Q&A: Lee & Associates’ Kate Jordan Named Local SIOR Chapter President

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Kate Jordan, principal of Lee & Associates-Maryland, has been elected president of the regional Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, or SIOR, chapter, officially known as the Maryland, District of Columbia and Northern Virginia Chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

She becomes just the third female to hold this distinction and one of three women presidents among the global professional office and industrial real estate association’s 48 chapters.  

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Jordan also currently serves as vice president for NAIOP Maryland, an organization which represents the interests of the commercial real estate industry throughout the state. 

She joined Lee & Associates in 2013 and currently focuses on industrial leasing and sales. Over her career, Jordan has leased and sold more than 3 million square feet of buildings and 26.39 acres of land. 

As of early October, Jordan has completed 64 transactions this year. 

The veteran real estate exec talked with Commercial Observer about her new role.

Commercial Observer: What led you to the real estate business?

Jordan: I consider myself a hard worker and also a “people person” and wanted to pursue a career in an industry in which I could leverage different skills including my problem-solving abilities. Prior to entering the field, I had no idea how relationship-driven it was, nor did I expect the level of assistance and cooperation from direct competitors. I love that real estate provides the ability to walk through and touch the product you are leasing and selling and rewards creativity and loyalty. Real estate is also constantly evolving and changing, so it is vital to continue your education and listen to others to stay on top of the latest trends.  

Why is an organization like SIOR important?

SIOR is comprised of what is, in my opinion, the best and brightest collection of commercial real estate professionals. So much of what we learn in this industry is gained by trial and error and being lucky enough to have great and giving mentors. I especially like that SIOR is not something you can buy your way into. Professionals need to pass rigorous criteria and be approved by your fellow members and peers. For this reason, when you are working with an SIOR [member], you know you are working with the highest caliber professional who has been vetted and achieved a high level of institutional knowledge of the industry. It is the best way to know that, when you send a referral, the person is extremely qualified.

Congrats on being named president. What are some of your immediate goals in the position?

I was initially hesitant to take on this role during these most unusual times because a significant part of being president involves traveling to the national conferences and interacting in person with people across the U.S. I think COVID is going to limit some of those opportunities for me, unfortunately, but I have some ideas on how to make lemonade out of those lemons. 

That said, I do think we need this organization more than ever and my hope is to bring more real-time collaboration to the chapter so we can work together to see what is working — and what isn’t — in this ever-evolving COVID climate. I believe it is essential to add additional continuing education opportunities that are commercial-focused, as I have been frustrated by the lack of educational opportunities that specifically really target our sector of the market. It is a shame we end up doing so much of our continuing education on residentially focused topics which often is un-relatable. It is a huge missed opportunity.

What are some of the big issues that you expect to face in the coming year?

COVID continues to throw me curve balls every single day. I was recently exposed on a tour and had to quarantine for a few days until I could get a negative test. In a job where a big part of what we do is face-to-face, it makes everything that much more difficult. Additionally, it is hurting our industry from a talent development standpoint as younger brokers need to learn from their mentors and a lot of that is being together. Our office has been back in person for a long time, with necessary precautions; however, I know many other groups are not. I think we need to pay special attention to our younger brokers to make sure they are getting the support they need as they are the future of our industry. As a broker who focuses on the industrial sector, the scarcity of product to lease in a market with unprecedented low vacancy rates has me scratching my head and thinking, “Hmm, what now?” 

How would you characterize the industrial sector in your regions as we head toward the end of 2021? How is the market performing? 

The industrial sector is having another stellar year. Vacancy rates are at all-time lows, and the mid-Atlantic has a serious scarcity of land on which to build. We are seeing rental rates skyrocket, sometimes changing as often as weekly and there is tremendous cap rate compression. I have not seen any evidence of a slowdown in appetite, rather, only available product to satiate it. 

What can you project about the future of the segment? 

I think we will continue to see low vacancy rates and increased rental rate growth. I suspect that we will reach a point where some of the larger REITs start to spin off some of their non-core asset products, which should give some opportunity to the deep pockets who have been sitting on the sidelines eager to jump in. 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.