Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

CAI Honors Industry Professionals for Significant Contributions to the Community Association Housing Model

6/12/2020  -  Falls Church, VA


June 12, 2020 – Falls Church, VA – Community Associations Institute (CAI), the leading international authority on community association governance, management, and education, announced the recipients of the 2019 CAI Annual Volunteer Awards—the highest honors given by the Institute. Traditionally, the annual awards ceremony is held each spring in conjunction with the CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW.

This year's Annual Conference was canceled due to COVID-19, but that hasn't stopped CAI from celebrating the following individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership to advance community association living.

Sandy Denton, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, CAI's most prestigious recognition presented periodically to an individual for long-standing, extraordinary contributions to the Institute. Denton has been a member of CAI for three decades and an active volunteer in the Greater Houston Chapter. In 2005, she was instrumental in the CAI membership and governance restructure as a member of the Governance Task Force, Board of Trustees, and as the 2005 CAI president. She has served on the CAI Audit Committee and has been a member of the PMDP faculty for over 10 years. Denton also has been a critical player in the large-scale managers community, serving on the Large-Scale Managers Committee for more than 10 years, serving as chair of the committee twice, and hosting the Large-Scale Managers Workshop three times. She is a member of the Texas Community Associations Advocates and was a member of CAI's Texas Legislative Action Committee. She has been an active member of the Government and Public Affairs Committee since 2015. In addition, she is a commissioner for the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) and has served on the Foundation for Community Association Research Board. Sandy is a dedicated volunteer leader who has and continues to dedicate her time and attention to CAI and the community association housing model. Sandy is general manager of Sienna, a large-scale community in Missouri City, Texas.


Craig Koss, AMS, PCAM, received the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes a member who demonstrates outstanding leadership and long-term dedication to CAI. For more than 30 years, Koss has been a local and national leader with roles on the chapter board and national boards and committees, including the CAI Board of Trustees, Community Association Managers Council, and the Designation Ethics Committee. Craig is a regional vice president for Associa in Pinckney, Mich.

Cyndi Koester, CMCA, PCAM, was awarded Educator of the Year, which honors an individual who has excelled in elevating the quality of CAI's education programs by developing, teaching, or leading a significant national course. Koester, a member of CAI's Nevada Chapter, has served on the board of directors at three CAI chapters: San Diego, Greater Inland Empire, and Coachella Valley. Koester has been a CAI instructor since 2005, teaching CAI's PMDP courses to managers, board members, and business partners. Cyndi is a division director of CAMCO Homeowners Association Management in Las Vegas.

The New Jersey Legislative Action Committee was named Legislative Action Committee of the Year, an honor that recognizes a state legislative action committee for demonstrated organizational excellence, strong member support, and successfully raising the visibility and effectiveness of CAI. In 2019, the CAI New Jersey Legislative Action Committee tracked and advocated on several major bills, including the uniform common interest ownership act, elective vehicle charging stations, authority to collect assessments, and priority lien—to name a few. Remarkably, the committee passed monumental legislation expanding the number of months of assessments a community association could recover through priority lien foreclosure from six to 12 months. The committee also staved off legislation that would have negatively impacted New Jersey communities.  


Scott Ghertner, PCAM, J. David Ramsey, Esq., and Ronald L. Perl, Esq., received the Award of Excellence in Government and Public Affairs. Ghertner, a member of the CAI Tennessee Legislative Action Committee and Chapter, worked tirelessly to engage grassroots efforts to oppose legislation in the state that would restrict a community from adopting and enforcing covenants to limit long-term corporate rentals. He regularly holds meetings with his board members at his office to educate them on the legislative issues and how they can engage in grassroots advocacy, talk with the media, and more. After the legislative session adjourned in 2019, Ghertner helped coordinate testimony and led the founding of a political action committee to raise funds to distribute to candidates who support sensible community association public policy positions. In just 90 days, the committee raised $100,000. Tennessee legislators know CAI, and it is in no small part due to Ghertner's efforts.


In 2019, Ramsey and Perl, members of the CAI New Jersey Chapter, provided significant input and spent countless hours drafting CAI's public policies on the Government and Public Affairs Committee. They continually support CAI's Advocacy Summit, and both are members of CAI's Federal Legislative Action Committee.

Tonya Bates, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, was recognized as Recruiter of the Year, an honor given to a member who has demonstrated continued leadership by supporting CAI membership campaigns and recruiting the greatest number of new members. Bates is a long-time member of the CAI Nevada Chapter and currently serves on the chapter board of directors. In 2019, she recruited 31 new members.


Matt Ober, Esq., an attorney in southern California and fellow in CAI's College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), has been awarded Author of the Year, a recognition that honors a volunteer who consistently provides extensive and timely editorial support and content expertise by writing, editing, and reviewing CAI publications and newsletters, authoring a new, significant publication or otherwise authoring materials of significance to CAI's mission. In 2019, Ober wanted to help find a solution for the lack of civility in our country. Through his work, CCAL fellows drafted the Community Association Civility Pledge. Today, the Civility Pledge provides a framework for board members and community managers to facilitate thoughtful, respectful community conversation about important issues.


Natalie Stewart has been named the CAI Rising Star, an honor given to an individual whose leadership abilities and professional contributions signify even greater accomplishments in the future. 

For more than a decade, Stewart, a CAI business partner member, has worked to file Federal Housing Administration condominium certification applications and renewals, and troubleshoot condominium projects. Her work has led CAI policy initiatives on behalf of community associations in California and Washington, D.C.  


For a complete list of honorees and award recipients, visit


About Community Associations Institute 
Since 1973, Community Associations Institute (CAI) has been the leading provider of resources and information for homeowners, volunteer board leaders, professional managers, and business professionals in the nearly 350,000 homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives in the United States and millions of communities worldwide. With nearly 45,000 members, CAI works in partnership with 36 legislative action committees and 64 affiliated chapters within the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates as well as with housing leaders in several other countries, including Australia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. A global nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization, CAI is the foremost authority in community association management, governance, education, and advocacy. Our mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership, and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in community associations that are preferred places to call home. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @caisocial.

Phone: 703-970-9235