Kimberly A. DeFily, RPA, President
When news accounts of police-related violence against Black citizens shook the country, it was felt particularly hard by members of BOMA/Suburban Chicago. The first question members asked was, what can we do?
To that end, the Board of Directors published a statement condemning racism and advocating for change. In addition, the Board created a standing committee whose mission was to take the energy created by the recent tragedies and to use what had happened as a way for all of us to learn and grow.
As an association, we are committed to building a diverse organization that allows us to speak openly and to explore new ways to bring us together so that diversity, equity, and inclusion is embedded into the way we do business. BOMA/ Suburban Chicago aspires to build and promote an inclusive environment that fosters collaboration, teamwork, and innovation especially for our future generations.
This special edition of the Focus Newsletter is one small step toward opening up a dialogue about diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you would like to join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee or if you have questions or comments about the ideas expressed in the newsletter, I encourage you to contact Michael Mulcrone, Executive Director, at MichaelM@BomaSuburbanChicago.com.
CLICK HERE to download this special edition newsletter
The BOMA/Suburban Chicago membership would like to welcome and congratulate our newly elected board members who will take office on January 1, 2021. We invite you to read their biographies below to learn more about each board member.
Director (Regular) - two-year term
Jonathan Swindle, MBA
As the president of Waveland Property Group, Inc. and a long-time member of BOMA/Suburban Chicago, I am eager to contribute to the future of BOMA as we work towards maintaining the many strengths of the organization while looking for new ways to improve and grow. Waveland is based in Wheaton not far from where I grew up. After attending Wheaton College and studying philosophy and economics, I attended Pepperdine Law School In California. A professor encouraged me to go back to Chicago and becoming a commercial real estate broker instead of a lawyer. That was great advice.
Scribcor Capital in the Wrigley Building led me to Glenlake Capital in Evanston. In 2005, I started Waveland with the belief that the medical and financial sectors of real estate needed a team to focus on their facility management and leasing. I am very proud of the team I have brought together. We have managed and leased over 50 properties in the Chicago suburbs.
Having benefitted a great deal from my time on the Healthcare Committee, I look forward to taking on more tasks and responsibilities in the future. The Chicago Suburban real estate world is completely interconnected and BOMA has the goal of being the common denominator.
Director (Associate) - two-year term
Thomas R. Frye, MBA
Tom Frye is the Director of Business Development at Harvard Maintenance. With an MBA in Organizational Behavior, Tom has certifications in Strategic Thinking, Management Analytics and Change Management. Tom has been a dedicated BOMA/Suburban member for 10 years. He has worked extensively with the Emerging Leaders Special Interest Group, the Mentorship Program and volunteering for BOMA/Suburban Charity’s.
Tom has also been on the Membership Committee since 2011. He has been the champion for the Executive Industrial Circle and modifying the dues structure for Industrial Membership. He also drives the Executive Circle, bringing together industry leaders to help influence BOMA/Suburban efforts, resources, active participation and membership statistics. These efforts have increased BOMA membership by 54 new members since Tom took over as the Chairman. With natural attrition, that is greater than 106 new members in overall BOMA/Suburban Membership since 2016.
Tom Frye received the BOMA/Suburban Associate of the Year Award in 2018 along with the President’s Award. At Harvard Maintenance, Tom’s primary goal is focus on Cleaning for Wellness, Sustainability, Disruptive Innovation and positioning Harvard as a resource and partner to their clients. Tom believes the Real Estate Industry is in a difficult situation, and he believes BOMA/Suburban is the solution. He looks forward to contributing his education and experience to the BOMA/Suburban Board of Director’s!
Stormy Waters, Steady Ship: Leadership in Times of Crisis
By John Salustri
All times of challenge—no matter their nature—come with two basic leadership truths. First, they demand all hands on deck. Whether the crisis is regional, such as hurricanes or wildfires, or global, such as a pandemic, everyone on the team has to row together.
And therein lies the second truth about leadership. You can’t row together without a qualified team. Leadership in times of calm or chaos is as much about those being led as the ability of the leader to inspire.
