By Mike Agnew, Senior Managing Director, Florida Asset Services
When Hurricane Irma made landfall on September 10, 2017, Cushman & Wakefield’s Florida Asset Services Team jumped into action to protect a statewide portfolio of more than 330 properties totaling 45 million square feet of space. Our firm’s response to the Category 4 storm, which brought catastrophic wind and rain to nearly every major Florida market, set a new standard in the property management industry for emergency preparedness.
In recognition of our team’s dedication and commitment to service, Cushman & Wakefield was honored at Commercial Property Executive’s Distinguished Achievement Awards ceremony on October 25, 2018 in New York City.
These awards recognize the commercial real estate industry’s most noteworthy properties, transactions, strategies and programs as selected by a panel of judges representing expertise across commercial real estate disciplines.
Cushman & Wakefield was recognized at the highest level for the “Most Effective Property Management Program.” To accept the award on the firm’s behalf, I was joined by Harry Moseley, Director of Engineering, who was integral in the planning and execution of our response to Irma.
Each year, Cushman & Wakefield’s hurricane response program begins in February. In the eight-month period leading up to Irma, the Asset Services team engaged in thorough planning and preparation, which included improving our client communication system, running mock hurricane drills, and prioritizing the safety of our employees, clients and contractors.
For its part, Hurricane Irma proved to be one of the most destructive storms to hit the state, engulfing the entire Florida Peninsula and causing damage from Miami to Jacksonville. Many of our employees worked around the clock and even slept on-site at our properties for days after the storm.
Once curfews lifted and travel was deemed safe, site visits were conducted to evaluate building exteriors, structural damage, water incursion and electrical systems. With this work ethic and a thorough, coordinated plan, property managers along with our service providers and partners responded on-site within two hours of all clients’ or tenants’ calls.
As a result, no Cushman & Wakefield-managed property was closed due to storm damage, other than unavoidable power outages, for more than three days after the storm hit.
This award is a prestigious recognition for our firm and testament to our team’s resilience, resourcefulness and commitment to protect our clients’ assets. Our team worked tirelessly under duress and performed in an unbelievably professional manner for our clients.
Irma’s sheer size completely tested all areas of our response program, and we were made stronger for it. In planning for the 2018 Hurricane Season, we were able to implement many “lessons learned” from Irma to help us be even better prepared for the next major storm.
Mike Agnew is Senior Managing Director for Cushman & Wakefield’s Florida Asset Services Team. In this role, he oversees the firm’s statewide Asset Services operations, from Miami to Tampa to Jacksonville, while focusing on maximizing asset value for clients, delivering best-in-class service, and strategic growth.