NAIOP's 2018 Developing Leaders Award Recipients Talk Tech Tools and Trends

Winter 2018/2019 Issue
By: Marie Ruff
2018 NAIOP Chairman Jim Neyer, left, with NAIOP’s 2018 Developing Leader Award recipients Christopher Drzyzga, Matt Milich, Cassie Catania-Hsu, Colleen Wevodau, Kate Nolan Bryden, Jessica Kimble and Matthew Mitchell at CRE.Converge in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 2018. At right is NAIOP President and CEO Thomas J. Bisacquino.

CRE disruptors to watch include smart contracts, robotics, big data, autonomous vehicles, 3-D imaging and more.

DURING THE NEXT decade, emerging technologies will dramatically reshape commercial real estate as we know it. Big data analytics, blockchain, autonomous vehicles and other innovations could become integral components of everyday real estate projects and transactions, according to industry experts.

NAIOP invited the seven recipients of its 2018 Developing Leaders Award to offer their outlooks on which emerging technologies they anticipate will have the greatest impact on commercial real estate. The Developing Leaders Award winners were honored in October at NAIOP’s CRE.Converge 2018 in Washington, D.C., in recognition of their outstanding  professional accomplishments, strong leadership and community involvement.

Kate Nolan Bryden
Vice President of Development, MRP Industrial LLC
NAIOP Maryland

“Big data and autonomous vehicles are poised to make the greatest changes to commercial real estate over the next 10 years. It seems possible that as the autonomous vehicle technology is tested and refined for both personal and commercial vehicles, parking could be treated as its own asset class or as a commodity rather than a per-building requirement. I’ve read that several large retailers already use big data to determine and market viable site locations — utilizing that for industrial development could help justify new or emerging areas that a traditional search might overlook, especially given the typical footprint requirements.”

Cassie Catania-Hsu
Managing Director/Broker, Sun Commercial Real Estate
NAIOP Southern Nevada

“Two areas come to mind: deal process management and marketing. Any technology that enables transactions such as leasing or sales to run from anywhere in the world will help advance deals and open doors to more prospects. Additionally, new technologies in marketing will broaden the potential target market profile. Prospects will be able to view properties online and from mobile devices at any time that is convenient for them, such as the comfort of their own home, car, etc. Drone videos, 3-D imaging, virtual reality, 360-degree images and multiple listing platforms will continue to drive how properties are marketed.”

Christopher Drzyzga
Vice President, Voit Real Estate Services

“Blockchain is going to change our entire industry. For example, ’smart contracts‘ will automatically verify, execute and enforce a contract while removing common risks such as unauthorized changes, fraud, server failure or non-compliance of the terms in the contract. Blockchain will impact everything from tracking and maintaining market data, the transaction process itself (LOIs, underwriting, contracts, etc.), how building systems communicate with one another and even how tenants pay rent.”

Jessica Kimble
Attorney, Member, York Kimble Law, PLLC
NAIOP North Carolina Piedmont Triad

“Blockchain is most likely to have the greatest impact on the CRE industry as a whole, based on its potential to change so many different areas of commercial real estate. Emerging mapping technology also has the potential to transform several areas of the industry, including the ways in which brokers identify and market CRE, and the analysis process for investors in finding profitable deals.”

Matt Milich
Director, investments, Brasa Capital Management

“It is hard to overestimate what a difference in our lifestyle and built environment autonomous vehicle technology will make. When Level 4 or 5 autonomous driving becomes available, I’ll be able to live in North Malibu, work in Los Angeles and sleep through the drive to Salt Lake City for a family vacation. Every sector of our business will be impacted and myriad challenges will come along with the new conveniences the technology will provide.”

Matthew Mitchell
Senior Vice President of Industrial, Westfield Company, Inc.
NAIOP Colorado

“Without a doubt, the largest game changer on the horizon for the distribution of consumer goods is going to be driverless trucks. When you remove the one- to two-day drive time considerations and maximum time a single driver can be on the road in a 24-hour span, distributors are going to have to create an entirely different playbook on both their need for space and where it is located.”

Colleen Wevodau
Senior Manager, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
NAIOP Northern Virginia

“Robots as they start to become highly utilized. I know in my industry we are already utilizing robotic process automation to help streamline tasks, which ultimately reduces cost and staffing time. I believe the technology will first be implemented in daily office activities and eventually will make it onto the actual development site.”


Marie Ruff is the communications senior manager with NAIOP.