Gift for Life to honor AmericasMart Chairman John Portman

Gift for Life will present a special "Legend for Life" award to architect and developer John C. Portman, Jr. at the organization's gala in New York on Jan. 29.

John PortmanJohn Portman
The award, presented upon Gift for Life's 20th anniversary, recognizes Portman's more than five decades of entrepreneurship and service to the gift, stationery and home decor industry, according to the charitable organization.

In 1957, Portman founded Atlanta Merchandise Mart, now the AmericasMart tradeshow complex, which contains 7 million square feet of facilities. The complex attracts more than 548,000 attendees from every state and more than 80 countries to its 15 annual markets. Portman also designed and developed three major downtown Atlanta hotels - the Hyatt Regency, Westin Peachtree Plaza and Marriott Marquis.

Portman has also contributed to domestic projects in San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York City, and overseas in Singapore, Malaysia and China. He has worked as a board member of the Atlanta College of Art, and is trustee emeritus of the Atlanta Arts Alliance. He has also been a director of the Atlanta High Museum of Art. The Georgia Institute of Technology, his alma mater, presented him their highest honor, the Exceptional Achievement Award, in 1986. His architectural awards include a lifetime achievement award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2009, the Silver Medal Award in 1981 from the Atlanta Chapter AIA for innovative design, and AIA Medal in 1978 from the National American Institute of Architects for innovations in hotel design.

"Mr. Portman's innovative designs and trailblazing vision are forever imprinted on cities around the world but most importantly his impact on our business is unmatched," said Peter Schauben, founder, Gift for Life. "For more than five decades his marketplace has served as a crossroads for buyers and sellers intent on creating better business. Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs owe him a debt of gratitude."

"His legendary leadership, generosity and passion deserve special praise from the industry on a special night," said Leslie Nathan-Street, chair of the Gift for Life board. "We are honored to extend the Legend for Life award to Mr. Portman."

To attend Gift for Life's 20th Annual Party for Life, benefiting DIFFA, honoring John Portman at The Boathouse at Central Park, contact Steven Williams at or 212.727.3100, or visit Individual tickets are $125, and sponsorships ranging from $500 through $25,000 are available.

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