Textile Recycling Environmental Club – Meet the Judges


Jeffrey R. Gural

Chairman, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

Jeffrey Gural is chairman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a full-service commercial real estate firm. Under his auspices, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank first completed a successful national expansion in 2001 and then grew to expand internationally in 2006 through a strategic partnership with London-headquartered real estate firm Knight Frank. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank now provides coverage from more than 240 offices worldwide. Mr. Gural is responsible for the managing and leasing of the 8 million square feet of properties in which Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s partners have ownership. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank currently manages approximately 150 buildings in the Metropolitan area, of which they have an ownership interest in 41 buildings. Mr. Gural oversees all acquisitions, as well as the overall supervision of the company’s non-institutional portfolio.

Mr. Gural is widely recognized as an invaluable member of the Greater New York community as well as a highly respected leader in real estate. Mr. Gural’s industry and charitable affiliations include the Board of Directors of The Real Estate Board of New York; member of the Board of Directors of the Realty Foundation and Recipient of their 2006 Man of the Year Award; President of the New York Chapter of The Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation; a member of the Board of U.S.O.; Chairman of “I Have a Dream – NY” and Co-Sponsor of the Chelsea-Elliot “I Have a Dream” Project; Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Times Square Business Improvement District; member of the Board of Directors of Cooper Union, member of the Board of Directors of the 14th Street-Union Square District Management Association; member of the Board of Directors for Art New York; member of the Board of Directors for Starworks; Vice President of The Broadway Association; member of the Board of Directors of the Eldridge Street Synagogue; member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Center of the Upper Westside; member of the Board of Directors of Eugene Lang College at The New School for Liberal Arts; member of the Board of the Settlement Housing Fund. Mr. Gural is a member of the Board of Directors of the UJA-Federation, where both he and his father, Aaron Gural, were honored at the organization’s 1995 Annual Luncheon. Mr. Gural is the Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment LLC, which is currently developing two racinos in Upstate New York.

Mr. Gural is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is married, has three grown children, five grandchildren and resides in Manhattan. He is a major owner and breeder of Standardbred racehorses on his farm in Stanfordville, New York.

Naomi Heifetz Ament

Textile Designer, Professional Artist

Naomi was born in Philadelphia, where she later attended Moore College of Art and the Academy of Fine Arts in New York City. Ms. Heifetz then relocated to NYC to pursue a career in painting, where she became involved with etching and mixed media, and was awarded special recognition for printing, by the National Academy of Design. As an artist, Naomi’s work is quite personal. Through line and color, she imposes spatial forms and concepts that are both passionate and non directive, allowing the viewer a broad range of interpretations. Likewise, Naomi possesses a profound understanding of color, forging vibrant auras that are distinctly impactful.

“It was the work of Naomi Heifetz, contemporary, abstract New York printmaker  —  and not Pollock, who initially drew my attention to the possible association between the need for an unencumbered directness of expression and the use of black-and-white. Two major themes dominate her production of almost eight years: the wish to conceive and the wish to create order. Beautifully haunting and lyrical images reminiscent of Redon’s L’Armure, 1891, told the story in rich, sensual textures and tones of lustrous blacks, of her desire to have a child.” (Art and Process” Sandra Indig,  Arts International.)

Heifetz’s more recent body of prints were done when, ‘a difficulty in hearing caused sounds to become painfully amplified in [her] head.’ She explains, ‘I didn’t realize it then; not in words, but in talking to you I see that the hours of scratching and scraping on my etchings calmed me and helped organize that internal roar.’  Now exploring sculptural forms, Naomi Heifetz is extending her unique understanding of abstraction through wax and clay.

Robert Lederman

President and Founder , A.R.T.I.S.T

Robert Lederman is the President and Founder of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics) a group dedicated to First Amendment advocacy for street artists. ARTIST is about the legal and political struggle for full First Amendment protection involving the creation, display and sale of art on NYC streets and in Parks. Lederman has won five Federal lawsuits about artist’s free speech rights and the right to protest. He is a writer, painter, printmaker, musician and filmmaker. Roberts successful lawsuits made it legal to sell art on the street without a license, in NYC Parks without a permit, on public property without a vending license or park permit under the NYC vending laws, and to protest without a permit on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Lucia Matioli

