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Economic Development Committee


Michael Takacs, Bohler Engineering

Tony Rosenberger, Chapman Properties

This is the committee responsible for monitoring governmental issues (including legislative action) and creating an awareness of these issues among the chapter membership.  The Economic Development Committee plans and executes NAIOP's legislative objectives and strategies for the year.

By hosting legislative forums, participating in grass roots lobbying and organizing important legislative activities, committee members help NAIOP stay in front of important industry issues. 

The Economic Development Committee consists of several sub-committees (Political Advocacy Alliance, Regional Development Consortium, and Smart Growth/Environment), and numerous Tasks Groups.  

The Economic Development Committee periodically reviews legislative initiatives to ascertain their impact on the commercial real estate industry and recommend positions for NAIOP to take on those initiatives.

The Economic Development Committee is responsible for monitoring all bills and resolutions concerning the commercial real estate community which are brought before the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Committee also reviews state regulations and monitors subcommittees and commissions of interest to the industry. The Western Pennsylvania Chapter participates in the Pennsylvania Statewide Alliance and is instrumental in developing strategies which the Statewide Alliance pursues at the State Capitol. The Committee formulates positions which are then taken before the NAIOP Board of Directors for approval.

The Committee identifies policies that should be addressed by legislation and drafts legislative proposals as necessary for consideration by the Board. Public Affairs Committee members actively represent the real estate industry's interest in the Harrisburg and Washington, DC while keeping members abreast of current legislation occurring on the Federal, State and local levels.  Activities will include:

  • Maintain an active role in the development of public policy.
  • Maintain monitoring and political advocacy programs at the local and state government levels.
  • Coordinate federal government activities with national NAIOP staff and communicate with the state’s congressional delegation.
  • Communicate current concerns and promote the value of government relations activities to the NAIOP membership.
  • Meet with policy makers and legislators to advance NAIOP's agenda.
  • Craft the messages of NAIOP in the community and with its members.
  • Determine communication tools to assure that NAIOP’s messages are clear and consistent
  • Create and implement strategies to make certain NAIOP and its members are kept informed and are heard on important issues by elected officials and local media
  • Work to ensure NAIOP listens and responds to the voices of its members
  • Identify issues and policies to guide the Chapter's advocacy and lobbying efforts.
  • Update and maintain the Public Policy Agenda to reflect changes in court decisions, legislation, and regulatory issues that affect the commercial and industrial real estate industry.
  • Members of the Committee are often asked to participate in Chapter Task Groups, or possibly on other steering committees for outside organizations where industry related issues are being addressed.

The Public Affairs Committee is responsible for several Task Groups including:

Transportation Infrastructure Issues Task Force

The purpose of this Task Group is to work with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) to develop specific actions to better integrate the development community into the transportation planning process, including having representation on the Commission, participating directly in planning efforts, and attending the SPC policy conference.

  • Attend SPC’s Transportation Technical Committee, Finance Committee, and Commission meetings to monitor progress and provide input on priority projects.
  • Meet with project managers of key projects regularly to monitor progress and provide input and support.
  • For priority projects currently on the four-year Transportation Improvement Program, actively monitor progress and provide necessary assistance to keep projects on schedule.
  • For priority projects not currently on the Transportation Improvement Program but on the Long-Range Plan, develop recommendations for a development community role in the projects.
  • For priority projects not on the Long Range Plan, develop recommendations for increasing funding to enable additional projects to move forward.
  • Promote implementation of recommendations for increasing funding for transportation projects:
    • Meet with the Governor to request that he address the issue; ask for support of new financing methods
    • Ask legislators to introduce legislation and hold hearings
    • Arrange testimony at hearings
    • Encourage media coverage of hearings

Utility Infrastructure Issues Task GROUP

The purpose of this Task Group will be to ensure that the water and sewer infrastructure needs in the Pittsburgh International Airport market area are identified, planned for, prioritized, funded, and the infrastructure built.  There is common agreement that the lack of water and sewer infrastructure is a significant deterrent to new development in the airport market area.

  • Meet with community leaders and authority operators to convince them to participate in the development of a prioritized comprehensive investment strategy for ware and sewer infrastructure.
  • Assemble a coalition of key stakeholders to meet with state and federal officials (PENNVEST, DEP, EPA, etc.) to solicit their support and participation in the prioritization and investment process.
  • Meet with key state legislators representing areas that would benefit from the project to ask them to support it with targeted funding (earmarks, state programs, etc.).
  • Meet with members of the Congressional delegation representing areas that would benefit from the project to ask them for funding earmarks to accelerate the project.

