CCIM Spotlight: Travel Guides
CCIMs voyage to Nigeria to explore business opportunities.
Members of the CCIM Institute’s Jay W. Levine Leadership
Development Academy are encouraged to use the program as a stepping stone for
networking and establishing business ventures. But it’s unlikely that Mark
Biery, CCIM, associate broker with Chapman Lindsey CRES in Tucson, Ariz., and
Edward Nwokedi, CCIM, director of multihousing brokerage for Cushman &
Wakefield in Houston, expected to meet new travel companions. For these two
CCIMs, the academy led to new professional opportunities, a solid friendship,
and a trip to Nigeria.
During introductions at the Leadership Academy’s first
session, Biery’s ears perked up when Nwokedi mentioned his yearly trips to
Nigeria, his family’s homeland. After the class ended, Biery approached Nwokedi
and expressed interest in going with him on his next trip because, “I always
enjoy traveling to places I have never been,” he says.
“The trip initially was intended to be a vacation, but once
we were [in Nigeria], we saw some great business opportunities,” Biery
professional network, the two met with a client who is attempting to purchase
Nigeria’s largest oil pipeline company. “We met with him to present real estate
business opportunities,” Nwokedi says. They also looked at several hotels for
sale and worked with one owner who wants to sell a percentage of his company to
investors to help expand the hospitality chain into other countries. Currently,
Biery and Nwokedi are trying to structure a plan for the client aimed at U.S.
Aside from the opportunity to explore new business, Nwokedi
valued the chance to share his homeland with someone unfamiliar with the
country. Biery was able to see firsthand that Africa is a vibrant part of the
world. “Mark can tell people about Nigeria, and in turn, more business
professionals will want to go and seek out business opportunities there. While
[Nigeria] may be 10 years behind with technology, the business there is still
flowing,” Nwokedi says.
Both Biery and Nwokedi look forward to working on deals
together in the future and referring one another to clients. “Ed is the first
guy I would think of if someone needed multifamily guidance in Texas. I am
completely comfortable and trust Ed’s skills,” Biery says.
While the Leadership Academy only meets about four times
over the course of the year, many CCIMs are surprised that, aside from learning
valuable professional skills, they also leave with long-lasting friendships.
“Tucson is small. Meeting Ed helped to open doors and allowed me to believe in
my ability to do deals around the world. People gravitate toward their friends
who have connections and contacts in other areas as a starting point,” Biery