This year has flown by! For my final newsletter message, I’d like to highlight our 2016 accomplishments and thank those that were so instrumental in our success. I started the year with three key initiatives:
- Strengthen our partnership with UNLV –
We focused on cultivating our relationship with UNLV by collaborating on our signature Forecast event, providing input on the Advisory Council to the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies, engaging new student members and partnering in their mentorship program. Thanks to John Restrepo for coordinating the Forecast event as well as Matt Hoyt and the Membership Committee for working with the UNLV Lied Institute to recruit student members.
- Make diversity in NAIOP and commercial real estate an ongoing priority –
Throughout the year, we addressed the issue of promoting diversity and inclusion in our industry and within our organization. We worked directly with the leadership from the Las Vegas Metro, Urban, Latin and Asian Chambers in search of ways to better integrate their respective members in NAIOP. Our leadership met many times in 2016 with these groups to strengthen our business interests and discuss issues that we will be facing in the 2017 Legislative Session. The Chapter eventually participated in a panel discussion on commercial real estate for the Asian Chamber and we hope to continue partnering with such organizations in an ongoing basis. Special thanks to Sallie Doebler and John Ramous for championing this effort.
- Improve our governance structure to provide a better pathway for new talent to engage in our organization’s leadership –
We created the Governance Task Force, which engaged former chapter presidents/directors to reap the benefits of their historical knowledge and expertise. Their first task was to evaluate our board election process to achieve a better balance of institutional knowledge and new perspectives. The task force recommended: a) Bylaw changes that created board term limits for fresh perspectives while maintaining critical institutional knowledge; and b) A candidate selection system ensuring a leadership slate that balanced financial support, future leadership and individual effort, with an emphasis on Principal members. These changes and structured approach to election resulted in adding five new board members, including two new principals. The Task Force is now engaged to help us with our government affairs strategy.
We have made great strides toward my objectives as president, but what many members may not know are our very important achievements in government affairs:
- In 2016, with our economy on the mend, our State and Local municipalities began an aggressive campaign to look for means to refill their coffers. In most cases, these new regulations were at the expense of commercial development. We drove the effort of preventing the City of Las Vegas from enacting an onerous business licensing on property and business owners.
- We led the charge to mitigate the damage from the State Commerce Tax, passed in our 2015 legislative session, which treated the pass-through charges of property owners to their tenants as taxable income.
- Nearly 85% of land in Nevada is federally owned, and the BLM issued a Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) that would prevent commercial development in key industry growth areas for the next 17 years. NAIOP engaged the Theodore Roosevelt Institute, a community of scholars and professionals led by Alan Schlottmann, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, to outline NAIOP’s concerns in an official report. Our report was so effective in bringing this issue into light, that the Governor and the BLM halted the adoption of the RMP and are now in the process of redrafting the document to consider our input. This was a big win for NAIOP, real estate development, and economic growth and diversity for Las Vegas and positioned NAIOP as thought leaders in this area.
- We are currently leading the charge on preventing new legislation that will enact unreasonably high property taxation of commercial property owners.
In addition, our monthly programs and educational events were outstanding this year. Steve Neiger and the Education Committee did a fantastic job putting together the “Three Lawyers Walk into a Bar” series and any that were not at the final mock trial missed a great event! Our dedicated Programs Committee team also did a great job and I think this year set a new bar for quality of the monthly programs, speakers and topics.
NAIOP Southern Nevada could not have achieved any of these successes without the hard work and dedication of our all-volunteer members. I would like to recognize the tremendous efforts of our outgoing Board Members. Charles Van Geel – thanks for your support and mentoring; Sallie Doebler and John Ramous – your leadership in Government Affairs has made NAIOP a prominent organization in our community; Chris Larsen – Spotlight will not be the same without you; and Dana Berggren – the Programs Queen, great job!
NAIOP would not have been as successful this year if were not for the efforts of all of our committee chairs and volunteers. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all that you have done to move our organization forward and deliver immense value to our members. Cheers to a great 2016!