News from the Chicago Chapter
By Jim Vocos, CPM®
Envision Real Estate & Management Co.
2018 IREM Chicago President
1. What specific goals do you have for Chapter 23 in the year ahead?
One primary goal is membership outreach. One of our targets is to reach those who are the “outliers,” those people in property management who are not familiar with IREM or may not know that IREM exists. We want to connect and share insight and information about how they can take advantage of what is offered and learn through IREM education. By reaching the property managers who are on the fringe, we will be able to both create a stronger chapter and organization while giving that group everything that IREM has to offer.
2. What are some challenges facing the Chapter and property management industry?
Leading the industry in education and knowledge is critical. The industry is evolving faster than ever before through recent technology, new work place concepts, new energy efficient standards and goals, dangerous cyber threats, and other factors. IREM and its members have worked hard to create courses, webinars, and Lunch ‘n Learns that are timely with current events and trends in the market place to make sure its members receive the education they need to be a leader in the industry.
3. What is being done to help recruit young professionals to seek careers in the industry?
For years, Chapter 23 has made a commitment to spend time on college campuses. We meet with students and give them an opportunity to learn more about careers in property management. We explain what IREM is and how IREM has helped to develop the property management industry. We let the students know that IREM offers scholarship programs and point out the incentives gained by being part of our association.
4. Technology continues to play a significant role in modern property management; how will Chapter 23 help members keep up to date?
One great benefit of the IREM Chicago network is having members at all levels of the property management spectrum. We can count on learning about new developments on the technology front through our Lunch ‘n Learn events to bring that information to members first hand. We can count on our industry partners and fellow IREM members at both the local and national levels to help answer any questions an IREM member might have.
5. Along with the increase in technology, there's -- unfortunately -- an increase in potential cyber security threats to commercial properties; what will the Chapter do to help members prepare for and mitigate a potential threat?
The chapter does an excellent job of educating members on potential cyber threats. We invite lawyers and security experts to our chapter meetings and other events, so they can share insight on the best way to handle these situations. Our strategy is to draw knowledge from leading professionals in the industry, including high-level law enforcement. We bring these resources to the membership, so they can learn and keep up to date.
6. Developments like the shared economy has made a significant impact on modern property management strategies and tactics. What will Chapter 23 initiate in 2018 to help members keep current on these developments?
The concept of repurposing is not new. The late author Jim Rohn explained that in almost every aspect of life, including real estate, there’s always the cycle of spring, summer, fall and winter. We see this concept holds true in property management. Years ago, there was not much interest in warehouses; now with the growth of companies like Amazon, warehouses and industrial properties are very much in demand. Where the apartment market was once a “winter,” now it’s a “summer.” For some properties, tenants were given two months free rent as move-in incentives; now there’s a waiting list. Call it “fracking” or repurposing, everything is cyclical. That’s the beauty of real estate and property management. A savvy property manager will know how to prepare, navigate, and take advantage of the cycles.