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Brokers group skewing younger

Marisa Karmitz and Mario Asaro

Marisa Karmitz and Mario Asaro

When you hear this, don’t think that the board at the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society here is full of old fogeys.

Known as CIBS, the trade group has created two non-voting, associate board positions for people under 40 – after having several sort of senior moments.

Just before annual board elections, the leadership must troll through membership lists to see who’s senior enough to run for president and also wants the post, said David Pennetta, CIBS’ board president.

“Every year we’re ripping through another senior person at CIBS,” said Pennetta, 47, a principal of Oxford & Simpson Realty in Jericho. “A lot of guys were retiring. At some point, we’re going to run out of people to steer the organization.”

Getting younger brokers to be more active in the trade group has been an issue for years. When the organization was new in the early ’90s, its rules allowed only people with at least 10 years in the industry to run for the board. Then in the late ’90s, the board changed it to seven years, and that’s how Pennetta got on it. Since then, it’s been lowered again to five years.

What’s more, it’s Pennetta’s second time as president and the term has been doubled to two years so the group doesn’t have to rip through names as much. “I’m on the tail end of senior people who had the energy to come in and donate time to sit,” he said.

Most of the 13 board members are at least 50 years old and the youngest is in his late 20s, he said. Bringing in younger people to be “ingrained” with CIB’s values can assure the group’s survival for another generation, the broker said.

Younger people have less time than senior brokers to volunteer, said Mario Asaro, 39, right, one of the two new associate board members and owner of Industry One Realty Corp. in Farmingdale.

They’re busy building their businesses, especially in an industry where heads of companies and other clients tend to be older and many of them prefer working with brokers of their generation, he said. “A veteran in the industry doesn’t need to be running around to get customers,” Asaro said. “He’s got a good book of customers already, so he’s got some extra time.”

The other associate board member is Marisa Karmitz, 26, at left, senior associate at Cushman & Wakefield in Melville. She wants CIBS to draw in younger brokers by holding events with landlords, office furniture dealers, designers and others who could help them be big fish in this market.

Brokers don’t want to go to early-morning events if they’re just going to be sitting next to others from their own offices, Karmitz said: ”Sometimes, people are like “What’s CIBS doing for me?”

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