Day 1, 285. If I’m right, that every month has felt like a year, I’m not too far off. We’ve entered the twilight zone of the pandemic and it is anyone’s guess as to how and when this ends. The energy it takes to embrace this disruption in our lives is enormous because it affects every part of our lives. We didn’t create it and we can’t control it. So we do the only thing we can do, we move forward and we figure out how to live with the changes it has had on our lives.. That’s not a bad thing.
I recently read an article on the path of change that states, “Change is not part of the process, it is the process.” It goes on to describe the seven stages of change and how our lives are always in one of these stages. We may bump along for years in a relatively balanced, “status quo” kind of life, and then we experience a “wake up call” that presents us with feelings of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and bewilderment. While we might find it comfortable to remain in denial and resist what is happening around us as long as possible, life teaches us that the best thing we can do is to let go and embrace the change. We can’t sidestep it, we have to go through it to get to the other side. It is only then that we can begin to heal, to see hope and redefine our purpose so that we’re open to the new opportunities that change has brought with it.
The pandemic was our wake-up call. It has pushed us to find creative solutions to deal with the weak links in our supply chains, to realize that “just in time” inventory may not work for all products and “safety inventory” may need to be accommodated, to consider new technologies that allow for vertical storage and reduce the amount of land needed for warehousing, to design distribution centers that can be located closer to residential neighborhoods and accommodate the rapid acceleration of E-commerce that now accounts for 35-40% of all retail transactions, to right size our retail centers, to focus on the well being of employees and their health as well as the cleanliness and safety of our office buildings, to reflect on the organizational structure of our companies and create ways to advance diversity in our workforce and leadership, and finally, to have a conversation about systemic racism, bias, and discrimination, so that we can figure out how to go forward in a way that strengthens our communities and blends our talents.
I’m proud that our local chapter has embraced the times we live in and in this process, discovered new opportunities and talents previously unrealized. Our Executive Director, Katrina Bruce, became our resident Zoomologist in order to virtually host all committee and board meetings and breakfast programs on a monthly basis (I understand the power of the mute button is not to be underestimated). The Programs Committee has continued to produce virtual breakfast programs with interesting and relevant content that have attracted hundreds more viewers than have ever participated in-person and given us the opportunity to expose non-members to the benefits of our organization. The Spotlight Committee aired its first virtual awards ceremony producing the entire event in a studio with a “green screen”, incorporating celebrity cameos and light-hearted sketches to make it a fun event worth tuning in to. It also helped launch my first kazoo tour of the U.S. I have a manager. It’s not going very well.
Not to be underestimated, the membership, community service, education, bus tour, and golf committees have all continued to operate effectively implementing new ways to connect, contribute, and put on events that make us smarter and happier. And the Government Affairs Committee, through our lobbyists Jon Leleu and Kerrie Kramer, led the way to eliminate our industry’s involvement in the evictions mandate included in Governor Sisolak’s first directive — a significant accomplishment that will help all commercial landlords negotiate more effectively with their tenants. The GA committee also managed the update of the Land Study, commissioned by the Board of Directors and prepared by RCG Economics, that warns of the shortage of land for commercial development in the Las Vegas Valley and the negative effects this will have on our economy. Just last week Michael Brown, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, requested a copy of the study for the Governor’s Recovery Program that will be discussed in the upcoming special session of the state legislature. We expect that this study will provide state and federal legislators justification for earmarking additional land for commercial use around the valley.
In the midst of change we are charging ahead, redefining our purpose, and preparing to meet the challenges that come our way. Let’s continue to figure this out together. Our game is strong!
In good health,
The Howard Hughes Corporation
NAIOP Southern Nevada President