The New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM) has given top honors to two of Douglas Elliman’s managers: Declan Hennessy has been named Resident Manager of the Year, and Peter Rufli is being honored for his management of Emergency Response Teams. Both men will receive their awards at a reception on December 6th, following the NYARM Expo.
Declan Hennessy is Resident Manager at 1016 Fifth Avenue, a 55-unit co-op built in 1926, where he has worked for 23 years. Peter Rufli has been Resident Manager at 784 Park Avenue, a 65-unit co-op, since 2005, and teaches courses at the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) organization.
“My Dad died in an accident when I was 11,” says Peter, who grew up in Ireland, and came to the States in 1985. The tragic event led him to begin emergency training at the age of 12, and by age 14, he had saved a life.
“I was on the beach in Ireland with my mother,” he explains. “A girl fell and hit her head and was drowning.” His mother rushed to get him, and he was able to resuscitate the girl. At 17, Peter saved a man injured in a motorcycle accident, who turned out to be one of his best friends. And he’s been an active first responder, search and rescue specialist, and emergency response instructor ever since.
After attaining the Irish championship in javelin and travelling the world with his team, Peter came to the US in his 20’s and started in the property management business as a super. Today he manages one of Manhattan’s premier properties.
In the courses he teaches, his students—who include property managers, NYC Parks Department employees, even Medical Doctors—are trained in medical response, search and rescue, personal safety, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons safety, and “cribbing”—how to safely remove heavy objects from on top of a person, and safely extricate them.
Peter credits DEPM Vice President Elly Pateras and Manager Casey O’Connor with ensuring that 784 Park Avenue receives top-notch management. “I enjoy helping the shareholders with any emergencies or even small tasks that they need assistance with 24/7,” he says. “It’s like being the Mayor of a small town: my staff are the service employees, police and security of the building; the shareholders are the constituents, and my board of directors are the oversight committee.”
When he’s not managing 784 Park Avenue or teaching at CERT, Peter spends time with his family; he has a daughter at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and twin 15-year-old boys.
Declan Hennessy also grew up in Ireland, raising cattle on a dairy farm in County Cork. He came to the US 29 years ago, and after working as a manager in Queens, moved to 1016 Fifth Avenue 23 years ago. Douglas Elliman came on as property managers at the same time, and they’ve been a team ever since.
“So much has changed in the management industry since then,” he says. “And they’re all good changes. Now, the Resident Manager is part of the management team, not just an on-site agent. We used to go to the office regularly, but now everything is done by email and on the computer.
“This is the best job in the world,” says Declan. “We have unbelievable residents. And our manager at Douglas Elliman, David Dreyfus, is the best in the business.” He also has high praise for the building, which was built in 1926, and features “one of the most beautiful lobbies in the City,” he says. Ornate wrought iron and brass doors flank the entryway, while elaborate marble lines the walls. The ceilings feature molded plaster designs, and the façade is hand-carved with statuary and architectural details.
Declan is a past president and active member of the Emerald Guild, a close-knit networking and support organization for supers, resident managers and other building employees. “When I came over from Ireland, the Guild was like a community. It’s a great organization, and they take care of their members.” He still has lots of family in Ireland, and continues to visit frequently. After five generations, they still maintain the dairy farm in Cork. He and his wife have a 19-year-old son attending college in Boston, and twin daughters aged 15.
Founded in 1911, Douglas Elliman Property Management is one of the oldest and most respected firms in New York, providing clients with the volume discounts only a large firm can offer, combined with personalized service and attention to detail. For more information about DEPM, visit ellimanpm.com or call 212-370-9200. For more information about NYARM’s property management education, information and peer networking programs, visit nyarm.org.