Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

BOMA Conference Recap

Value, Opportunity and Knowledge on Display at BOMA’s Every Building Conference & Expo

By Amanda Marsh and Catie Dixon

This year’s Every Building Conference & Expo saw more than 3,200 attendees make for Florida’s sunny skies to be part of the most important commercial real estate event of the year.

“Fascinating” Conference Kickoff

Keynote Speaker Sally Hogshead speaks on How to Fascinate.jpgSunday General Session keynote speaker Sally Hogshead, an author and leading expert on the “art of influence,” shared with attendees the key to being a fascinating person is not learning to become more fascinating, but learning to become less boring. After studying 100,000 people, she came up with 49 personality archetypes based on seven "fascinating advantages" that all people have that add value: innovation, passion, power, prestige, trust, mystique and alert. Attendees discovered what archetype they are by combining what they believe is their primary fascination advantage and their secondary fascination advantage. (10.5 percent of BOMA members are Maestros, a combination of power and prestige, which makes them ambitious, focused and confident, she says.) “Focus on values where you are most likely to add distinct value,” said Hogshead. “The greatest value you can add is to become more of yourself.”

BOMA 360: The New Class

BOMA 360 Designees take the Stage.jpg

Congrats to the newest buildings that have achieved the BOMA 360 designation, reps of those buildings joined BOMA 360 Council Chair Rob Brierley (holding the plaque) to celebrate their recognition. Rob says the program has designated more than 750 buildings in 60 markets that meet the BOMA 360 threshold in all major elements of management and operations; they've been shown to have higher operations efficiency, tenant retention, and rental rates. This was also the first year that international buildings have achieved the designation, coming in from Canada and Japan.

BOMA Education 

Creating a splash with your tenants doesn’t require a lot of money, says JLL Australia’s Peter Merrett (seen here with his groupies). Little things like walking employees to their cars on rainy days (he brought the umbrella for you) create connections that will keep your buildings full. His advice: Think of your building like a five-star hotel. (He calls all his tenants “guests” to change the way his property managers think of them.) Create a personality in your building by thinking outside of the box. Host an unannounced salsa class in the plaza (the word will spread on its own) or send Santa down your office tower with the window cleaning crew near Christmas. (He can personally vouch the latter will get your tenants buzzing about the building, and it cost nothing.)

From the Expo Floor

expo floor.jpgEnergy reduction has a powerful impact on ROI, says Yardi VP Brad Setser (right, with the team at his booth). He believes we could achieve 20 percent savings on energy over the next few years, which could mean $8B in savings for commercial real estate nationwide. That’s why Yardi provided BOMA with a grant for an expanded energy program. Brad tells us that will have three components: collaboration, advocacy and education. That includes working with utility companies to learn about incentives for energy efficiency, expanding the BOMA 360 program to include more energy reduction success recognition and working with legislators toward efficiency goals. in the Technology Pavilion—which showcases the latest in building technologies, systems, data management solutions and business tools—we snapped the packed ThyssenKrupp booth. 

​ThyssenKrupp's Brad Nemeth (far right, from Frisco, Texas) tells us the firm is the largest elevator service provider in North America, with nearly 230,000 up-and-down units served. It just launched the Endura MRL, the first elevator in the world that doesn't require a machine room. (Who knew so many elevators were divas?) ThyssenKrupp has also been developing biodegradable hydraulic fluid for use in the model—in case of catastrophe like hurricanes, it won't contaminate anything it contacts. Evolving Office Revolution

Everyone’s been pushing the benefits of collaborative space, but experts at the Monday General Session, moderated by BOMA President Henry Chamberlain, say the pendulum is swinging back the other way.

Cushman & Wakefield Boston Managing Director Rick Cleveland (right, with DFS Construction principal Grant Stephens) says it’s important to remember that office design is fluid. Along those lines, he says companies are realizing they’ve focused too much on collaboration/innovation and not enough on quiet places to actually execute. Herman Miller Director Tracy Brower (of Grand Rapids, Michigan.) says all design features need to be based on each company’s culture. But if that foosball table is never used, should you take it out, or should you tweak your culture to encourage its use?

panel.jpgCassidy Turley San Francisco Director Garrick Brown (here with Tracy) says the urban vs suburban debate is also fluid. Downtowns have been the powerhouses lately, as companies court Millennials who want that vibrant, dense environment. These days, we’re seeing 78 percent higher rents in walkable areas. But those employees will eventually get married and have kids, and we might see a rebirth in suburbia. (Hang in there, strip malls. We may not be done with you yet.)

