Rita Kennedy Award

Rita Kennedy proudly served as the CAI-Georgia's first Executive Director. She led our Chapter until she passed away from a protracted battle with cancer. She had a limitless, spirited devotion to CAI and was essential in laying a strong foundation which our Chapter continues to build upon. Rita was the wheel in which all of our spokes emerged.

In the beginning, our local Chapter was a small organization operating on a shoe-string budget. The Chapter was comprised of a modest group of volunteers that proudly represented the National CAI organization and its education initiatives. In those early years, our primary source of revenue was the small share of dues we received each year from National based on the Chapter's membership. The Chapter's brown bag lunches, typically held at the public libraries, were routine and more than sufficient. The evening educational sessions for homeowners and managers had great turnouts (depending on TV show re-runs!). Notwithstanding our small size, the Chapter had a strong core of dedicated individuals recruited and led by Rita. She was passionate about CAI and her enthusiasm infectious. She led by example and people followed. She just loved doing what she did. She cared so much about our organization that she hand-picked her successor to ensure it was in good hands after she was gone.

Rita's ongoing determination and compassion for the industry kept our Chapter running. Rita's love for the organization and its members was evidenced in her always going above and beyond. Her service, dedication and commitment were key elements to our Chapter's success. Her vibrant, energetic, warm and fun-loving personality (along with her great sense of humor) is what made Rita, Rita, and our Chapter flourish to the success it is today. 

Rita would be proud of what we accomplished. Selfless contributions and relentless efforts from our volunteers is what clearly sets our Chapter apart from the others, which are constantly amazed by our success. While many have worked long and hard to get us here, it was Rita's service, commitment and dedication to our Chapter that established the backbone of CAI-Georgia!


Every year, the Georgia Chapter of CAI presents the annual Rita Kennedy Award to the most deserving volunteer within our local chapter, voted by past recipients of this prestigious award. The award recognizes that member volunteer demonstrating outstanding service, commitment and dedication to the Chapter. While these are certainly great qualities, they are just a few of the special components that encompassed Rita Kennedy. Her enthusiasm, cheerfulness, humor, generosity and compassion made our Chapter stand out from the rest. In her honor of her we present this annual award to carry on her legacy and keep her spirit alive in our Chapter.

The award is beautiful custom-made Frabel glass sculpture personally designed by her husband, Gary Kennedy. In past years, Rita's family - Gary, Elizabeth and Michael Kennedy - have helped carry on her legacy by presenting this annual Award.  The Frabel is a strong oak tree that appears to be blowing over in the wind. This represents Rita's strength throughout her long battle with cancer. The tree has 34 branches, one branch for each year or Rita's life that was taken way too early. Finally, there is a single frosted flower which represents her beauty. Rita herself was presented with the first Rita Kennedy Award before her passing, which remains on display in the Kennedy home, more than two decades later. This award is presented at the Annual Awards Luncheon. 


  • Nominee or nominee company must be in good standing within the Chapter - including general membership, committee members, committee chairs and the Board of Directors.
  • Nominee must show outstanding volunteer support throughout the year, exceeding his/her expected responsibilities.

To nominate an individual, please contact Tina Saadat, Executive Director at [email protected]. All nominations are anonymous. Multiple nominations are permitted.


2022 - Kent Atzinger, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
2021 -
Dennis Hoffman, PCAM
2020 - 
No award was given due to the COVID pandemic
2019 -
G. Lanier Coulter, Jr., Esq.
2018 - Sean Ruthven, CMCA, AMS

2017 - Miye Johnson Yi, Esq.
2016 - Scott Douglas,
2015 - Jamie Platt Lyons, Esq.
2014 - Kelley Moon, 
2013 - Sandy Depa, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
2012 - Mike Crew, CMCA, PCAM
2011 - Jay Lazega, Esq.,
2010 - Teddy Russell
2009 - Laura Lazar, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
2008 - Ashlie Gray
2007 - Chuck Negas
2006 - Doyle P. Jones, PCAM

2005 - Noelle Larson
2004 - Bob Russell
2003 - Julie McGhee Howard, Esq.
2002 - Dean Donald, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
2001 - Stephen A. Winter, Esq.
2000 - Eric Henning, AMS, PCAM
1999 - Mickel Graham, PCAM
1998 - Rita Kennedy