"People on high-performing property management teams have landed there for a reason," says Randal Froebelius, BOMA Fellow, P.Eng, president and general manager of Equity ICI Real Estate Services, Inc. in Toronto. "They have the talents and the ability to accomplish what needs to get done in a crisis. With experience comes a certain level of instinct, knowing how to respond. I believe that members of our team that have worked with us for a certain amount of time understand what client expectations are, what our philosophies are on customer service, problem solving and leaving the client feeling like we’ve delivered on our value proposition."
"Having a team that has passion for what they’re doing, who shares the same focus that you do and understands your goals and vision is essential," agrees JLL’s Chicago-based general manager, Maggie Amaya, FMA, RPA. But, inspiring that passion takes a certain kind of leader. "Leaders should project honesty and confidence. Those are two of the things any leader needs in times of crisis."
Inspiration leads to engagement—critical always, but particularly in times of crisis, says Froebelius, who has served as chair of both BOMA/Toronto and BOMA Canada and currently serves as vice chair of BOMA International. While COVID remains top-of-mind for all property professionals, you can just add it to the list of today’s challenges that are part and parcel of commercial real estate.
For Froebelius, a defining career moment came when he became chair of BOMA Canada, an affiliate of BOMA International with 11 local associations of its own across the country.
"Part of my challenge in the role of chair was to continue to build the trust of the local associations," he recalls, "and ask their help in building a stronger, more cohesive bond between the local associations and BOMA Canada." Froebelius spent the better part of his term making a conscious effort to visit each of the local associations and build those relationships. By the end of that year, he continues, members across Canada were engaged in the creation of a strategic plan. "I’ve always felt it was a huge success." And, it was so, he says, because the local leaders saw the vision, and because he was unafraid to ask for help and "show some vulnerability."
Wait. What? Vulnerability in leadership? Absolutely, says Froebelius: "You have to be open to other points of view. Otherwise, you’ll never get buy-in from the people you’re trying to rally"
Boyd Zoccola, BOMA Fellow, agrees. "You have to be aware of what your weaknesses are and call in additional strengths," says the executive vice president of Hokanson Companies Inc. in Indianapolis. "That’s the time to surround yourself with people with different strengths than yours and then rely on them." And, he should know: Zoccola served as chair of BOMA International in 2011-2012.
What Froebelius calls vulnerability, Sandrena Robinson, BOMA Fellow, LEED Green Associate, calls empathy. "Empathy will guide a leader’s communication style during the worst of situations," says the general manager in the Denver office of LBA Realty. "People always respond better when they feel someone understands what they might be going through." And, when everyone is going through something together, it can be easier to relate.
LEADERSHIP IN THE TIME OF COVID
Of course, the socially distanced gorilla in the room is the ongoing—and often shifting—challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. "Wrong decisions can impact your team’s confidence in you," says Zoccola, and, amidst the ever-changing guidance from local, state and national regulators, all property managers face that risk. Avoiding it is trickier for smaller shops simply because "there are fewer people to serve as your sounding board."
While sifting through "information from all levels of government, the very best we can tell our team is that we value their safety above all else and that we continue to evaluate the situation," he continues. "We want our people to know that we’re constantly looking at what goes on around us and trying to make the best decisions for our team. As a regional firm, we take advantage of others’ white papers and research to help influence our decisions," including the guidance documents being released by BOMA International throughout the pandemic.
Clear communication throughout is key. "The changing protocols are not an indication of how we lead our teams," Zoccola adds. Even though two return-to-work dates had to be altered due to those changing protocols, "our staff knew we had their safety in mind, because we were communicating with them constantly."
Every crisis comes with its own set of rules, says JLL’s Amaya. But, the leadership traits that drive the team through successful management of this or any other crisis don’t vary by much. "COVID is different than a hurricane or fire," she says. "But, the skills to deal with the chaos are pretty much the same. You have to be decisive and take control of the chaos. You have to exercise caution and stay positive at the same time."
