CCIM Candidate Spotlight: Amy Smith
A Texan through and through, Amy Smith began her lifelong interest in the built environment through her father’s construction business. After earning a degree in psychology, she started her career in finance, including construction, oil and gas, and ranch management accounting.
Now that she’s completed all her coursework and is preparing her portfolio, Smith hopes to sit for the CCIM Comprehensive Exam later this year. Commercial Investment Real Estate spoke with Smith about her journey into commercial real estate and toward the CCIM designation.
What experience, professionally and personally, let you to seek the CCIM designation?
Amy Smith: Over 15 years ago, I started my journey assisting my parents as they developed and grew their commercial properties. Mac McClure was the instructor for my CCIM 101 class, and later, I had the opportunity to work for McClure Partners, while also earning my MBA.
Due to some changes in the 2008 economy as well as my personal life, I returned to the private sector but continued to pursue the CCIM designation. My passion for commercial real estate has continued to grow, and, as soon as I had an opportunity, I transitioned back to becoming a full-time real estate agent.
CIRE: What was the aha! moment when you knew it was worth the time and effort?
Smith: My brother-in-law had taken the 101 class and suggested that my father and I take one of the classes. He was aware of both my desire to learn more about commercial real estate and also my parents’ plans to continue developing their properties. My father and I drove
to Austin, Texas, for the two-day intro class. I was impressed by the training and the education. Every property is different, but one of the first things I learned with this education is how to truly compare those investment options and select the best one. I quickly realized that this was going to be a
differentiator in my real estate career. I knew I wanted to continue!
Have you been able to put your education to use? How has the designation curriculum impacted your professional abilities?
Smith: At the beginning, I used this knowledge when purchasing my first rental property. The CCIM education that I had completed at that time helped to ensure my decisions were on track and lessened the stress of that first purchase. I have continued to use this
education with additional purchases, as well as assisting my clients with the necessary information to help them make the best decision.
I was working with a client who owned a multi-tenant property for many years. We discussed options of replacing it with another property, but in the end, they were ready to sell. Their assumptions for the sales price were mainly based on the value of the building. Through my
CCIM education, I was able to share the need to include the future rent rates as an increased value to the property. This resulted in a much larger sale price that exceeded their expectations.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your journey toward the CCIM designation?
Smith: The biggest challenge for me has been trying to find the balance between single parenthood, education (including my MBA), managing personal real estate, and continuing the pursuit of my commercial real estate career.
I have a great support group that keeps me grounded. I spend time with my family, and I love watching my grandkids grow. We enjoy traveling, and when we are on vacation, I feel it is important to unplug. For me, personally, those moments of relaxation and fun are a way of
What support structures have helped you during the process?
Smith: My family has been incredibly supportive of me, and I cannot thank them enough. My broker, Gary Vasseur, is excited for me and encourages my path to the CCIM designation. Heather Konopka, CCIM, is an incredible woman and an inspiration. I admire her work ethic and
her knowledge of the CCIM education.
Growing up in the construction business and now working for a family farm, what benefits do you see in a family approach to CRE?
Smith: I met Gary Vasseur when we worked a challenging deal together. I was extremely impressed by the way he handled the entire transaction and ensured that all parties were satisfied. Vasseur Commercial Real Estate Inc., is a small firm with an attention to detail and
focus on the client. Getting a deal executed is, of course, the goal, but the relationships with my clients and counterparts are primary. Vasseur Commercial also has that same passion for people and ensuring their needs are met.
For more on the CCIM designation process and curriculum, visit
Earning the CCIM Designation.