Rick Hearn joined the Valley Partnership Board of Directors in 2005 and has been an integral part of its leadership team, culminating with the chairmanship in this, the 25th anniversary of the organization. A 25-year veteran of the commercial real estate industry, Hearn joined Vestar in 1994 as its director of leasing, overseeing much of the leasing, marketing and broker management of Vestar’s retail portfolio in the Southwest, complementing his duties and capacities as its designated broker. Over the years, Vestar and Valley Partnership have enjoyed a rich heritage. Three of Valley Partnership’s chairmen — Lee Hanley (chairman/CEO), who participated in the original framework and served in 1995; and Pat McGinley (VP of property management), who guided the board in the 2003; and now Rick Hearn — are affiliated with Vestar.
Q: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR THE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY?
A: One word, “important.” As a Metro Phoenix-based organization advocating for the industry, our focus is precise yet flexible, and extends throughout the entire “Valley of the Sun.” The importance and responsibility of being the only real estate-based organization, not a chapter or division of a regional or national entity, but native to the Valley … “invaluable.” We are sought after and respected for our responsible positions on industry-related issues whether local, regional, statewide or federal.
Q: HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT ADVOCACY DURING THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES?
A: Advocacy is important all of the time. Each economic cycle creates differing challenges for our industry, and, bad policy decisions, regardless of timing, impact subsequent cycles. A balanced advocacy approach minimizes potential negative outcomes, while fostering prosperity for all stakeholders, both public and private.
Q: WHAT ARE VALLEY PARTNERSHIP’S GOALS FOR 2012?
A: Continued application of our founding principles — advocacy, networking, education and community projects. This past October, bolstered by our board retreat, one facilitated by Todd Hornback, a respected non-profit professional; we developed four centric goals for our 2012 focus — board development and leadership, organizational communication, development and enhancement of strategic alliances and organizational fiscal policies.
Q: HOW WILL VALLEY PARTNERSHIP ACHIEVE THESE GOALS?
A: Each element of the organization has specific objectives or goals developed at the retreat. Measurable action items are continually evaluated, whether at the organizational, board, staff or committee level. The organization’s biggest direction and efforts come from the 10 standing committees, comprised of volunteer executives (partners) that execute on those goals and objectives. Our partners are our biggest assets. For the organization to continually evolve, and pursue its mission objectives, we must develop future leadership from these committees, thus fostering partner involvement.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN 2012?
A: Preparing for the eventual turnaround of our industry and that of the “Valley of the Sun” we all call home, while working with our partners through this still very challenging economic cycle. Valley Partnership’s mission remains constant, continual support for all of our partners and to help their organizations prosper.
Q: AS VALLEY PARTNERSHIP CELEBRATES ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY, WHAT LIES AHEAD?
A: The road ahead includes a reflection of our past, a continual focus on the present mission, and a strategic look at how our industry will manage the next two decades of Valley growth, which could include more than two million new Phoenicians.
This reflection has allowed us to touch our past 21 chairs so as to re-engage and respect our heritage, including the “founding” chairman, Ron Haarer Sr. (1987). And, we said a final farewell to a trusted leader and past chair in Gregg Alpert. We’ve catalogued our past accomplishments (municipal and legislative successes) or the more than 25 community projects completed, with more than $3.5M in charitable dollars raised and countless man-hours volunteered.
As to our near-term future, continued organizational governance, growth of new partners and/or new partner firms, adding emerging business sectors to our already diverse business base and strengthening our alliances. And, through our actions always declaring “Valley Partnership is the Valley of the Sun’s premier advocacy group for responsible development.”