Commercial Real Estate practitioners are resilient, creative, and collaborative. 2020 was a year that some would like to keep in the rear view mirror – but for many, this represented great opportunity and for others, a time for reflection. Rather than painting with a broad brush, we will stick to the numbers and the facts.
Our Association activities, much like your businesses, were forced to change because of COVID-19 shutdowns and government restrictions. Members from day-one advised clients on how to operate safely through the pandemic. Many members represent clients in essential businesses including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. REALTORS, as you know, were classified as essential workers, specifically because of their direct role in helping keep the economy moving, along with construction and other real estate related businesses. With no blueprint for a complete shut-down, CARW worked hand in glove with its partners at the WRA (Wisconsin REALTORS Association) and NAR (National Association of REALTORS) to create guidance on safe commercial real estate opening and operating processes, and legislative measures for small businesses and independent contractors. We continue our efforts on continued funding advocacy and liability protection for businesses. Our goal is to ensure our economic partners will remain viable as we navigate the pandemic which is not yet behind us.
CARW has remained flexible, surveying members often on their comfort level with gathering, attending virtual seminars, and engaging in outdoor activities such as golf. No one way would ever please everyone, but we know from feedback and participation, that we did the best we could. Just like all of you with your clients, this requires a lot of communication and negotiation.
One of the biggest take-aways from our work in 2020 stemmed from recognizing our core vision. “To be the unified, respected, recognized, effective voice for commercial real estate brokerage in Wisconsin.” The organization has grown from 425 to more than 875 in seven years. Our impact in cities outside of Milwaukee has grown, from Madison to Wausau, Green Bay, Fond du Lac, and Beloit – our members not only rely on the accuracy of the Statewide Wisconsin Commercial Data Exchange powered by Catylist, but they engage through our legislative efforts that keep REALTORS at the heart of the transaction and our independent contractor members, able to work in their businesses profitably.
Through COVID, we strived to keep you engaged and informed. We took calls on eviction rights, filing for unemployment insurance (PUI), how to start a business, navigating DSPS and even helping several members obtain their advanced commercial real estate designation. The number one goal of our Staff and Board is to be a resource for you. Amanda Hoffman, Alexis Strode, and I are committed to making sure that any question you have about your business, license, or our industry will be answered.
Early on, we introduced a series that highlighted members sharing their perception of disruption – we called them ‘Perspectives’ – and they ranged from ‘hearing from industry veterans’ to ‘keeping your workplace safe’. We highlighted members’ expertise and helped inspire others to stay connected. Additionally, we worked with NAR on the creation of a guide for commercial showings. Since the early days of disruption, many have recognized that this was not going to be a matter of ‘if’ we reopen, but ‘when’.
We would also be remiss not to acknowledge our sponsor partners. For the past five years, Irgens has been our Partner Sponsor, and continues to this day. Not only are they one of the most active developers in the market, but the most forward thinking in terms of safety and security. They have been tremendous partners for CARW and for our individual members. Landmark Credit Union stepped up this year as our Lunch and Learn Sponsor and Thought Leadership Series Sponsor. Those virtual programs brought our members insights on business and the economy. Tri-City National Bank was our Deal of the Year and Annual Awards sponsor and continues to be a committed strategic partner. In 2020, Innovative Construction Solutions along with Landmark presented our first ever virtual Retail Conference. That effort was enormous and received tremendous accolades. Other platinum sponsors include CLA, EUA, Chicago Title, Bear Real Estate and Husch Blackwell. We are grateful for all sponsors (listed below) and are particularly grateful for TWO-FIFTY which serves as the ‘home’ of CARW. It has been a safe hub for our staff since returning to the workplace.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS:
The board and committees met tirelessly and were the glue who held us all together. The many zoom meetings, phone calls and text messages that were traded helped forge new relationships and a stronger organization.
Congratulations and many thanks to you, our members, for your role in setting the stage for what we hope will be a bright and vibrant 2021! We are planning to hold most educational events virtually through April of 2021 and will follow State guidelines for gathering beyond that. We hope you’ll engage in our interactive virtual networking sessions, programming and small group tours as you feel safe. Stay tuned for safe outdoor opportunities in the winter and spring and some exciting announcements regarding the CARW Foundation and the NextGen Class of 2021. Our Statewide Data platform is as strong as ever with more REALTORS relying on it as their main data platform. Our partners at the Exchange are extensions of our CARW Staff and work closely with one another – and have more in store for Q1 of 2021.
On behalf of the CARW Staff and Board, THANK YOU – and cheers to a prosperous 2021!
CARW by the Numbers:
- 3,350– number of registrants for CARW virtual programming
- 73 – number of times CARW leadership was interviewed or referenced for thought leadership in local, state, and national media publications
- 63 – number of virtual webinars, member meetings and Nextgen sessions CARW coordinated
- 4 – number of CARW members achieving CCIM or SIOR designation
- 76 – member sentiment on a scale of 1 (pessimistic) and 100 (optimistic) about 2021
- 1,156 – ytd lease transactions (Catylist)
- 1,677 – ytd sale transactions (Catylist)
- 878 – number of CARW members
- 67 – cumulative number of CARW NextGenners
- 101 – number of support letters CARW wrote for members and their clients seeking WEDC ‘we’re all in grants’
- 14,675 – number of dollars raised for the CARW Foundation at the Annual CARW Golf Outing
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln