At Closing - A Chairman’s Role
By: Alex Klatskin, partner, Forsgate Industrial Partners
After 12 months as Chairman, my ride has finally come to an end. While I usually followed directions and kept my hands inside the ride at all times, occasionally there were sharp turns in the road. That is because, as Chairman, members asked me tough, direct and insightful questions.
It was only about 10 years ago that the role of Chairman was to travel around the continent and sprinkle knowledge about the national real estate markets to individual chapters. Today, all any member needs to do is to turn on their computer to find out information at a level of detail we never imagined. The role of the visiting Chairman is no longer to speak, but to listen. It is important that our Corporate headquarters knows what is going on in each chapter, and I was happy to participate in that communication chain.
There was the member who asked me why we were not doing more to make the real estate market better in his region. At first I thought it was an unusual and impossible request, but then realized that we were, in fact, working to do that. By encouraging policies at the State and Federal levels that enable real estate to recover, we were doing what he asked. Favorable legislative and regulatory policies that create jobs and enable development are the key to that success.
After a very busy year, Chairman Alex Klatskin passes the gavel to incoming Chairman Bill Hunt who looks forward to his leadership role in 2012.
There was the member who asked me why I would take on such a large volunteer position as Chairman when it did not pay anything. Actually, the remuneration I received from my term as Chairman was invaluable. I was able to travel around the country and listen to the concerns and successes of different members and learn the issues in their local markets. For me, it was an opportunity to examine dozens of case studies of real estate development and to take home some excellent examples of what to do, and in some cases, maybe what not to do.
And, of course, there were many members who asked me if I would like to stay an extra day and play golf with them. This one was not as tough a question, but had I said yes to all those requests, I might never have seen my family all year. I still appreciate the offer and hope some day to take them up on it.
I will always look back fondly on my time as Chairman and I encourage anyone interested in a NAIOP leadership position to pursue that goal at the corporate or chapter level. I have consistently believed that life is a series of decisions. The more good ones you make, the better the final score. I can certainly say that this decision that I made was one of the best.
Now that Bill Hunt has taken the reins, I am sure that he will be an outstanding Chairman. Bill is smart, personable and very motivated; these are characteristics we all look for in a leader.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve the organization.