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A letter from IREM President Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM

A look inside this issue of JPM

By Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM

IREM President Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM

We kick off this issue of JPM on the high note of multiple successful COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered around the world. An end to COVID struggles and a return to a normal state of affairs appears to be in sight, even if not yet fully in focus. This has no doubt been a historic period we’ve all gone through, but it’s certainly not the first time IREM has been faced with extraordinary challenges.

As we look toward the future, we draw on many of the past lessons IREM’s rich legacy offers. One of the key initiatives I want to emphasize during my term as IREM President is resilience, and what better way to put that into practice than by finding the silver lining during difficult times.

The theme of this edition is operating efficiency, which has always been a driving force behind IREM and is reflected in nearly every aspect of our professional development. It’s by enhancing the efficiency of our building operations that we, as property managers, can directly contribute to increasing the value we deliver to owners. The impact of restrictions on so many business activities has hit us all, so how well a team maneuvers these obstacles is precisely what can set IREM’s Certified Property Managers apart from the rest of the pack. This truly is a time for our members to shine.

The wide disparity in the number of additional, unbudgeted expenses that property managers have elected to take on based on their chosen approach to addressing peak COVID-19 safety concerns will likely have a wide-ranging impact on 2020’s yearly performance assessments. Thankfully for IREM members, maintaining building health and wellness are not new concepts, but core competencies explored in IREM learning. Read about the rising urgency surrounding building wellness as we try to find solutions with both immediate and long-term results in the “Health and happiness” feature.

Sustainability, too, has long been a topic on property managers’ minds. Sustainable buildings are more resilient and able to adapt to short-term adversities—including viral pandemics—which ultimately represents a more secure long-term value for investors. While 2020 imposed a great deal of uncertainty on us all, it’s reinforced the significance of always working toward improving the sustainability of an asset’s operations. The feature on Brookfield Properties’ retail group offers an insightful look into how one company’s portfolio reflects this growing trend.

The jarring arrival of COVID-19 has brought with it many opportunities for reflection and revision. After consultation with the Executive Committee, IREM leaders made the decision in April 2020 to pause production of the existing Income/Expense (I/E) Analysis Reports, and to instead focus on redesigning a new and enhanced product. The end result? A silver lining: an entirely digital I/E Analysis benchmarking solution for real-time analysis and decision-making. For an overview of the brand new I/E portal, check out the Committee Central column.

As we come out of this pandemic and focus on new ways of doing business, it’s also the perfect occasion to stop and reflect on the rich history of IREM and how much we’ve grown as an institution. In 1945, IREM leaders and members debated formalizing the certification of professionalism at the company level versus the individual level. One proposal was to enable both companies and individuals to achieve IREM certification.

Thanks to this compromise, the Accredited Management Organization (AMO) program was born. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the AMO program, and in a special commemoration, we take a look back at how far the program has come and where it’s (already) going.

While wrapping up this issue of JPM, we sadly learned of the passing of former IREM President Gene Burger. Gene was a true leader within IREM, and you can read about his life and impact in a tribute to his legacy.

There’s no time like the present, and as the prospects for meaningful recovery from the economic downturn and global pandemic finally come closer to reality, we can all be grateful that the high tides are finally receding. I’m proud to be serving IREM and all our members during such a pivotal period in our real estate career journeys, and I look forward to updating all y’all with even more encouraging news in the next edition of JPM.

W.A. “Chip” Watts IV, CPM, CCIM
IREM President

Journal of Property Management

Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM, is 2021 IREM president as well as president and executive CPM for Watts Realty Co., Inc., AMO, in Birmingham, Alabama.

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