England: Seismic San Diego Headquarters (Submitted by Unispace)
Seismic partnered with Unispace to create a new San Diego headquarters that would better support their hybrid workforce. Aiming to become a leader in the future of work, Seismic wanted their workplace to reflect five tenets: flexibility, connections, collaboration, wellness, and inclusion. Unispace helped Seismic achieve their goals by creating activity zones that supported all employees’ work styles, including innovation hubs for brainstorming and collaboration; rooms for focus work and private calls; wellness areas; and multi-use spaces for entertaining and socializing. Moveable furniture and tools like mobile whiteboards allow the workplace to flex and adjust as needed, and integrated tech provides easy connections between remote and in-office staff. With its inspiring branding and nods to its San Diego location, Seismic’s completed headquarters is an experiential environment where employees can celebrate each other and clients and complete their day-to-day functions. The office design represents the future of work and reflects Seismic’s mission of being one team with shared experiences.