Building Knowledge

As someone who has a passion for learning herself, Katya J. Naman, CCIM, senior vice president of Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group in Washington, D.C., brings a unique perspective to her role as co-chair of the 2012 CCIM Live! conference in Las Vegas, Oct. 15-16. Naman's experience as an instructor for both CCIM Institute and Building Owners and Managers Association International allows her to share her extensive knowledge and experience in asset management, property management, asset disposition, and leasing with commercial real estate students around the world. Commercial Investment Real Estate caught up with Naman to discuss this year's CCIM Live! conference and what inspires her to share her knowledge.

CIRE: What can attendees look forward to at this year's CCIM Live! conference?

Naman: From the networking receptions to the exhibit hall, the entire event is aimed at helping CCIMs connect with one another to do business.

Another important element is the knowledge. For example, financing continues to be a critical factor in the current market. At CCIM Live!, we'll hear firsthand from a panel of industry experts how to develop creative strategies to finance deals in today's climate. And, of course, we all want to know what the future holds for the industry. I'm looking forward to the economic and commercial real estate market insights of Mark Dotzour and Mark Vitner.

Finally, Las Vegas is a great getaway for business and fun. Keynote speaker James Murren, who developed the Las Vegas CityCenter and currently serves as CEO of MGM Resorts, will share his experiences developing the largest LEED-certified urban center.

CIRE: As an active instructor, what do you enjoy most about teaching the CCIM courses?

Naman: At the core of teaching is passion, and you must have passion for knowledge to give the students the best possible learning experience. Real estate is dynamic and impacted by a constantly changing market, which means I have to continually prepare for my courses. I have to think about how the constantly changing real estate environment will impact what is being discussed in my classes and adjust the material accordingly.

The most challenging part is delivering concepts in a variety of ways so that people with different learning styles and experiences will retain the material. I also find that, in most cases, students learn as much from each other as from the instructors. There is a synergy that happens in a classroom.

CIRE: You also teach in international markets. In what ways can commercial real estate professionals in both the U.S. and overseas leverage the CCIM education and skills in the current market?

Naman: CCIM skills are becoming more important as the U.S. real estate market continues to recover and world markets continue to evolve. The ability to analyze the financial performance of an asset - taking into account the impact of the market, financing, and taxation - is invaluable. These skills, which are the basis of the CCIM education, continue to be in great demand around the world.

I have taught in locations with developing real estate markets, such as Poland, Dubai, and Egypt. In these markets, there is a thirst for our highly developed real estate model. The overseas students value this type of education since it is not easily accessible in their own markets, and they do not want to reinvent the wheel. Many students are fascinated by the amount of data at our fingertips. In Dubai, for instance, there is no transparency in the market and market data is practically impossible to obtain.

CIRE: In addition to teaching, you've had a successful career in asset and property management. What changes have you observed in this segment of the commercial real estate industry in recent years?

Naman: The focus has been gradually shifting toward more financial analysis and reporting for both property managers and asset managers. Property managers now need to have a greater understanding of the impact of operational decisions on the value of a property. Today's asset managers need to be well versed in the market and they need to understand leasing, operations, debt, taxation, and the impact of capital improvements on an asset's value. It's also important to be able to underwrite an asset from acquisition to disposition, complete a sensitivity analysis, and look at alternative strategies to maximize value.

CIRE: How do the BOMA and CCIM skill sets complement one another in the commercial real estate marketplace?

Naman: Between BOMA and CCIM, the entire life cycle of an asset is covered, from acquisition to operations to disposition. With BOMA, a lot of the focus is on adding value during the ownership/operations part of an asset's life cycle. With CCIM, the focus is on the investment strategy and valuation. The two skill sets offer complementary advantages to one another in the marketplace.


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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