State of the Industry
Henry Chamberlain delivers the State of the Indusry address.JPG

Monday’s General Session also included BOMA President Henry Chamberlain’s annual State of the Industry address. Trends and takeaways included:

  • Overall economic outlook: more than 200k jobs a month being added, inflation still tame and stocks have been doing well.
  • CRE market: rates of absorption are on the rise, construction increasing in some cities, rents are stabilizing, asset values are going up, vacancy rates down but still higher than we would like at 14.8 percent (CBRE), Real Estate Roundtable’s sentiment survey stagnant.
  • The “53%” factor is the percentage of building level annual total return due to changing features around the individual property (Source: Ray Torto). This is where BOMA creates asset value.
  • The Better Blocks Project shows that repurposing of older buildings helps reclaim communities in underutilized neighborhoods, showing investors how to reposition the market.
  • The best way to acclimate Millenials in the workplace is to create alternative workplaces and encourage a more collegial learning/working environment.
  •  “Moore’s Law” shows us that capacity for minimum costs continues to double. Building systems and products need to constantly adapt to keep up.
  • The mind-reading office is upon us. Brookfield’s video wall with motion tracker interface at the World Financial Center and CBRE’s LA Office Liquid Galaxy Theater are the new water coolers.
  • The future of space is about choice. Open space for the extroverts; focus space for the introverts. Smart design includes both.
  • The co-working trend continues to grow as collaborating companies share space. Herman Miller’s Living Office helps individuals and organizations customize their methods, tools and places of work to enable shared character and space.
  • Decreased capital expenditures and administrative costs equals leaner properties. What was once a 190,000 sq. ft. building may now only be 160,000 sq. ft.
  • Technology and trends will never replace good old-fashioned crowdsourcing.

Going Global

International Council.JPGThis year’s Expo had one of the largest turnouts in years by international delegates with more than 150 international attendees from 30 countries. Three new affiliates from Greece, Panama and Russia recently joined the BOMA family with more on the way. We snapped this shot of the BOMA’s International Council. Look for the debut of a global measurement floor standard, which BOMA helped spearhead as part of the International Property Measurement Standards Committee.

Industrial Focus has a new focus on industrial real estate, which brought these DCT pros out from around the country for their first-ever BOMA conference. Here’s Denver’s Charla Rios, Atlanta’s Ann Shell-Johnson, Chicago’s Vicki Stevens and Orlando’s Lissette Gaskill and Thomas Matthews. Some of the industrial educational courses featured include the current status and future expectations for the sector, as well as focus on ENERGY STAR® certification. There was also a building tour of the 1.2M SF Southridge Commerce Park, a BOMA 360 designee and last year’s TOBY Award winner in the Industrial category.


Meet BOMA's Future Leaders

Students and Vets come out for Career Day.JPGBOMA welcomed students and military vets  to its annual Career Day to introduce them to all aspects of commercial real estate, including asset management, engineering and property management. Participants were paired up with industry mentors to learn about different career areas in a round-robin discussion. The students—who hail from local colleges like Valencia, UCF, Seminole State, FSU, and DeVry—also got the opportunity to meet with BOMA fellows and hear from BOMA Chair Rich Greninger.

Excellence Honored

Corporate winner_22 Sylvan Way.JPGDuring the TOBY Awards Banquet, BOMA/New Jersey got to celebrate two victories. Here's the Wyndham Worldwide and local BOMA team celebrating for 22 Sylvan Way, which won best corporate facility. Wyndham also fully occupies the 250k SF building, which was the first building in NJ to earn double LEED Silver certs. It's owned by Mack-Cali and co-managed by Premier Facility Services. Over in the industrial office category, Raritan Center Business Park shone brightest. It's comprised of 62 buildings totaling nearly 8M SF and is owned and managed by Federal Business Centers. Its 180 tenants benefit from public space that shows off the on-site wetlands and parks. See a full list of TOBY Winners across 14 categories.


John Oliver.jpgEveryone offer a big BOMA welcome to Oliver & Co Managing Principal John Oliver, who took over as BOMA International Chair and Chief Elected Officer. Here, he’s taking the oath of office from Columbia Property Trust VP Pat Freeman, a fellow Atlantan and former colleague. John (who confessed a 30-year love affair with BOMA to his wife in front of the entire audience) said he’s particularly excited about the C-Suite program, which gives the organization a chance to “shut up and learn” how property managers can better serve building owners.

BOMA Fellows.jpgFour new leaders joined the ranks of BOMA's Fellows last night: Conrad Engineers Principal Ernest Conrad, Cushman & Wakefield PICOR Principal Eileen Lewis, Transwestern SVP Karrie McCampbell and Cassidy Turley SVP/Principal Becky Hanner (We snapped them bookended by iNPOINT Advisors Co-Founder Dave Hewett, the first chair of the BOMA Fellows, and Cushman & Wakefield Director of Property Management Dick Purtell.) To earn Fellowship, pros must demonstrate exemplary and sustained contributions to the industry, their profession, the community and BOMA throughout their careers. (There's fewer restrictions for getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

Rob Brierley receives the Chairs Award.JPGOne of Rich Greninger's last hurrahs as Chair was presenting the coveted Chairman's award, which was given to Colliers' Rob Brierley from Boston. As President of BOMA/Boston from '07 to '08, Rob brought the affiliate's revenue to over $1M for the first time ever, Rich says. (The first million is the hardest.) He's also past Chairman of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and is currently BOMA International Council Chair for the BOMA 360 program. And as a BOMA advocate, Rob was instrumental in the battle against the carried interest tax, Rich adds. 

Want even more news from the BOMA Conference? Check out the day-by-day recaps in the Show Dailies, available at