Zoccola has a different approach. "There are different types of leaders," he implies. "Just like the leader of a small business probably isn’t the right leader for a Fortune 50 company, the leader of a Fortune 50 company isn’t necessarily the right leader for a small company. In the same way, leadership in times of calm is a little different than when we’re in crisis."
That, he reiterates, is when managers need to surround themselves with talent and put ego aside. "You need to be willing to surround yourself with people who are as talented or more talented than you are. You see it all the time, where people who try to hold others down or hire B players because they don’t want to hire someone smarter than them. Throughout, you need to be clear and concise and close to the message until you see it’s not working. Then you change the course."
"It’s been said that you are only as good as your weakest link," Robinson adds. "If that’s the case, then a well-grounded leader and team will willingly lend the greatest support to the team member who might need it most."
There’s the implication there of the aforementioned need to row together, a culture of understanding that exists within the property management community, especially among team members who have logged any time at all in the profession. "An effective leader’s style should be predictable, respected and embraced by stakeholders," says Robinson. "People need to be comfortable with their leader—even if that includes knowing their weaknesses."
With experience comes understanding and, to use Robinson’s words, greater empathy. To that extent, the relationships built in times of calm will pay dividends when chaos erupts. After all, "we all have our badges of courage, our battle scars," Froebelius concludes.
About the Author:
John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, a national editorial advisory firm based in East Northport, New York. He is best known as the founding editor of GlobeSt.com Prior to launching GlobeSt.com, Salustri was editor of Real Estate Forum.
This article was originally published in the September/October 2020 issue of BOMA Magazine.
This article is brought to you by BOMA/Suburban Chicago's Emergency Preparedness Committee
Written By: Sara Baker, Business Development Manager, American Technologies, Inc.
Recently our attention has been dominated by the reporting of an ever-increasing number of hurricane related disasters along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts and the historic increase of wildfires burning along the West Coast. However, it’s good to remember that the Midwest is no stranger to extreme weather conditions itself. Those living in Illinois and the surrounding states have dealt with tornados, high winds, hail, ice storms, blizzards, and more for as long as humans have lived here.
Although many of us in the Chicagoland area tend to tough out the winter storms with a shrug and a bad joke like: “Hey, cold enough for ya, yet?,” the Midwest extreme weather events take their toll on buildings and the systems their operators have in place to protect the people who occupy them.
As we approach the winter months following typical (and increasing atypical) storms, and with “business as usual” upended by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for building owners and operators to properly plan for extreme weather events.
The good news is that CRE members don’t have to work in a vacuum when it comes to planning ahead. There are several, science-based disaster recovery firms that CRE members can partner with to implement new technologies in advance of weather events that help to mitigate future damage and losses.
For example, prior to catastrophic weather-related disasters, companies like Indoor Reality are employing 3-D scanning technology, to photograph and measure data for up to 200,000 square feet of a building’s interior space per day. The result is interactive and dynamic interior 3-D and 2-D models that establish every detail of that space and allow operators to take preventative actions where needed.
When there is a catastrophic storm, recent innovations such as drone, thermal imaging, and artificial intelligence technologies are now being deployed to accurately measure structure integrity while safely documenting any damages. The data outputs include moisture readings inside of structures and thermal differences in the exterior envelope of a structure to assist in damage assessments.
Whether it’s a blizzard, a flood, a fire, or some other disaster, being prepared greatly helps to reduce the size of your property damage or loss and is vital for protecting the lives of your most important assets; the people who occupy your properties.
To learn more about disaster preparedness for your property, please email: email@example.com
Written by: Paul Halm, MA, Security Supervisor, Nalco Water
“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign” - remember it? Well at least, some of us do. The hit song by the Five Man Electrical Band back in the ‘70s has taken on new meaning in recent months. Today, when companies are returning their employees back to work or planning to in the coming months, safety information about COVID-19 is vital. One effective method to protect and inform your tenants, guests and staff is with great signage.
