This year NAIOP celebrates the organization’s 50th Anniversary. As a part of the ongoing celebration Corporate is recognizing significant membership milestones. NAIOP Wisconsin’s own Jerry Franke was recently recognized by the Chapter for his 30 years of NAIOP membership. Learn more about Jerry’s history with NAIOP and how he believes the organization has impacted the industry.
Tell us about your early experiences with NAIOP – how did you get involved? Where did you get involved? What were you doing?
In 1987 when I joined NAIOP I was marketing sites in Wisconsin for Governor Tommy Thompson and I was of the opinion that NAIOP (which was called the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties then) was the best organization to join to learn more about the site and design needs of industrial and office users.
Shortly thereafter I was hired by Wispark to develop LakeView Corporate Park. I was able to make direct application of the things I learned through participation in NAIOP in that project as well as others we have developed over the years. Because Wisconsin did not have a Chapter and because LakeView was more closely linked to Chicago, I became active in the Chicago Chapter, including serving on its board.
In 1995 LakeView Corporate Park received the Chicago NAIOP Chapter’s “Award of Excellence”. When NAIOP began its National Forums in the 1990s I joined the Industrial Development Forum and was very active in it. From there I went on to serve on three Forums (Business Park Development Forum and Urban Redevelopment Forum – both of which I served as Chair for when they were formed and the Mixed Use Development Forum which I also chaired). I chose each of the Forums based on my desire to have a broad breadth of info about all kinds of commercial real estate development and because each Forum had direct relevancy to projects I was working on at the respective times.
In the late 1990s, Mark Irgens and I led the effort to create a Wisconsin Chapter. To this day I am amazed at the number of members in our Chapter! I served on the National Board for several years and the Executive Committee for 2 years. I also helped NAIOP National pursue creation of Chapters in St. Louis, Kansas City and Detroit.
How has NAIOP changed over the course of the past few decades
Despite being in an industry that is not rocket science (lucky for me) and one that does not change all that quickly, NAIOP has seen significant growth and improvement under Tom Bisacquino’ s leadership.
NAIOP has become more involved in the Real Estate Roundtable at the national level where too many of the laws and regulations that impact commercial real estate development are promulgated. Improved and more national conferences and the Forums mentioned above have created substantial value for members. And most importantly, we now have the Wisconsin Chapter which is trying to make sure that state government is sensitive to the impacts the laws the legislature creates have on our business, job creation and development.
After all of these years, what keeps your interest and involvement in NAIOP?
I have a real passion for the commercial real estate development business. I have been involved on both the municipal government side of the table as a city planner and community development director and the developer side. I believe that good development benefits us all. I have always been of the opinion that if you are active in a particular business or activity that you should be active in that business’s professional organizations. NAIOP has been a key part of my career and success.