SIOR President Terry Smith is partnering with SIOR for its Spring World Conference May 1-4 in Palm Desert, CA. SIOR LIVE will provide coverage of the event until May 15, featuring pre-event articles, live video interviews on site and post-conference analysis.

When Terry Smith isn’t serving his time as president of SIOR and the duties that go along with attending functions around the world, he is an executive vice president and partner in Colliers International‘s Nashville office, specializing in the industrial sector. Smith spoke with about what incoming president Mike Hillis should expect from his year-long tenure, how he expects next week’s conference to perform and his thoughts on the industrial market. As outgoing president of the organization, what advice would you give to Mike Hillis?

Terry Smith: It’s been very rewarding because it’s so gratifying to see all of our chapters, the members, the quality of our chapters and the work that the members are doing and the events. We have some events that chapters have been doing for 60 years. The power of the brand is just amazing. I wish all of our members can see what I am getting to see. It sounds like he’ll probably rack up some frequent flyer miles as well?

Smith: I really have! I’m in the office today, but Monday I’m in London all next week. That’s the thing that is so exciting. Our brand is an international brand. A few weeks ago I was in France at the MIPIM event, and we have a huge presence there now. People who know who SIOR is, and we had some presentations and speaking opportunities, and those were great. It’s pretty exciting to see where SIOR is and where we are headed. Where are you guys headed and what is the next step the organization needs to take?

Smith: We’ve always been the premier brand inside the States, but we are becoming the premier brand around the world, and people understand that if you go to an SIOR you’re going to the very best person in that market, a person that has quite a bit of experience. They know what they’re getting, and it’s great to see the excitement about the brand in Europe right now. What will be different about the show this year as far as what people will be talking about?


Smith: There is quite a bit of optimism. With my travels across the country, everyone is pretty optimistic about where we are headed. In Toronto they have more cranes than I have ever seen. I go to California, and they are celebrating $2.35 billion worth of business between 20 brokers. I go into Los Angeles, and they absorbed nine million square feet of industrial space last year. Everywhere is pretty optimistic. It’s pretty exciting that we’re doing what we’re doing despite what is going on in Washington DC right now. Is there anything new about the conference that you want to highlight?


Smith: It’s going to be an awful lot of fun. We have a new event on Friday night that’s new called “Motorcycles and Mayhem” and at that event we’ve got a member who is going to bring his band. We’ve also got a big group that have rented Harleys for the day. It will be fun and a great event. And our numbers keep rising and our attendance keeps going up, which tells me that things are improving everywhere. You’re an industrial specialist. How is that sector doing right now?

Smith: I’m very optimistic about it. If you look around the country and the absorption numbers we’ve had…just look at what did last year, over nine million square feet inside the states. They’re also doing the same thing in Europe. You start looking at retail sales, and it’s on 6% or 7% right now, and they’re doing the kind of expansion that is pretty exciting. Vacancies rates and declining, and cap rates are going down, so investors are pretty excited about the industrial market.