by Eric B. Lewis, MAI, FRICS
President, Valuation & Advisory Americas
We’re recognizing the individuals within our Valuation & Advisory (V&A) group who have hit major anniversary milestones this year, by asking these veterans a few questions. After having been with the firm for 20 years or more, it’s interesting to hear about their experience, tenure, and what keeps them going. I had the chance to talk with Eric Michel, who has worked in the Stamford, Connecticut market for the last 35 years…
You’ve now been with the firm 35 years and focus on performing and coordinating valuations in the Connecticut and Westchester County markets. What changes within the appraisal industry and/or your market have you seen since you began your career? Where do you think it is heading?
Technology has been the single biggest change in the appraisal industry. The changes alone over the past 5-10 years have been dramatic — from the way we bid on projects to the technology associated with our reports. Everything is moving faster including due diligence, data collection and verification, and report turn around. With all the advances in technology we still need to know our markets and communicate with key players. Also, information does not last as long with markets changing faster, data becomes stale quicker. I anticipate technology will change at an even faster pace going forward. With these changes it is more important that we communicate with our clients and market players more often.
How did you get your start in commercial real estate/why did you choose to go into the appraisal profession?
I started as a part-time property accountant in the Stamford office in 1984. I didn’t even know the appraisal profession existed until I came to Cushman & Wakefield. From there I went into Market Research for a year. In 1985, I was offered a junior appraiser position under Joe Dondiego, who was the manager of the Stamford office at that time. Since then, I have been involved with valuations of all property types and received my MAI designation in 1996. More recently, I have developed a niche for valuing asphalt plants, quarries, and gravel pits. Along with the contacts and relationships I’ve made in the mining industry, the data that I have collected and retained from these valuations is invaluable. For the past eight years I have been managing the Stamford office, while still doing valuations and working with the junior appraisers. The best part is all the relationships I’ve made both in the local real estate market and the appraisal field.
What is it about Cushman & Wakefield that has helped you reach this anniversary/keep you here?
The reputation of Cushman & Wakefield in the marketplace, as well as the relationships I have developed over the years both internally at Cushman & Wakefield and externally in our market are really what have made me stay.
What was the most unusual assignment you’ve ever had or what has been the most memorable/your favorite?
The most memorable assignment I have worked on was a Dry Dock facility where they repaired and serviced submarines in Maine.
When you’re not out appraising an asset or writing a report, what do you like to do?
My kids are foodies so I like to try different restaurants with them. I also enjoy going to sporting events with my kids. We travel and go to baseball, football, or basketball games in different cities. I love playing golf, refereeing youth basketball, and most of all going on vacations with my wife and kids.
Eric Lewis is the President, Valuation & Advisory Americas. In this role, Eric is responsible for the overall operations of the Americas V&A group, which spans 600 professionals across 6 core services, 17 practice groups, and 70 offices. He drives the primary business objectives and activities for V&A in the Americas, including our aggressive growth and technology initiatives. In 2017, the group appraised more than 50,640 properties valued at over $1.29 trillion USD.