The first person I would like to reognize is Laura Hallahan. Laura Hallahan is someone I am proud to have called a friend for almost 20 years. A true advocate for Assessors and the Assessing profession. Over the years, Laura has always been willing to share their knowledge and experience with Assessors whether they are a client or not. If you are fortunate enough to be a client, then you know you have the best representation possible when it comes to defending your municipality. She was the first to win a big box case and is willing to fight for municipalities on all tax matters big or small. When I retained Hallahan & Associates as my municipatiliy's Tax Coounsel, I immediately saw a dramatic rise in dismissals which, trust me, is very refreshing! There is a reason they have made the list of super lawyers.
My next award recognizes Linda Stevenson and it is my honor to present her a President Award. She is someone who has been involved with the MAA for many years. As a Past President and a current committee member, Linda exemplifies what being involved means. She called me 10 years ago and started the conversation with the question, have you ever given any thought to serving on the MAA Board? My my response was no. That response led to a number of calls over the next few weeks asking me if I had given it anymore thought. Long story short, she wore me down and I agreed to serve on the Board; which was one of the most rewarding decisions I have made in my assessing career. The experience and knowledge Linda has is the reason I chose her to be a Co-conference Chair. After all, since she got me into this position, who better to help me get through the conference process; which let me tell you is a daunting task and she made it easy on me. For that and many more reasons, I am eternally grateful to Linda.
My third and final President’s Award goes to Matthew Raftary. His involvement with MAA spans over four decades which includes serving on the Board as a District Representative all the way to the office of Past President. Matt's commitment and knowledge of the Michigan Assessors Association and its history is unmatched. I met this Matt in my first year of being an assessor and was impressed with his wide range of assessing knowledge, and even though he is only 5’ 7” I still looked up to them. With the guidance of the Boards over the last 25 years, Matt has brought the MAA’s technology into the 21st century. He was also instrumental with me becoming a District Representative, so I thought I would return the favor and make them my other Co-conference Chir, and what a great choice that was. The tireless amount of work that he has done on behalf of myself and this Association is truly amazing. An example of this is the gift in your conference bag that this Matt handcrafted from raw planks of wood, which is truly amazing!. I am sadden to hear he has decided to retire from MAA which will leave huge shoes to fill. I wish him the best in retirement and I am truly proud to call him a friend.