BY SCOTT O. JONES, PE
If you ask someone working in commercial real estate what they love about their job, you’ll often hear that they like that no two days are the same and every day brings new challenges to solve.
Well, our industry has had a lifetime of new challenges since earlier this year. It’s been just two months since my last "From the Chair" column and it feels like a lifetime ago. The heartbreaking and tragic COVID-19 pandemic has completely consumed our lives and brought unprecedented changes to every facet of our lives and our industry.
I have never been prouder to be a BOMA member than I have during this crisis. BOMA International, BOMA local associations and members across the United States have come together to share resources, experiences and support. Many of you are essential personnel, showing up for work under exceptional circumstances, keeping our infrastructure safe and communities operational, and many more of you have been working from home to help prevent the spread of this virus. I have been continually astonished by the generosity, innovation and resilience of my colleagues.
The strength of the BOMA network was made abundantly clear as soon as the first stay-at-home orders began being issued. Questions arose quickly, and answers and solutions were identified and shared—everything from advocacy staff and committees working to ensure building staff would be deemed essential personnel to task forces creating numerous guidance documents and webinars on topics from operating buildings with low occupancy to preparing a building re-entry plan. In many parts of the country, stay-at-home orders are being lifted and businesses are slowly reopening. BOMA members have been preparing for weeks for this shift, working to ensure a safe and smooth transition.
There are many unknowns right now, and the last few weeks of my time as chair look pretty different than I thought they would. While I was looking forward to seeing many of you at the BOMA International Conference & Expo in Philadelphia, I’m so grateful we’ll still have a chance to connect virtually in July. The upcoming virtual conference has the potential to be one of our most important—and certainly unique—events yet. I know I’m excited about seeing some familiar faces, even if it’s on my computer screen.
At a time when we need resources, information and connections more than ever, the 2020 annual conference has the potential to be truly life changing. The conference theme for this year was always BOMA 2.0, and BOMA International had planned to offer a unique, new conference experience. Little did we know how true that would turn out to be!
I’m so deeply appreciative of my past year as chair and the time I have been able to spend with BOMA members from across the United States and around the world. This time is full of challenges, but I have never known a group of people better equipped to tackle those challenges. It is clear that, while we are apart physically, we are stronger than ever working together to meet the moment. I know we will be seeing each other in person again. Until that time, be safe and stay well.
This article was originally published in the May/June 2020 issue of BOMA Magazine.