By Jason Sowers
Developments in technology solutions for the security industry have had a positive impact on businesses, customers and employees – in more ways than one. By using manned guarding companies coupled with the latest technology solutions, it will help to improve the delivery of information regarding possible threats. I had the opportunity to interview a large security firm’s Chief Information Officer, regarding how the walls between physical security and cybersecurity are coming down, and how these formerly disparate worlds are converging.
Q: How do we operate effectively in an ever-increasingly complicated environment?
A: The answer is found in a holistic focus on the ecosystem. Today's safety and security ecosystems include lots of great tools like threat intelligence platforms, video analytics, access control systems, cybersecurity software, GPS-based patrol route management, and well-trained security professionals. Well-designed ecosystems of the future will shift the model from "detect and respond" to "predict and prevent." Enabling effective communication between an ecosystem's components is critical to maximizing efficiency and productivity and achieving the best safety and security outcomes. But communication isn't enough. We need to be able to see the "order" in what otherwise might seem like "chaos" because of the volume and variety of information.
Q: Where does artificial intelligence (AI) come in?
A: This is where the magic happens. One key challenge that future ecosystems face is enabling people and tech to work together effectively. We need AI that is not just smart like humans, but smart with humans. AI can enable efficient and effective cooperation between ecosystem components, including both tech and people. Such AI ensures the effectiveness of onsite security by reasoning over the information provided by all the different components and understanding not just what's likely to happen, but what to do to drive better outcomes.
Q: How are you currently utilizing AI?
A: Our AI driven product is able to transform data into actionable insights across a security ecosystem and then ensure they get actioned. This isn’t hype. Customers who use this product have seen, on average, over a 20% reduction in safety and security incidents through the use of AI. To generate the best outcomes, AI-enabled ecosystems need to be able to interface with all of a company's security systems and assets. Today that includes things like remote video feeds and video analytics data, crowdsourced security and great well-trained security professionals. Over time, the data sources will expand and begin to include information from IoT sensors, drones, robots, and more. Workflows today task our security professionals or client resources as appropriate via text and email. In the future, drones and other automation technology will be able to play a part and receive taskings and report results automatically. It's all about the ecosystem.
Q: What is the next phase?
A: It's clear that, as time goes on, the walls between physical security and cybersecurity will go away. The walls between people and technology will also come down. The best outcomes will come to those with an ecosystem that allows ALL the safety and security components to cooperate at light speed, thus taking advantage of the reasoning power of artificial intelligence. This is how we'll bring all the ecosystem's resources to bear in a way that drives better outcomes. We truly are on the cusp of a brave new world.
About the Author: Jason Sowers is a Business Development Manager at Allied Universal, a leading security and facility services company in North America with over 235,000 employees and revenues over $8.5 billion. www.aus.com
Brought to you by BOMA/Suburban Chicago's Emergency Preparedness Committee
SARS-CoV-2, otherwise known as the novel coronavirus, may place countless people’s lives in danger if not properly prevented or mitigated properly. The good news is that although the coronavirus is new, viruses are not. Experience with Ebola, norovirus, MRSA and other viral contagions have taught scientists, and those in commercial real estate (CRE) who combat viruses, quite a bit over the years.
As part of a demand response to novel pathogen and occupant wellbeing, CRE members have implemented necessary protocols to help ensure the safety of their people as their building’s greatest asset. Enhanced cleaning of high touch point surfaces is now common to daily scope of work. These enhanced procedures include CDC approved cleaning products, tools, technology equipment and processes to ensure overall efficacy of disinfection tasks.
Science-based disaster recovery companies are deploying added-value innovations for their residential, education and commercial clients that compliment traditional methods like EPA-registered chlorine or peroxide-based cleaners which are known to be highly effective against the COVID-19 virus and that are designed for disinfection of hard, nonporous surfaces.
“The industry is embracing newer technologies to supplement traditional ones.” Explained Scott Moore, EVP, Operations and Environment, Health & Safety at American Technologies, Inc. based in Anaheim, CA. “UVGI mobile room sanitizers, for example, work well to compliment other tools like hydrogen peroxide mist foggers for the disinfection of indoor environments.”
