Comprised of elite commercial real estate professionals and affiliates, CCIM Southern Nevada is committed to education and professionalism. The organization has a propensity for fun which influences everything they undertake, from their community outreach work to their social events.
CCIM stands for Certified Commercial Investment Member, a superior recognition that requires intensive academic study and extensive work experience to attain. Those who have achieved such a status are known as CCIMs, or designees.
“The CCIM designation is highly regarded. It’s such an honor,” said Carol Cling-Ong who’s been a CCIM since 1997, was a past president (2010) and now is co-chair of the chapter’s scholarship committee. She also is the co-founder and CEO of the MDL Group, a 30-year-old Las Vegas based commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm.
The Southern Nevada chapter is 271 members strong, 88 of them CCIM designees. Other members include CCIM candidates (men and women working toward the designation) and affiliates, which encompass insurance and title companies, contractors, bankers and other lenders, appraisers, attorneys, accountants and more.
Helping Those in Need
The organization is committed to the Southern Nevada community. In 2018, they raised and gave to a handful of local nonprofit organizations more than $35,000, a record amount, and a 66 percent year-over-year increase. The organization aims to exceed that amount in 2019.
“It was pretty amazing last year to be able to donate so much money and to see [the recipients’] faces when they saw how much we were donating. That was special,” said CCIM Jennifer Ott, referring to the annual holiday luncheon, when these monetary gifts are granted. Ott is the chapter’s president and a member of its wine and candidate guidance committees. She’s also an executive vice president who specializes in retail at ROI Commercial Real Estate, a Las Vegas brokerage.
Charitable giving, of both time and money, is a tenet of the Las Vegas-based CCIM chapter.
“How do you better your community than by helping out those in need? You live here, you work here, you want to give back here,” said CCIM Ryan Martin, the chapter’s president-elect and past president (2012). At the MDL Group, he’s vice president of the office division.
Community Caring in Motion is one component of the local group’s philanthropic efforts. Encouraged by the CCIM Institute, the parent organization, chapters volunteer each September at a non-profit group of their choice. For Southern Nevada this year, members will spend the day assembling Kids Café lunches at the Three Square food bank.
Whereas CCIM Southern Nevada participates in this single initiative annually, its community outreach activities go far beyond it.
Already in 2019, it assisted Project 150, which offers support and services to displaced and disadvantaged high school students, which includes helping them achieve higher education goals, said CCIM Salina Ramirez, chair of the chapter’s community outreach committee and a board member. Gomez is a leasing and sales agent who specializes in office, apartments and investment properties, at Commercial Executives Real Estate Services, a Las Vegas company that acquires, sells and leases commercial properties and represents tenants.
CCIM helped Project 150 conduct college scholarship application interviews, provided a retail space free of charge to house donated prom dresses and suits and sponsored its scholarship awards luncheon.
The other organizations the chapter is committed to helping are Spread the Word Nevada, which advances childhood literacy, John S. Park Elementary School and the Salvation Army’s Las Vegas Adult Rehabilitation Center.
“All of those tie into education as they get you places that you otherwise wouldn’t be in this world,” said CCIM Andy Crawford, a chapter board member and chair of the education committee. Vice president at the Henderson-based commercial mortgage banking firm, CommCap Advisors, Crawford’s specialty is institutional debt advisory for middle market borrowers.
The chapter raises most of the money it donates at its annual, themed wine soirée and silent auction. The concept for this year’s, the 23rd, will be Old Las Vegas Glitter & Glamour. In 2018, it was Havana Nights.
“A lot of people get dressed up for the theme of the event. It allows you to walk around and network with everyone. With the silent auction it’s kind of fun to chase items,” Martin said, noting that, in his opinion, the wine soirée is the chapter’s “best event.”
A second fundraiser is the annual poker tournament, which had its most profitable and best attended year in 2018. Funds generated there are earmarked for and donated to the Salvation Army’s rehabilitation center in honor of the late Andy Hantges, a fellow CCIM.
“[These events] are a way for our members to combine their networking along with their philanthropy,” said CCIM Robin Civish, a chapter board member, chair of the communications and candidate guidance committees and co-chair of the education committee. An executive vice president at ROI Commercial Real Estate, her area of expertise is retail.
Knowledge is the Foundation
This group of industry leaders achieves and promotes educational excellence.
“The education is world class,” Crawford said. “It’s offered all over the world and is really the gold standard in commercial real estate education.”
To earn the CCIM designation, candidates must fulfill an extensive curriculum, dictated by the CCIM Institute, which includes classes in financial, market, user and investment analyses, ethics and negotiations. CCIM Southern Nevada offers some of these core classes in Las Vegas, which is convenient for its candidates. In June, it held CI 102: Market Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate and in September the organization is scheduled to present CI 103: User Decision Analysis for Commercial Investment Real Estate.
Candidates also must submit a portfolio of qualifying experience—transactions or consultations that meet certain monetary and time standards—and pass a comprehensive examination, which is offered twice a year, in April and October. This set of requirements ensures that designees are proficient in both theory and practice.
Once candidates successfully complete all of the steps, they “get pinned.” Pinning is the process of being sworn in as an official CCIM designee and award – ed the exclusive, red “CCIM” lapel pin that denotes they’re a seasoned, compe – tent commercial real estate professional. The pinning is done by the new designees’ chapter president at one of the CCIM Institute’s twice-yearly governance meetings following the big exam.
Education, however, for all of these commercial real estate A listers, both new and long time, doesn’t end there. CCIMs are encouraged to continue their education through Ward Center courses, annual conferences and are required to maintain strict ethical and professional standards throughout their career.
To help them meet the ongoing education requirement, the CCIM Institute offers an evolving array of about 50 courses through the Ward Center for Real Estate Studies. The offerings cover a span of diverse subjects, from syndication and crowdfunding to controlling a deal.
