The Municipal Forum of New York honored three public finance veterans at its 21st annual awards dinner in New York City Wednesday.

Click here to see photos from the event

The organization recognized the achievements of Marvin Markus, Goldman, Sachs & Co. managing director; Colleen Woodell, Standard & Poor’s managing director; and Carol Kostik, New York City deputy comptroller for public finance.

About 475 public finance professionals dined and drank at the annual event held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan.

Woodell, who received the Austin Koenan Career Achievement Award, said shifting political and economic conditions, an evolving legal environment, and changing debt structures gives public finance professionals the opportunity to continually learn from each other.

“The last couple years have been very difficult for professionals in the industry,” Woodell said when she accepted her award. “The current economic conditions mean that governments and our businesses which support them are struggling, but one of the great things about public finance is that governments will always be here, will always need infrastructure, will always need roads, schools and transportation — it will always be interesting.”

Kostik, this year’s recipient of the forum’s Public Service Award, said job satisfaction came from figuring out what problems one likes to solve.

“My entire career has taken place in the areas where government and finance overlap, and that is the very definition of public finance,” Kostik said. “We’re all here tonight as part of this industry because those are the problems that engage us.”

Kostik began serving as deputy comptroller under former city Comptroller William Thompson Jr.  and has continued under his successor, John Liu.

The evening concluded with Markus receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and two standing ovations. Markus previously worked as a banker at three now-defunct firms: PaineWebber Inc., Kidder Peabody & Co.,  and Bear Sterns & Co.

“Our little industry consists of numerous hardworking and selfless individuals who collectively keep much of the infrastructure of this country from becoming obsolete and dysfunctional,” Markus said. “We have the good fortune to work at the intersection of public policy and the capital markets. I urge you to stay the course despite many difficulties. The course will be rocky but the rewards in both real and psychic income will be substantial.”

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