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Award Programs

CMAA offers a variety of awards programs for individuals and chapters. There are also scholarships and grants available from The Club Foundation.

For further information about these awards, please contact Erica Benjamin, senior director, Member and Chapter Relations, or call 703-739-9500.

 

Chapter of the Year

The Chapter of the Year (COY) award competition recognizes outstanding work, participation, and accomplishments by CMAA Chapters. First place Chapters will receive a $3,000 education grant, second place Chapters will receive a $2,000 education grant, and third place Chapters will receive an education grant, all funded by The Club Foundation.

New this year: There are two separate entry packets—one for small Chapters and one for medium and large Chapters. Please make sure you download the correct entry packet based on the size category your Chapter falls in.

2023 Chapter Size Categories

Entries are due December 15, 2023.

2022 Winners

Small Chapters
First Place: Nebraska Chapter
Most Improved: Tennessee Volunteer Chapter

Medium Chapters
First Place: Pittsburgh Chapter
Most Improved: Virginias Chapter

Large Chapters
First Place: Carolinas Chapter
Most Improved: Ohio Valley Chapter

Student Chapter of the Year

The Student Chapter of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding work and successful accomplishments of our student chapters. This program will now reflect the student academic year and go from August 1st – April 30th of every year. There will be a Student Chapter of the Year winner for each size category and those winning chapters will receive a $1,000 World Conference registration grant provided by The Club Foundation.

Entries are due May 15, 2024.

2022-23 Winners

Small Chapters
Kent State

Medium Chapters
Niagara University

Large Chapters
University of Houston

Club Executive of the Year

Annually, Club Management magazine recognizes excellence in club leadership with the Club Executive of the Year Award. Originally known as the Club Manager of the Year, this distinction was created in 1985 by Club Management magazine to honor an individual who by his or her achievements best represents the qualities found in hard-working, dedicated club management leaders. In 2008, the award was re-titled to mirror the evolution of the role.

Today, the award continues to evolve, focusing on club management professionals who demonstrate mentoring, create a supportive club culture, and sustain ongoing engagement with their local CMAA Chapter.

CMAA welcomes and encourages nominations from diverse backgrounds and work experiences.

2023 Winner

Boris Gradina, MCM, CCE

Boris Gradina, MCM, CCE

General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of Maryland Golf and Country Clubs (MGCC) in Bel Air, MD

Club Management magazine has named Boris Gradina, MCM, CCE, the 2023 Club Executive of the Year. A 17-year member of the Club Management Association of America (CMAA), Gradina currently serves as the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of Maryland Golf and Country Clubs (MGCC) in Bel Air, MD.

Gradina has more than 26 years of experience in the club industry. His first management role in the club industry was the Clubhouse Manager/Assistant Manager of Lebanon Country Club in Lebanon, PA. Prior to joining Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in 2015, he served as the General Manager of Sylvania Country Club in Sylvania, OH, from 2010 to 2015.

Gradina values professional development for himself and his club team. He earned his Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation in 2012 and his Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation in 2017. In 2020, he became the 23rd individual to attain the Master Club Manager (MCM) designation. His monograph, Employee Onboarding at Private Clubs, explores the topic of onboarding practices from ten highly regarded and well-known private clubs along with selected leading hospitality establishments.

Abigail Fry shared about his impact as a mentor “One of the most remarkable aspects of Boris’ leadership style is his commitment to foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture. He supports the well-being of employees, encourages professional growth, and prioritizes diversity and inclusion. Under his guidance, MGCC became a place where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered to perform at their best.”

Joseph T. Bradley, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Maryland Golf and Country Clubs, Inc., explained his impact on the club culture, “For Boris—people and education are the foundational elements of progress. Boris’ enthusiasm for his team, the dedication to his craft, and his love for the industry is, quite simply, contagious.”

Gradina has been active in several CMAA Chapters. Most recently, he served the Greater Baltimore Chapter as Chapter President and Vice President from 2017 to 2021. Current Chapter Vice President Richard Marr explains his involvement, “Boris was also responsible for stabilizing the governance of the GBCMA Chapter, leaving the Chapter office much better than when he entered office. In 2020, Boris developed an onboarding strategy, which he continues to teach to other managers and chapters as to the modern best practices in onboarding new staff. To this day, Boris offers to chair the Chapter’s nominating committee, host chapter workshops, and offers sound advice to me and the other Chapter officers, whenever needed.”