The application of UV-C energy to deactivate microorganisms is known as Germicidal Irradiation or UVGI. Artificial UV-C energy is produced in germicidal ultraviolet lamps that produce UV radiation by ionizing low pressure mercury vapor. These lamps are similar to typical fluorescent household lighting fixtures, but do not have the phosphorescent coating which imparts the soft white light. Ionized mercury emits a predominantly discreet wavelength of 254nm in the UV-C band, which is an ideal wavelength for destroying the DNA of single-celled organisms. Shutdown of an organism’s metabolic and reproductive processes result from the absorption of UV light, rendering it no longer pathogenic.
These new techniques go a long way toward making a building safer, but one of the biggest gaps that still needs to be filled for many building operators is the communication process. Notifying employees and tenants with customized action plans that are truly effective is typically a manual and arduous process. What’s more, many of those plans are housed on different computers and devices, making it hard to manage and find in a emergency situations.
Thankfully today, there’s an app for that.
Several companies have introduced mobile-based solutions. Companies like In Case of Crisis, a Crisis Management Application from RockDove Solutions based in Washington, DC, offer client specific “playbooks” complete with business continuity plans, evacuation maps, fire and flood safety information, and more, customized for each building and client.
The same types of apps are also useful on a daily basis in combating coronavirus. They offer options for daily COVID-19 check-ins so operators know who’s okay and who’s feeling sick and can take action before the virus spreads to others.
Whether it’s the coronavirus, a flood, a fire, or some other disaster, being prepared greatly helps to reduce the size of the loss and having a plan in place that all stakeholders can have access to is even more vital for saving lives.
Written By: Sara Baker, ATI Restoration
To learn more about disaster preparedness and virus disinfection services, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Safely Prepare for Re-Entry
by Tim Chimack, Rose Paving LLC
The COVID-19 outbreak has left many building owners feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place. After all, the mortgage doesn't care if your tenants can’t pay the rent because of Coronavirus.
It’s a bad situation for everyone but there are things commercial property managers can do to ease the strain on their tenants, limit their liability and prepare for a phased re-entry in the coming months.
Operational Guidance for Essential Businesses
While many tenants in commercial buildings are working from home, essential workers are still commuting to work and putting themselves at risk, which is why it’s important to maintain parking lots to accommodate these individuals and the increased curb-side customer traffic.
Parking Lot TrafficFortunately, you can ensure safe building operations, better protect workers, visitors and customers amid COVID-19 while your parking paving partners are hard at work performing repairs and maintenance to client properties.
Mobilizations/PhasesPhased re-entry is the buzzword nowadays but what does it mean for your property? It means that you will have a unique opportunity to perform essential work and repairs while your parking lots are vacant. No cars on the lot means work can be completed in less time, which adds up to enhanced savings down the road.
LiabilityNow’s also a terrific time to review your liability and fix those things you’ve been meaning to fix before you reopen for business and someone potentially gets hurt, like potholes, uneven concrete, faded lot marking and trip and fall hazards.
Peace of mindWith your lot repaired and your building prepared for safe re-entry, you can revel in something that few commercial property owners are likely to experience in the coming days, peace of mind. Knowing you’ve done everything you can to ensure the safety of tenants, customers and staff, you’re free to move ahead and get work extra done now while the schedule is more flexible. Trust us, once the economy reopens, the schedule to perform work will be less free and have a much longer turn-around time.
Guidance for Business Continuity During COVID-19
To best serve our clients during this time of crisis, we have compiled the following guidance measures for business continuity during COVID-19. Here you’ll find guidance on how to safely prepare commercial buildings for the safe return of tenants, building personnel, visitors, vendors and customers alike.
Commercial property managers will also find safety procedures and protocols to implement, update and/or enhance to ensure the safe operation of your commercial properties in the post-COVID-19 world.
InfrastructureSome paving companies are fortunate enough to have remained working during this pandemic but it’s not due to luck. Make sure your parking lot paving partner has a fully dedicated leadership team and staff work tirelessly to ensure that their IT infrastructure is sound, secure and able to function under the increased strain of staff working from home.
