News from the Chicago Chapter

President’s Message: Boosting Membership, Engaging Next Gen Among Challenges Ahead in 2019






By Kris Haskins, CPM® 
Colliers International
IREM Chicago 2019 President



With 2019 before us, IREM Chicago is poised to have another productive year dedicated to meeting its mission: Provide outstanding industry education, host valuable and informative social and networking events, and champion legislation that’s in the best interests of members and commercial real estate.

What follows are thoughts on major topics and issues we will tackle in 2019:

Challenges Ahead. Maintaining a robust membership is vital to our continued success. One key goal is to increase the number of members and Industry Partners. We’ll accomplish this through communications to property managers across various asset classes, while engaging our existing members as well. In 2019, leadership and staff will focus on personal communications, meaning fewer digital messages and more phone calls and personal written cards and notes. We’ll communicate IREM anniversaries, along with awards, recognitions and accomplishments. I consider IREM Chicago my extended family, and I want to bring that perspective to the entire membership.

Engaging the Next Generation.  Statistics reveal that by 2025, Millennials will comprise 77 percent of the national workforce. That means IREM Chicago will begin to ramp up efforts to engage Millennials and get them involved in property management.  Currently, we have a member who is part of the AMO Next-Gen CPM Leadership program, and we plan to spearhead our existing sub-committee to encourage more member engagement in this area.

Education Outreach.  In 2018, IREM Chicago shared thoughts on property management with Roosevelt University students enrolled in real estate courses. We plan to expand this initiative in the year ahead through outreach efforts to students at DePaul University and selected community colleges in metropolitan Chicago. Also, the Chapter will research the prospect of visiting job fairs at local high schools as a strategy to encourage young people to pursue property management careers.

Rent Control.  Hearings were held in fall of 2018 regarding legislation to enact rent control in Illinois. Immediate Past President Jim Vocos, CPM® wrote a compelling commentary on why rent control would be detrimental to the state and commercial real estate. IREM Chicago will continue to encourage members to attend future Coalition of Real Estate (CORE) meetings in Chicago to stay abreast of this issue and others that affect our region and industry. From a national perspective, IREM announced the resumption of the Capitol Hill Fly-In program, an exciting way for members to meet with federal legislators and advocates to lobby on behalf of issues critical to real estate management.

Evolving Assets. Some office buildings now offer concierge services, and new multifamily properties boast extensive amenities to attract and retain tenants. To keep members up to date on these developments, IREM Chicago is in the process of planning Lunch ‘n Learn events in 2019 to address these topics and others, including: Property taxes, cybersecurity, and management roles related to budgeting, reconciliations and management agreements.  We also plan to reach out to Industry Partners to encourage hosting a Lunch ‘n Learn to showcase their office or facility and learn about their business, products and services.

Some Final Thoughts.  In addition to increasing membership in 2019, another important goal is to bolster IREM education. The Chapter will focus on nurturing candidate members who are close to obtaining the Certified Property Manager designation and working with the candidate to complete the process. Statistics show that 61 percent of candidates who drop their membership do so in the first or second year of candidacy. We need to launch a concerted effort to mitigate any issues that may be holding a candidate back; solutions could be made through mentoring, scholarships or another type of engagement.

Along with the proposed Lunch ‘n Learn events, the Chapter also plans to hold additional Single Family Housing management classes for area real estate organizations. In October, Chapter leader Tim Kramer, CPM®, ARM® led a very successful SFH201 class in Downers Grove.  

In the weeks to come, the Executive Council and staff will conduct research to help us better identify our target market and learn how to engage and retain members. We’ll use that insight to craft a strategic marketing plan to guide our “hopes, dreams, fears and nightmares.”  Finally, we’re pleased to note that LYDIA Home, the Chicago foster care center, will again be our official charity for 2019.

Wishing all a Happy New Year, and I, the Executive Council and staff look forward to serving members and Industry Partners in the year ahead. Together, we will continue to advance IREM Chicago and meet our mission.