CCIM 50th Anniversary Technology CCIM Feature

Level Playing Field

CCIM Institute develops technology to level the playing field between big and small companies.

From the start, CCIM Institute combined practical knowledge in educational training with technology to enhance the success of its members. In the early years, the technology was Hewlett Packard financial calculators. Today, it's Site To Do Business. 

No matter which technology is ascendant, the goal is the same - for CCIM designees in small companies to compete with those in large, sophisticated firms. On the other hand, many CCIMs employed at big firms still opt to use STDB because of its technological capabilities.

A CCIM instructor for many years, Phil McBride, CCIM, has experienced many early technology adaptations at the Institute - from the introduction of the internal rate of return through the debut of STDB. “The Institute has always been blessed with instructors and leaders who had the foresight to incorporate the best of technology into the courses,” says McBride, owner of McBride & Co.  in Port Aransas, Texas. “Bob Ward, Jay Levine, and Stephen Messner led members in the right direction at the right time to increase their success.”

Other designees were drawn to the Institute's technology more recently. “I got involved with the Institute in 2004 when I saw STDB in a CCIM core course; I had to have access to that technology,” says David Schnitzer, CCIM, senior vice president at Venture Commercial in Dallas. “Now although I work for a big firm, I still go to STDB. It's quick and doesn't have layers. With STDB, I can create an amazing presentation.”

The access to data on STDB is a game changer for the business success of CCIM members, according to Schnitzer. While technology constantly changes and evolves, STDB continues to be on the cutting edge.

Prowess in Technology

During the formative years, CCIM instructors led the way toward the adoption of technology - HP financial calculators, mainframe DOS-based computers, and the early use of email to connect CCIMs nationwide. The technology helped designees evaluate what different commercial properties would do for investors, according to Chuck Freedenberg, CCIM, a longtime CCIM instructor and a former attorney in tax and law.

Many CCIMs catapulted the technical knowledge they gained in CCIM courses into lucrative careers. Freedenberg recalls Gary Hawkins, CCIM, took the CCIM core course, CI 102, focused on real estate economics and marketing and applied those principles to his business, Hawkins & Cannariato, in Boise, Idaho. Hawkins has become extremely successful.

“Of all the designees I know, Gary did the most with demographic data and computers to analyze properties,” Freedenberg says.

Another technology pioneer, Jay R. Lucas, CCIM, helped set up email for designees in 1993 through CompuServe. “The ability to use email opened up communications among designees, which resulted in conducting transactions with each other,” says Lucas, senior director with Cushman & Wakefield in Austin, Texas. “I remember completing a deal with a designee in Waco, Texas, which I never could have done without CompuServe.”

Steven Weinstock, CCIM, also remembers benefitting from email communications during the 1990s. “I was a broker based in Michigan, with a client in the Detroit metro area selling a property in Ann Arbor, Mich.,” says Weinstock, first vice president  and regional manager at Marcus & Millichap in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. “Another CCIM, Robin Webb in Florida, had a client in Singapore who purchased the property. Twenty years ago, that was an amazing deal.”

Hopping on commercial listing services as an early adopter in the 1990s was another technology milestone. “We brought COMMREX listing services nationwide, which had previously only been used in Florida,” Weinstock says. “COMMREX allowed designees to share their property listings nationwide and made business faster, while also promoting collaboration.”

Industry Disrupter

While technology has evolved dramatically during the past 50 years, creating partnerships with technology companies remains paramount. The industry partners have changed from the likes of Hewlett Packard and CompuServe in the early years to Esri, BAO, and Xceligent today.

Serving on a task force in 1999 to develop several technology tools into one online demographic platform, Weinstock felt privileged to work with Webb, who is now serving as the 2017 CCIM Institute president; Lucas; and Allen Feltman, CCIM. “We worked with several technology companies to put together tools in an integrated manner to create STDB, which made business easier and faster for our members,” he says.

CCIM Institute's continued and evolving partnerships with these companies have made the ongoing development of STDB possible.

“We are truly a commercial real estate disrupter,” Schnitzer says. In the early years, CCIM instructors led the way to improved productivity through technology adoption. Today, the Institute's leaders and instructors collaborate with technology companies to keep its designees and members ahead of their competitors no matter the size of their firm or market area.

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Sara S. Patterson

Sara S. Patterson is former executive editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate.

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