SIOR@75: Missions & Milestones

As SIOR prepares to mark its 75th anniversary, the organization's leadership reflects on its changing role and offers a preview of what's in store.

This year, the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors is marking its 75th anniversary with events, educational programs and marketing initiatives. SIOR, the commercial affiliate of the Realtors, is best known for its professional designations, earned by brokerage and advisory professionals who meet high standards for knowledge, production and ethics.

In the second of a two-part roundtable discussion with CPE Executive Editor Paul Rosta, SIOR’s leadership offers a glimpse into its mission, services and priorities for the years ahead.

Geoffrey Kasselman, SIOR's 2016-2017 president-elect
Geoffrey Kasselman, SIOR’s 2016-2017 president-elect

CPE: SIOR is well known for its role in the industrial sector, but you clearly have a long history in the office sector as well. Can you tell us how your members coordinate with clients who are seeking services for both office and industrial assets?

Geoffrey Kasselman, SIOR president-elect/executive vice president & North American industrial practice leader, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank: It is worth pointing out that our office member segment is the fastest-growing segment we have. It is very easy and natural to coordinate across both industrial and office member segments as the SIOR global platform has been built, and recently tweaked, to advance the highest levels of interactivity, networking, and sharing of best practices. The best get better by learning from the best, and the SIOR community excels in this regard.

SIOR vice president Del Markward will serve as the organization's president in 2017-2018.
SIOR vice president Del Markward will serve as the organization’s president in 2017-2018.

Del Markward, SIOR Vice President/CEO of Markward Group, Allentown, Pa.: SIORs have a mix of specialties, depending on the markets they primarily do business in. Many industrial designees will also perform office relocations and expansions for prime customers because their markets are of a size that industrial specialization is not the only way to assist their customers. The office segment is particularly strong in the second- and third-tier markets where SIORs provide a deep professional benefit to the users that they otherwise cannot find.

Meeting the mission

CPE: In this era of disruption, what is the core mission of SIOR? What do professionals who have earned the SIOR designation bring to the table, and what types of clients do you serve?

Allen Gump, 2015-2016 SIOR president/Dallas-based executive vice president & industrial specialist with Colliers International: Our code of ethics focuses on always acting with the clients’ interests first, always being truthful, acting as a fiduciary, and faithfully fulfilling our obligations. We want clients to know that when you hire an SIOR, you’ve got a professional that adheres to a code for which he or she will be held accountable by his or her peers. Becoming an SIOR is difficult, and we take great pride in our designation. Our standards are high for a reason. We know that our fellow SIORs expect us to act with professionalism that befits the designation.

Allen Gump, SIOR's 2015-2016 president
Allen Gump, SIOR’s 2015-2016 president

We primarily serve office and industrial occupiers of real estate, along with investors/developers, both institutional and private. Because of our expanded global reach, we can do this in many countries, often in places that even the large firms do not cover.

Also, a large part of our membership consists of independent members in both large and small markets across the U.S. and Canada. These professionals often cover small and medium-size markets that, again, the large companies do not.

Kasselman: SIOR was founded 75 years ago to serve the greater good of the CRE industry, and continues to follow that mission today. To be sure, that mission has evolved over the decades. Seventy-five years ago, serving the greater good meant supporting national defense and munitions manufacturing; today SIOR’s efforts focus on education, best practices, market opportunities, and networking.

In the future, expect SIOR to be at the forefront of the next industrial revolution where serving the greater good of the CRE industry will require transitional support to a world dominated by autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D printers, and perhaps most importantly, the demand for abundant new sources of energy. Meeting those goals will require SIOR to establish new policies, provide re-training for experienced professionals and offer educational programs.

SIOR designees tend to be leaders in multiple facets of their professional and personal lives and are well-positioned to lead the industry into the future while continuing to serve a diverse clientele.

Gump: I’m very proud of the SIOR Foundation, which helps support both college students and young brokers with educational scholarships. And as a past president and longtime trustee of the Foundation, I can attest to the support we have provided to young people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. We have a group within SIOR that focuses on diversity. Certainly, this is not your grandfather’s SIOR.

Getting connected

CPE: How do end users find SIOR members to assist with their business needs? What are the best ways to connect?

Gump: Our website is a tremendous tool for anyone looking for a designee. It gives users the ability to reach out to another member that may have a relationship with a company in a market for the purpose of cooperating.

Markward: SIORs have historically used personal relationships and referrals as a primary source of new business. Networking among members, sponsors, exhibitors, attorneys, title companies, economic development agencies and developers have provided SIORs with the credibility that fosters new relationships. To further our brand, we continue to nurture our ties to other corporate real estate organizations like the Industrial Asset Management Council, CoreNet Global and NAIOP.

Kasselman: Any SIOR is never more than a quick Google search away, and of course our members engage in SIOR brand promotion and outreach as part of their daily business.

Mapping the future

CPE: Looking ahead, would you give us a sneak preview of 2016-2017?

Robert Thornburg, chair of SIOR's Strategic Messaging Group.
Robert Thornburg, chair of SIOR’s Strategic Messaging Group.

Robert Thornburgh, chair of SIOR’s Strategic Messaging Working Group/president & CEO of Heger Industrial, Commerce, Calif.: As part of a multi-year strategic planning process, SIOR will be positioned to play an even larger, more substantial role in the decades ahead. Here are just a few examples of what will be rolled out in the coming year:

  • New logo and brand
  • New look to website
  • Introducing new digital tools that offer unprecedented support for members’ online business generation
  • Dynamic redesign of marketing and public relations
  • Systematic, public-facing thought leadership initiative
  • New, high-level research reports and partnerships

Markward: The globalization of SIOR is in full swing as we are now represented in 34 countries and more than 630 towns and cities around the world, and more countries are on the horizon.

Gump: It’s an exciting time for SIOR. We are celebrating our 75th anniversary in 2016, and have an ambitious effort to plot a successful course for the decades that follow.

CPE: Speaking of that major anniversary, what do you have in store this year?

Gump: We certainly plan on recognizing this milestone in a big way. In recognition of SIOR’s inception during World War II, our Spring World Conference in San Diego in April will include an event aboard the U.S.S. Midway featuring dinner and drinks, live entertainment, flight simulators, tours and more.

Thornburgh: To mark this milestone, we will be hosting three World Conferences. In addition to the San Diego conference, the agenda includes a midyear international event in London (June), followed by our closing celebration in New York (October). Each will have a thematic focus on our rich history and bright future.