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A letter from IREM President Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM, C2EX, AHWD®

A look inside this issue of JPM

By Chip Watts IV, CPM, CCIM, C2EX, AHWD®
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IREM President Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM, C2EX, AHWD®

With the turning of our calendars to the autumn months, I’m thrilled to bring you this latest edition of JPM! As real estate managers, our goal of providing exceptional service to owners and tenants hasn’t changed. However, the tools that we can use to deliver that value are rapidly evolving, making it all the more critical that we keep ourselves up to date with breakthrough developments. The theme of this issue is technology, and there are few topics more relevant to the changing environment in which we operate.

When it comes to applying new technological developments to day-to-day real estate management, property technology (PropTech) is where the rubber meets the road. And while new buildings have the advantage of starting from scratch, owners of older buildings often encounter significant challenges when integrating cutting-edge PropTech into their properties. One example of a property that has faced these unique challenges is the District Center in Washington D.C. Read more to get an in-depth look at how a team of property managers from JLL helped one owner transform this aging office building into an award-winning, fully modernized smart building.

Speaking of modern, PropTech doesn’t get much more advanced than tying all these exciting smart-building technologies together into one centralized, intelligent platform—the digital twin. From gathering up-to-the-minute data to enabling scenario forecasting and predictive capabilities, creating a virtual representation of all the processes and data points at play in our properties can open up a whole new level of value creation. Read more about this technology’s potential.

From local operations to multinational corporations, virtually all real estate management companies rely on data centers in one way or another. Whether accessing cloud-based applications, processing financial transactions, storing data, or simply using email, a data center is likely out there somewhere in the world making it all possible. It’s no wonder then that this has become one of the fastest-growing property types, both in number and importance. Robert Fuller, CPM, offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the data center and the opportunities that this asset class presents for aspiring real estate managers.

Growing up as native users of the never-ending stream of new technology, the youngest real estate managers can bring their skills and expertise into the world of real estate. IREM places great importance on advancing the professional development of this next generation of real estate leaders. In this issue, we’re proud to present the 2021 IREM 30 Under 30. This year’s list recognizes 30 talented professionals from across the U.S., China, and South Africa who have shown exceptional leadership, talent, and community involvement and have demonstrated the ability to overcome formidable professional challenges.

This past year has tested us in many ways, but it’s the unceasing readiness to answer challenges that sets our members apart. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) has long been a central component of IREM’s organizational culture, and the Institute is more committed than ever to living up to the value we place on these principles. So, here’s an important question for us all to consider: How can we identify unconscious bias if it’s not actually conscious? For a great starting point on understanding unconscious bias and integrating anti-bias training into our organizations, read the DE&I column.

With such a great deal of confidence placed in us as real estate managers, we have an even greater responsibility to overcome the limiting effects of our unconscious biases. And whether it’s addressing these implicit obstacles within ourselves or seeking out specific technical solutions to explicit challenges like long-term sustainability, we’re called to face them when they arise and to remain proactive in our approach to overcoming them.

While I’ve enjoyed the summer as much as the rest of y’all, the arrival of fall means the 2021 Global Summit is just around the corner. So, if you haven’t already, be sure to register now, and I look forward to seeing everyone there!

the Journal of Property Management staff

Chip Watts, CPM, CCIM, C2EX, AHWD®, is 2021 IREM president as well as president and executive CPM for Watts Realty Co., Inc., AMO, in Birmingham, Alabama.

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