RPA Announces Five New Board Members

NEW YORK – Regional Plan Association today announced the addition of five directors to the organization’s board. Joining RPA’s board are Charles Avolio, President and General Manager, New York Region, Suffolk Construction; Frank Cohen, Senior Managing Director, Blackstone Group; Jason Post, Director of Public Policy & Communications, Northeast, Uber Technologies, Inc.; Tom Prendergast, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, STV; and John Santora, Vice Chairman, President, Tri-State Region, Cushman & Wakefield.

“With their leadership, along with their diversity of experience and expertise, these five new Board members will be a tremendous help to the RPA as we develop a long-range vision to advance the region,” said Scott Rechler, chief executive officer and chairman of RXR Realty LLC and chairman of RPA.

“We are delighted to add five outstanding new individuals to our board,” said RPA President Tom Wright. “These people are leaders in their fields, bring a breadth and depth of knowledge about the New York region and will be an asset as we look to get the recommendations in our Fourth Regional Plan implemented.”

The new directors join the board at a pivotal time for the organization, as RPA prepares to release the Fourth Regional Plan for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area on November 30, outlining a long-range vision for region’s shared prosperity, sustainability, livability and good governance.

More about the new board members:

Charles Avolio is the President and General Manager of Suffolk’s New York City office. In this role, he is responsible for providing strategic direction for all operations, overseeing the management of projects and client relationships, and leading local branding and work acquisition efforts in the New York region. Current local project developments Charlie is overseeing include 532 Neptune Avenue, a 1,050,000 square feet mixed-use development in Coney Island; Hudson Exchange West - Phase 1A, a 625,000 square-foot mixed-use residential and retail development in Jersey City; and Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 466,000 square-foot development located on the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights, New York. Previously, he was Vice President at Turner Construction, serving as principal-in-charge for several signature projects including the redevelopment at World Trade Center, the New York City Police Academy, and New York Presbyterian Hospital, among others. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and was a founding board member of USGBC’s New York chapter, now known as Urban Green.                                         

Frank Cohen is a Senior Managing Director with the Blackstone Group based in New York. He is the Global Head of Core+ Real Estate and a member of the firm’s real estate investment committee. Since joining Blackstone in 1996, Mr. Cohen has been involved in over $100 billion of real estate transactions. He has been involved with many of the firm’s notable investments, including Equity Office, CarrAmerica Realty, Trizec and IndCor Properties. He serves as a director for Hudson Pacific Properties, as well as for several Blackstone portfolio companies, including Equity Office. He is also a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and on the WCAS Board of Visitors at Northwestern University.                         

Jason Post is the Director of Public Policy & Communications for the Northeast United States at Uber Technologies, Inc. He oversees public policy in that region and works with elected and appointed officials as well as third-party groups to achieve Uber's mission to make transportation reliable and efficient. Before his time at Uber, Jason worked in journalism, government and consulting, including service as an aide to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. He also produced the political news program Inside City Hall on the cable news channel NY1.

Thomas F. Prendergast is Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of STV. Prior to joining STV, between 2013 and 2017, Tom was the chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the largest public transportation agency in North America, and was responsible for establishing the strategic direction and policies of the various MTA agencies, which include NYC Transit; the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR); Metro-North Railroad; MTA Bus; MTA Bridges & Tunnels; and MTA Capital Construction (MTACC). He was instrumental in securing a 5- year capital plan to improve and modernize New York’s public transportation systems, including Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access. As an executive vice president at STV, Tom continues to work on major public transportation initiatives and is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with transit agencies across the United States and Canada.

John C. Santora currently serves as Vice Chairman, President, Tri-State Region. Previously he serviced as Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Integration Officer for the new Cushman & Wakefield Inc. A 40-year veteran of the firm, he is responsible for driving forward the execution of Cushman & Wakefield’s strategic plan in the New York Tri-state region. One of the commercial real estate industry’s most experienced global executives, John has relationships with leading executives of key multinational clients. Prior to the integration, he was CEO of North America, which was C&W’s largest global operating region where he further integrated service lines in the regions across Leasing, Capital Markets, Valuation & Advisory and CIS. In 2010 he held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Cushman & Wakefield’s Corporate Occupier & Investor Services (CIS) group. John was a member of Cushman & Wakefield’s Board of Directors for 20 years. John is a fellow of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, Chairman of the Realty Advisory Board, an active member of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), a member of the Board of Trustees for Local 32BJ-Health and Benefit Funds.

RPA also recognizes Randy Wissel who is stepping down from the board of directors and thanks him for his service to the organization.