Annually, Club Management recognizes outstanding professionalism and club leadership with the Club Executive of the Year Award. Created in 1985 and originally known as the Club Manager of the Year, the award was re-titled in 2008 to mirror the evolution of the profession. This prestigious honor is presented to a club management professional who embodies professionalism within their club and community within the past one to three years—embracing mentoring, creating a supportive club culture, and impacting their local CMAA Chapter through sustained engagement. Nominations are accepted in early fall, and selections are made by a diverse committee of club management professionals.

Gradina is the 37th club management professional to be honored through this award. He will be featured in the January/February 2024 issue of Club Management magazine, profiled in a forthcoming edition of the Let’s Talk Club Management Podcast, and honored in person at the 2024 CMAA World Conference and Club Business Expo in Las Vegas, NV.

2022 Brett Morris
2021 Marc Ray, CCM, CCE, CHAE 
2020 The Club Industry
2019 Tony D'Errico, CCM, CCE
2018 Burton Ward, CCM, CCE
2017 Richard L. LaRocca, CCM, CCE
2016 Terra S.H. Waldron, CCM, CCE
2015 Gregory J. Patterson
2014 C.J. "Joe" Bendy, Jr., CCM, CCE
2013 Jim G James, CCM
2012 Paul Astbury
2011 Michael Leemhuis, CCM, CCE
2010 Damon DiOrio, CCM, CCE
2009 Michael McCarthy
2008 G. Mead Grady, CCM
2007 ***
2006 George Carroll, CCM, CCE
2005 John Crean, CCM, CHA
2004 Larry L. Thompson
2003 Jonathan McCabe, CCM
2002 A. Graham McDeson, MCM
2001 Richard Bayliss Jr., CCM, CCE
2000 John R. Sullivan Jr., CCM
1999 William Schulz, MCM, CCE
1998 Jay DiPietro, CCM
1997 Stan Orr
1996 Robert James, CCM, CCE, CHE
1995 Richard Kolasa, CCM
1994 Melvin Rex, CCM
1993 John Hudson, CCM
1992 Christopher Borders, CCM
1991 Sally Burns Rambo, CCM
1990 James Brewer, MCM
1989 Joe Brem, CCM
1988 E.M. "Mike" Fraser, CCM
1987 Edward Drew, CCM
1986 Donald Hayes, CCM
1985 Laurice "Bud" Hall, MCM, CCE

*** No award due to magazine publishing transition

Idea Fair

The purpose of the Idea Fair is to share ideas with other managers through a visual medium (i.e., display board.) The Idea Fair is held annually in conjunction with the World Conference. Entries are judged on creativity / clarity / content; transferability of idea. Winning entries are recognized at Conference and in other CMAA publications.

Entries are due February 5, 2024.

Previous Entries

Category Winners

Club Events: Paul Kornfeind, MCM, CCE, Great Hills Country Club, Austin, TX
Special Holiday Programs: David Porter, CCM, Greystone Golf & Country Club, Birmingham, AL
Youth Programs or Events: Tai Tran, CCM, Detroit Athletic Club, Grosse Pointe Farms, IL
Staff Management & Incentives: Bailey Everhart, Maroon Creek Club, Aspen, CO
Safety Programs and Risk Management: Endrei Engelbrecht, Wildcats Cliffs Country Club, Highlands, NC
Club Communications: Christina Gusella, Flint Hills National Golf Club, Andover, KS
Membership Development: David Porter, CCM, Greystone Golf & Country Club, Birmingham, AL
Leadership Philosophies and Development: Audrey Miller, Field Club of Omaha, Omaha, NE
Renovation Programs: Austin Pettit, Houston Country Club, Houston, TX
Environmental Impact: Gregg Leonard, CCM, Desert Mountain Club, Scottsdale, AZ
Golf Operations: Lori LeBard, CCM, El Niguel Country Club, Laguna Niguel, CA
Alternative Sports and Recreation: Gregg Leonard, CCM, Desert Mountain Club, Scottsdale, AZ
Health and Wellness: Brett Morris, The Club at Admirals Cove, Jupiter, FL
Food Concepts: Allison Boyd, Champions Run, Omaha, NE
Beverage Concepts: Ben Lorenzen, CCM, Champions Run, Omaha, NE
Cost-/Time-Saving Concepts: Kent Johnson, CCM, CEC, Baltimore Country Club, Baltimore, MD
Community Outreach: Brett Morris, The Club at Admirals Cove, Jupiter, FL
Internships and Mentorships: Blake Stovall, Houston Racquet Club, Houston, TX
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Stephen LoGiudice, CCM, The Club at Ibis, West Palm Beach, FL
Breakthrough Ideas: Andy Reetz, CCM, Champions Run, Omaha, NE

