To Our Membership –  

I am truly honored to be nominated and I humbly accept the role of President of the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society (CIBS) for 2021/2022.

I have been a member of CIBS since my first year in the real estate business, back in 2005. At the time, I was working for Corporate National Realty in Woodbury. There, I was privileged to have been trained by some of the most successful commercial real estate brokers in our industry. On one of my first days in the office, I can remember being summoned to the conference room for a sales meeting. During that meeting, my mentors emphasized the importance of getting to know many of the people in our industry that I would eventually work with every day. They weren’t just talking about getting to know their names, titles, and roles, specific to real estate. They meant really getting to know these individuals on a personal level.  “In business, if you can look across the table and find a familiar face, closing the deal, no matter how difficult, will become that much easier,” they said. “As long as you maintain your integrity, there’s no reason why your business associates can’t also become some of your closest friends.” This advice is something that I have always taken to heart, and it is one of the many reasons I am proud to be a member of CIBS.

In 2011, when Dave Pennetta, then President of CIBS, called me to ask if I would be interested in joining the team as an Associate Board Member, I didn’t hesitate and agreed immediately. I recall Dave saying, “That’s good because we’ve already voted and you’ve already been appointed!” Well, I guess I didn’t have much choice, but honestly, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made (or been forced to make) in my career.  Our extremely dedicated  Board and its leadership, both past and present, form the roots of what has shaped CIBS into the “authoritative voice” of commercial real estate on Long Island. So many people on this Board have volunteered their time and effort to ensure that CIBS thrives… very happy to have grown to know each and every one of them, and I’m very proud of our accomplishments over the years. While on the Board, I’ve served as Chair/Co-Chair on several committees including Educational Programs/Activities, Future Generation, Charitable Initiatives, and our Sponsorship Committee. I’ve also held every seat on our Executive Board, including Treasurer. As your President, I will work diligently to ensure that we continue to prosper as one of the most highly regarded business organizations in the region.

NEW COMMITTEES AND INITIATIVES

In 2019, we formed our Economic Development Advocacy Committee (EDAC) and Intergroup. Through EDAC, we are able to “stand together” in our towns and villages as a group of over 350 unified citizens. Our purpose is to promote intelligent development projects and public initiatives which are carefully scrutinized and selected because their success is imperative to Long Island’s future. It’s important to recognize that CIBS’ interest does not lie with any individual member’s stake in the success of a project. Instead, we collectively benefit as members of the greater Long Island community, by keeping our young, talented workforce in place, by creating jobs, and by protecting the vitality of our economy. I ask, “Who better to help determine the viability of projects and initiatives that make sense and to stand up for them, then a group of over 350 commercial real estate experts?”

Intergroup was formed because our board recognized the need to collectively expose the issues, legislation, and policies, which are hurting our industry and to co-support topics which help Long Island real estate. Essentially, Intergroup is a think tank comprised of the leaders of Long Island business organizations and meets regularly for the purpose of coordinating our message and addressing pressing issues we face.

PROGRAMS, EVENTS, AND CHARITABLE INITIATIVES

Our activities are CIBS’ lifeblood: success is paramount to the overall prosperity of CIBS as an organization. Although it is not our only mission, at our core, CIBS is a networking group. In lieu of hosting face-to-face events during the pandemic, we more than TRIPLED our annual budget for Charitable Initiatives! The continued support of our membership furnished us the ability to support local charities, restaurants, and first responders, in their most dire time of need. I’m sure you will agree that helping the members of our community persevere through a desperate situation is worth sacrificing a few parties. We will continue to make it our mission to offer insightful Educational Webinars, featuring dynamic speakers who also happen to be our industry’s leading experts.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU

There are so many people that have been important to CIBS’ success over the years, but I’d especially like to recognize two of them. Our Past President, David Leviton, worked tirelessly during his term 2019-2020. Prior to his tenure, he had served on our Board and dedicated his time and efforts for many years. Certainly, 2020 was not easy for any of us, but in spite of obstacles presented by COVID, Dave achieved much success for our organization. During my time serving on the Executive Committee, I’ve gotten to know Dave very well, and I consider him a friend. He is the kind of guy that not only “thinks big,” but he delivers big. It’s no wonder he is one of the most successful brokers in our industry, but he also happens to be one of the most charitable people I know. He has proven his generosity time and time again during his time with CIBS. Join me in thanking David Leviton for his service and dedication to our organization. Dave, we certainly hope you will stay involved and play an active role on our Advisory Board! In fact, we know you will. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to our Chief Administrator, Christine Majid. What would we do without Christine?! I have to say that anyone I have ever referred to CIBS, whether they ended up joining or not, has called me back specifically to compliment Christine. Everyone knows who she is and how important she is to our organization. Our success would not be possible without Christine’s hard work and dedication, day-after-day. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to coordinate invitations, programs, events, and to make CIBS function smoothly. This was especially true in 2020. Christine, on behalf of the entire membership, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you do. Words cannot express how grateful we are for your service to CIBS. And you may never leave!!!

In conclusion, I’d like to say that I recognize how difficult 2020 was for all of us. We’ve faced adversity at home and at work. Let’s remember that CIBS is an organization born out of adversity in 1992, when the region’s economy was in the depths of a recession. The brokerage community felt that the time had come to band together as one voice, to foster the practice of high professional standards, and to work collaboratively with other leading industry-related businesses to bolster the economic wellbeing of Long Island. There is no doubt in my mind, it is now more important than ever that we continue to band together as one voice to help each other succeed and to strengthen our communities. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” If we work together as friends, I guarantee that our organization, our economy, and our people, will be stronger than ever. 

I’m excited for the opportunity to serve as your President and I sincerely thank you for this opportunity. I hope you and your families stay safe and healthy and I look forward to seeing all of our members, in person, very soon!  Cheers to a prosperous 2021!!!