State and Local Tax Issues Task GROUP

The purpose of this Task Group is to investigate, analyze, and propose advocacy positions to the Public Affairs committee on tax issues that either threaten or benefit the commercial real estate industry. There will be particular focus given to proposed legislation, either local or state, that have the potential for negative financial impacts to owners, investors, and developers.

Regional Development Consortium

The Regional Development Consortium is an unincorporated association of organizations that intend to facilitate high quality development in Southwest Pennsylvania.  The Consortium is not a new incorporated organization, but rather serves as an organizational mechanism through which existing organizations coordinate their services and work jointly to fill gaps in programs and services.

The staffing support for the Consortium, including its Executive Director is contracted from the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce with funding contributed by the Pittsburgh Chapter of NAIOP and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.  The Chamber houses the Consortium staff and provides the associated facilities.  The funds associated with the Consortium are segregated from the Chamber’s funds and used solely for the support of the Executive Director and any associated staff.  The Executive Director reports to an advisory committee, which provides policy direction for the staff.  NAIOP has four representatives serving on the advisory committee.

The mission of the Regional Development Consortium is attracting high quality jobs and the residents to the region by:

  • Increasing the number of ready to go development sites at desirable locations (both brownfield and greenfield) throughout the region
  • Connecting development sites to external markets, the regional workforce, and other key locations within the region through effective transportation systems
  • Providing adequate water and sewer infrastructure to preserve regional water quality.

The advisory committee fully developed the organizational, operational, and financial details of the Consortium.  The initial members of the Consortium include representatives from:

  • Allegheny Conference on Community Development
  • Construction Legislative Council
  • Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

NAIOP took the leadership role in assembling the partners, developing the mission and goals, identifying initial projects, developing a financing strategy and raising seed money for the project.

Political Advocacy Alliance (Subcommittee)

The purpose of the Political Advocacy Alliance (“PAA”) subcommittee is to influence legislators and regulators at all levels of government on issues that are specifically important to the common interest of the commercial real estate industry in Pennsylvania.  The PAA is a voluntary alliance of principal and affiliate members from the membership of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of NAIOP.  The PAA functions as a standing subcommittee of the Public Affairs Committee.

The PAA meets a minimum of four times per year.  Teleconferencing will be an acceptable form for meetings.  Members are admitted to the PAA Committee annually, based on their commitment to make financial contributions as specified in the PAA’s Annual Participation Agreement (the “Participation Agreement”).

The PAA is comprised of individual representatives who have executed the Participation Agreement.  The PAA annually elects one chairperson, two vice-chairpersons, and a treasurer.  These four individuals will serve in an oversight capacity for the PAA.  The chairperson is a member of the Chapter’s Board of Directors.

The members of the PAA administer and manage the resources of the WPA NAIOP Political Action Committee (a State PAC).  Approval of any action considered by the PAA requires a two-thirds vote of all members present at the time of the vote.  There is one vote per participating member.

The Regional Development Consortium is responsible for staffing the PAA.  It provides research documentation on issues; communication tools to be used for advocacy; coordination of meetings; and, scheduling and organizing legislative visits for Harrisburg and Washington DC.

Smart Growth/Environment Subcommittee

The Smart Growth/Environment Committee works on issues arising from the growing interest on the part of local, regional and the Commonwealth for expanding legislative and regulatory controls regarding land use, commercial and residential development, and business expansion and location decisions.

Acting on the belief that the commercial real estate industry has much to gain or lose as a result of such regulations, the Smart Growth/Environment Committee acts as a legislative monitor and early warning system for NAIOP members; as an educator of members, their clients and customers, as well as legislators and public policy leaders; and as the commercial real estate industry's public voice in response to challenges and proposed public policies which endanger the businesses and livelihoods of NAIOP members and weaken their ability to serve their customers.

NAIOP defines Smart Growth as a dynamic, market-driven ongoing process which anticipates and accommodates growth in response to real market demand and user requirements and desires. Smart Growth planning and legislation must support commercial, industrial and residential development which responds to actual market needs and demands.

Issues of concern to this committee include: land use; Brownfields; development rights and growth controls; open space, zoning and density issues; environmental and pollution regulations; local and regional planning and controls; and property rights.