NEW YORK CITY-Wayne D’Amico, CCIM, has spent the past 26 years working in commercial real estate and is now a senior advisor for New York City-based Lance Capital. In addition, D’Amico served as 2013 president of the CCIM Institute, a National Association of Realtors affiliate that offers commercial real estate education and services to professionals around the globe. In this Q&A, he discusses the recent evolution of the CCIM Institute and why its programs appeal to top companies such as GE, pricewaterhousecoopers and Walmart Realty.

What is CCIM Institute?

D’Amico: CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member. The Institute proffers the CCIM designation to commercial real estate professionals who’ve completed a rigorous program and evidenced mastery of the core content: fundamentals of investment and market analyses of commercial real estate. The program also includes a variety of non-designation courses that appeal to allied professionals as well as brokers. We have 56 local chapters in the U.S., including a strong group in New York.

What types of firms are recruiting CCIMs and utilizing the CCIM education program?

D’Amico: Over the past 15 to 20 years we’ve evolved from a supermajority of brokers to what’s now getting close to a 50/50 split of non-traditional brokers and professionals in the business. Our members and instructors work for some of the largest real estate firms in the world, including Jones Lang LaSalle, Colliers International and Cushman & Wakefield. And the latest growth has been in working with the lenders: the Mortgage Bankers Association and working down into the local MBA organizations. The likes of J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America also see huge value in the organization, not only in the value that the CCIM perspective gives to underwriters and people involved in deals on the lending side, but also in the networking. When it comes to corporate, we’ve seen GE Capital and pricewaterhousecoopers ramping up their use of the education program. And Walmart Realty has been very active for several years.

Why are these firms interested in the program?

D’Amico: The material is the foundation. Students learn the concepts of cash-flow analysis and market analysis, which means understanding trends in marketplace demographics and whether they indicate demand, and, if so, what kind of demand. Those two core principles are what we train people in. And then we look at it from two perspectives: the user perspective and the investor perspective. The user perspective helps students understand lease vs. buy analyses. For investors, the question is: of multiple investment alternatives, what are my best choices and why? So students evaluate the projects and arrive at the best possible scenario for the investor.