This summer, NAIOP members and staff will say farewell to longtime president and CEO Thomas J. Bisacquino. After leading the organization for more than 30 years, he will begin a well-deserved retirement.
His extraordinary leadership has successfully steered NAIOP through not only the ups and downs of the commercial real estate market, but also natural disasters, 9/11 and a global pandemic. Over the past three decades, he grew NAIOP from a small trade association to one of the largest and most influential real estate organizations in North America.
For this issue, we asked many longtime friends of NAIOP to reflect on Tom’s contributions. As you will see, he is a man of impact. Thank you and we wish you all the best, Tom!
Jennifer LeFurgy, Ph.D.
“Nearly all members know Tom as the face and the booming voice of the organization. Nobody commands a room like Tom. With that cannon of a voice, he can actually get a crowd of 1,000 Type A networkers to quiet down and listen! More than deep tones and heavy handshakes, though, he speaks passionately for — and builds relationships for and with — NAIOP’s members. The industry stands in awe and appreciation for all that Tom has accomplished. We cheer him on as he embarks on the ship of his retirement. Happy cruising, Tom!” — Jim Neyer, 2018 NAIOP chair; former executive vice president, AI. Neyer, Cincinnati
“Tom’s strong leadership skills rallied the organization through an extraordinarily difficult period in the 1990s. Thanks, Tom, for being there when we needed you the most.” — Ron Rayevich, 1997 NAIOP chair; president, RayMar Associates, Inc., Sarasota, Florida
“Tom was an excellent leader and supported his team at every turn.” — Joan Woodard, 1994 NAIOP chair; former president and CEO, Simons & Woodard, Santa Rosa, California
“Tom has been an extraordinary CEO at NAIOP. It was always a pleasure to be with Tom during my trips to local chapters. He was extremely knowledgeable about the challenges and opportunities facing each region and was always well received due to his great sense of humor and constant positive attitude.” — Bill Hunt, 2012 NAIOP chair; president and CEO, The Elmhurst Group, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“Tom’s leadership in how we defined ourselves has been so important. The fundamental thing that Tom brought forth was ‘what was best for the membership? How can we help our members?’ ” — Douglas Howe, 2009 NAIOP chair; founder and CEO, Touchstone, Seattle
“In addition to being the consummate, well-organized professional and a good friend, the word that comes to mind when I think of Tom’s time at the wheel for NAIOP is equanimity.” — Phil Stevenson, 1999 NAIOP chair; partner, Clear Creek Group, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
“What stuck out most to me was Tom’s humbleness for the membership, board and executive committee. He never lost sight of the fact that NAIOP belongs to the members. He was a great steward of our organization.” — Steve Martin, 2015 NAIOP chair; owner, SDM Partners, Atlanta
“Tom’s persona is larger than life, and I will miss that. But I’m happy knowing he’s sailing around enjoying his next adventure. The team he has built reflects his leadership style and ability and will serve NAIOP well into the future.” — Kathie Barstnar, executive director, NAIOP Colorado
“It has been a pleasure working with Tom, and one of his most notable traits has been his steady hand throughout the inevitable boom-and-bust periods of our industry. Additionally, one of the best measures of a great leader is the legacy he leaves through his team and mentorship of others. Most importantly, Tom is a genuinely good guy, and he has represented our industry so well through the years. I will miss seeing Tom at our annual NAIOP gatherings, and I wish him all the best in this next chapter!” — Larry Pobuda, 2010 NAIOP chair; executive vice president and general manager, Opus Development, Phoenix
“Tom has been so flexible and so oriented to doing everything he could to make NAIOP the best it could be. It made it a pleasure to work with him.” — Paul Novak, 1995 NAIOP chair; executive director for lodging, Whitman Peterson, Key Biscayne, Florida
“He’s a fun guy to work with. He had a lot of confidence and gave me a lot of freedom to do my job and didn’t second-guess me. He was a great person to report to in that he backed me up. He’d come into the office every day full of enthusiasm and energy. And, he has a great sense of humor.” — Shirley Maloney, former senior vice president, NAIOP
“I have worked with Tom since 1990. During his tenure, NAIOP has grown from an organization focused on industrial and office parks to the premier commercial real estate association focused on all types of building development and ownership.” — Martha Marks, president, NAIOP Northern Virginia
“I was privileged over the years to work with Tom on a NAIOP-created program called Project Analysis, where a group of five top NAIOP-affiliated developers and architects would go out into the field and analyze a project or a piece of ground for another NAIOP developer. Tom always went along on these trips and masterfully focused the group on the task at hand.” — Ron Derven, contributing editor, Development magazine
1. “A 1980s-Era Office Park is Reborn as Multifamily Housing”
2. “Going Big: Large-Format Multilevel Industrial Buildings”
3. “How Industrial Projects Can Spur Economic Growth”
4. “The New Office is Outdoors”
5. “Construction Sites Build a Circular Economy”
Future NAIOP Events
For the most current information on upcoming NAIOP events, both virtual and in-person, visit naiop.org/Events-and-Sponsorship