For a paving company, you’d think the emphasis would be on physical infrastructure but in this case, it’s the commitment to mobile and work at home IT functionality that enabled has enabled the innovative players to operate and serve clients during these trying times.
Working from homeLike many organizations, the successful parking lot paving companies have office personnel working from home, serving clients with the same efficiency and reliability as they always have, only now with greater commitment and perspective. It’s no longer about keeping clients happy. It’s about doing our part a professional service provider to ensure our clients can serve their staff and customers - essential workers and the medical professionals who patronize their businesses.
Social DistancingIn our business, it’s paramount to provide services that are performed outside in wide open spaces, typically roped off to the general public. This helps us practice social distancing and keep our crews and clients safe. As we move into the stages of phased re-entry, commercial property owners are reminded to not only practice social distancing but also implement measures that make social distancing easy and intuitive for staff and clients inside their buildings, like marking out where customers should stand with tape and installing sneeze guards between registers and customers.
PPEPPE is our favorite new acronym and now part of our everyday vocabulary. Make sure your parking lot paving partners are fully equipped with PPE to allow for safely meeting with clients on site; crews to perform work with ease so that staff can safely return to the office when the time comes. Taking every measure possible to ensure minimal contact and protect staff, crew and clients from the COVID-19 risk is a new top priority and your paving partner should have the proper measures in place to provide that assurance.
Though PPE is hard to come by and should never be hoarded, commercial property owners should still make sure they have enough PPE to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, and cross train their staff in the correct application, use and disposal of PPE equipment.
Reliable Information During COVID-19
For many commercial property owners, the Coronavirus was a wakeup call. Many woke up and realized that, in addition to the biological threat posed to their staff and customers, commercial property owners must also grapple with the economic threat to their business.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel and we can reach it if we stick together, stay apart and implement the measures that keep tenants, staff and customers safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic spread quickly across the United States in February and March, forcing cities to impose stay-at home anGetting Back to Work-Preparing Buildings for Reentry - revised 4-28-20.pdfd shelter-in-place orders. Building operations had to adjust as non-essential personnel worked from home. We are now preparing for a phased re-entry of office buildings over the coming months.
To provide guidance on building operations and workforce issues, BOMA International assembled a task group from across North America to help owners and managers plan for what is coming.
This document provides guidance for preparing commercial buildings for the safe return of office tenants, building personnel, visitors, vendors, contractors, and others, and identifies other operational and safety procedures and protocols that should be implemented, updated, or enhanced as we prepare to live and work in a post-COVID-19 world.
This is a framework for developing your individual property or portfolio plans. Information presented represents suggested best practices and procedures and identifies questions and issues you should consider.
CLICK HERE to view the entire document
Government Affairs CommitteeDebby Pyznarski, Chair
In an effort to keep our members well informed, the Government Affairs Committee regularly reviews news feeds, State and Local legislative initiatives, and other relevant sources to keep you up-to-date on issues that could impact you and your organizations.
1. “The first know COVID-19 wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Illinois. Named among the defendants is a landlord that owned and managed…”Click Here to read the entire article.
2. The Treasury Department and IRS just sent out some helpful guidance on the CARES Act that could impact your Net Operating Carryback Losses. In summary, the decrease in tax attributable to the net operating carryback loss is applied against 5 unpaid amounts of tax. Any remainder of the decrease is credited or refunded within the 90-day period. Please consult with your CPA or tax attorney for details.
3. When members of the Government Affairs Committee and Board of Directors were on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC earlier this year, we were asking for a fix to a “typo” in the 2017 Tax Law which reverted Leasehold Depreciation, now known as QIP (Qualified Improvement Property), from 15 to 39 years. The CARES Act fixed our ask! This is a BIG WIN for Property Owners. See: https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/economy/cares-act-expands-greatly-deductions-for-ti-retailers-and-restaurants-103833?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser&utm_source=outbound_pub_116&utm_campaign=outbound_issue_37777&utm_content=outbound_link_7&utm_medium=email
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