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5/30/2023  -  Falls Church, VA

May 30, 2023 — Falls Church, Va. — Community Associations Institute (CAI), the leading international authority on community association governance, management, and education, announced the recipients of its highest honors at an annual awards ceremony, held on May 19 in Dallas in conjunction with the 2023 CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW. The honors salute individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership to advance community association living.

Clifford J. Treese, CIRMS, was presented the Distinguished Service Award, CAI's most prestigious recognition given periodically to an individual for long-standing, extraordinary contributions. Treese, owner of Association Data, Inc., in Mountain House, Calif., has devoted nearly five decades to CAI and community associations. A past president of CAI and the Foundation for Community Association Research, Treese gathers and analyzes copious data to develop national statistics about the community association housing market for the annual Community Association Fact Book. Treese was a founding designee holder of the Certified Insurance and Risk Management (CIRMS) credential, a member of the Federal Legislative Action Committee, and a key liaison and advocate for CAI with federal agencies. Treese is a member of the education faculty, a regular author and contributor to many of CAI's publications, and a key subject matter expert on all areas of the community association housing model.

Sandra K. Denton, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, was recognized with the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. General manager of Sienna Associations in Missouri City, Texas, Denton has been an outstanding CAI leader over the span of three decades. As a past president of CAI in 2005, Denton's leadership was critical to CAI's governance structure and the membership model. Sandy is a CAI faculty member, a past chapter president, past legislative action committee chair, government and public affairs committee member, past president of the Foundation for Community Association Research, past chair of the Community Association Managers International Certification Board, a conference speaker, a diversity, equity, and inclusion task force leader, and worldwide ambassador.

Pepe Gutierrez, CMCA, was recognized as Educator of the Year for elevating CAI's education programs around the world. Gutierrez, CEO of MegaFincas Alicante in Spain, is an international ambassador for CAI, organizing dozens of educational programs in 2022 in India, Dubai, Spain, and Colombia.

Tonya Gale, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, was recognized for the third year in a row 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. Gale, owner of Epic Association Management in Las Vegas, has been a dedicated CAI advocate since 2011, serving various leadership roles for the CAI Nevada Chapter. She recruited 59 new CAI members in 2020, 31 in 2021, and 34 in 2022.

Leah K. Burton, Esq., was named the CAI Rising Star, an honor given to an individual whose leadership abilities and professional contributions signify even greater accomplishments in the future. Burton, an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson law firm in Plano, Texas, has been on the board of directors for several Texas chapters and has worked with the Texas Legislative Action Committee to strengthen
relationships and support. Burton is recognized for her powerful presentations, which have been given at three consecutive Community Association Law Seminars and covered topics such as racism and community association law, mental health and community associations, and gun violence.

Edward San George, PCAM, was honored with the Excellence in Government and Public Affairs Award. San George, president of INTEGRA Management Corp., in Mount Arlington, N.J., has been involved with the CAI New Jersey Chapter, legislative action committee, and political action committee for many years. Following the Champlain Towers South condominium partial collapse, San George has been a key contributor to several CAI initiatives, including the Condominium Safety Public Policy Report, legislation in New Jersey, federal legislation, and reserve study standards.  

The Florida Legislative Alliance was honored as the Legislative Action Committee of the Year. It advocated for condominium safety initiatives and responded to various legislative options to the condominium collapse in 2021.

Jessica Towles, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CAI's 2022 president, honored Kelly G. Richardson, Esq., a partner in Richardson | Ober law firm in Pasadena, Calif., with the 2022 President's Award. Given solely at the discretion of CAI's immediate past president, this award recognizes an individual who has displayed exemplary service and commitment to CAI and who has been instrumental in helping the president achieve CAI's goals.

“There are so many people who help you achieve the goals of CAI and who exhibit exemplary service and commitment to the organization," says Towles. “One person in particular, Kelly, took on a mentorship role and encouraged me to serve. He helped me on a personal level when working through difficult decisions, burnout, and more. Kelly has been instrumental in my success, and I'm honored to present him with this award."

For a complete list of honorees and award recipients, including chapter awards, 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 more than 358,000 homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives in the United States and millions of communities worldwide. With more than 44,000 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, 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