Former NAIOP-AZ President Tim Lawless will take over as the executive director of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Phoenix on Sept. 6.

Lawless replaces Sarah Osteen, who resigned in July after taking the helm in spring 2016 following the unexpected passing of Mark Covington in December 2015.

Prior to taking the position at BOMA, Lawless was the leader of NAIOP-AZ for nearly a dozen years. NAIOP-AZ credits his leadership for the real estate association’s increase in membership, educational offerings and for his effective legislative advocacy for NAIOP-AZ members on important policy matters.

Maricela Nunez, president of BOMA of Greater Phoenix, is confident Lawless will bring the same kind of strategic leadership and direction to his new role at BOMA, which represents the owners and managers of all commercial property types.

Since BOMA of Greater Phoenix was established in 1936, its mission has been to advance the interests of the entire commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, enforcing standards and information.

Lawless describes BOMA as being “on the brink of greatness” and hopes to carry the association and its members to the next level.

“BOMA is already an effective networking organization,” he adds, but Lawless thinks the association’s public policy advocacy is one area where he can make a big impact right away. 

“The goal is to aggressively grow BOMA’s membership; analyze educational programs offerings to see how those can be improved; and become best-in-class,” he explains. “I think BOMA of Greater Phoenix has a tremendous opportunity to be best-in-class for public policy advocacy at the State Capitol.”

Lawless mentions being particularly fond of BOMA’s “consistent public policy position as far as wanting to lower property tax costs to their owners and tenants,” which will be a top priority for him and BOMA’s contracted lobbying partner – Capitol Consulting.

“The reason for that is we have among the highest property tax burdens of all the states, which is our No. 1 impediment to economic development and job attraction,” Lawless says.

Lawless sees similarities between BOMA’s current status and the similar juncture NAIOP was in when he started working there more than a decade ago, which he describes as rebuilding after the Great Recession.

“That’s what makes this enticing to me,” he says. “It’s a challenge to help build something that’s already good into something greater.”

For this, Lawless has a proven track record.

During his time at NAIOP-AZ, he increased membership by more than 200 people and helped the local chapter earn recognition with more than a dozen national awards in areas such as membership, education, fundraising and legislative/government affairs.

Thinking about what’s ahead as the new executive director for BOMA of Greater Phoenix, Lawless says, “I hope my tenure at BOMA is as long as it was at NAIOP.”