NEW YORK CITY-For Wayne D’Amico, senior advisor at Lance Capital LLC here and principal of Wayne D’Amico & Co. Inc. in Essex, CT, being elected 2013 president of the CCIM Institute is the logical culmination of an involvement with the organization that began two decades ago. A 1989 graduate of New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, D’Amico tells GlobeSt.com that he identified CCIM early on as a way to obtain education that supplemented what he learned at NYU.
Beginning with his involvement in the governance of the local CCIM chapter in Connecticut, D’Amico began seeing the organization’s real value when he met fellow designees at national gatherings. “I found myself in rooms with all sorts of practitioners from around the country,” he recalls. “Some were street brokers in secondary markets; others worked for the major companies in major markets and others were corporate real estate executives. That’s when I started to appreciate the opportunities that CCIM presented: to not just do what you do in your market or career path specifically, but also to create opportunities by expanding those horizons to the entire field.”
Having rebounded from the industry downturn that set in over the course of 2007 and 2008, in the process hiring Henry White Jr. as CEO in 2010, the organization has been expanding its own horizons in recent years. “CCIM was originally sort of broker-centric; our books took some of the earliest understandings of IRR and FMIRR to the level that they are today,” D’Amico says. “But we have evolved; about 40%-plus is now non-traditional brokers.
“We saw the opportunity to work with that growing, diverse membership group, which is everybody from appraisers to property managers, but also the institutional asset managers,” he continues. “We’ve got Brandywine Realty Trust, TIAA-CREF and Liberty Property Trust in our ranks. We have corporate real estate within Walmart and Walgreens; we have the General Services Administration and GE Capital. Those are where we see the growth opportunities, but also a nice complement to our organization and membership.”
Growth outside the US has also presented opportunities. “We’ve had success in delivering our education worldwide over the past seven or eight years; we have CCIM designees in more than 30 countries,” says D’Amico. “We have programs in Poland and Russia. We’re in China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, and we do very well.” There are more than 1,000 CCIM designees outside the US, he adds.
As international markets have offered opportunities to expand CCIM’s reach, the organization has trained its sights on how to maximize that potential. “Is the opportunity that people around the world want to know how we do it here in order for them to do it here, or is it that they want to know how we do things so that they can do them over there?” D’Amico asks. “Our mindset has been, ‘let’s bring our talents and resources and tools to these markets that are emerging,’ and clearly that has been accepted. When you tweak, say, the tax codes and other things that are peculiar to that nation, you can create a very capable practitioner in the other country.”
The sluggish rebound from the global recession continues to offer challenges as well as opportunities for CRE, but D’Amico thinks CCIM practitioners are especially well equipped to handle both. “When you’re moving along at 1% to 2% growth, it almost feels like the train’s not moving,” he says. “From our standpoint, though, when you see transactions and understand market activity the way we’ve been trained as CCIMs, it gives you the ability to bob and weave.”
For suburban office brokers, for example, “there hasn’t been a lot of activity there in the past couple of years,” D’Amico says. “So do you continue to bang your head against the wall, or do you look to where the activity is? Maybe in that same marketplace, they’ve seen a little more activity in, say, industrial. If you’re in retail, there are users out there that clearly are into expansion: the home improvement stores, for example. When you’re a CCIM, you look at those factors, no matter what the economy is, and try to move what you’re doing to the area that’s active.”