STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (October 2018) – Real estate professionals and others making a positive mark in Richmond County were recently lauded by the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR).
The honor ceremony took place Oct. 18 during SIBOR’s Annual Membership Meeting at the Excelsior Grand, New Dorp.
“I’m delighted to shine the spotlight on this year’s honorees, with each having placed the needs of others before themselves,” said Michael Blasi, president of SIBOR.
REALTOR SERVICE AWARD
The William (Bill) Coull Realtor Service Award was presented to Richie R. Alishahi.
The award is given to a SIBOR Realtor who has distinguished him or herself for many years in service to the industry and the community. The late Coull, for whom the honor is named, was a founding member of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service (SIMLS) and the Richmond County Real Estate Institute.
“The award to meant to recognize Realtors who have impacted our industry by their leadership and mentoring of others. Richie Alishahi fits the bill to a tee,” said Sandy Krueger, CEO of SIBOR.
Richie R. Alishahi, an iconic Staten Island Realtor and mentor to many in his industry, began his real estate career in 1979, and later launched the borough’s first RE/MAX office, the former RE/MAX Regal.
A native of Mashad, Iran, Alishahi was raised in the country’s capital, Tehran. He graduated high school as the No.1 student in his class, receiving a full scholarship to attend college in the U.S.
The year was 1958. He studied English at NYU and decided to drive cross country to Berkeley, Calif. He went on to Washington State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree and went back to the University of California, Berkeley, for his master’s degree in hydraulic engineering.
He ventured back to Iran and worked in establishing one of the region’s largest chemical factories specializing in commercial building materials.
The essence of the 2018 William (Bill) Coull Realtor Service Award recipient was reflected in the words of Alishahi’s daughter, Rita Armaghan, preceeding her father’s acceptance of the honor:
“Eighty-two years is a long time. When we look into the eyes of another human being we can see a lot, or we can see a little. It takes quiet introspection to understand people. When we talk about Richie Alishahi – my Dad – we see many people: A Man, a father, a husband, uncle, Realtor, a Mentor, a friend and most of all an American patriot.
“Growing up in a little mountain village is unimpressive. Getting a scholarship to study in the U.S., graduating valedictorian, becoming a self-made millionaire and losing it all due to politics and religion is something only people close to him know.
“Through all of life’s up and downs we know one thing about Richie: It is his love of America. At the twilight of his life, at the ripe age of 78, Richie took another road trip across America. He time traveled by car through the canals of the American Highway system and visited the greatest memories of his past and soon-to-be future.
“Always trying to take your time, using your mind to create, not dwelling on things and LAUGH are the mighty lessons Richie teaches people close to him. He has an insatiable sense of humor, a work ethic that distracts from his love of life and a twinkle that only people with many trials and tribulations understand.
“He has lived in many countries in his 82 years and prefers the United States of America to any of them. He has told me many times that you can travel the United States of America and see the whole world in this country; beaches, mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and oceans are all here. I could write a summary of his life and try to describe all of its ups and downs, but let me tell you as his daughter the things he tries to teach me to this day: Slow down, work hard, don’t sweat the small stuff and America is home. Love America and its people for it is the home that allows us to be who we want to be.”
REALTOR OF THE YEAR
Kept under wraps until the gathering was SIBOR’s 2018 Realtor of the Year Award, presented to Tom Crimmins, broker/owner of the Realty firm launched in 2011 that bears his name.
A Staten Island native, Crimmins grew up in Westerleigh and remains committed to his hometown and the Staten Island community.
After beginning his education at Blessed Sacrament School, Crimmins continued his studies at St. Peter’s Boys High School, and subsequently St. John’s University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and eventually placed as the assistant to the dean. It was at St. John’s where Crimmins first met his wife of 35 years, Suzanne Crimmins.
Following their wedding, with five children to come, Crimmins joined the New York City Police Department in 1984, and earned his position as a Sergeant.
As a hobby, he began to buy and invest in properties, which piqued his interest in real estate.
After leaving the NYPD, he was encouraged by Broker/Realtor Connie Profaci to apply for his real estate license, and continued on to launch his new career as a real estate agent.
Tom Crimmins Realty began with six agents in a Westerleigh office. Today, the firm has more than 150 agents and three office locations, including Castleton Corners, Great Kills and Tottenville.
Crimmins’ community involvement is widespread, having organized or contributed to events and causes such as the Conference House “Family Fun Day” Fundraiser; “Wine & Dine” for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society; Student Scholarships for St. Peter’s Boys High School; Michael Ogurek Leukemia Fundraiser; St. Peter’s Alumni Celebration on Thanksgiving Eve; Westerleigh Improvement Society; Realtor to the Heroes Toy Drive; Police Officer Rocco Laurie Foundation; Tom Crimmins Annual Toy Drive (CYO program), and the “Encouraging the Ideas of the Youth” 5th Grade Essay Contest.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
Massimo DiDonna was presented with SIBOR’s Community Service Award. He is the founder and owner of Partners In Sound Productions, a Staten Island-headquartered company offering event entertainment, production, lighting and full-service planning and design.
His community affiliations include a variety of notable organizations and positions, such as: Past president of BNI High Achievers; ambassador board member of Michael’s Cause; honorary member of the NYPD Honor Legion, and member of the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) Business Council, Staten Island Executive Club and the Verrazano Kiwanis Club.
DiDonna is the chairman and president of the Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund, a Staten Island based non-profit with a mission of helping people in times of need. One of its biggest accomplishments was raising and distributing over $2.2 million back into the community after Hurricane Sandy. The Bini Fund was also the 2015 Recipient of the SIDEC’s Bayonne Bridge Award.
Massimo resides in Prince’s Bay with his wife, Desiree, and children, Carlee and Massimo.
AFFILIATE OF THE YEAR AWARD
US Mortgage Corporation was honored with the Affiliate of the Year Award.
Affiliate of the Year is presented to an affiliate member of SIBOR who is instrumental in helping the organization though financial support, leadership, knowledge, and an ability to provide exceptional service to the membership.
US Mortgage Corp. CEO Steven Allan Milner is a former math teacher who founded his company in 1994 on the heels of a banking career that began 13 years earlier.
Surviving and persevering through financial crisis, and thriving today, Milner is a rare breed. He has personally taken and passed the mortgage licensing tests for all 50 states and Washington D.C., which require continuing education on an annual basis.
Due to his accomplishments, US Mortgage Corp. is an independent mortgage banker licensed in every state and the nation’s capital, with offices across the country.
“We believe our company culture sets us apart from other banks.” Milner says. “We pride ourselves on our core values, and we live by our mission statement: ‘We believe that everyone deserves a roof over their head.’ It is why we are involved with organizations like Habitat for Humanity ….” The company mission is further reflected in its slogan: “Helping You Make it Home.”
PACK TO SCHOOL
Also honored at the event was Linda F. Smith, SIBOR’s director of membership. Ms. Smith was recognized for her leadership of the organization’s annual “Pack To School” Program, which she conceived and launched in 2003 and has continued to spearhead through the years. Since inception, the initiative has provided thousands of backpacks stocked with marble notebooks, a ruler, crayons, washable markers, pocket folders, glue sticks, pencils and a pencil box to Staten Island school children.
About the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR)
Established in 1915, the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest professional and trade association in Staten Island, N.Y.
SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically, and promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property.
Comprised of more than 2,000 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas.
SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service Inc. (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real estate firms exchange information on properties they have listed for sale. Together, its members participate in over 5,000 real estate transactions every year.
All SIBOR Realtors belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).