IREM Celebrates its Anniversary Seventy-Five Years of Support

IREM Celebrates its Anniversary

This year, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is celebrating its 75th anniversary. For three-quarters of a century now, IREM has provided education, resources, information and membership to real estate management professionals all across the country. With 80 chapters in the United States and eight more abroad serving more than 18,000 individual and some 500 corporate members, IREM is the only professional real estate management association offering guidance and advocacy to both the residential and commercial real estate sectors.

Collectively, IREM’s Certified Property Manager (CPM) accredited members manage over $1.5 trillion in real estate assets, including 8.4 million residential units and 8.4 billion net square feet of commercial space. An additional 977,400 residential units are managed by IREM Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) members. Nearly 70 percent of its membership hold upper-level management positions, and members are much sought after for their management skills.

IREM New York has three separate chapters. The Greater New York Chapter No. 26 serves all New York, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. The officers are James P. Hayden, CPM, ARM, the current president; Edward Andron, vice president, chapter activities; Terry-Anne Havel, CPM, vice president, member services; Sandra M. Kerin, CPM, vice president, education; Nicholas E. Stolatis, CPM, treasurer; and Jeffrey M. Klarfeld, secretary. Sheila Still is the association executive. The other two chapters are New York Capital Region Chapter No. 93, which serves from Albany to Washington, New York, and the Rochester-Western New York Chapter No. 58, which serves from Allegany to Yates, New York.

IREM’s Origins

According to IREM President Regina T. Mullins, CPM, “IREM was created in January of 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, when 14 individuals attended a meeting of the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB)—known today as the National association of Realtors—in Washington, D.C. They expressed concerns about the abuses by real estate firms who had the financial responsibility of managing property for others. Five months later, 100 real estate management firms joined together and petitioned NAREB to form IREM. Permission was granted on June 12, 1933. On July 10, 1934, Illinois granted the association charter.”

At the first recorded meeting of the organization on October 5, 1933, the participants reviewed the group’s new bylaws, which set forth the following organizational goals:

• Establishment of a code of ethics and standards of practice.

• Identification and registration of responsible and competent managers and management agents of real estate.

• Establishment of coordinated standards and units for scientific recording of the experience in the management of real estate.

• The exchange of management experience.

• The fostering of knowledge, integrity and efficiency in the management of real estate.

A Look Inside

According to Mullins, “Our mission, or core purpose, can be articulated as follows: To advance the profession of real estate management while helping real estate managers prosper and add value to their companies and the properties they manage. We believe that management matters, and that good management translates into value. Well-managed properties improve the quality of life for the people who live, work and shop in them. We believe in professional ethics, and in the power of knowledge and the importance of sharing it.”

One way IREM promotes professional ethics and shares knowledge is through its credentialed membership programs. The group offers a number of certifications, including the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation, the Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) certification, the Accredited Commercial Manager (ACM) certification and the Accredited Management Organization (AMO) accreditation. In order to earn these designations, candidates must demonstrate competence and professionalism in real estate management. In addition, IREM offers associate, student and academic memberships to individuals working their way into the industry who wish to broaden their professional approach and forge connections with colleagues.

“We help managers work better, faster and more professionally by identifying the critical competencies they need to successfully manage real estate assets,” says Mullins, “and then provide the theoretical and practical training required to master those competencies. Our courses deal with the day-to-day requirements for managing a property’s operations in addition to the bigger picture of real estate.”

“We update our courses every three years with input from organized groups of experts,” Mullins continues, “to ensure that the courses always are contemporary, challenging and well-written.”

According to Russ Salzman, IREM’s executive president and chief executive officer, real estate professionals join IREM for a number of reasons above and beyond the group’s educational offerings. “First is the fundamental knowledge of building asset management, of course. Second is the network of fellow people in the [industry], and the opportunity to build a network of professionals both locally through your chapter, and nationally in a virtual world of conferencing. Third would be the opportunity to exercise leadership in your local or national organization. Not everybody does that, but probably 10 or maybe 20 percent of our members are involved at some level with building administration,” he says.

Priority No. 1: Education

The cornerstone of IREM’s professional development objectives is, of course, education. For much of IREM’s history, courses were taught by faculty in the classroom. Today, courses are offered in traditional classroom settings throughout the U.S. and in a growing number of countries. Home study and online courses are also available.