“Ward courses are more topic specific, on trending or very specific niche things in the industry,” Crawford said.
A popular course among the Southern Nevada chapter deals with the organization’s Site to Do Business, the digital kit of essential tools and data available to CCIMs for conducting financial, market, spatial and competitive analyses. Civish, a CCIM designee since 2009, recently took the course again (it’s part of the core curriculum) as a refresher.
“It’s super powerful, and I still need to take another class [in it] to be able to use it in the way I should,” she said.
The Ward courses vary in how they’re offered: online, in person, locally and nationally. They’re open to candidates and designees, the latter may take them at a discounted rate through CCIM’s Life After the Pin program.
For brand new and existing candidates, the chapter offers scholarships to help cover the costs associated with becoming a CCIM. Last year, CCIM Southern Nevada awarded $5,000 worth in scholarships and since 2000, more than $80,000 worth. “We want the people in our industry to be successful, the best of the best,” ClineOng said.
“We want to provide them with resources and support on their journey to getting that accreditation because it opens up so many doors.”
The chapter has six scholarships to give each year, which it can split and award the pieces of to different people.
The three chapter-funded scholarships are $1,000 for a core class, $250 for a Foundations for Success class and $770 for a course review class before the final exam.
The other three scholarships, each for $1,000, are endowed by the CCIM Institute. They are the Soozi Jones Walker Scholarship (named after a Southern Nevada CCIM), the Andy Hantges Scholarship and the Southern Nevada Past President Scholarship.
Networking Opportunities – A Major Perk
All local CCIM members can stay on top of relevant news, events and changes at the local and state levels by attending the monthly luncheons. Each features one or more experts addressing a pertinent topic. Topics include such things as a state legislative update and market updates on industry sectors or REO opportunities, among others.
Ones held previously in 2019 included Raiders Stadium, an update on its development; The Evolution of Hospitality in Vegas; From the Lens of an Office User, a report on what tenants want; and Real Estate Professional Safety and Awareness.
“The programs add value to our members and sponsors by providing timely market information and an opportunity to network,” Ott said.
All of the other chapter events are a time and place for networking, too.
“We’re a very relationship intensive business, so talking to other high-producing brokers or vendors or other participants in the industry allows for a lot of cross-pollination.,” Crawford said.
The local CCIMs’ invaluable peer-to-peer network spans the globe as the CCIM Institute has more than 50 chapters worldwide. Earlier this year, Ott attended the midyear governance meeting for the CCIM Institute in San Antonio. While there, she went to a networking event called Deals & Drinks, at which she presented a property she had for sale in Southern Nevada. When she got back home, she had six related calls from around the country and two offers, and soon after closed the deal.
Similarly, Civish had a local site she wanted to get a school on. While at the national CCIM meeting, she came across the name of a CCIM she’d met a few times who also was there. They met up, and serendipitously, she discovered he’d just started working for a large preschool elsewhere in the country.
“At this point in my career, it’s more about the connections I make through CCIM, both professionally and personally,” said Civish when asked what she likes most about being a CCIM. “Some of my best friends today I met through CCIM.”
Having a Good Time is Essential
While CCIM Southern Nevada members work hard at their careers and making their chapter successful (it is a model of how to best run a local chapter, in terms of profitability, activities, member – ship and attainment, Martin said), they also know how to have fun and make it a point to do so. The group even has a committee dedicated to planning and holding social events.
“This brings that sense of community; you get to know people on a personal level, and it’s easier to do a transaction with them,” added Martin. “You enjoy going out and doing personal things with co-workers. It brings your professional life into a little bit of your personal life.”
Along with the poker tournament and annual wine soirée and silent auction, every year the chapter holds Putt Putt, Crawford’s favorite event, he said. This event includes an annual golf tournament in which teams compete, festivities include appetizers, drinks, raffle prizes, dinner and an awards presentation.
Each year, the sponsor and designee appreciation event features an activity or venue that is new to Southern Nevada. This year it will be a cocktail reception at Panevino followed by a nighttime helicopter ride over the Strip provided by Maverick Helicopters. A catered mixer at one of the first Golden Knights games was held in 2017 and an ice skating mixer at the then new City National Arena, complete with a deejay and food from MacKenzie River Pizza in 2018 are past examples.
The chapter recognizes its committee members each year, too, with a social gathering at a different location, and holds a special holiday luncheon at the Four Seasons in December for its members, sponsors and donation recipients.
“All of our events are top notch and exciting,” Ramirez said. “We’re really trying to spice up and update them so they don’t get stale and we’re not always doing the same thing ever year.”
On a greater scale, all of the chapters get together nationally biannually, one of the times being the national meeting. San Diego is this year’s destination; previously, it was San Antonio.
“The best part of it is the camaraderie among the designees in the chapters nationwide,” Ramirez said. “We’re able to get together. We’re able to deal share. We’re able to discuss upcoming and ongoing legislation issues. We’re also able to have our round-table with our local chapters on the West Coast. It’s a great place to tie in the local with the national.”
At one of these national conferences, Martin was able to use his role (at the time) of chapter president to meet and present the CCIM pin to Emmitt Smith, former National Football League (NFL) running back.
“I’ve had some very cool opportunities and met very interesting people along the way, all as a direct result of CCIM,” he said.
Ott, too, who got pinned in 2015, has “gained so much through being a part of CCIM,” she added.
“It’s definitely been great for my business. I’ve certainly gotten a lot of great friends out of it. I love the networking, both locally and nationally; I enjoy that quite a bit. I received scholarships towards my designation. I’ve increased my [commercial real estate] skills and market knowledge, and I’ve also grown my leadership skills.”