CHICAGO—The Building Owners and Managers Association ofChicago has just elected T.J. Brookover,regional manager for AmTrust Realty Corp. inChicago, its new president. Along with a group of new officers,Brookover was elected at the association's recent 2014 AnnualMeeting held at the Ritz Carlton Chicago. Hesucceeds George Kohl, chief operating officer ofSterling Bay Companies, who just completed histwo-year term.

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“George's leadership and industry knowledge played an integralrole in elevating BOMA/Chicago and Chicago's commercial real estateindustry during his tenure as president,” says MichaelCornicelli, executive vice president of BOMA/Chicago. “Wethank George for his tireless dedication and contributions.”

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Brookover tells GlobeSt.com that his main job as president ofthe trade association will be to continuously ask “how can we helpcontain costs?” A recent report by MBRE found thatthese average combined tax and operating expenses have already hita six-year high of $14.24 per square-foot, an increase of 3.7%since 2012. Class A expenses hit $16.67 and classes B and C were at$11.88. “We are monitoring both of those closely.”

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Prior to his position with AmTrust, Brookover was the directorof property management for the John Buck Company.He also served as a senior vice president at ShorensteinRealty Services.

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BOMA/Chicago has had an active year. It came out against theproposed expansion of a Central Loop neighborhood improvementdistrict called SSA #1, which currently coversbuildings on both sides of State St., into the East Loop. Manybuilding owners in the area “did not see the benefits or the returnon investment on what they would be obligated to pay,” saysBrookover, “and BOMA supported their view.” The city eventuallydecided to retract the proposed expansion.

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Brookover also promises that the organization will continue tomonitor how the city implements its energy-benchmarking ordinance,which the City Council passed in 2013. BOMA/Chicago worked withKaren Weigert, the city's chief sustainabilityofficer, to craft the ordinance, which requires municipal,commercial and residential properties with more than50,000-square-feet to track their energy usage. But theorganization did oppose the requirement that buildings publiclyreport usage. “We're afraid that these scores can be misconstrued,”he explains, especially by those who don't understand all of thefactors that can impact energy consumption. The city is currentlycompiling data on the largest buildings, and the smaller ones willbe phased in.

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Another big focus over the next year will be the organization'ssmart grid initiative. Launched last year, participating buildingsget advanced smart meters and Internet-based data collection toolsthat allow owners to have real-time access to their buildings'energy use. On existing meters, it takes at least one day to getdetailed information. Brookover is a member of the organization'senergy and sustainability committee and has also played a pivotalrole in the initiative since its inception. They currently havethree buildings in the pilot and are either in negotiations orvarious stages of implementation with another five or six. Heexpects that buildings, based on a wide variety of factors, cansave 5% to 20% on energy use.

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“For us, it's all about getting information that is not readilyavailable,” he says. “Part of our association and industry'sstrength lies in the vast network of resources we possess, and wemust aim to leverage those relationships and resources to sparkinnovation and new economic opportunities for our members andcolleagues within the industry.”

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“As our association begins this next chapter under newleadership,” says Cornicelli. “I couldn't be more confident inT.J.'s ability to serve as the voice of our industry andpassionately advocate on behalf of our building and affiliatemembers that remain the lifeblood of Chicago's central businessdistrict.”

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BOMA/Chicago members also elected the association's vicepresident and treasurer. Robert Quast, vicepresident of property management for Lincoln PropertyGroup, was elected vice president and Lance D.Knez, vice president of property management forHines Interests, was elected treasurer. Inaddition, Betsy Traczek, principal and director ofproperty management for the John Buck Company, was elected to theassociation's board of directors. Traczek replaces outgoing boardmember Charles W. Wagener, withLillibridge Healthcare Services, Inc., who servedfor fifteen years.

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.