President’s Remarks

I believe that every President of the S.E.C. has been asked, “What is the Society of Exchange Counselors?” “What makes S.E.C. different from other marketing groups?” “Why is the S.E.C. still around after almost 50 years when so many of the other marketing groups have disappeared?”

In preparation to write this column, my first thought was to go to some of those that preceded me. Mark Johnson said it in one word – giving. Steve Barker took a few more words but summarized it well saying – being there for each other. Harry Kennerk wrote once that we are – joined together by a common philosophy of solving people’s problems. Maybe Dick Reno said it best when he stated that “We are not in the real estate business; we are in the people business.” No matter how one states it, the S.E.C. is different, and it is not all about the numbers.

For the last few years, the Production Manager and the Executive Committee have met with the guests each Tuesday after the end of the day. One common comment from our guests has been that the S.E.C.’s are open and helpful to the guests.

But what makes us different? I think it is how we share among ourselves and the others we associate with. The comments from our guests back that up. Since we have instituted the mentoring process, the comments are almost universal. The fact that we don’t perceive our guests and fellow S.E.C.’s as competition is one thing that makes the S.E.C. different from our other real estate organizations. Generally speaking we seem to compete by sharing. It gets back to the old saying that one plus one can equal more than two.

OK, the S.E.C. is known to be a place where members and guests can work with each other. But what about production? Why are we still around after so long? Maybe it is the combination of being in the people business – putting our clients first – and being creative in finding ways to get the job done.

Take a look at our core courses compared to other commercial real estate organizations. There is an obvious difference in the curriculum. I am not dismissing the importance of the financial analysis courses. But they are offered elsewhere. That being said, I do not know of another venue where one can study counseling, formulas, equity marketing and moderating, just to name a few. If every deal could be a simple buy/sell transaction for all cash, the world would not need our formulas and marketing. But as we all know, every deal is not a cash transaction.

Art Ramseur recently said that he believes we are in the 10th year of a seven year economic cycle. Obviously, there is no way to know if we are about to enter a downturn or not. But one thing is certain. Our economy is cyclical. At some point we will experience a downturn again. When that happens, the principles of the Society will become an even more important part of our business lives. The philosophy of sharing, giving, solving other’s problems, and being in the people business will go on forever. Knowing how to solve our client’s needs outside of a cash environment will again serve us, and our clients, well.

I look forward to a year of excellence in the S.E.C.

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