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 Jay Booth, who has worked for the firm for the last 25 years…
You’ve been with the firm 25 years now and focus on the Pacific Northwest and Retail. 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?
It seems cliché to mention technology, but that aspect of our business is among the most changed since I got into the appraisal industry in 1990. It impacts all facets of our practice, from report content and data, to research, analysis, and communication. Not only do clients expect more timely information, they expect collaboration, more thorough support and reasoning, and a higher level of service that all revolves around technology. And while technological advances imply a certain commoditization of our work product, at the end of the day, you cannot replace good judgment and experience with a computer and a database.
How did you get your start in commercial real estate/why did you choose to go into the appraisal profession?
An alumnus at my college (Willamette University) was seeking a summer intern and that’s where it all started. That alum (P. Barton DeLacy) became a lifelong mentor and pushed me to go further into my career by earning a master’s degree at NYU and going to work for a national firm. He bought my ticket to New York and I’ve never looked back.
What is it about Cushman & Wakefield that has helped you reach this anniversary/keep you here?
The people and the culture. I work with some truly amazing people. When I joined Cushman & Wakefield in 1993, Frank Liantonio and Brian Corcoran headed our practice. They became mentors and friends whom I still seek advice to this day. And I wouldn’t be where I am without Rick Latella, retail guru extraordinaire. When you look at the tenure of the professionals in our practice, it says a great deal about Cushman & Wakefield’s valuation team. I’ve worked with some of the same prodigious individuals for over 20 years; my brother included!
What was the most unusual assignment you’ve ever had or what has been the most memorable/your favorite?
I’ve been fortunate to appraise or consult on so many unique assignments that it’s hard to say. I’ve been blessed to have appraised properties in nearly all 50 states, which has added to my perspective and experience as much as any single assignment. I’ve appraised everything from fishing holes and fast food joints, to the largest mall in America; traveling from towns with barely 100 residents, to Macau, China, Bartlesville, Yuma, Canada, and many fascinating places in between. Still, I’ll never forget that first funeral home assignment in Salem, Oregon where I had to measure every room of the building, including around certain individuals who were, shall we say, less than animated to be there.
How do you plan to spend your next 25 years at Cushman & Wakefield?
Providing best-in-class client service and solutions, tackling difficult and complex assignments, and growing our practice along with the next generation of emerging appraisers and consultants coming up through our company.
When you’re not out appraising an asset or writing a report, what do you like to do?
I’ve always abided by the maxim: work hard, play hard. My family is the absolute most important part of my life and there’s nothing like a long weekend with my wife and kids. I also believe in giving back to my community and industry through coaching, volunteer work, and helping others.
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.