By Philip Newswanger
Every year Inside Business interviews the incoming president of the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate, an industry association whose membership includes commercial real estate agents and developers as well bankers, lawyers and accountants.
This year's president is Lawrence J. Colorito Jr., MAI, MRICS, principal of the Axial Advisory Group LLC, a real estate valuation and consulting firm. He answered these questions:
What are your top three goals as president of HRACRE for 2011?
I've inherited an association that was founded on sound principles, and that is very well managed. There are a number of terrific associations out there whose members work in one segment of commercial real estate - agents, managers, developers, attorneys, accountants, appraisers, etc. These are national organizations with local chapters. Their members network with their peers, and the associations often lobby in D.C.
HRACRE has members from all disciplines. We represent a cross-section of the industry, and our focus is on Hampton Roads and Virginia. Our members attend events of local interest, and network with potential clients. Through our participation in the Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate, our members also have a strong voice on commercial real estate issues in Richmond. These member benefits are unique.
The recession has certainly had its impact on commercial real estate. Our continuous goal is to be a resource to the members and decision-makers as they strive for improvement during these trying times.
Do you plan to introduce new programs/events or eliminate some?
Our membership levels have declined only minimally on a net basis, which, I believe, is testament to the value people find in HRACRE. We're not making any major changes, but we're always trying to improve things. We'll be concentrating on the quality of our ongoing lunch programs and philanthropy. We'll also be looking into opportunities to joint venture with other organizations.
What role do you think HRACRE should play in regionalism?
We are not a policy-making organization, but we can certainly be a resource to those who are when the issues involve commercial real estate. That includes the issue of regionalism.
What sort of leader are you? All action? Part action/part reflective? Describe in general.
I think most people are a combination of both. You need to step back and reflect on actions you've taken, and consider your next steps.
What opportunities do you see for HRACRE?
The current economy presents a challenge. Commercial real estate professionals need every advantage they can get. We intend to provide our members with the opportunity for networking, and to be heard in Richmond. In my opinion, these things are more important than ever. Likewise, there are many difficult decisions that need to be made by policy-makers. We are happy to provide input from a commercial real estate perspective.
What's your professional background and experience?
I've been a real estate appraiser and consultant for about 25 years. My assignments have involved just about all forms of commercial real estate, big and small, in about 20 states. I hold the Appraisal Institute's MAI designation, and the MRICS of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. I currently co-own Axial Advisory Group LLC Real Estate Appraisal and Consulting, with my partner Mike Berry, MAI. We have offices in Chesapeake, Williamsburg and metro D.C.
What's your educational background?
I have a B.S. in finance from Penn State, so I'm a devout follower of Joe Paterno. I did some post-graduate work at New York University and Old Dominion. I've also completed all the Appraisal Institute's qualifying education for the MAI.
How has your education and your childhood shaped you as a person?
My father was in real estate sales. That's where I got the real estate bug. My finance education made the analysis involved in appraisal a better fit than sales. My dad passed away when I was in high school. My mother is a hard-working, strong-willed, self-made woman. I suppose some of that rubbed off on me.
When and where were you born?
I was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. According to my kids, it was a long time ago.
Are you married? Children? Names and ages?
My wife's name is Beth, and I'm the proud father of two: Matthew, 16, and Cassie, 7.
What associations/organizations do you belong to?
I'm a designated member of the Appraisal Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. I also belong to ULI, and the Penn State Alumni Association.
What's your hobby?
I don't have a great deal of time for hobbies with everything else that's going on, but I do love to travel and follow sports, especially my Nittany Lions. We've had Penn State football season tickets for years. When my son was younger, I coached PONY baseball. Now we try to visit a different ballpark every year. nib