Get to Know...
"You really do get out what you put into an organization like BOMA."
Mark Kelly, president of building services contractor Able Services, is a longtime member of BOMA/San Francisco with more than 30 years of experience in commercial real estate. He serves on BOMA/San Francisco’s board of directors, and he also is a board member of the Commercial Real Estate Alliance for Tomorrow’s Employees (CREATE), a San Francisco based collaboration dedicated to creating new career paths and opportunities for emerging professionals. Kelly was elected to BOMA International’s Executive Committee in 2018.
How did you get your start with BOMA?
Back in 1989, I worked for a small janitorial sales company that was a member of BOMA/San Francisco, which is how I learned about BOMA/San Francisco’s signature networking lunch events. We’re talking several hundred people getting together over three hours. As a young professional looking to network, these lunches were a particularly big deal, and they gave me an opportunity to connect with my peers in a way I’d never done before. While these lunches have been replaced over the years with new types of events, they were integral to my involvement in BOMA, its committees and, eventually, leadership.
What’s kept you coming back to BOMA through the years?
For me, it’s about both the community that this organization provides and the fact that it’s just good business to invest in BOMA. Some of my lifelong friendships originated at BOMA events, and I’ll always be grateful to BOMA for providing that environment. But I also realized early on at Able that investing in BOMA/San Francisco was a smart business decision, and it’s helped us become a leader in our market. You really do get out what you put into an organization like BOMA.
Speaking of Able Services, what unique perspective do you bring as an associate member of BOMA International’s Executive Committee?
When you think about a building ecosystem, it’s important to remember that there’s a significant amount of labor and resources that are dedicated to non-management operations. What I provide to BOMA’s leadership is representation of the cleaning groups, the engineering groups and others that are essential to a building’s successful operation. And, bringing my perspective as a service provider, I’m able to provide insight into what’s going on with vendors and what trends we’re seeing.
How would you describe the importance of emerging professional development in the commercial real estate industry?
Young and emerging professionals are the workforce of the future, and it’s so important to not only mentor and empower young people early in their careers, but also to raise awareness of the industry among all emerging professionals.
I saw the power of mentorship firsthand after being paired with a recent college graduate through a mentor match-up program with BOMA/San Francisco’s Careers in Real Estate Committee. I was able to provide her with some perspective and direction on potential career paths, and she gave me valuable insight into how the next generation of commercial real estate professionals thinks and what their priorities are. It was the best feeling in the world watching her grow, and soon afterwards, she was hired by a property management company.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
In the 1920s, my great-uncle, George Kelly, played Major League Baseball. He was a tall guy and wore his baseball pants, which at the time had two large pockets, well above his waist. This distinctive look earned him the nickname George "High Pockets" Kelly. He’s now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This article was originally published in the January/February 2020 issue of BOMA Magazine.