Founder, LSM Design

Lucia has been creating consumer brand experiences on the east and west coasts for over 20 years. Originally from Southern California, Lucia began her career in San Francisco as an Art Director at The Gap and Old Navy, where she was responsible for brand development and in-store marketing, and helped launch the Old Navy brand. Subsequently, Lucia launched her own design firm, working with clients such as Netflix and Levi Strauss. In 2002, Lucia moved to New York, where she produced award-winning work for clients such as Ecko Unlimited, Jet Blue and Vitaminwater. Later, Lucia returned to an in-house role, serving as Vice President and Creative Director at Marc Ecko Enterprises. Most recently, Lucia held long-term assignments at Interbrand and Lippincott, where she led large, multidisciplinary teams for clients including AT&T, Xerox, Thomson Reuters and Delta Airlines. Ms. Matioli has lead major product development, packaging design, and retail assignment projects for Diageo, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola L’Oreal, and Levi Strauss. During the brief moments between working and sleeping, she finds time to race thousands of miles a year as a competitive cyclist.

John Merrow

Education Correspondent, PBS NewsHour President, Learning Matters

“Nobody reports on the treasures and traumas of public
education better than John Merrow. He is, quite simply, the
leading education journalist in America.” -Jim Lehrer

John Merrow began his career as an education reporter with National Public Radio nearly 40 years ago with the weekly series, Options in Education, for which he received the George Polk Award in 1982. He is currently Education Correspondent for PBS NewsHour and President of Learning Matters, an independent production company based in New York City. His varied reporting has continually been on the forefront of education journalism: Merrow is the only reporter to have interviewed every U.S. Secretary of Education, the first to get the inside scoop on the college admission process, and the initial force in exposing the behind-the-scenes financial relationship between CHADD, a child advocacy group, and Ciba-Geigy, the pharmaceutical company that produces the A.D.D. drug Ritalin. He has also worked with top leaders in shaping public policy – he even ran the historic 1988 meeting in Itasca County, Minnesota that sparked the charter school movement. Merrow’s work has taken him from community colleges to kindergarten classrooms, from the front lines of teacher protests to policy debates on Capitol Hill.

Since 1984, he has worked in public television as a NewsHour Correspondent and as host of his own series of documentaries. He has received George Foster Peabody Awards for School Sleuth: The Case of An Excellent School (2000) and Beyond Borders: Personal Stories from a Small Planet (2006), Emmy nominations in 1984, 2005, and 2007, four CINE Golden Eagles, numerous awards from the Education Writers Association and more. An occasional contributor to USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Education Week, he is the author of The Influence of Teachers (2011), Choosing Excellence (2001) and co-editor of Declining by Degrees (2005). John Merrow also maintains a weekly blog, Taking Note, www.takingnote.learningmatters.tv.

Merrow earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.A. in American Studies from Indiana University, and a doctorate in Education and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He received the McGraw Prize in Education in 2012, a Lifetime Achievement Award From the Academy Of Education Arts And Sciences in 2012, the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education in 2000, the HGSE Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education in 2006, The Horace Dutton Taft Medal in 2010, and honorary doctorates from Richard Stockton College (NJ) and Paul Smith’s College (NY). He lives in New York City with his wife, Joan Lonergan, the Head of the Hewitt School.

Matthew Rolnick

Business Development Manager, GPRO

Originally from Maine, and now residing in New York City, seven years ago Matthew left a successful IT career in Banking to promote energy efficiency through policy and project implementation. As Business Development Manager with GPRO, Mr. Rolnick is responsible for expanding the GPRO training audience to reach thousands of audiences not otherwise reached, on sustainability issues. GPRO is a series of courses and exams that teach the people who build, renovate and maintain buildings, the principles of sustainability and trade-specific green construction knowledge. It is one of the only green training courses targeted specifically at the construction and operation teams.

In addition to having served for three years as a Project Manager for Association for Energy Affordability, Inc., Mr. Rolnick managed property while an investor with Betty Lou Properties. He developed and executed business strategy to own and manage a portfolio of residential real estate, where he successfully designed renovations and upgrades to improve marketability. As acting on-site manager for two years, Matthew was able to increase and maintain above average rents during a down economy.

Mr. Rolnick is also an adjunct professor of Economics at City College of New York. His current research focuses on the impact “Big Data” is having on utility industry models, and how to use that data for creating a message that engages people to live on less energy. Matthew has always enjoyed finding clever ways to cut consumption and increase efficiency. “These are great subjects which bring my personal and professional interests into one field. This combination has the potential to make a very real difference in the world.”