Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

BOMA’s Annual Conference Travels to San Diego

By Amanda Marsh and Marissa Oberlander


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2013 Every Building Conference & Expo host city San Diego is a military town, so BOMA International brought in the cream of the crop to teach real estate pros what it means to truly lead, fight and never give up during Sunday’s General Session, sponsored by Yardi.  Rob O'Neill, formerly of the elite SEAL Team Six, joined the Navy at age 19.  He survived Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALS training—eight straight months of nearly impossible and physically demanding tasks (33 out of 180 guys made it in)—thanks to one maxim: never quit.  Most details of Rob's daring and clandestine missions with SEAL Team Six are hush-hush, but he graciously shared stories of the personal growth and leadership techniques he developed along the way.


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Meet the individuals that helped 171 buildings in 37 markets over the past year become BOMA 360 buildings, who were honored during the Sunday General Session.  More than 600 buildings have received the certification since the program's launch in 2009. The top five contenders: CBRE with 65 buildings; Piedmont Office with 48 and Brookfield with a close 46; Cushman & Wakefield with 33; and Hines with 26 BOMA 360-stamped buildings.


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Not only did BOMA/San Diego­ host this year's Every Building Conference & Expo in their hometown, but it celebrated its 50th birthday as well (50 is the new 30, just ask Madonna).  To mark the occasion and continue the military theme, BOMA/San Diego hosted a giant Welcome Party, complete with music and fireworks, on the USS Midway, the historic U.S. Navy aircraft carrier that's now a floating museum.  Guests danced and noshed on sliders, chili dogs and shaken salads served in martini glasses, which were enjoyed by Stream Realty's Ro Sipek, JP Morgan Chase's Izma Miller and BOMA/Austin's Robbie Williams.


Occupant needs have changed drastically since BOMA International last conducted an office tenant survey.  Hoteling, for one, was barely a whisper in 1999. BOMA unveiled its new 2013 BOMA Global Office Tenant Survey results at a press conference on Monday morning.

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Three of the top five factors influencing overall tenant satisfaction are service related—property management; communication; and maintenance and engineering—said Kingsley Associates VP Phil Mobley, whose firm conducted the survey in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.  One way to increase overall tenant satisfaction is to add health and hygiene amenities, he said.  The survey found tenants in corporate and mixed-use facilities to be the most satisfied.

The office market outlook is pretty darned positive from the tenant perspective. 42 percent of survey respondents saw an increase in new employees over the past year, while 37 percent report a stable count.

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Monday’s General Session, sponsored by Ingersoll Rand, continued the conversation with industry panel The Tenant Is King: What Office Tenants Want and How to Wow Them.  “Giving great service doesn't cost a lot of money,” said The WOW! Awards chief executive Derek Williams (with JLL National Head of Customer Service, Australia Peter Merrett).  “When you make a connection, that impact can be great.”  Merrett said the simplest details can give someone a sense of pride—say thank you every day, not just periodically.  Also on the panel were Kingsley Associate’s Phil Mobley, CBRE’s David Pogue and Gensler’s Robert Peck.


Monday’s General Session also featured BOMA President Henry Chamberlain’s annual State of the Industry address.  Key takeaways:

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  • U.S. economy – stock market and housing are up, but CRE is slower to the recovery with vacancy rates at 15.3 percent – improving but not great.
  • Global economy –  global capital office value up 2.5 percent in the past year with emerging markets accounting for more than half of world GDP.
  • Technology and Adaptability – Big data means research driven companies perform better. The “sensor revolution” is coming; when you walk in your building your key fob will call the elevators and turn the lights on in your office.
  • Global tenant performance – China and Russia are sticking with office space hierarchy, the U.S. and Germany moving toward shared space and hoteling.
  • Millennial makeover – team space, more natural light, BYOT (bring your own technology), high tech is high touch.

 See the State of the Industry presentation.