The Chairman's Award: Anne Stryhn, CCM, Country Club of Virginia, Richmond, VA, for her entry in the Youth Programs or Events Category

The Most Innovative Idea Award: Brittney Delcore, Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club, Bedminster, NJ, for her entry in the Beverage Concepts Category

The Showstopper Winner: Paul Kornfeind, MCM, CCE, Great Hills Country Club, Austin, TX, for his entry in the Club Events Category

Category Winners

Club Events: Alexandra Donohoe, Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Maryland
Special Holiday Programs: Allison Boyd, Champions Run, Omaha, Nebraska
Youth Programs or Events: Cory Conklin, Mission Hills Country Club, Mission Hills, Kansas
Staff Management & Incentives: Philip Kiester, The Country Club of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia
Safety Programs and Risk Management: William Norem, Country Club of Buffalo, Williamsville, New York
Club Communications: Tai Tran, CCM, Detroit Athletic Club, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
Membership Development: Michael Wheeler, MCM, CCE, Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta, Georgia
Renovation Programs: Patrick King, CCM, CCE, Army Navy Country Club, Arlington, Virginia
Environmental Impact: Brandon Johnson, Farmington Country Club, Charlottesville, Virginia
Golf Operations: Philip Kiester, The Country Club of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia
Alternate Sports & Recreation: Joe Krenn, CCM, CCE, Farmington Country Club, Charlottesville, Virginia
Fitness, Health and Wellness: JulieAnne Brown, CCM, CPA, Farmington Country Club, Charlottesville, Virginia
Food Concepts and Beverage Concepts: Tyler Winkowski, Wanakah Country Club, Hamburg, New York
Cost-/Time-Saving Concepts: Eben Molloy, CCM, CCE, Woodfield Country Club, Boca Raton, Florida
Community Outreach: Holly Bilotti, Bay Head Yacht Club, Bay Head, New Jersey
Silver Linings: Michael Palamara, CCM, Army Navy Country Club, Fairfax, Virginia
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Nathan Lamb, Charlotte Country Club, Charlotte, North Carolina

The Chairman's Award: Matt Guzik, CCM, CCE, Tara Iti Golf Club, New Zealand, for his entry in the Staff Management Category

The Most Innovative Idea Award: Laura McCarthy, Dataw Island Club, Dataw Island, South Carolina, for her entry in the Membership Development Category

The Showstopper Winner: Ben Lorenzen, CCM, Champions Run, Omaha, Nebraska, for his entry in the Alternative Sports and Recreation Category

Chapter Idea Fair

The purpose of the Chapter Idea Fair is for Chapters to share innovative ideas with each other in specific categories. This award program is presented at the annual Leadership/Legislative Conference (LLC). Winning chapters are recognized in various ways both at LLC and throughout the year. One chapter’s idea is recognized as "Best in Show" and will be awarded a $2,000 grant sponsored by The Club Foundation. New this year: One Chapter’s Idea will be recognized as the “Most Transferable Idea” and will be awarded a $1,000 grant sponsored by The Club Foundation.

Entries were due August 23, 2023.

For further information, please contact Erica Benjamin, senior director, Member and Chapter Relations, or call 703-739-9500.

