Allen Shema, Director of Transitions & Due Diligence, has retired from the Board of Directors at BOMA after 31 years. BOMA, or Building Owners & Management Association, provides advocacy, professional development, networking and economic savings opportunities for its members. In his own words, Allen shares some of his experiences below during his time with BOMA.
“I was first introduced to BOMA in the late 80’s while fairly green in property management. I went to a few events and eventually signed up for the RPA (Real Property Administrator program). Fred Capretta was a Director of Operations at Weston in the late 80s and became President of BOMA around 1990. Having received my RPA designation in 1992, Fred asked me to prepare to take his seat on the board. I was approved and took my position in 1992. At first, I was overwhelmed and did not contribute much. BOMA mostly caters to office building users and Weston really didn’t fit the mold. I found ways that the office building topics could help Weston.
Eventually in the late 1990’s, I became chair of the Group Purchasing committee and wrote a new standard agreement to use for all our vendors. Our vendors then were Leff Electric (defunct), Leader Electric (defunct), Kimberly Clark, CHAMPS (Cleveland Hospital Association), IGS Energy and many others. We still use IGS energy today to get lower gas prices for many of our buildings.
I eventually joined the Government Affairs Committee, which I still serve on today. The Government Affairs Committee keeps us abreast of what is happening at the City, State and Federal level that can affect real estate. The committee has tackled issues like the Facade Ordinance the City wanted to put in place, the Stairwell Egress Ordinance, The Cleveland False Alarm Ordinance, and many others. As a Board member, I have traveled to Columbus with the other BOMA members 4 different times to meet with other Ohio BOMA chapters to meet our representatives about upcoming legislation. Some of those discussions were for Historic Tax credits, House Bill 126 which dealt with real estate taxes, Utility Efficiency Standards, as well as other issues.
In the late 2000s, I became heavily involved in BOMA’s fight against storm water fees that were being billed by NEORSD. We joined with the Cleveland Auto dealers Association, Apartment Association, NAACP and many surrounding Mayors to build a bigger consensus. Weston had more to lose in this fight as we had hundreds of acres of impervious surface versus the minimal impervious surface downtown that office buildings have. Our fight eventually went to the Ohio Supreme Court. While storm water fees are now in place, Judge Pokorny issued a ruling regarding the NEORSD Stormwater Plan on 2/15/12. The ruling stated that the Sewer District has authority to implement the Regional Stormwater Management Plan with the caveat that the District make changes to the plan in a number of areas including sharing funds with the Cities and developing a cap for nonresidential properties. BOMA delayed the fees for a full 4 years. At the time, storm fees were costing Weston $240,000 a year. Delaying the fees saved Weston a million dollars. In addition, NEORSD was limited in what the fees could be.”
Taking Allen’s place on the Board and representing Weston will be Sam Cooper, Property Manager. Sam, along with Assistant Property Manager, Tony A. Asher, are also members of the Emerging Leaders of BOMA committee. Allen’s presence on the Board has had a lasting effect on Weston as a whole and this year he celebrates 40 years with the company.