We’re at an extraordinary moment in history, dealing with a global pandemic that has completely upended our lives and businesses. It’s safe to say that it will likely be quite a while until we’ve returned to what we’d consider “normal,” as nearly every aspect of life just six short months ago has been fundamentally reshaped.
It’s during times like this that we have to prioritize what’s most important: people. Our families, communities and colleagues, teams and tenants — they are who matter, and their health and well-being is first.
I’ve been in this industry for more than three decades and can recall four major economic disruptions in that time. It’s human nature to panic a bit, and candidly, I did so myself when this all started. Processing this new reality, reflecting on my priorities, and realizing that this too will run its course helped me work through the gamut of fears and emotions.
I believe that being courageously vulnerable allows us opportunities to learn and grow. It also empowers us to take risks, cultivates an entrepreneurial spirit and prepares us for the next wave.
As an owner and investor, I’m experiencing the same professional challenges as many of you. We all need insights and guidance for the challenges and opportunities we’ll encounter in the near- and long term.
As NAIOP’s chairman this year, I’m proud that our organization is putting our members first by developing resources, knowledge and new opportunities when we need them most.
In April, NAIOP announced that it was opening its entire library of on-demand courses at no cost to members. This tremendous opportunity is vital for keeping ourselves and our teams up to date on both the fundamentals of our industry and the latest trends in development. In two months, we had more than 4,000 course registrations, and many individuals were able to earn a certificate of advanced study. Needless to say, this free course initiative was a key resource provided at just the right time.
The content developed specifically in response to the COVID-19 crisis has been vast, including this issue of Development magazine that was promptly assembled to provide the latest on the impact to our industry and expectations for recovery, and new studies by the NAIOP Research Foundation have provided meaningful insights. Whether you participated in a webinar, met new colleagues on a virtual roundtable, or simply kept up with it all through our Market Share blog, no doubt you looked to NAIOP as a leading, steady resource during this uncertain time.
Legislatively, our team has worked on the federal level for provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as well as in states and provinces to represent the industry and ensure that well-meaning actions don’t create unintended consequences.
The unfortunate cancellation of the I.CON conferences presented an opportunity to host I.CON Virtual, a completely digital conference in late June 2020, complete with keynotes and one-on-one networking.
I’d be remiss in not acknowledging the wonderful work of our chapters, which quickly pivoted to keep members connected online and worked so diligently to protect your businesses on the local, state and provincial levels. Our chapters introduced new events and approaches to keep members engaged in spite of the circumstances, while also making a difference in their local communities. I’d invite you to take a look at many of our chapters’ programs that are featured on www.naiop.org/covid19.
In closing, I want to thank our members for their support and involvement during the past few months. It’s heartening to see the association coalescing as we navigate the situation and strategize for what’s next. I’m confident we’ll emerge as a stronger, smarter industry, and I’m grateful to be part of it.
Larry Lance, Executive Vice President, Everwest Real Estate Partners
2020 NAIOP Chairman