Megan Creecy-Herman, Senior Director, Leasing & Development at Liberty Property Trust, has worked in commercial real estate for 11 years, 10 of which have been as a member of NAIOP. In 2013, the 33-year-old was the first female chair of NAIOP Arizona and one of the youngest in the country to hold that position. She was recently asked to sit on the NAIOP National Executive Committee and will once again sit on the National Board of Directors next year.

“I am very proud to be working with such an esteemed group of national leaders from around the country in an effort to continue to strengthen NAIOP nationally,” she says.

You were also the first recipient of NAIOP’s Developing Leaders Award, for which you were a founding chairperson. Was chairwoman a role you sought?

Yes, I was the founding chairperson of the NAIOP Developing Leaders in 2009 and it was really through my leadership of that group that I was selected to serve on the Arizona and national NAIOP boards. My work ethic has always been one of the traits that has set me apart. When I joined NAIOP Arizona’s board of directors in 2010, I didn’t necessarily set out to become chairwoman. I just went to work at giving 110 percent for the organization. It was really through the past chairmen witnessing my dedication and my leadership skills [that I became chairwoman].

A few of the former chairmen were at the helm during trying times. How would you describe the state of the industry during your term?

I’ve been on the Arizona Chapter Board of Directors since 2010, so I remember what it was like for our board and the respective chairmen to navigate such a challenging market. I was the corporate sponsorship chair on the Board of Directors during that period and fundraising was challenging to say the least. Fortunately, the market has continued to recover this year and our membership is feeling optimistic about where the industry is headed. We actually set the record for the most money ever raised through corporate sponsorship this year at $610,000, which blew away the prior record of $525,000 in 2008.

You’ve been credited with a clear agenda for NAIOP’s educational goals. How have those progressed under your term?

Very well. Our signature speaker event featuring Billy Beane from the Oakland A’s was very successful. We’ve also continued our partnership with the ASU Masters in Real Estate Development (MRED) program where we bring industry leaders in to speak to the MRED students on various topics, and we’ve received very positive feedback on that program as well. We have a new education committee this year and they have done a tremendous job in overseeing both of these programs as well as planning our quarterly Market Leaders Series events and also planning our Tempe market tour.

What are other achievements or goals you’ve started working toward as chairwoman?

Strengthening NAIOP’s public relations efforts has also been a goal of mine this year. We have a new communications committee, and they have done a great job executing on our plan to increase NAIOP Arizona’s brand recognition throughout the broader business community while also building stronger ties between NAIOP and all of the local media outlets. Ensuring that NAIOP Arizona’s voice is heard throughout the Phoenix business community is very important to me.

What are two things you find most interesting about the Arizona market right now?

First, that it’s as bifurcated as it is. When it comes to office product, no two submarkets are created equal and that’s extremely evident when looking at Tempe versus the rest of the market. The overall office vacancy rate stands at 17.7 percent and Tempe’s vacancy rate is less than 9 percent and less than 4 percent when it comes to class-A product. It will be interesting to see whether other submarkets can get some momentum going as our recovery continues.

Secondly, the fact that our industrial recovery is becoming more widespread across submarkets and sizes is interesting and encouraging. In 2013, we saw a very pronounced shift in demand from the larger big box tenants who were in the market from the end of 2011 through the beginning of 2013 to the smaller regional tenants in the +/- 15,000 SF to +/- 80,000 SF range, with those users predominantly focused in the airport submarkets and east Valley. During the third quarter, however, we have started to see activity pick up again in the southwest Valley as well, which is a positive indicator for 2015, especially considering that summer is always the slowest time of year in Phoenix.
What is NAIOP’s position and effect on the market?

NAIOP Arizona is the preeminent commercial real estate organization in Arizona. The fact that we have the diverse and experienced Board of Directors that we do helps us to continually monitor the pulse of our market and ensure that we’re providing our members with what they need, whether it be education on what’s happening in the market now or providing opportunities to network with the key players who are doing deals.