Midwest Real Estate News — December 2010
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From The Editor

The industry’s stars don’t let slow economy slow them

Albert Berriz, chief executive officer of Ann Arbor, Mich.- based McKinley, knows it. So does Kenneth Block, managing principal of Kansas City, Mo.-based Block Real Estate Services, and Dennis Hiffman, chairman and chief executive officer of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based NAI Hiffman.

The weak economy is not a reason for commercial real estate professionals to struggle. It’s an excuse.

Berriz, Hiffman and Block are just three of the 60 commercial real estate professionals included in Midwest Real Estate News’ first Hall of Fame issue. And all 60 of these industry veterans — all with more than 20 years experience in their field — refuse to use the down economy as a reason to slow their hard work.

If anything, these pros are working harder than ever to make sure that their careers, and the companies that many of them run, are in as solid a shape as ever, despite what’s happening in the national economy.

Working on this issue was a thrill for me. Too often, we report on all the negatives in the economy. It didn’t help that the national unemployment rate recently shot up to 9.8 percent. But when you talk to people who truly know their industry, and who know how to adapt their business models when the economy changes, you can’t help but take away a healthy dose of hope.

The 60 real estate professionals making up our first Hall of Fame issue impressed me with their ability to roll with the punches thrown by today’s economy. Most of them admit that this economy is far worse than any they’ve seen in decades.But they also professed a deep faith in the future of com - mercial real estate. Many say that the bad economy will weed out those commercial brokers who entered the business during the good times as a way to make a quick buck. There’s nothing easy at all about making money in commercial real estate today. Many of the weaker players have already fallen to the wayside, and many others will follow. This will leave behind a stronger industry.

Others on this list are working with distressed properties, a boom industry these days, or focusing their efforts on public work with police departments, boards of education or municipalities.

One thing no one on this list is doing, though, is complaining about the bad economy. That’s good: Complaining about the economy doesn’t accomplish much. It doesn’t even make you feel better. Most times, in fact, it makes you feel worse.

So if you’re in need of some hope these days — and who isn’t? — flip through the profiles of our Hall of Fame members and read about the amazing careers they’ve all put together.You can’t help but be inspired by all that these men and women have accomplished during their real estate careers.And you can’t help but take away a glimmer of hope for the future of the commercial business when you read how bullish these industry vets remain on this industry.