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Four years ago, BOMA began inviting students interested in commercial real estate to the conference to educate them about the industry. This year, Career Day expanded to also include veterans transitioning out of military service—like Eric Feldman and Alex Galicia.  Eric went to Afghanistan as a contractor twice—once as an Army solider and another time as a civilian, returning two months ago.  And Alex is both a Navy and Army vet, having served in Iraq with the latter.  These days, he runs his own San Diego-based company, BPI Plumbing, which won a veteran-owned small business award from the SBA, and he wants to learn more about working with commercial real estate firms. Career Day events included educational sessions, a hands-on commercial building tour and a networking event.

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To many folks, BOMA is analogous to office, but it loves the industrial sector, too—so much that it hosted its first-ever Industrial Day at this year's conference.  BOMA brought on an all-star industrial cast to explain what makes industrial unique: Cushman & Wakefield's Ronald King, JLL's Brenda Crisp, Duke Realty's Jim Clemo and Chris Burns, Prologis' Peggy White and JLL's Amos Bracero.  Industrial is a conservative way to invest your dollars, they said: it's less capital intensive; less subjected to economic ups and downs; involves less TI allowance; and has better overall returns

Liberty Property Trust's Shelby Christensen and Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR's Eileen Lewis tell us the industrial committee was formed to meet the needs of BOMA's property management and owner members who have industrial as part of their portfolios.  


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The San Diego Convention Center buzzed with more than 3,500 conference attendees, many of whom hit the tradeshow floor early and often.  You may have seen folks walking around the Every Building Expo wearing camouflage t-shirts, including Kimberly-Clark Professional*'s Bill Cates and Dave Brummett, who'd snagged theirs at the BOMA Central booth.  All proceeds from the t-shirts went to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the organization that helped recruit vets to Career Day.

The most innovative and knowledgeable product and service providers in commercial real estate exhibited at the Every Building Expo.  Attendees escaped the sunny San Diego weather to walk the "green carpet" of the Green Pavilion & ENERGY STAR® Showcase to find out about eco-friendly products and services and visit the brand new Technology Pavilion. (See more about the Technology Pavilion in Conference Connect.)


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If you're a woman looking to make it in commercial real estate, the women on Tuesday’s Leading the Way education panel—moderated by Melissa Jones of CBRE—have some advice for you. Cassidy Turley Executive Managing Director Marla Maloney (with RETS Associates principal Jana Turner) said it's critical to find a firm where you're a culture fit; hire a team that pushes you (even when it hurts) and embrace change.  At RETS, Jana sees openings for women in high-level positions but struggles to find enough candidates.  Her advice: Financial acumen and tech skills are a must.  A big believer in education as a way to get women in the C-suite, Cushman & Wakefield’s Sandra Boyle says once you get that degree, be adaptable in the workplace and seek sponsors and mentors (like these fabulous ladies).  

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Buildings from BOMA/Greater Los Angeles won big at Tuesday night's International TOBY Awards, sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Professional*, closing BOMA International's Every Building Conference & Expo in San Diego. Scoring a hat trick, the market snagged three coveted honors, including the over-one-million-square-feet category.

The gang's all here to collect the TOBY for winner JP Morgan Investment Management's 2.3 million square foot Century Plaza Towers.  Hines' Citigroup Center won the Earth category and the City National Plaza, managed by Thomas Properties Group, won for best Renovated Building.  See the full list of TOBY Winners.

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2012 BOMA Fellow Dave Hewett (far right) introduced the newest class of BOMA Fellows at the TOBY Awards ceremony: SUNY Buffalo's Don Erb, Capstone Property Management's Kent Gibson, Parmenter's Steve Harrison, Mazzei Realty Services' Edmund Mazzei, Real Estate Advisors' James Peck, Stream Realty's Ray Mackey, Studley's Catherine Pullen, Cushman & Wakefield's Richard Purtell and Colliers' John Scott. (Who knew red bow ties were so fashionable this year?)

BOMA Chair Joe Markling presented AlliedBarton’s Mike Coleman with this year’s Chair’s Award and BOMA/GLA’s Martha Cox-Nitikman with the Distinguished Service Award.

Wayne Baldock was honored for his Life Membership and the Regional Member of the Year was awarded to Don Dwiggins (In Memoriam) from the Pacific Northwest Region; Susan Engstrom from the Pacific Southwest Region; Lynn Vilmar from the Southern Region; and Ro Sipek from the Southwest Region.

