CCIM Feature

Winning at CCIM Live!

2012 conference attendees played their cards right.

In October 2012, commercial real estate professionals descended upon the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for the annual CCIM Live! conference. In her opening presentation Mayor Carolyn Goodman described the city as “the place to be.” For those few days, it was also the place to hear industry experts weigh in on topics that affect CCIM members’ businesses. In addition to the many charms of the Strip, CCIM Live! offered a full program of education and networking sessions. Commercial Investment Real Estate asked attendees what drew them to Las Vegas and why they’ve already saved the date for 2013’s conference.

State of the Market

“Of particular interest was a very timely panel discussion on the state of the financial markets,” said attendee Michael Anderson, CCIM, owner of RealSource in Salt Lake City. “This is information I can use every day in building my business.”

The lending experts who participated in the commercial financing panel discussion see improvement in the national market, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty about the market’s long-term prospects. “We’re being much more aggressive than we were a year or two ago from a financing standpoint,” said John Manganiello, senior vice president and market executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Attendee Chad Gleason, CCIM, principal with Gleason & Co. in Kent, Wash., liked the sound of that: “Hearing about groups that are willing to lend on TIs and fill the gap between your main loan and owner contributions was a big relief,” he said.

But fear of a “lending gap” in 2016 tempered the positive outlook among panelists. They expect a commercial mortgage-backed securities shortfall that other lenders, such as insurance companies, won’t be able to step in and fill. The good news? “It’s an opportunity for CCIMs,” said Richard Podos, founder of Lance Capital LLC. “Craft solutions that the next guy can’t figure out.”

Deal or No Deal: Trends and Issues That Are Impacting Commercial Real Estate was led by Brian Bailey, senior financial policy analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. After an in-depth examination of each commercial real estate sector and CMBS, among other topics, Bailey concluded that the real estate market is improving. However, the pace of that recovery is highly dependent on property type and location.

Another favorite session among attendees was the CCIM Live! economic panel luncheon, which began on a relatively positive note: “I don’t think we’ll see another recession,” said Mark G. Dotzour, chief economist and director of research at Texas A&M University. “We have too much pent-up demand.” But fellow panelist Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist with Wells Fargo, was less optimistic. “U.S. fiscal policy is mathematically unsound and unsustainable,” he said, explaining that, while we probably won’t go over the fiscal cliff, significant “fiscal drag” is certain to plague the U.S. economy in 2013. Suzanne Mulvee, senior real estate economist with Property and Portfolio Research, offered a perspective on how the major commercial real estate property sectors are faring amid these economic circumstances. “The good news is that things are moving,” she said, citing falling vacancy rates in many markets.

More than $1.5 trillion of commercial real estate loans will mature in the next five years. Panelists who participated in the Troubled Assets session offered four perspectives on this situation: special servicers (Bill Stolberg, CCIM, CPM), national banks (Jeff Johnson), community banks (Maryann Mize, CCIM), and brokers/investors (Gary Ralston, CCIM).

“It was interesting to hear about the sheer volume of commercial mortgages that will be coming due and opportunities for short sales,” said new designee Timothy Salmonsen, CCIM, a broker with Century 21 Exclamation Realty in Rogers, Ark.

Panelist Maryann Mize, CCIM, senior vice president with Charlotte State Bank in Port Charlotte, Fla., provided some pertinent information about the role of community banks. “They’re an important source of financing on the sale of bank-owned assets of larger financial institutions,” she explained. “And commercial real estate loans comprise 30 percent of their loan portfolios.”

Tools You Can Use

Todd Clarke, CCIM, CEO of NM Apartment Advisors, led day two’s first education session, Innovative Marketing: Integrating Social Networking Into Your Existing Marketing Plan. “Successful implementation of social networking requires listening,” Clarke explained. He recommended several tools that commercial real estate professionals can use to monitor social media, including Google Alerts, TweetDeck, and HootSuite. “Don’t post listing after listing,” Clarke said. “Start a conversation.”

Clarke, who also teaches a course on technology and social networking through the Institute’s Ward Center for Real Estate Studies, focused on practical tips but also explained why social media shouldn’t be ignored. “Todd always offers insight into the use of technology in real estate practice that we employ and appreciate every day,” Anderson said.

The conference closed with the CCIM All-Star Panel hosted by 2013 CCIM President Wayne D’Amico, CCIM. D’Amico asked those top industry professionals who are also CCIMs why they value the pin. “We’re bound together by the education,” said Richard E. Frazier Jr., CCIM, director of real estate with Kaman Industrial Technologies. “Since we speak the same language, we can move quickly through a transaction, which is important in our business.” And Ryan Lorey, CCIM, senior director with Broadcom Corp., noted that CCIM concepts can make a big impact in the C-suite: “We can take the knowledge we have and educate corporate CFOs.”

