Great Irish Fair

Jerry Forest Memorial Award

Presented in the name of a founder of the Irish American Building Society. Jerry Forest and the Irish American Building Society were an integral part of the revitalization of the Great Irish Fair. He was a man who loved Ireland and was dedicated to the Irish cause. The award is given to a person who is recognized for leadership and service to family, friends and community.


Banking executive James B. McHugh is receiving the Jerry Forest Memorial Award.

Raised in St. Anselm parish, Bay Ridge, he is the fourth of seven children born to Barbara and Joseph McHugh. He grew up under the same roof as his paternal grandparents who hailed from County Leitrim.

He attended the parish school, Xavier H.S., Manhattan, and Loyola College in Maryland, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

His 23-year career in the financial services industry began on Wall Street, where he spent 11 years at Prudential Securities Inc., working his way to becoming a vice president and manager of sales/marketing for the unit investment trust department. He then became a senior investment counselor for Neuberger Berman’s fund advisory service.

In 2004, he changed careers and joined JPMorgan Chase as a banker and later branch manager. He was recruited by Commerce Bank, which later became TD Bank, before joining Signature Bank in 2010.

As group director and senior vice president of Signature Bank, he provides services for business and private clients in Brooklyn. His new office will open soon in Bay Ridge.

A Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, McHugh is the chairman of St. Anselm Catholic Academy, and is president of the St. Patrick Society of Brooklyn.

He is a past president and currently sits on the board of the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn.

McHugh is on the board of director for the Boy Scouts of America Brooklyn Council, an advisory board member for the Bay Ridge Senior Center, a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Div. 3 in Staten Island, a member of the 12:30 Club and president of the Colonial Club in Bay Ridge.

He is a parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Staten Island, where he serves as den leader for Boy Scout Pack 77 and a Catholic Youth Organization basketball coach.

McHugh lives in Sunset Hill, Staten Island, with his wife Kristin, who was the Colleen Queen of the 1992 Great Irish Fair (See Page 13A). They are the proud parents of Madison, Grace and Sean.

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