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A letter from IREM President Barry Blanton CPM®

A look inside this issue of JPM

By Barry Blanton, CPM®

Barry Blanton, CPM®

Greetings, friends—let’s talk tech, the theme of this issue. It’s tempting to jump at the new, hot item when investing in technology for our properties, especially when a problem needs a solution. But just because a tech product is brand new doesn’t mean it will be great. That’s why the tech advancements we’ve made in just the last couple of years, in the face of some of the most professionally challenging times we’ve ever experienced, have been so extraordinary. It’s been exciting to see it all unfold!

Since 2020, investments in property management technology have increased dramatically. Real estate managers adopting the best of the new Proptech offerings are enjoying these solutions’ financial and operational benefits. In one feature, Ashkán Zandieh, chair of the Center for Real Estate Technology & Innovation and podcast host who invited me as a guest for an episode this past May, presents an exciting snapshot of the growing industry and the top new trends in Proptech you should be aware of.

With all the super cool advances in technology we’re seeing for our properties comes a new dimension of risk that deserves our attention: cybersecurity. For real estate managers, the danger of a cyberattack is no longer hypothetical—and no, your organization is not too small to be a target of hackers. Read about what we should all be doing to better protect our systems and data.

Tech pushes us to evolve as managers, but traditional market forces have a way of shaping our roles as well. We’ve all heard the doom-and-gloom predictions for brick-and-mortar retail. But not so fast! As long as retail businesses and those of us managing retail properties are willing to adapt, the retail industry won’t just survive, it’ll thrive. Mindy Gronbeck, CPM®, CSM, CRX, shares her insights and gives us a look at success stories that show how retail is evolving in the wake of the pandemic.

Another form of adaptation is learning. In support of lifelong learning, the Institute now offers a shorter route to adding an IREM achievement to your resume: the IREM Skill Badge. And we’re thrilled to offer a first-of-its-kind diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) skill badge created specifically for the property management professional. By the end of this year, IREM will have eight skill badges on offer. IREM Education and Knowledge Products Committee Chair Jessica Warrior, CPM®, details these new learning opportunities and how the committee is continuing to aid managers in building up their skills to meet the challenges of the day.

One of the many topics covered in the new DEI Skill Badge curriculum is bias. As human beings, some degree of bias in all of us is inevitable. It’s part of how our brains have adapted to make quick decisions based on minimal information. Automation through technology is emerging as a potentially groundbreaking tool to help us overcome human limitations. Get an in-depth look at how technology like machine learning and AI are simplifying residential leasing and making the process fairer and more equitable.

And finally, we revisit another era of technology and say goodbye to a former IREM President, who in the 1980s helped bring desktop computing to IREM’s business operations. Ron Harris, CPM®, was a leader known for his conscientiousness as a property manager and IREM volunteer, along with his dedication to IREM education. You can read about his life and contributions to our profession in a tribute to his legacy.

We’re accomplishing great things at IREM, and I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to represent all of you as 2022 President. It’s been a joy meeting fellow IREM members and industry professionals in person and virtually. The 2022 Global Summit in Dallas is right around the corner—make sure to register now so we can look forward to seeing you there!

Journal of Property Management

Barry Blanton, CPM, is the 2022 IREM president as well as a founding principal of Blanton Turner, AMO, in Seattle, Washington.

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