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Broker group to seek more clout

President of The Commercial Industrial Broker Society David

President of The Commercial Industrial Broker Society David Pennetta says the company is considering creating or joining a political action committee with similar goals, so brokers can mold how Long Island recovers in this economy. Photo Credit: Handout

The Commercial Industrial Broker Society is considering creating or joining a political action committee with similar goals, so brokers can mold how Long Island recovers in this economy.

New president David Pennetta, a principal of Oxford & Simpson Realty in Jericho, said the board will likely approve the idea at its February meeting.

Also, the trade association will create a “catalogue” of members who have public and political positions, he said. Questionnaires will be sent soon to its 350 some members, the new president said.

Those two initiatives, among others coming down the pike, mark a shift in focus for CIBS and a more take-charge stance.

When it was young, the organization was keen on developments in the profession, but at a “mature” 18 years, Pennetta said, CIBS has its eye on the big picture - affordable housing, legislation and the domino chain of issues that can affect brokers’ livelihood.

“We’re going to spend more time in the political front and deal with legislation that is both development friendly and regionally friendly,” he said. “This is a commercial broker organization, but the engine that drives the commercial market is the residential market. Companies will not expand here or come here if there aren’t employees here. So we have to make sure that we have the right demographic employee, and that’s the younger people.”

The catalogue of shakers and movers will be compiled next month, and Pennetta expect to more than 50 names in it. For example, he’ll be on the list as vice chairman of the Huntington Economic Development Corp.

Leverage is what CIBS wants, whether it’s on a project, with a civic group or a landlord, the president said: “Before, it was sort of like an ad hoc. If there was an issue out in Patchogue, everybody would scurry to see who they knew politically, who they know who were influencers. Now we’re going to take a more proactive role.”

This new mission is a far cry from the first time Pennetta served as president in 1998. Back then, the focus was putting technology into the profession. They created an online system of listings, ditching the laborious task of rifling through faxes for the right listing and gluing property photos to papers with listing details.

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