Previous Entries

Idea Fair Boards on display

2023  2022   2021   2020

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)/Member Communities
Carolinas Chapter

Chapter Communications
Pittsburgh Chapter

Governance
Virginias Chapter

Education
Carolinas Chapter

Membership Engagement
National Capital Chapters

Community Outreach
Nebraska Chapter

Student Chapter Engagement
Philadelphia & Vicinity Chapter

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Ohio Valley Chapter

“Best in Show”
Ohio Valley for their idea in "Membership Engagement"

“Most Transferable Idea”
Pittsburgh Chapter Chapter for their idea in "Special Interest Groups (SIGs)/Member Communities"

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)/Member Communities
Carolinas Chapter

Chapter Communications
Metropolitan Chapter

Governance
Ohio Valley Chapter

Education
Greater Southwest Chapter

Membership Engagement
Greater Chicago and Wisconsin Badger Chapters

Community Outreach
Nebraska Chapter

Student Chapter Engagement
Nebraska Chapter

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Upper Midwest Chapter

“Best in Show”
Virginias Chapter for their idea in "Membership Engagement"

“Most Transferable Idea”
Greater Cleveland Chapter for their idea in "Chapter Communications"

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)/Member Communities
Florida Chapter

Chapter Communications
Oregon Chapter

Education
Florida Chapter

Membership Engagement
Wisconsin Badger Chapter

Community Outreach
Carolinas Chapter

Student Chapter Engagement
Greater Chicago Chapter

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Connecticut Chapter

“Best in Show”
 Georgia Chapter for their idea in "Membership Engagement"

Student Chapter and Faculty Idea Fair

The purpose of the Student Chapter and Faculty Idea Fair is for Student Chapters to share innovative ideas with each other in specific categories. This award program is presented at the World Conference & Club Business Expo each year. Winning Chapters are recognized in various ways at World Conference and throughout the year. One Chapter’s idea will be recognized as "Best in Show" and is awarded a $1,000 grant sponsored by The Club Foundation.

Entries are due February 5, 2024.

2023 Winners

Recruitment & Retention - Virginia Tech

New Member Onboarding & Engagement - Johnson and Wales University – Charlotte

Chapter Engagement - Niagara University

Collaboration with Senior Chapter - Fairleigh Dickinson University

Fundraising - University of Houston

Best in Show - University of Houston

New Member Recruitment Contest

The New Member Recruitment Contest is set up to provide encouragement for CMAA chapters to increase, maintain and preserve their membership. This annual chapter contest awards grants to chapters (in size categories small, medium and large) that surpass, achieve or are closest to reaching their set membership recruitment goals. The goals are determined by taking the average number of each chapter’s new member total for the last five years and adding five percent.

Chapter goals and contest standings are noted every month in Chapter Digest, including an updated list indicating each chapter’s progress toward its goal. The contest runs from January 1 to December 31 of the given year. Grant amounts are as follows: first place - $2,000; second place - $750; third place - $500. Additionally, every chapter that meets their goal is automatically entered in a drawing to win a $1,000 education grant from The Club Foundation. A winner in each size category is announced at the World Conference on Club Management.

2022 Winners

January 1–December 31, 2022


Small Chapters
Utah (233%)
Inland Empire (160%)
Alabama (150%)
Nebraska (150%)

Medium Chapters
City of New York (250%)
Greater Baltimore (250%)
St. Louis District (233%)
New York State (190%)

Large Chapters
Greater Michigan (200%)
Philadelphia & Vicinity (173%)
Golden State (166%)

Student New Member Recruitment Contest

This Student New Member Recruitment Contest rewards all the Student Chapters that reach or exceed 100 percent of their goal. Goals are calculated by taking the average of each Chapter’s new members over the past three years and increasing it by 5 percent. This program runs the length of the academic year, September 1 through April 30.

The Student Chapters that reach or exceed 100 percent of their goal will receive two complimentary CMAA World Conference registrations.

2022-2023 Winners

Small Chapters
Buffalo State University, Georgia State University, Ohio University, University of Missouri, Columbia

Medium Chapters
Michigan State University, Niagara University, Oklahoma State University, University of Massachusetts, University of Nebraska Lincoln, University of Wisconsin – Stout, Virginia Tech

Large Chapters
Florida State University, James Madison University, University of Central Florida, University of Houston, University of North Texas, University of South Carolina

Student Shark Tank Competition

Attention Student members: Enter the 2024 CMAA Shark Tank Competition  

Is there a product/software/ concept that you think the club industry could benefit from? Tell us how you see your creation improving or revolutionizing the club space for a chance to win $1,000!

Entries are due by 12:00 noon EST on Monday, February 5, 2024. 

2023 Competition

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