In 1981, there was a group of determined, dedicated commercial real estate professionals that wanted to create a CCIM Chapter in Houston that could promote the CCIM Designation, offer industry-leading educational opportunities within the city and create a local network of like-minded professionals to work with. The gentlemen listed above are some of these individuals.
Before the formation of the Houston/Gulf Coast CCIM Chapter, the South Texas CCIM Chapter (consisting of Houston, San Antonio and Austin) had been in existence for several years, but as you would imagine, it was extremely difficult to organize a chapter covering such a wide geographic area between Houston, San Antonio and Austin. The Chapter President rotated between the cities. George McCanse, CCIM, and Ronald A. Scharck, CCIM, both of Houston, were the South Texas CCIM Chapter Presidents in 1976 and 1977. Mr. Scharck was also the Houston/Gulf Coast CCIM Chapter President in 1988. These gentlemen, in close association with Jim Crowley, CCIM, Frank Fitzgerald, CCIM, and Tom Hitchcock, CCIM, were the ringleaders that formulated and pushed the Chapter Charter changes through for approval with the National CCIM organization in Chicago, allowing Houston to become independent. The Houston/Gulf Coast CCIM Chapter was created in 1981, consisting of Houston and its surrounding counties. Jim Crowley, CCIM, who began the CCIM educational program in 1968, was our Chapter President for two years in 1981 and 1982. He was followed by Frank Fitzgerald, CCIM, Tom Hitchcock, CCIM, Larry Feldt, CCIM and Bill Peterson, Jr.,CCIM, through the 80’s. Early members included Julio LaGuardia, Bernard Perlmutter, Howard Horne and Joe Russo (all CCIM Designees or Honorary Designees).
Times were tough in the beginning. The Chapter had about 30 members with only a few CCIMs. The rest were Candidates or want-to-be Candidates. They had very limited funds, no administrative support and no centralized location. There were times when personal funds were used to pay Chapter bills and they could only have sporadic meetings in hotels where the room was provided at no charge. To complete the requirements for the CCIM Designation in the early 80’s, you had to complete the course work, complete a resume, complete three “Demonstration Reports” of different transaction types, and finally pass the Comprehensive Exam. The bond between CCIM designees and Candidates was very strong, resulting in the CCIM designees often helping the Candidates with the Resume and Demonstration Report as well as tutoring for the final exam. It is because of the foundation established in the early 80’s, with strong leadership continued throughout the next two decades, that we have grown to our current membership level. The membership in our chapter may not seem large, compared to some other organizations, but if you consider the educational and experience requirements, coupled with the timeframe necessary to complete the CCIM program, it is no wonder that we typically only have 10 – 20 new CCIM Designees in our Chapter each year. Part of the recognized “elite” status of the CCIM Designation is the low percentage of licensed real estate professionals that have completed the requirements and achieved the Designation.
We should not take our Chapter, or the tremendous efforts of these early Pioneers, for granted. Organizations do not run by themselves. While it is difficult to keep an organization organized, it is a great deal more difficult to start an organization. Please thank these individuals for having the foresight, determination and enthusiasm to create our CCIM Chapter and establish the firm footings to build on.