The Earning of Autonomy

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Council had revisited the issue of its name. Many members and leaders thought that Certified Commercial-Investment Member and CCIM were cumbersome and unclear. 

The Council made a strong effort in 1981 to receive approval from the National Association of Realtors to rename the CCIM designation as Certified Investment Realtor or Commercial Investment Realtor -- CIR. The National Association of Realtors, taking a strong position to protect the Realtor trademark from modification, did not approve the Council's request.

In 1981, with Larry J. Smith serving as the Council Chairman, the Council resolved to maximize the equity that their designation's name had developed. Council members redesigned the CCIM logo and began actively pursuing public relations and advertising to increase awareness among their audiences for the CCIM designation. It was also during 1981 that the Council began to use long-range planning methodologies to help define the mission and objectives of the CCIM program.

The Council has developed a long-standing relationship with long-range planning consultant Dr. Phillip Kuehl and then with Dr. Jeff Lenn. Over the succeeding years, the planning process has proven itself to be invaluable in helping Council leadership set priorities for programming and funding. The process has been so successful that the CCIM Chapter Activities Committee has worked with Dr. Lenn on long-range planning for chapter-related issues.

In the early 1980s, the real estate industry was seriously affected by the recession. The CCIM program suffered the least three Councils within the Institute, partly because its business of commercial-investment brokerage was much less affected than the two other, more residentially oriented, Councils, and partly because its courses were, at that point, very stable.

At this point, the five-course series was extremely well-attended and running smoothly. The Council had also begun delivering a small number of elective, post-designated seminars to meet a perceived need among the CCIMs for additional quality education. Some of this material would later be absorbed into the basic curriculum; other parts have remained as viable elements of the professional development in the nondesignation education arena.

During the recession of the early 1980s, the Council and CCIM Institute recognized the need to reduce course offerings, decrease staff, and to alter or delay certain plans.

During this time and the rebuilding period that followed, Council leadership acknowledged that the current, centralized Institute organizational structure prevented the CCIM program from fulfilling its potential.

The CI Council's identity was superseded by RNMI's brand, as well as by NAR's. Approval processes were in many instances preventing the Council from moving quickly to develop or change programs. Philosophical differences arose over programming priorities and use of resources -- both financial and staff.

The CI Council gave partial funding to an Institute magazine, Real _Estate Business, even though this magazine's orientation was primarily residential and the CI Council had established its own specialty magazine, Commercial Investment Journal. The Journal replaced real estate perspectives -- commercial, a journal-type publication begun in 1979 to replace Real Estate Today after its sale to NAR.

Funding for Council programs was still largely approved at the Institute level, and the Council had no financial reserve resources of its own. One collective Institute reserve existed. Each of the Councils had evolved into its own profit center or product line, and each Council had most, if not all, of the organizational and financial resources needed to act independently.

The Councils also wanted an organizational structure that would encourage member participation and decision-making as opposed to being staff riven.

Heretofore, the Institute and Councils had viewed the product or service areas, such as education, membership, and publications/multimedia products rather than separate to individual councils, as the profit centers for an overall organization. Many CCIMs noted the ironic resemblance this inevitable turning point had to the organizational dynamics of the mid-1960s -- when one of their forerunners, the International Traders Club, was working to resolve the need for greater autonomy as a specialized subgroup with its parent organization.

During 1984-1985, the Institute and the three Councils completely restructured themselves into the decentralized system that continues to exist in the late 1980s. Each Council now has virtually complete autonomy within its specialty area for providing and funding educational programming, member services, products, and administration.

The CI Council divested itself of any funding responsibility for the magazine Real Estate Business, which is now co-owned by the other two residential Councils. Three Governing Councils replaced the RNMI Board of Governors as the main decision-makers. A RNMI Board of Directors was established to administer and mediate policies and matters pertinent to all three Councils, report to NAR on behalf of the Councils, and to monitor the financial integrity of all three Councils.

RNMI now functions as an umbrella of administrative services and, in many situations, as a representative of the collective Councils in dealings with NAR. Each Council appointed an Executive Vice President to be head of staff, responsible to the respective governing bodies and chief elected officers.

Under the new organizational structure, the Council was also able to develop and adopt its own bylaws, which it did in 1985. It was also at this time that the Council officially expanded its name to Commercial Investment Real Estate Council. This change allowed the organizational name to more fully express its business specialty at the same time that the CCIMs were establishing a stronger, more independent identity within the real estate community and the National Association of Realtors.

Ralph W. Varnum was the Council's first chairman under the new organizational structure. Under Varnum's leadership and that of Ronald L. Myles, 1986 Council chairman, the Council implemented a new internal table of organization, with operating divisions and managing chairmen of those divisions. The managing chairmen are responsible for coordinating policies and program activities within their division's committees and for representing their division's priorities, policies, plans and concerns to the Executive and Budget Committees and the Governing Council, on which the managing chairmen sit ex officio.

In 1988, RMMI approved bylaws amendments to make the official title of each Council's chief elected officer that of President, which superseded the Council Chairman/RNMI Vice President title that had existed under the prior organizational structure. Subsequently, CIREC amended its bylaws to rename the managing chairmen as Division Vice Presidents.

As the mid-1980s advanced, the CCIMs noted changes within its own membership: fewer and fewer CCIMs were specializing in investment property brokerage. More were specializing in leasing, development, and other related but nonbrokerage activities, often as employees of major corporations.

Within the courses, students were asking for more material in these same areas, and the classroom profile showed similar shifts. Also, the students were becoming younger and better-educated. In anticipation of this shift, the Council implemented another change within the curriculum, developing two new courses: one emphasizing investment property brokerage and the other emphasizing marketing properties to commercial users.

Candidates are given the option of which track they will specialize in, with a common core of education in both tracks. In effect, candidates choose a major in which to earn their CCIM.

Chapter 6: Chapters- A Grassroots Connection

Chapter 8: Beyond Education