We are pleased to announce that Joe Trachtenberg, Class XIV, has been selected to receive the 2023 Distinguished Leadership Award in recognition of his significant contributions to civic responsibility as chair of the Collier County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC), prominent  spokesperson for the need to solve the county’s housing crisis, and for his years of leading the board of St. Matthew’s House as it expanded its services.
Joe will be presented the DLA on March 15 at our luncheon at the Hilton Hotel.
An estimated 500 local residents, many GNL members, recently heard Joe address the need for our elected officials to take action on the housing crisis at the January 11 GNL Workforce Housing Forum as he summed up the issue and possible solutions to close the forum. Joe was a major contributor to the 7-person GNL Forum task force. 
Joe joined AHAC in 2021 following 11 years on the board of St. Matthew’s House, 6 as chairman, where he was intimately focused on the lack of workforce housing in our community.  This led him to apply for a seat on the Collier County Board of County Commissions’ 11-member Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.  Within a year of joining AHAC, he was elected chair and is now serving his second term.
Joe has taken his message to countless nonprofit and faith organizations in the community, to Master Classes and was a speaker at a 2022 ACE luncheon on the subject.  He has addressed the Board of County Commissioners multiple times to urge them to take necessary action to attract development of affordable housing.  He monitors every BCC meeting, meets with elected county and Naples City officials, and has met with Senator Kathleen Passidomo, president of the Florida Senate.  Joe has written innumerable OpEd pieces and articles calling for affordable housing development in Collier County that have been published in our local papers and periodicals.  And he’s been a guest speaker on WGCU’s Gulf Shore Live program and interviewed multiple times by local TV, radio and print reporters.
Joe became a volunteer with St. Matthew’s House in 2010, directly as a result of his participation in GNL. During his 6-year term as chair, Joe led the board of St. Matthew’s House during a period of the organization’s substantial growth and a management change.  In 2010, it opened Justin’s Place, a residential drug and alcohol recovery program for men and women.  By 2015, it was operating two homeless shelters (Naples and Immokalee), a large feeding ministry, and a food pantry.  St. Matthews operates eight thrift stores throughout the region which support all its programs and provides jobs and job training opportunities.
Joe has contributed his time, talents and passion in both civic and nonprofit activities.  He has served on the board of Aqualane Shores HOA, in charge of improving utilities, including installation of natural gas lines, and overseeing the installation of fiber optic connections for speedy Internet service. His volunteer career, after retiring as CEO/chairman of a successful international business, exemplifies the GNL mission. He has shared his finance, strategic thinking/planning, organizational and leadership skills with passion, commitment and persistence, in the interests of improving our community. 
And he continues to support the work of GNL, currently serving in recent years as a member of its strategic planning committee.
Congratulations to Joe on an honor well deserved!
Please join us for the Distinguished Leadership Award Luncheon on Thursday, March 15th from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Hilton Naples.  Members should sign-up as soon as possible, using the button, below.  If you are not a member of GNL and wish to attend, please email gnloffice@gnlwebsite.org.