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BOMA International President Henry Chamberlain swore in new Chair and Chief Elected Officer Rich Greninger, managing partner of operations for Carr Properties in Washington, D.C.  Greninger's main goals for his chairmanship include attracting young professionals and returning military veterans into the industry. “Property management has an aging demographic, so it's a fertile ground for vets to join the engineering ranks and young professionals into management and finance jobs,” he said.


Board of Governors Highlights
The Business of BOMA took place during the Board of Governors meeting on June 23, 2013 at the Every Building Conference & Expo in San Diego.

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In his Report from the Chair, BOMA Chair Joe Markling, BOMA/Greater Los Angeles, remarked that BOMA had made progress in the past year expanding its international platform and working with other industry groups to begin to develop global measurement standards. Markling also noted BOMA’s work and success on codes and regulatory issues and the continued advance of industry benchmarking through the Experience Exchange Report. He emphasized the importance of working together to build new relationships and focusing on the next generation coming into commercial real estate.

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BOMA Secretary/Treasurer Rebecca Hanner, CPM, RPA, BOMA/Raleigh-Durham, delivered the Financial Update, reporting that the Partnership Program and the Foundations of Real Estate Management course continued to perform well, beating budget expectations, and that the Medical Office Building Conference drew record attendance once again. Hanner also reported that BOMA International had met its reserve fund goal in 2012.

Markling and Strategic Planning Consultant Jean Frankel led a Strategic Plan Feedback and Discussion, opening the floor to delegates to comment on the strategic plan goal area discussions that took place during the “World Café” roundtable the day before. One delegate noted that the roundtable discussions were a great way to synergistically unite BOMA International with BOMA local associations. Another delegate said “Innovation” should be added to the list of goal areas, while another suggested that BOMA local associations should share more information on the local level. The comments and feedback from BOMA members will be considered as BOMA continues to develop its new strategic plan.

MOB BookBOMA Georgia nabs a BOMA 360 Local Participation Award

BOMA 360 Performance Program Council Chair Rob Brierley, BOMA Fellow, BOMA/Boston, reported that more than 600 building have received the BOMA 360 designation since the program launched in 2009 with 100 owner/management firms and 57 BOMA local associations participating. Brierley also recognized the winners of the BOMA 360 Local Participation Awards in the following categories:

  • More than 300 members – BOMA/Georgia and BOMA/Houston with 22 new buildings each
  • 150 to 300 members – BOMA/Metropolitan D.C. with 24 new buildings
  • Less than 150 members – BOMA/San Diego with 7 new buildings
  • Highest number of corporate portfolio submissions – BOMA/Houston

BOMA International CFO Brian Green informed delegates that the newly-released 2013 Experience Exchange Report (EER) includes revenue and expenses from more than 5,300 buildings in 257 markets.  This allows BOMA to produce market reports on more than 115 cities and represents more than 912 million square feet.  EER key findings showed that rental income saw a decrease of 2.91 percent last year, after having increased slightly the year before. The report also showed that expenses are down as well with total operating expenses decreasing by 3.9 percent. For the fourth year in a row utilities decreased, this time significantly at 9.01 percent, indicating that BOMA members continue to make asset management and energy efficiency a priority.

Government Affairs Committee Chair Susan Engstrom, FMA, RPA, BOMA/Greater Phoenix reported on the two new policy positions approved by the committee. The first position supports state, local, and federal efforts to increase penalties and deterrents for the theft of metal from buildings and infrastructure. The second position supports a federal immigration policy that matches willing employers with willing employees.  BOMA International favors proposals which improve visa programs impacting the commercial real estate industry. Read the full policy positions.

Engstrom also reported that so far in 2013, BOMAPAC supported the reelection efforts of 13 members of Congress and has raised more than $27,000 (not including the $18,000 raised during the conference) and that the Industry Defense Fund Oversight Committee approved a $30,000 request from BOMA/ Denver Metro to help finance their efforts to challenge Xcel Energy’s proposal to raise steam rates and natural gas rates.

