CCIM Knows How To Honor The Past But, Do They Have A Clue About Their Future?


I was invited by Ten-X and specifically Yan Khamish to attend the CCIM conference in Chicago April 2017.

If you follow me at all on Twitter, you may have noticed I’ve been hanging at the Ten-X office in New York, so I am “in their ballpark” so to speak.

It was billed as a celebration and acknowledgment of #CCIM50th for the CCIM Institute.

It just so happens that the NAR Commercial table was next to us and……

There were the usual business and governance meetings and as I understood it that was the basis for the meetings in the first place.

I was also told it was the “top” 400 CCIM’s in the organization in attendance. Or at least the one’s tasked with running the show and pushing CCIM forward.

NOW, I was there to observe and soak in what CCIM is all about.

If YOU have no idea, please click on the CCIM site.

They are some of if not the most educated and committed commercial real estate professionals in the world.

The courses are HARD. Hey, don’t let me scare you away. They are hard if you think you can just show up and sleep your way through the classes. You can’t and won’t and not even maybe. This is the real stuff. You need your A Game.

I have said in the past it’s like “getting a Mini-MBA in commercial real estate.”

One other observation of mine is that the CCIM’s I am familiar with across the country are usually the most prominent and leadership driven brokers in their markets.

They are on just about every local committee you can think of and the “right” committees. Everything from the grade school parent chaperone committee, local planning board, community outreach and all the way up to the state legislative and economic development committees. We’ve all been there, it’s called doing the ground work.

I met and was introduced to several amazing people.

The conversations were broad and usually about the state of commercial real estate.

More than a few people knew who I was which between you and I is still weird for me.

Most were complimentary towards and acknowledged that fact that we all love and have a passion for this business.

I had several “tech” related conversations.

I need to be careful. (Large exhale from me just now) Remember I was talking with some of the seasoned and best of the best.

They have about as deep of an understanding of CRE as anyone. The tech part is just that to them. The tech part.

Their thoughts and points of views are based on what? The real world.

It’s the reality they live in today. There is absolutely no way or reason to undermine that depth and point of view.


WOW, is there still a huge gap.

A Huge Gap between the outside world and it’s ever changing forces and the insulated deal-making world of commercial real estate.

My entire site is one big exercise in every way possible about acknowledging the existence of that gap and trying letter by letter word by word sentence by broken sentence to close it forever if that is indeed possible.

Now, this is not going to come off right no matter how I do this, but I have never backed off from anything before so why start now. Below is a tweet of mine and that is a pic of the “tech presentation” to highlight the CCIM Tech Tools and how they have progressed over the years.

Sure, I’m not an idiot, and I understand it was a way of keeping things lite and fun while describing what CCIM technology is.

And guess what I am going to say about it? Nothing. I’m just going to let it lay.

You form your opinions. I’ve expressed mine many times before.

I do have an observation about what I did not see.

Anyone I thought was remotely under the age of 40.

I’m serious. Did I miss something? Was I not in the young take over the world up and coming CCIM hitters room?

Quick side: Ok, I can’t help myself. I do hide in plain site when I just wear a suit at these things.

I slid up to a table in the main room during the tech presentation, and no one paid any attention to me. Just another suit. And you know what’s coming next.

Between some of the chuckles and all the fun I over hear a person as they lean over to the person next to them and say loud enough for me to hear ” this is funny, I’m not sure why they spent the time to do this, this tech stuff doesn’t really matter anyway.”

That’s word for word at a CCIM conference in 2017. Word for word.

Where was I, oh noticing or not noticing anyone born after Carter was elected roaming the halls of the conference. Do the math.

This is not a criticism. It’s an observation. CCIM will be moving forward to what? The past?

I can’t help myself. Another quick side: I saw something on the back table of the main hall next to the free water and beverages that were four pages long and written about tech in general. The author referenced an article they had published in 1968. That was the reference for technology at a CCIM conference is 2017. 1968, yes, 1968. Hell, I wasn’t even born YET. And I’m OLD! Give props to the author for keeping up.

