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A legacy online

IREM celebrates the recent expansion of its digital JPM archive

By Journal of Property Management staff
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IREM is thrilled to share that our online archive of past issues of the Journal of Property Management now extends back to 1968. This 50-year expansion was made possible by a recent contribution of a collection of original hard copies, covering nearly every issue from the late 1960s through the present day. IREM has digitized this generous donation and is proud to make it available for your reading pleasure. And soon to come, the archive will even feature several extremely rare editions dating back to as early as mid-1945.

JPM has been published as a bimonthly journal since 1966, but its legacy extends far beyond that. Even before IREM was officially chartered in 1934, the first issues of The Journal of Real Estate Management (now the Journal of Property Management) were being printed as a quarterly publication. From the very beginning up through the present day, JPM has been a highly respected academic journal, and it remains an invaluable tool for real estate management professionals.

Spanning half a century and more than 250 issues, what remains constant throughout the pages of our digital archive is the importance of people and relationships; our IREM members have always been there managing to make a difference every step of the way. Spend some time browsing through the catalog and flip through the pages of real estate history as chronicled by the Journal of Property Management. From bumper years to historic market challenges and everything in between, JPM has always kept the IREM community informed on the state of the industry and helped advance the profession.

Some of the topics and images (especially the advertisements!) might strike a familiar chord as a fad from a time long since passed. Others will leave you amazed at just how prophetic our members have been as industry leaders. You can read about the growth of new product types like large shopping centers, the personal computer revolution, the migration of real estate to the internet with the dawning of the information age, and even the steady increase in the role of ESG as a staple of real estate best practices.

1980 President E. Robert Miller, CPM, CIPS, ACD, CMC, CFLC

And who does IREM have to thank for this newly expanded digital archive? The valued member who made this possible by contributing his collection of JPM issues is none other than 1980 IREM President E. Robert Miller, CPM, CIPS, ACD, CMC, CFLC. Seeing Miller’s extensive collection all stacked together in two massive boxes at IREM Headquarters, it was impossible not to wonder if he’d really kept up with reading edition after edition. Fortunately for us, Miller was kind enough to share his time and offer his reflections on what JPM has meant to him throughout the years. “Did I manage to read through every issue? You bet I did!”

Starting somewhere

Miller graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1951 and has gone on to have a career in real estate management that spans more than 50 years. He has managed over 27 million square feet of commercial space and over 80,000 residential units. But he didn’t start at the top.

Coming out of the Army after serving in the Korean War, Miller went into business with his father and got his first taste of real estate by managing a handful of small properties. Clicking with the role right away, “I thought this could be a real career path for me,” he says. “But my problem was that I didn’t know how to manage properties. When I first got started in real estate in the late 1950s, I didn’t know anything about IREM or what a CPM was. Sure, I knew that I would collect rent from tenants. But nobody would assign me anything beyond the simplest properties because I didn’t have the necessary experience.”

He recalls thinking to himself, “Gosh, I wish there were something out there that could direct me on how to be a professional property manager. And lo and behold, I somehow got my hands on a copy of the Journal of Property Management. What a godsend that was for me. It was that first copy of JPM that really set the direction of the rest of my career path.”

And the rest is history. Miller soon joined IREM, and in 1962 he became a CPM.

Since then, Miller has had a prolific career in real estate. His résumé reads like a road map from entry-level to industry icon. “But the more I got into the business, the more I needed to have something to rely on besides just the newest edition of Principles of Real Estate Management,” he says.

“I held onto all of those journals because they were reference materials. Through the years, every time I had a problem, I could look through my issues of JPM for guidance on everything from maintenance and leasing to rent collection and staffing; using long-distance management versus local management; safety and security, even specific forms and documentation. It was through JPM that many of us first became aware of ancillary income opportunities by reading about what other property managers were doing.”

An IREM leader

Since becoming a CPM, he has received awards such as Wisconsin Property Manager of the Year, taught as an IREM instructor and university lecturer, and served on IREM boards and committees. He even made numerous contributions to IREM as an author of books and JPM articles, including one article that received the award for Most Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Real Estate Management.

Miller went on to serve as IREM president in 1980. “All the past presidents before me were outstanding people who were really involved with the Institute,” he says. “They wrote books for IREM, they traveled to meet with local chapters—this helped set the path for my own term.”

At that time, membership was still predominantly male, and he used his time as president to try to change that. “In addition to being involved with launching the ARM certification, my main goal in 1980 was to help bring more women into our organization,” Miller says. “We wanted to make sure there was an opening for women to enter the real estate management profession, and we thought that IREM could serve as that entry point.”

A gift to IREM

Miller was inducted into the IREM Academy of Authors in 1982. His focus gradually shifted away from actively managing properties. Since 1996, he has primarily served as an expert witness in the field of property management law, where he has been retained in more than 1,400 cases. But he has continued to contribute to JPM even as recently as the November/December 2007 issue, when he served as a source for an article titled “Expert Opinion: Expert witness work offers challenges, rewards.” To nobody’s surprise, that JPM article was extremely well received and was quickly picked up and reprinted by five other industry publications.

Looking back on the role that JPM played in supporting the growth of professionalism in the industry, Miller stated without hesitation: “JPM was the lifeblood of a property manager.”

He still reads JPM to this day. But when it recently came time to relocate offices, the question came up of what to do with those heavy boxes containing his JPM collection.

“I’ve held on to all these copies for so many years because of how valuable they have been to me and my career,” Miller says. “Now that they’re available online, I’m so pleased that IREM has found a way to share that same value with the rest of the industry.”

the Journal of Property Management staff

Written by Journal of Property Management staff

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