Chair of the Building Codes & Voluntary Standards Committee Kent Gibson, CPM, BOMA Fellow, BOMA/Utah, reported that the committee reaffirmed six codes and standards policies:

  • Accessibility Codes & Standards – approved by the Board at the 2005 WBM
  • Automatic External Defibrillators - approved at the 2005 WBM
  • Building Security & Emergency Preparedness – approved at the 2002 Conference
  • Energy Efficiency & Green Building Codes – approved at the 2010 WBM
  • ICC International Codes – approved at the 2008 WBM, and
  • Indoor Air Quality – approved at the 2005 WBM

A revision to the current Mold Policy was also approved as well as the recommendation to sunset the NFPA Building Code (NFPA 5000) policy. Two new policies were approved. The first opposes the inclusion of provisions mandating the installation of firefighter air replenishment systems in building, fire and other national model codes for new and existing buildings. The second opposes provisions in national model building codes mandating the retrofit of automatic sprinkler systems in all existing buildings. 
During the Inclusive Membership Report, BOMA Senior Vice President Pat Areno announced that BOMA’s new Asset Management Series had a successful pilot run in early June and that the two-day, classroom course is now available for fall bookings. The first course in the series focuses on lease analysis, evaluation, negotiation and approval.

Chair of the Industrial Committee Eileen Lewis, RPA, FMA, BOMA/Greater Tucson, reported that BOMA was kicking off its first-ever Industrial Day at the annual conference with an education session, a roundtable discussion and a building tour of a LEED Gold industrial refrigeration building. Lewis also told delegates that BOMA is considering expanding BOMA’s Experience Exchange Report to include the collection of income and expense data for industrial buildings.

BOMA Vice President of Education and Meetings Amy Chisholm reported that the 2013 Medical Office Building Conference, held in San Francisco this past May, had a record-breaking 770 attendees with a conference program organized in four main categories: capital markets; compliance and regulations; leasing and management; and real estate strategies for hospital executives and health system executives.

BOMA Vice Chair John Oliver, BOMA Fellow, BOMA/Georgia, recapped the latest news from BOMA’s National Advisory Council, a program that continues to attract senior representatives of the nation’s largest commercial real estate firms. The most recent NAC Meeting in April featured a strong program on leading change, the economy, corporate workplace trends, effectively managing a mobile workforce, as well as a look at BOMA’s impact on federal legislation and regulations. The next NAC Meeting is scheduled for October 10-11 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Laura Ragans, RPA, BOMA/Orlando, chair of the Careers in Real Estate Taskforce, reported that new materials and tool kits for local associations were recently created to help establish local career outreach programs, and that 50 students and veterans participated in Career Day at the annual conference, which included a full day of networking, education and building tours. BOMA International worked closely with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to recruit veterans to the program.

During the International Region Report, BOMA Canada Chair Peter MacHardy told delegates that he looks forward to building an even stronger relationship with BOMA International as both groups learn from past successes and missteps and as BOMA International continues to strengthen its international programming and outreach. BOMA Canada increased its participation in the EER Survey in the past year and is looking at the possibility of introducing the BOMA 360 program into Canada.

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Nominating Committee Chair Lisa Hensley gave the Report of the Nominating Committee, followed by the official swearing in of the 2013-2014 BOMA International Officers:

Chair and CEO:  Richard W. Greninger, CPM, BOMA/Metropolitan Washington, DC
Chair-Elect: John G. Oliver, BOMA Fellow, CPM, BOMA/Georgia
Vice Chair: Kent C. Gibson, CPM, BOMA Fellow, BOMA/Utah
Secretary/Treasurer: Daniel W. Chancey, RPA, BOMA/Memphis

And the swearing in of the 2013-2015 Executive Committee Members:
Shane Baggett, CPA, RPA, BOMA/Dallas
Susan Engstrom, FMA, RPA, BOMA/Greater Phoenix
Cary Fronstin, LEED GA, RPA, BOMA/Ft. Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches
Scott O. Jones, BOMA/San Francisco (second term)
Sheldon Opperman, BOMA/Wisconsin