Jeff Lyon, CCIM, remembers dinner table conversations when he was growing up. “My father was always talking about real estate,” he says. “He was so involved in the Institute over the years, so I always knew that that was my interest as well.”
Since Lyon's father was Victor Lyon, CCIM Institute president in 1972 and an early instructor in CCIM education programs, Jeff's interest was understandable. In fact, the influence of a CCIM family can propel offspring to successful commercial real estate careers - and a CCIM designation - of their own.
Victor had started his company, Tacoma Realty, in Tacoma, Wash., in 1948, so “I grew up in the real estate industry,” Jeff says.
Jeff took his first CCIM class in 1976 - with his father as the instructor. “It was just something that was obviously important in our family, but also important to me,” Jeff says. “I wanted to get the designation because of the tools and resources it gave me to go out and do my real estate career.”
Having his father as his teacher was not new. “It was no different from the dinner table, for the most part,” Jeff says. “He and I had already started working together, so it was just kind of an extension of home life. He was practical and very good, and was a mentor of mine. And that was the only class I took from him.”
Lyon earned his designation in 1978 and received his pin from his father. The two were in business together until Victor retired in 1982, and they even had a chance to teach CI 103 in tandem.
Tacoma Realty - by then Lyon Commercial Real Estate - merged with Kidder Mathews in 1991. Jeff became CEO of the company in 2000.
“I will say that the skills I earned in designation courses definitely helped me do some of the things that we were able to accomplish,” he says. His own office encourages new brokers by paying for their CI 101 class.
Jeff adds, his father's career influenced his three siblings as well. His brother and sister went into residential real estate, and his older brother became a landscape architect - “so we're all tied into real estate somewhere,” Jeff says.
On the other hand, when Duncan Patterson, CCIM, was growing up, “I didn't know what a CCIM was, and I didn't know until I got into real estate.”
Duncan's father, William Patterson, CCIM, founded his own real estate firm in Wilmington, Del., in 1961 and went on to become CCIM Institute president in 1975. In the meantime, Duncan went to college, joined the military, and even trained racehorses before starting in residential real estate at his father's firm. Even then, he recalls, “CCIM didn't really come to the forefront until I went into the commercial arena.”
But William Patterson, says his son, “was very big on education and always instilled that into me. So when I switched to commercial, he immediately suggested that I get the CCIM.”
Duncan earned his designation in 1981 and became more active with the Institute in the late 1980s. The family company was focusing more on residential business, so he sold his stock to his brother and went on to start Patterson-Woods in Wilmington. When Duncan became CCIM Institute president in 2000, the Pattersons became the only multigenerational presidents of the Institute.
When Duncan took office, his father installed him and administered the oath. “He was obviously very pleased and proud,” Duncan says.
William Patterson died six years ago, but his emphasis on education continues through his son. “He instituted the continuing education requirements in the state of Delaware,” Duncan says. “I still teach continuing ed, and I tell my classes, 'You have my father to thank for this.'
“I remember my father saying you really need this education to be successful in the commercial field. As far as I'm concerned, he was absolutely correct. I encourage the associates in my office. In the last three years, two have gotten the designation.”
And Duncan adds, his daughter works in Patterson-Woods' property management company, which makes her the third generation in the family business.
Parental emphasis on education also spurred Charles “Mac” McClure to earn his CCIM pin. “My mother was in the real estate industry; she was my original partner,” says Mac, chairman of McClure Partners in Dallas. Frances L. McClure was the first woman inducted into Omega Tau Rho in Texas and was a founder of the state chapter of the Women's Council of Realtors.
“My mother always believed I should have all the education in the world,” Mac says. “I got my bachelor's degree and master's degree in business administration. When I went into the real estate industry in 1975, she suggested that I needed to be the best of the best. I aspired to be a commercial developer, so I joined the CCIM Institute in 1976.”
He got his designation in 1983, began teaching in 1985, and became CCIM Institute president in 2009.
His wife, Susan McClure, CCIM, started her commercial real estate career in 1979, doing leasing for Cushman & Wakefield in Dallas. She was taking CCIM classes when she met Mac.
“Someone told me to take the course - and I was blown away,” she says. “You can get a finance degree in college, but it's not necessarily targeted to commercial real estate.”
The McClures got married in 1989. Susan received her designation in 1994 and joined McClure Partners in 2007.
The firm's third partner is Mac's son, John McClure, CCIM, who graduated from Baylor University in 2004, hoping to go into commercial real estate for development and construction. His father and a partner had bought a Chili's franchise in Georgia.
“I cut my teeth in development over four years,” John says. Eventually he built 11 more restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina.
“Dad and his partner really mentored me,” John adds.
He also was studying for his CCIM designation and remembers his first CI 101 class. “I met three or four friends who I still keep up with,” John says. “Lots of people want to move to online classes, because they think millennials want them. I feel like there's a lot you miss out on if you don't have that in-class environment, learning from instructors who practice what they teach every day.”
John sat for the CCIM exam in San Antonio, Texas. “It was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever done,” he says. “My dad was one of 10 monitors. He was about to be the Institute president, and I thought 'I cannot fail this test.' ” John didn't fail; he was pinned in 2007 at the age of 26.
All three McClures are active CCIMs, both at the local and national level. Mac continues to teach; Susan, also an instructor, serves on the Institute's board of directors and also is the education chair for the North Texas CCIM Chapter; and John is the current chapter president.
“It's kind of challenging when we have a national meeting, because we have to shut down the office,” Mac says.
“I have a lifetime of memories of going to instructor training courses and other [CCIM] events,” John says. “I was around my father's cadre for years and years. I've grown up around them, and now to be able to work alongside them on board commissions and committees, that's really special to me.”