NAIOP New Jersey has announced that CEO Michael McGuinness will retire at the end July after serving in the post for more than 26 years. He will be succeeded by Dan Kennedy, who will join the commercial real estate development association on June 19 and work with McGuinness during a six-week transition period.
“Saying goodbye to my commercial real estate family is not an easy thing to do,” said McGuinness. “It has been a privilege and honor to serve the needs of NAIOP New Jersey members and work alongside so many business leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries who I now call friends. The memories, lessons learned, laughs and camaraderie are priceless.”
Before joining NAIOP NJ in 1997, McGuinness was acting director for Governor Christine Todd Whitman’s Office of the Business Ombudsman in the New Jersey Department of State, which served as the key focal point of the administration’s state regulatory reform efforts. In his current role, he has guided the dramatic growth of NAIOP’s Garden State chapter and partnered with its Board of Trustees and officers to implement the association’s mission.
McGuinness has set the standard for the chapter’s proactive and multidisciplinary approach to lobbying on critical public policy issues, establishing its leadership position and contributing directly to a more balanced approach to development in New Jersey. NAIOP NJ invests significant resources in ensuring that sound laws and regulations govern the CRE industry, supporting sustainable policies that bolster the economy, promote urban redevelopment and rebuild the state’s aging transportation infrastructure.
The chapter championed the reform of public policies that created New Jersey’s robust business incentive programs, advocated for raising the Bayonne Bridge, and drove regulatory reforms at the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor that protected and enhanced the thriving logistics and distribution industry. NAIOP NJ was also a catalyst for revising local warehouse inspection fees that capped the height criterion for industrial buildings.
In addition, McGuinness said that NAIOP NJ’s work toward implementing the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) program fundamentally changed and streamlined the process for how sites are remediated.
“We continue to advocate for similar improvements to streamline the review and approval process, such as the enactment of third-party review for construction inspections in January,” he noted. “Also underway is a proposal to allow for self-certification by third-party professionals for plan reviews covered by the NJ Uniform Construction Code Act.”
Current initiatives focus on streamlining the repurposing of older, abandoned, vacant, and stranded buildings and properties; reforming the state’s antiquated liquor license laws; and expanding and investing in energy, transportation, water and cyber infrastructure to make the state more competitive.
“The commercial real estate development industry is a catalyst for creating economic opportunity and putting New Jerseyans to work,” McGuinness noted. “It is gratifying to know that I am leaving at a time when the chapter is well-positioned to continue to serve the evolving interests of our members, and to play a pivotal role in advocating for positive change.”
Among the challenges and opportunities the industry will face in the years ahead, McGuinness believes some of the most critical issues to address include helping mitigate the adverse impacts from climate change through greater reliance on renewable energy and adherence to smart growth principles, eliminating the costly grip of the home rule mindset that leads to unaffordable business and living conditions, and finding the right formula to attract and access a talented and right-skilled workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
McGuinness is confident that Kennedy will do an admirable job moving the chapter forward.
Kennedy is an accomplished leader who brings an extensive background in association management, public affairs and government relations, strategic planning, coalition building, and policy. He has served as senior director/director of Environmental and Utility Operations for the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey since 2017. Prior to that, he was a senior official in New Jersey State government. Kennedy holds a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and a New Jersey Professional Planner license.
“I am appreciative of the selection committee’s confidence in me, and am honored to have the opportunity to carry on the important work of this impactful organization,” Kennedy said. “In the interim, I very much am looking forward to my shared time with Mike – who is such an accomplished and respected leader for this group and the larger New Jersey commercial real estate and business communities.”
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