CCIM 50th Anniversary CCIM Feature

Capturing Hearts and Minds

CCIM Institute focused on enhancing training and technology during the early 21st century.

For 50 years, the Institute has thrived  by being an early adopter of best practices for industry training and technology. In the 21st century, this trend has accelerated.

“Technology separates CCIMs from the rest of the brokers and commercial real estate professionals,” says Barry Spizer, CCIM, who served as the 2003 CCIM Institute president and is principal at SRSA Commercial Real Estate in Metairie, La. “We have a designation, knowledge base, and competitive advantage with technology, particularly with Site To Do Business.”

During 2003, he helped to incorporate CCIM Technology as a for-profit organization to manage STDB, so it could be “more entrepreneurial.” 

Expanding Overseas

The backbone of the Institute is getting those seeking the designation through its pipeline of courses, portfolio requirements, and the final comprehensive exam. That doesn't happen without continuously improving designation courses and enforcing rigorous standards for portfolio review.

Beginning in 2000, Rhonda West, CCIM, has reviewed and graded portfolios annually for those pursuing the CCIM designation. “I enjoy seeing people through the designation process,” says West, partner at West Commercial Real Estate in Austin, Texas. “They work so hard and have so much joy once they earn our designation. Also, reviewing the international portfolios gives me a bird's eye view into developments happening worldwide.”

On the forefront of promoting the CCIM designation worldwide, Pius K. Leung, CCIM, chaired the Institute's International Committee during 1999 and 2000. As the new century dawned, members identified 10 countries with professionals who could benefit from CCIM training, including China.

“Since I am Chinese, I had a bias for China, which was just opening to the West,” says Leung, who served as 2005 CCIM Institute president. “In 2000, I taught the first CCIM two-day course at a Chinese university. The students' No. 1 interest was learning from good U.S. salespeople. Their No. 2 concern was to gain more industry knowledge.”

The first class led to a long-term relationship for the Institute in China. “I wanted to create an environment for our members to be in the same room with Chinese professionals, so we could do business together,” says Leung, principal at SPAK Interests in Houston.

Cultivating Resilience

After several prosperous years in the early 2000s, the Great Recession hit the industry hard and affected the finances of the Institute, especially by 2010. The Institute's annual budget dipped from $20 million to $13 million.

“We didn't lose many designees, but we lost many members who were pursuing the designation,” says Richard Juge, CCIM, who served as the 2010 Institute president and is president of RE/MAX Commercial Brokers in Metairie, La. “Our biggest accomplishment was to keep the designation alive, while continuing to focus on continuously improving CCIM courses, technology, and networking.”

Another initiative, the Jay W. Levine Leadership Development Academy, also survived the economic downturn. A 2012 JWL alumna and region 6 vice president, Holly Buchanan, CCIM, learned leadership skills to help her develop effective programs for the Middle Tennessee Chapter. Most significantly, she cultivated strong relationships with several JWL classmates, resulting in business deals.

“Through the JWL training, I learned more about how to lead people, which has served me well in business and in life,” says Buchanan, director of real estate at Katz & Associates in Nashville, Tenn.

Giving Back

While professional associations are known for delivering knowledge, technology, and connections to their members, Leil Koch, CCIM, wanted the Institute to give back to local communities. During his 2012 CCIM presidency, he launched the CCIM Community Caring Project.

“Giving back to the community brings together local chapter members, national volunteers, and staff, while creating recognition for the Institute locally and nationally,” says Koch, president of Equity One Real Estate in Lahaina, Hawaii. “Also, we are doing good work in the communities where we derive our income.”

Community caring, commitment to updating technology and CCIM training, and global expansion continue. Under a current initiative, CCIM is moving forward on obtaining continuing education credit for five CCIM Ward Center courses in all 50 states. The Institute is collaborating with NAR and several NAR affiliates to target high school and undergraduate students to learn about careers in commercial real estate.

“Collectively, we are launching a comprehensive campaign to promote commercial real estate careers to high school and college students in 2018,” says David P. Wilson, 2017 CCIM Institute president-elect and partner and executive vice president at Lockard Development in Cedar Falls, Iowa. “We want to reach students when they are thinking about the careers they want to pursue in the future.”

Building the CCIM member pipeline will be crucial to the Institute's success during its next 50 years.

Pivotal Events in Commercial Real Estate from 2000 to 2017 

Early 2000s:

CCIM Institute is positioned as the place to get the real story; the professional association understands the implications for the wider world.

  • CMBS market became massive and securitizes many loans, which lessened scrutiny and increases risk for the economy.
  • The Great Recession began at the end of 2008, which was a reckoning for too much capital not being invested wisely. It marked the downfall of CMBS, the crash of Lehman Brothers, the U.S. banks bailout, and the GM rescue, which positioned the U.S. government as savior.

2001: The Body of Knowledge Committee was created to redesign curriculum and rewrite courses for CCIM designees

2003: First class of the Jay W. Levine Leadership Development Academy

2007: Launch of elective CCIM courses 

2010 to 2017:

2010: First offering of an online core course

2012: Introduction of Community Caring Programs locally and nationally

2016: First offering of blended core courses, combining the best of online and classroom study

2017: CCIM Global Conference was held  in Toronto, Oct. 15–16

Adapting to a shared economy with the rise of Airbnb and Uber, as well as big tech companies like Apple and Amazon. It marked the rise of e-commerce, smart phones, and social media, as well as grappling with major changes in the economy and society.

  • CCIM Institute was the place to go for the real story, which had implications for the wider world. Amid the volatility, CCIMs had optimism and knowledge.
  • CCIMs’ stronghold was secondary and tertiary markets.
  • CCIMs helped clients with risk mitigation and cycle reassurance.
  • Prizing higher risk, less liquidity in the market boded well for CCIM Institute.
  • New types of commercial real estate development arose.
  • Net lease specialty experts flourished.
  • Relevance of loan-to-deposit and loan-to-value ratios and cap rates for commercial property sales


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Sara S. Patterson

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

CIRE Nov/Dec 2017 Issue Cover

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