David Winoker, 1963-2012
David Winoker, principal at Winoker Realty, died tragically before his time this past June while participating in a friend’s birthday skydiving adventure. According to Platteskill Police Chief Joseph Ryan, whose department led the investigation into the accident, Mr. Winoker’s tandem partner in the jump, Aleksandr Chulsky of Brooklyn, an instructor with skydiving outfit Skydive the Ranch, became unconscious or incapacitated during the fall, possibly from the force of the parachute’s deployment. Though the chute properly opened, without Mr. Chulsky handling the controls, the pair entered a violent spin and struck the ground with enough force to take both of their lives.
“He was a very decent human being, very honest,” said Corey J. Abdo, principal of Winoker Realty and an 11-year colleague of Mr. Winoker. “He was the kind of person people relied on because he would tell them what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear.” The business he shepherded was based on a philosophy of integrity and sincerity, eschewing needless risk that might endanger the firm. Mr. Winoker never spoke down to or ill of others and never showed despair in the face of adversity, Mr. Abdo said. “There was no darkness in his soul whatsoever,” he added.
Mr. Winoker had found success with his business since assuming control of the company after his father, Sidney, retired over a decade ago. Winoker Realty employed more than a dozen brokers and was known as one of the busiest leasing companies in the city’s bustling Garment District. Last year, he won one of the company’s largest assignments to date, picking up the agency assignment for 1450 Broadway, a 400,000-square-foot office building just south of Times Square.
In a July 2011 sit-down with The Commercial Observer, Mr. Winoker spoke of his company’s strategy of seeking value where it was found, as opposed to staking out and expanding within the neighborhood in which it was strongest. He also spoke of using social networking to further the company’s business. “We’re in the preliminary stages,” Mr. Winoker said. “We’re working on some social media networking, whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or another network … We’re looking at different ways to promote, develop and use those search engines as marketing tools.”
He also spoke about his belief in a more hands-on approach to business. “I really believe that at the end of the day the business is really about people, and there’s no substitute for visiting a tenant, going to the building and seeing the things first-hand,” he said. “There’s only so much you can do by just dealing with a BlackBerry and a computer.”
He is survived by his wife, Jillian, and three children.