Get to Know...
Kevin Clarke, LEED AP, RPA
With more than 30 years of industry experience, Kevin Clarke serves as the director of Property Management for the Pittsburgh office of Avison Young, covering the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of management and operations. Clarke is a past president of BOMA/Pittsburgh, and he currently serves as co-chair of the BOMA International Building Codes & Voluntary Standards Committee.
"BOMA International saves the industry an enormous amount of money through its codes work— about $6 a square foot for existing buildings just during the last code cycle alone."
How did you get started in commercial real estate?
My major in college was environmental sciences, so I never thought I’d end up in property management. I just knew I didn’t want a typical desk job. After college, I worked in construction for five years before an assistant property manager position presented itself. I found that I really enjoyed the excitement that came from having a new challenge every day, and I especially loved working with large buildings in big cities.
My environmental science background has become more and more relevant over the years as sustainability has become an integral part of the industry. I’m lucky that I wound up using my education after all, even if that doesn’t look quite the way I expected. Knowing that my work is actually helping drive sustainability in the built environment has helped keep me energized and driven.
You’re the co-chair of the BOMA International Building Codes & Voluntary Standards Committee. What made you want to get involved in codes work and why is it important for property professionals to be involved in the process?
I’ve always found it interesting. Early on in my career, as I was learning about building codes and how they are developed, changed and updated, I knew I wanted to be involved. You don’t want the first time you hear about a new code to be when there’s a deadline looming. Being a part of the process lets you have a say in what’s decided, and it also gives you the information you need to prepare yourself and your building for changes that are coming.
The creation of building codes requires many different types of expertise, and it’s crucial for property managers to participate in the process to bring in the perspective of people who work every day with the built environment. It’s also critical for BOMA local associations to create their own codes committees. Different codes are going to affect different parts of the country, so it’s important to be doing work on the local level. These committees also can help keep BOMA members apprised of any codes issues that are likely to affect them. Local codes committees help strengthen BOMA International codes efforts.
BOMA International saves the industry an enormous amount of money through its codes work—about $6 a square foot for existing buildings just during the last code cycle alone. BOMA International works with local associations to find out what issues are most likely to impact them and encourages members to reach out to their local codes officials to ensure the concerns of commercial real estate are being considered. Especially this year as the new International Code Council development process begins, we need BOMA members to be tuned in to the process.
Do you have a favorite building code that you find particularly interesting?
Because I’m a sustainability person at heart, I’m interested in how technology helps building owners and managers save energy and reduce operating expenses; motion light sensors that reduce electricity usage are one example. Building codes are partly responsible for encouraging the widespread use of these sensors in new and existing buildings. These days, many of us take for granted that lights automatically will shut off when we leave. It’s a good reminder of how much building codes can affect the way we interact with our environments.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
When I’m not working, I’m farming. I’ve always loved the outdoors, and I live on a good-sized hobby farm. I love the challenge of growing organic vegetables. In fact, I’m harvesting kale and brussels sprouts right now. During the day, I’m encouraging the growth of new technology in office buildings, but at home, I’m focused on getting things to grow in my vegetable patch.
This article was originally published in the January/February 2018 issue of BOMA Magazine.