The wise use of resources, human as well as material

Careful stewardship of resources and a level playing field that provides equal opportunities to men and women alike are not often discussed in the commercial real estate industry.

They should be discussed more often.

When we think about the impact buildings have on the environment, our focus usually turns to new construction. Sustainable materials, energy-efficient products and responsible use of land are important considerations, but they are only part of the sustainability equation.

Making sure we get the most out of our built environment has a direct impact on the earth's environment. If we are to apply the waste-cutting adage, "reduce, reuse, recycle" to buildings and structures, we might want to add "repair and restore." Preservation of existing structures is just as important as choosing the materials that are used to build them initially.

According to the EPA publication, "Buildings and their Impact on the Environment," approximately 44,000-plus commercial buildings are demolished in the United States every year.

Reducing demolition materials conserves landfill space. Maintaining and restoring existing structures diminishes the need for producing new materials for construction.

Restoration projects also have a positive impact on local economies. Most companies employ local labor and use materials purchased from local businesses. Such projects have a long lasting beneficial economic impact as well. Property values increase when the condition of a building has been maintained or improved, so sustaining the built environment is a good step toward sustaining a local economy as well as the lease/sale values of a property.

There are relatively simple steps that building owners can take to extend the life of a structure. A good place to start would be to schedule periodic inspections by qualified people of building facades, walkways, foundations, parking lots, decks, and the like. Early detection of a problem is critical to minimizing overall repair costs and preventing further damage. Moisture intrusion mitigation, if performed early enough, can significantly reduce the process of structural deterioration.

Another important resource that we cannot afford to waste is the skill and creativity of all who could make a contribution.

The election put the issue of gender equality once again at the forefront of the national agenda, with the premise that the pay gap between men and women is still vast and beyond our reach. While it is true that challenges still remain toward gender parity in the workforce, we cannot overlook or ignore the fact that women professionals have made major strides in traditionally male-dominated industries.

While parity gaps still exist between the sexes with respect to salaries, statistics show that these gaps are shrinking, particularly in industries that have historically been dominated by men.

For example, according to the national commercial real estate association CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women), women are entering commercial real estate at a faster pace than they were five years ago accounting for 43 percent today, as compared to 36 percent in 2005.

Most interesting about these findings is WHY more women are entering the commercial real estate sector. Simply put, there are more opportunities in the field across the board. In the past, women usually assisted men on brokerage teams. Today, there are more opportunities for women to succeed as the lead broker, lender, developer, attorney all who are involved in the deal-making process.

Women are helming major brokerage firms, serving as equity partners at top-ranking law firms and sitting at the executive table many of the largest community banks. In fact, an assessment of some of the larger real estate deals reveals that the majority of these are those in which women have played a leading role.

With more women at the helm of major deals and at the head of executive tables not only are we paving the way for young women to look toward real estate as a prospective career we are supporting the long-term growth and prosperity.

It is a good time to reflect on the advancements that have been made, which have all helped to define our industry and shape our region.

Yes it is true that we are (hopefully) exiting one of the most tumultuous and economically straining periods in our country's collective history but as we enter the next chapter of the real estate story we should see a leveled playing field, where men and women are not only doing deals together but helping one another succeed.

Tony Reda is the broker of record and manager of the Reno office of East West Commercial Real Estate. Contact him 775-815-4219 or


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