IREM faculty members play a vital role in ensuring that a quality education experience remains one of the highest in the real estate management industry. Instructors go through a rigorous training program and through ongoing continuing education to bring a wealth of real-world expertise to the learning experience.

IREM launched a comprehensive, professional development and education resource in 2004. This program called “IREM First” (For Information, Resources, Solutions and Training), is an online, “one-stop shop” of real estate management tools. Recently upgraded to include interactive, dynamic features, a streamlined look and feel, and a social networking component, IREM First provides 24/7 access to varied business tools real estate managers use every day. Searchable by topic, IREM First offers expert subject content, form templates, online tutorials, online communities and message boards that facilitate information sharing, and community building and social networking features that include member profiles. Additionally, IREM began offering webinars in 2006. These 30- to 60-minute online formats span a variety of topics and are facilitated by IREM members and other industry experts.

Future Goals

According to Salzman, IREM’s core goals haven’t changed in the group’s 75 years of existence, but “how we get them achieved is what’s different. The core goals deal with serving your customers or your tenants and adding value to your asset. In its founding years, IREM added one more component to those values, which was the ethical administration of property services. And that, says Salzman, is more than a mission— “that’s an operating plan.”

“While all of these goals have been achieved, they are dynamic and still central to what IREM is about,” says Mullins, “particularly the focus on ethics and education. One might say that education is the heart of the Institute and the IREM Code of Professional Ethics, to which all members must pledge to abide by, is its backbone.”

“IREM volunteer leaders and staff always will work hard to keep the organization’s fingers on the pulse of the changing needs of the marketplace,” Mullins continues, “to help members anticipate what’s ahead to the extent that we can, and to help them respond effectively to changes that sometimes can’t be anticipated.” She says that, in addition, IREM strives to constantly research and update its education programs to ensure that course content aligns with the needs of the marketplace. IREM is also in the forefront of developing new education programs, special publications and other types of resources to help members and the industry deal with the critical issues facing them.

“We can dig in further,” says Salzman. “We see ourselves providing more learning experiences delivered in ways our members want them. We aim to be available 24/7 online, through home study, webinars, live classrooms, publications, podcasts, social networks, you name it. In simple terms, we’re gong to deliver members value in every way that technology and humans can capture it.”

Celebrating 75 Years

IREM is drawing to the close of a year-long 75th anniversary celebration that featured national and local initiatives reprising the group’s past achievements and celebrating the professional development, camaraderie and other benefits that IREM leaders say define the IREM membership experience.

While celebratory activities have been spread out over the year, many of them—particularly at the chapter level—were concentrated during the period from June 1 to June 7, which the group designated as “IREM Week.” According to Mullins, activities during the week included fundraising activities for local charities, events to honor national and chapter leaders past and present, and joint educational programs with industry peer groups. Proclamations and congratulatory letters acknowledging the group’s anniversary milestone were also received from government officials and legislators from a number of states.

Also, says Mullins, “In a very special anniversary-related initiative, IREM and the IREM Foundation will soon announce joint funding—with financial support from Yardi Systems and the Realtors® Commercial Alliance (RCA) of the National Association of Realtors®—of professional development grants for 20 returning U.S. veterans interested in pursuing careers in real estate management.”

The grants will cover tuition, travel, and lodging expenses for a one-week IREM course on “Successful Site Management” to be presented in Chicago in February of 2009, as well as one year of IREM membership dues. The course addresses all aspects of managing residential properties—including affordable and student housing—and provides participants with the skills they need to get jobs as residential site managers, leasing agents, and assistant property managers.

IREM’s year-long celebration will culminate with a Diamond Anniversary Gala at its 2008 Fall Meeting, which will take place October 14-16 in Chicago. Ironically, the Hilton hotel site was previously occupied by the Stevens Hotel, where IREM’s founders first gathered in 1933 to launch the organization and sign its charter.

For more information about IREM or how to get involved with the organization, visit the group’s website at www.irem.org or call 800-837-0706.

Hannah Fons is associate editor of The Cooperator. Additional reporting by Managing Editor Debra A. Estock.

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