What type of knowledge, for example? “One thing I learned about cash flow: More is better sooner,” Lorey added.

Looking Ahead

While CCIM Live! attendees were winding down another successful conference, anticipation for the next one was already building. Signs beckoning CCIM members to “Reach for new heights” at October’s CCIM Live! conference in Denver were prominently displayed in the halls of the Paris Hotel. And, with that trip to Denver in mind, attendees were happy to offer advice for those who want to make the most of their next CCIM Live! experience.

“Get out there and introduce yourself,” Gleason said. “And put some time in at the CCIM business meetings to find out what is going on with the national group. You never know what you might learn or whom you may meet.”

Salmonsen points to the luncheon session as a great place to sit and chat with other attendees.

But remember: “Networking is what you make it,” Anderson said. “It takes place in the foyers, restaurants, and bars around the event.”

Need some pointers on making the first move? Gleason recommended Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz. The book provides guidelines for genuine relationship-building, as opposed to the inauthentic glad-handing sometimes associated with networking.

And though the two-day conference is the main attraction, it’s not the only reason to attend. “Research the local CCIM chapter and know what events are being planned,” said Bobbie Mastracci, CCIM, designated broker/principal with Phoenix West Commercial in Litchfield Park, Ariz. Chapter events offer an opportunity for conference attendees to network with the hosts, who know the intricacies of the local market as well as all of the entertainment their city has to offer.

But face-to-face networking and a keen memory can only get you so far. “Have a backup battery for your phone and bring a notepad — or in today’s technological world, your iPad or tablet,” said Nicholas L. Miner, CCIM, vice president with Orion Investment Real Estate in Tempe, Ariz.

And, finally, don’t forget to sign up and arrive early. “You want others out there to see that you are attending,” said Eddie Blanton, CCIM, vice president/senior adviser with Re/Max Executive Realty in Charlotte, N.C. “In order to be on the attendee list and communication forums prior to the event, you need to be signed up. Also, arrive the night before the conference starts and don’t rush in and rush out. Share a room if you need to keep expenses down. But the longer you are in Denver, the more opportunities you will have to connect and do business.”

Rich Rosfelder is associate editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate.

Dealers and Deal Makers

Though many CCIM Live! attendees could be found among the gamblers and show-goers, networking was the clear draw. “I went to learn about the ways that I can make money with my CCIM peers,” said Eddie Blanton, CCIM, vice president/senior adviser with Re/Max Executive Realty in Charlotte, N.C. “I networked with existing friends, made new ones, and learned about the market and ways to make money.”

This was a common sentiment. And it wasn’t just attendees networking with attendees. “I sought out education session panelists, along with CCIMs from all over the world, to discuss various topics,” said Chad Gleason, CCIM, principal with Gleason & Co. in Kent, Wash. “It was a very productive meeting for our firm.”

James P. Robertson Jr., CCIM, senior commercial associate broker with Realty Executives International in Tucson, Ariz., went to Las Vegas to meet fellow CCIMs from outside the U.S., including a large delegation from the CCIM Taiwan Chapter. “I’ve been stepping into the international sales arena and the CCIM community has helped,” he said.

In addition to the time between education sessions and in the evenings, the official conference networking events offered opportunities for attendees to meet other deal makers. “I attended the wine event on Saturday and had a great time,” said Bobbie Mastracci, CCIM, designated broker/principal with Phoenix West Commercial in Litchfield Park, Ariz., referring to the Southern Nevada CCIM Chapter’s 16th Annual Wine Soiree and Auction, which was held in conjunction with CCIM Live! This event gave conference attendees another reason to arrive early and network with top professionals in the Las Vegas market.

Day two at CCIM Live! began bright and early with a networking breakfast hosted by conference co-chairs Bobbi Miracle, CCIM, salesperson with Commercial Executives in Las Vegas, and Katya Naman, CCIM, senior vice president of Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group in Washington, D.C.

And at Celebrate Live! attendees recognized new designees and Wayne D’Amico, CCIM, who was inaugurated as CCIM Institute’s 2013 president. “This is always an important event,” said attendee Nicholas L. Miner, CCIM, vice president with Orion Investment Real Estate in Tempe, Ariz. “It’s great to get the new designees and new leadership in the same room so you know who you can contact with issues and recommendations.”

The theme of the event was “Your Opportunity to Excel.” It was also an opportunity for CCIMs to network — and shake it — on the dance floor.

Rich Rosfelder

Rich Rosfelder is vice president of strategic communications for CCIM Institute.

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