NAHRO Honors Outstanding Professionals, Emerging Leader

On November 17, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) honored two outstanding professionals and an emerging leader at the Opening Plenary Session of the online #NAHRONavigates conference.

You can view the award presentations and acceptance speeches here.

Milton Pratt, Jr. Wins Outstanding Professional of the Year Award

Milton Pratt, Jr., Executive Vice President of The Michaels Organization, was named one of NAHRO’s 2020 Outstanding Professionals of the Year.

“Milton’s impact on affordable housing development across the country is undeniable,” NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman said. “His track record and the sheer number of affordable housing units whose development he’s facilitated, even during a pandemic, are a testament to his leadership, expertise and team-building skills.”  

In his current role, Pratt has been a guiding hand in all affordable housing developments for The Michaels Organization, focusing on both pipeline growth and building industry partnerships. His tenacity has allowed him to take on massive, at times complex, projects as he visualizes opportunities to provide communities with much-needed affordable housing. Pratt and his team have developed more than 2,000 units, many of which were award-winning developments that have re-shaped entire neighborhoods.  

Louis Riccio Wins Outstanding Professional of the Year Award 

Louis Riccio, Executive Director of the Madison Housing Authority, was named one of NAHRO’s 2020 Outstanding Professionals of the Year.  

“During Louis’s tenure at the Madison Housing Authority he’s proven he is a forward-thinking leader and innovator,” NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman said. “He’s been an important catalyst for increasing the supply of affordable housing all while gaining the support of his community. It’s my pleasure to help recognize him with NAHRO’s highest honor.”  

Riccio has served as Executive Director of the Madison Housing Authority since 1981 and has remain committed to dismantling the stigmas associated with high-density public housing. In his lengthy career in public housing, Riccio and his team have created hundreds of homes for seniors, disabled households, and families in need.  

In 1992, Riccio launched the nonprofit Madison Affordable Housing Corporation (MAHC) to further facilitate the creation of
low-income apartments. Since then, the nonprofit has developed
more units with state, county, local and private funding sources
than the housing authority developed with HUD funding. It soon became a template for other housing authorities, and Riccio started to share his idea with his peers across the state and country.  

Zachary Guerin Wins Emerging Leader Award 

Zachary Guerin, Chief Operating Officer of Foothills Regional Housing, was named the 2020 recipient of the Emerging Leader Award by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).

“It’s a pleasure to be able to recognize Zachary’s dedication and involvement to NAHRO,” NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman said. “On behalf of all our members, we thank him for his service to the association and praise both his commitment to affordable housing and his ability to react in a time of crisis.”  

Guerin, who now serves as the president of the Colorado NAHRO Board of Directors, began his involvement with NAHRO at the state level in 2017. He’s played a vital role in helping the chapter’s conference committee to revamp the state’s annual conference to facilitate more education and networking opportunities, all while adapting to the logistical challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Guerin was also pivotal in building a partnership between Colorado NAHRO and the Colorado Department of Housing, which awarded the
organization $1.8 million to administer rent relief to residents
of public housing authorities across the state.

About the Awards

The Outstanding Professional of the Year Award is NAHRO’s highest and most prestigious award. It honors an exceptionally qualified person who has made outstanding contributions to the quality of life through service in the field of housing or community development. The award was established in 1975 in the name of M. Justin Herman, then renamed and revamped in 2019 to better reflect the purpose of the award and to encourage nominees from all agency sizes to apply.   

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes an individual who has been involved in NAHRO at the national, regional and/or chapter levels for at least five years and has distinguished him/herself as an Emerging Leader.  Nominations must be submitted by someone other than the nominee.  Award winners can only receive the award once.