A few years ago, in a survey underwritten by SIOR, CCIM and IREM, college seniors were asked to choose their top ten professions. Real Estate did not even make it onto the list. Thinking about it, I realized that at every industry event I attended, the “grey hairs” in the room vastly outnumbered younger industry members. Our industry is facing a challenge: In addition to our failure to attract a new generation, we are experiencing the massive disruptions of platform consolidation, the democratization of information and technological change, all of which serve to reduce the role of local Brokers and Developers. How do we add value, when virtually anyone can post listings, research market data and even close transactions on the internet? The answers are simple: We need to attract young people and promote professional competence and education.
With these challenges in mind, as the scholarship and education chair of the Florida SIOR chapter, I organized a case study competition with Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova University, back in 2015. It was so successful, we did another in 2017. Subsequently, the SIOR Foundation asked me to join their Board of Directors and chair their Grants and Scholarship Committee, so I could help organize similar programs across SIOR chapters, world-wide. We’ve worked with MIT, Cornell and others to great success. My successors here in Florida have organized programs with the University of Florida and the University of Tampa. Many more will follow as a number of the students involved are now gainfully employed by Developers and Brokerage companies. If you’d like to view the actual winning student presentations or want to become involved in any way, please contact me directly. Every developer and educational institution we’ve worked with has benefitted greatly.
These programs are expensive to run, and the scholarship amounts to winning students must be significant to be meaningful. The SIOR Foundation funds these case studies in conjunction with local SIOR chapters and SIOR International, but the majority of the costs are borne by the Foundation. Established in 1962, The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization that solicits and accepts charitable contributions, which are tax-deductible for income, estate and gift tax purposes. The core mission of the Foundation is to promote and support initiatives that educate, expand and enhance the commercial real estate community. As a matter of fact, the organization’s original purpose was to publish the industry’s first graduate-level textbook on industrial real estate! Over the years, it has promoted and funded programs through educational scholarships, critical research projects, publishing and development of real estate curricula for higher education, and professional development for practitioners. I urge you to consider a contribution to the future of our industry. For more information or to make a donation, please visit https://foundation.sior.com/
Videos of Florida Challenge Grant scholarships and SIOR Foundation teen Summer programs are available for viewing below.
Ted Konigsberg, President / Infinity Commercial Real Estate
SIOR Foundation, Board of Directors /SIOR Florida Chapter, Vice President