Sharing a Passion

From disc jockey to deal maker, 2012 CCIM Institute President Leil Koch, CCIM, was hooked on CCIM from day one. “I loved the numbers, the analysis, and the concepts,” he says of the first course he took back in 1991. So enthralled by his newfound knowledge, “I did the very thing you are not supposed to do, which is run back and analyze every deal I had ever done with CI 101 tools in tow,” Koch jokes. Though his career evolved from DJ to residential agent to commercial broker, his passion for the industry hasn't changed. Commercial Investment Real Estate asked Koch to share his initiatives for 2012 and provide a look at what's ahead for commercial real estate.

CIRE : What strategies should commercial real estate professionals use to prepare for the market's eventual rebound?

Koch: First, keep in mind that the rebound has already started in a lot of markets. Second, there are always opportunities - even in areas where the rebound is slower to emerge. The tools and techniques of the CCIM designation create a tremendous advantage in the marketplace. As such, commercial real estate practitioners should ensure that they are current on the latest education and technology the CCIM Institute has to offer. These resources make you more valuable to your clients, which makes you more profitable in the end.

CIRE: What are some of the key initiatives you'd like to accomplish in your term as CCIM Institute president?

Koch: Our team has several initiatives for 2012. The recent Education, Marketing, and Technology event in Napa, Calif., was an excellent platform for networking and gaining insight on today's top education and tools in the industry. In a different style of networking, we'll be rolling out a series of national property marketing webinars for members this year. As commercial real estate continues its global growth, CCIM will focus on creating business and strategic plans for several key global markets in which we have a presence. I'm also looking forward to launching CCIM's first-ever volunteer service project, where CCIM members collectively are encouraged to give back to their communities.

CIRE: Your father, a successful global businessman, had a passion for giving back to the community. How has that influenced your business and plans for leading the CCIM Institute?

Koch: Both my parents instilled a responsibility throughout my upbringing to give back to the community. My father was a founder of the Keystone Program in which 23 Minnesota companies - many of which were Fortune 500 companies - committed at least 2 percent of their pretax earnings to address community needs. Today the program is known worldwide as the “Two Percent Club” and the “Five Percent Club” for businesses donating those respective amounts. Organizations such as CCIM can make a difference in the communities where we derive our livelihoods. The volunteer service initiative this year will start that process.

CIRE: What advice would you give to industry professionals who are considering taking a CCIM course in 2012?

Koch: There's no better time than now to expand your skill set and prepare for the recovery. CCIM offers something for everyone. The core courses provide the practical analytical skills required in today's market while the Ward Center courses focus on timely topics that you can apply immediately to your day-to-day business. The different formats available offer a lot of options for people who prefer - or whose schedules require - online courses. And, of course, there are the traditional in-class courses and a unique executive track that combines the two formats.

CIRE: Why is the CCIM designation so critical to succeeding in today's commercial real estate market?

Koch: The CCIM designation is the Ferrari of real estate designations. In fact, this economic climate is exactly what the CCIM designation has trained us for. It's the best education and technology tools - bar none. We are our clients' best assets in every commercial real estate transaction from analyzing risk to wealth creation. With more than 14,000 members in over 30 countries, CCIMs promote expertise by speaking a common investment and analytical language.


Jennifer Norbut is senior editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate. If you have a story worth sharing in CCIM Q&A, send it to

Jennifer Norbut

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