Serving as board chair puts me at the intersection of communications from many members. I will be honest: I’m an avid networker, and now with the new ways of working we all experience every day it has been amplified. The emails and conversations cover such topics as projects under way, requests for service provider recommendations, thoughts on alternative CRE organizational models, opinions on how new laws will affect corporate operations, as well as often just an opportunity to connect and catch up. The pandemic has made us all more talkative, which is leading to more opportunities to share.
In our world, the COVID confinement is all the more difficult because our profession definitely prefers face-to-face interaction, especially when conducting business. On this front, I want to assure you IAMC is adjusting to new ways of connecting with members and enabling them to see and talk to each other. Consider our rapid transition starting last year to Webinars and the quite successful Virtual Forum. We all learned quickly to adapt and change a few old habits along the way. It was refreshing to see that we could all find our way during these times.
From a business aspect, this is what I have been hearing along the 11-month journey we have been on together:
I’ll start with the obvious. Can you believe how long we’ve been home- or office-bound? There’s no precedent. To the best of my knowledge, IAMC members in Europe and Latin America are staying close to home just like those of us in the States. Through various discussions, we know companies are exploring avenues for relaxing travel restrictions this year as well as new workplace strategies and experience for company associates.
Two years ago, if you had said major companies would be leasing sites without physically visiting them, I’m not sure how many of us would have believed it. The world has changed for real estate acquisitions, and we are certainly thinking differently about the need to acquire industrial property to support global operations.
Most industrial markets are extremely tight with building owners in a strong bargaining position. Many new development projects are preleased over a year in advance of projected groundbreaking in some regions of the country. This is leading to competition in the industrial market unlike anything any of us has experienced in our careers.
In saving the best for last, my absolute favorite conversation is to hear from members that they are being tapped by the C-suite to provide knowledge and help in ways they never have before. Those of us in CRE have known for years of financial and operational integrations that could likely benefit the company overall. Organizations are now realizing more than ever the benefits to understanding their real estate assets.
In closing, we continue to evolve in our ways of working, including being part of more C-suite meetings, leaning into the power of virtual, cloud-based conferences, and learning of new, pandemic-inspired lease language. The world continues to change at a very fast pace, and IAMC is here to be a resource. We encourage you to reach out. We love to hear from the members!
Chair, IAMC Board of Directors