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Rubber hits the road as Boston Properties manager takes reins at BOMA

By Cheryl Mitchell

TOM HILL

Tom Hill’s son, Tom Jr., was in training class recently at Local 94, getting his engineering credentials under his belt, and heard his father’s name mentioned, not once, but several times.

Though he had known his dad had worked his way up to senior vice president of property management-New York Region at Boston Properties from a position as property manager more than 28 years ago, it finally struck him what an accomplishment that was.

“Wow Dad,” he told him, “a lot of people know about you.”

Hill took his son’s awakening with his usual modesty and good spirits. The new BOMA/NY president pointed out that he shares that accomplishment with more than a few of his colleagues from the Building Owners and Managers Association. Many of them also started as building engineers and are now at the top of their professions.

That climb to the top has shaped his perspective on how essential the real estate industry and the tenants managers serve are to the city.

“New York’s office towers are like the film studios are to Hollywood or automobiles were to Detroit,” he said. “They are the cathedrals of commerce, central to the economic health of the tri-state area.”

Managing them is something Hill takes very seriously; it is one of the great passions of his life, and he was excited to be recognizing those who share his passion at the annual BOMA Pinnacle awards tomorrow night.

Due to the impending storm, however, that event has now been rescheduled to take place on February 20.

Right now, as Hill takes over the reins of the BOMA/NY presidency, he is balancing his new position’s administrative responsibilities with the visionary dimensions that come with every leadership job.

The marketplace is fairly healthy, but in many ways has never been more complex, he said. “Even our most successful tenants are re-tooling and using their space more and more efficiently, all with an eye toward maintaining a healthy bottom line.”

Building owners and managers will be challenged by this and will need to be smarter about operating and recapitalizing their properties in response to these rapidly changing tenant requirements.

And “bottom line for us will be our resolve to meet these demands by ensuring that our BOMA/NY members are provided with the information and tools to assist them in performing their jobs,” Hill said. “This is where the rubber hits the road and our value as an industry association will make the most impact.”

As BOMA president, Hill is at work integrating the skills and approaches he acquired in the corporate world at Boston Properties. Among them is defining the organization’s core competencies and the role it can play in partnership with other real estate associations — most prominently REBNY and The NY Building Congress — as partners in equal standing for the common good of the industry.

“BOMA/NY has successfully carved out a unique niche for itself with the our city agencies as a valuable resource to turn to when the practical application of a law, code or regulation and its potential effect on real estate needs to be studied and understood,” said Hill.

Further integrating BOMA/NY initiatives with REBNY and NYBC, will, said Hill, will produce, “one industry, one message — a kind of unity benefits the industry and the City of New York.”

And to help meet the challenges of both the changing environment and the changing mission of property management, Hill is working with BOMA/NY committees to redefine their roles.  He is also promoting transparency at all levels, analyzing the structure of BOMA/NY much like the corporate executive he is.

Though it has been many years since he was a chief engineer, Hill sees an opportunity to expand BOMA/NY’s footprint while benefitting those working in the technical aspects of operations.

This could be achieved by actively recruiting more chief and assistant chief engineers as BOMA/NY Associate Members.

In turn, he believes. “Our industry and Association will benefit as their expertise is welcome, and needed — the industry is not standing still.”

Tom hasn’t stood still either since starting as an engineers’ helper on the team that opened 1633 Broadway with Uris Buildings Corporation more than four decades ago.

Now a 29-year veteran of Boston Properties, he brings all of the experience of his upward climb, drive and vision to his newest role as BOMA/NY president.

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