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PORTLAND-Schnitzer Investment Corp., owner of some 9 million sf in the Western United States, added two non-family members to its board of directors this month for the first time in its history. The locally based, family owned real estate property investment and development company says it will diversify the board’s expertise in the face of changing times, socially and economically. Schnitzer owns nine million sf of buildings in the Western United States.

One of the new board members is Richard Cantlin, a partner with Perkins Coie involved with the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and the Anglo-American Real Property Institute. The other is Rey Ramsey, CEO of Washington, DC-based One Economy Corp., a former director of Oregon’s Department of Housing and author of the upcoming book “Managingingnonprofits.org” (John Wiley & Sons).

“Appointing non-family members to the board of a family-based business is somewhat unusual,” says Schnitzer President Ken Novack, “but having our board take this step is really consistent with how Schnitzer has always been open to looking at diversified market opportunities and creative joint ventures and business partnerships to generate successful activities.”

Novack goes on to say that, “while the Schnitzer board has been able to draw on the substantial commercial and industrial skills and experiences of its current members, both Dick and Rey will bring to our board additional and different professional strengths and personal visions of how business must change to adapt to the economic and societal transformations we’re now witnessing.”

One of those transformations is occurring in real estate transactions. Novak agrees with industry observers who say transactions are significantly more complex and often more contentious, in terms of tenant needs or tenant lease or seller purchase requirements, lender financial requirements and the “public policy initiatives often imposed on new developments.”

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