Maybe it was the context of the event. If they were there, they were hiding. I’m serious. How are they not included? Do they have to “earn their bones?” You know, “go through the ranks.” From what I saw they would be seventy before they get the chance.

Look, this is me trying to help close that gap. One of the themes that come up all the time is that I can say things that maybe would not and sometimes should not be said. And so be it.

I have had and will continue to have the utmost admiration and respect for anyone with the designation of CCIM.

It was a celebration of what was #CCIM50th, and for that, it’s a worthy, proud and significant milestone.

I’m more than sure the leadership that is in place now wants to and does see the way forward for CCIM’s and commercial real estate.

I have no doubt they can and will be some of the leaders closing whatever gap that exists today and tomorrow.

50 years is quite a base and history to build off of.

One thing I do know is that CCIM Knows How To Honor The Past, But Do They Have A Clue About Their Future?


+1 I can’t thank the Ten-X team enough for inviting and hosting me. They are stellar and have an understanding and depth of commercial real estate that I have come to appreciate and admire.

+1+1 Oh, and I’m not sure if it’s some mandate with Ten-X but look at the list of people that work there. They have a whole bunch of former military people in the organization. Yes, that makes me biased. I have no problem stating that. Somebody knows what the hell they are doing. #VetsInTech.






  • Hi Duke – You know I’m all about being more inclusive, and I think CCIM is an organization that could be key in attracting more women, POC and millennials to the industry. But I will note that the Chicago event was a “governance” event. Their Thrive Conference where I was invited to speak in the fall ran parallel to some of their educational tracks and it definitely had a more youthful vibe. I got to meet a number of young people excited for the industry and their role in it. Check out the video. CCIM could be a key partner in recruiting more diverse talent to CRE, so don’t count them out just yet.

  • Duke,

    As Diane stated, this meeting was a Governance meeting and not one designed to necessarily
    be as educational or youthful in nature as the Thrive Conference in October consistently
    is. Furthermore, the 50-year Celebration was expected to attract and honor many of the past leaders in the Institute’s history (which logically increased the median-age you discussed). As much as I would have liked to attend the Celebration on Saturday myself, unfortunately it was not conducive to my schedule. As someone on the fringe of the age group you alleged nowhere to be
    found (41 years old) and a father of 2 young children (4yo and 1yo), I decided to stay home over the weekend to be with my family and head up to Chicago on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, I discovered that a number of my fellow leaders of similar age across the Country did the
    same. But, I am still confused as to why you were so shocked (especially enough to rhetorically question the designation’s future in your title). I have now been in this industry for close to 14 years and as the President Elect of the Florida Chapter, I can say with pride, that it takes time to get into these leadership positions and as you put, “go through the ranks.” To me, it would be more alarming to attend these events and see a majority of younger people. CCIM is not a company expecting to be a disruptive technology. CCIM is a proven network of experienced and educated professionals that complete many of the world’s most complex transactions occurring on a daily basis. Is it reasonable to expect this network and this meeting to look like a Facebook luau attendee list?

    I know technology. I left the software industry to come into Commercial Real Estate. And I know that a lot of the top producers within the industry may not be as technologically advanced as they could be. Again, this doesn’t shock me. Just as I wouldn’t expect leadership within our Military (clearly and deservingly an organization you favor) to be the ones that I can call on to give us ideas on how to get the most out of our LinkedIn profiles. In closing I would also like to discuss the “gap” you suggest between the “outside world and the deal-making world of CRE.” Things are changing and technology is becoming more useful, more insightful and more expected by our
    customers every day. But I would suggest the transition delay is more about the client than it is with CCIM or most CRE practitioners. In my experience, it is more likely to have a Buyer/Seller or Landlord for an 8-figure property that still carries a flip-phone (one that doesn’t “do text”) than to have an owner that likes to spend time on SnapChat every day. While the consumer demand for technology within the industry is being met and industry technology for brokers is rapidly improving, there is a lot to feel bullish about. Me? I’m happy to be a part of it.

    Adam Palmer, CCIM