Joe Ventrone: ‘An Indispensable Catalyst’

The housing industry celebrated a legend on Wednesday. Former National Association of REALTORS® executive Joe Ventrone received the Carl A.S. Coan, Sr., Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service from the National Housing Conference.

Ventrone, who joined NAR in 2003 and served as the association’s vice president of federal policy and industry relations for a decade, was recognized at the Housing Visionary Awards gala in Washington, D.C., as a catalyst, a bridge builder, and a passionate advocate for housing.

“Joe has truly dedicated his life to moving the needle on affordable housing,” said NAR President Kevin Sears in a prepared statement. “We applaud him for all his hard work over the years, rallying NAR members and staff, as well as countless other industry stakeholders, to advocate for everyone to have the opportunity to achieve homeownership.”

Before joining NAR, Ventrone held key positions in both the executive and the legislative branches. Among the dignitaries who lauded him for his leadership were Acting HUD Secretary Adrianne Todman, former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts (via video), and former U.S. Rep Rick Lazio of New York.

Lazio, who presented the award, commended Ventrone for his work on some of the most significant federal housing, mortgage finance, and urban affairs legislation to pass Congress, such as the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, The American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act of 2000, and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987.

“Joe was the indispensable catalyst that brought us arguably the most productive era of housing legislation since the 1940s,” Lazio said.

In his remarks, Ventrone commended the National Housing Conference—a group of diverse stakeholders created to collaborate on affordable housing solutions—for its spirit of bipartisanship, and he called on the industry to make greater inroads on increasing minority homeownership and to embrace proptech advances that will improve the homebuying and renting experience.

“I would summarize my work ethic as connecting the dots in a bipartisan fashion, through transparency and a strong spirit of cooperation and collaboration, successfully bringing folks to the middle, time and again,” Ventrone told the audience at The Anthem. He thanked former NAR colleagues and leadership in attendance—including Sears, Chief Advocacy Officer Shannon McGahn and Vice President of Advocacy Bryan Greene. Greene cochaired Wednesday’s event, along with Ali Solis, vice chair of NHC’s Board of Governors.

“Throughout Joe’s career, he has been steadfast in advancing policies that strengthen the housing industry and expand opportunities for all Americans,” McGahn said. “From his time on Capitol Hill to his role at NAR, Joe has worked tirelessly to develop and advocate for initiatives that promote affordable homeownership, improve access to financing, and address the diverse needs of all communities. Joe has built a team of subject matter experts who continue his legacy at NAR, and I am in awe of the progress he continues to make. He was honored tonight not just for his accomplishments but for recognizing there is always more work to be done.”

Other Housing Visionary Award honorees were Tia Boatman Patterson, president and CEO of the California Community Reinvestment Corp., Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen Todd Young (R-IN), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Rep Darrin LaHood (R-IL); and former Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).

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