Leading the Way: NAI Burns Scalo’s Brian Walker Elected as NAIOP’s New Chair of the Board

One of the chief benefits of having a member network as diverse and extensive as NAI Global’s is that we get to work with some of the top minds in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. It also means that we have many amazing opportunities to celebrate the accomplishments, awards, and accolades our members achieve. We are reminded every day that we really do work with the “best of the best.”

With that said, it’s definitely not every day that we are able to announce that one of NAI’s own has just been elected as Chair of the Board for the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, NAIOP.

The top-tier talent in question? None other than NAI Burns Scalo President Brian Walker, of course!

Path to the top

Brian has been a member of NAIOP for 19 years and credits the organization with giving him a strong start in CRE after he switched from a position as CFO at Millcraft Investments to a career in real estate.

He says: “I remember what it was like to be a 32-year-old young CPA, selling his partnership interest and bouncing out to the commercial real estate industry.  I thought I knew a lot about real estate, but I realized almost immediately that I had a lot to learn.  NAIOP was this amazing organization for me, that provided me with networking opportunities, and exposed me to all the knowledge, research, and education that I needed so that I could build a strong foundation in hopes of launching a successful real estate career.”

As this latest appointment shows, Brian succeeded in doing exactly that, becoming the first member of NAIOP’s “Developing Leaders” Program to rise through the ranks and make it all the way to Chairman of the Board. 

Mentoring a new generation

Brian has also been a long-time mentor himself, having joined NAIOP Pittsburgh’s mentorship program in 2008 to help new real estate professionals find their feet and thrive in the challenging environment of CRE.

As NAIOP Chair, Brian is also still actively involved with the Developing Leaders (DL) program.

He notes: “For me to have the opportunity to give back to NAIOP and visit with so many chapters and talk to our future leaders about those experiences is something I’m really looking forward to.  Our DL’s comprise 28% of our total membership, and nearly 30% of our National Forum members.  Of the approximately 3,400 new members we added in 2023, DL’s represented 40% of them.  This membership category is our fastest growing one, and they will be our future leaders.  I can’t wait to make sure we are doing everything to support their growth.”

New strategic approach

Brian also has big plans for developing NAIOP’s strategic approach in the months and years to come. He notes that, though the organization has traditionally focused on the industrial and office sectors, NAIOP’s focus will now expand to cover more of the retail and multifamily sectors. Important subsectors, like storage, are also in the organization’s sights as they move ahead into 2024.

Brian states: “We’ve just adopted a complete comprehensive plan with an enormous amount of feedback from our members, chapters, and leaders. Our mission is to elevate awareness of our commercial real estate industry and to operate with amazing amounts of inclusivity, transparency, integrity, innovation, and collaboration.”

He adds that the organization will further partner with members of the NAIOP chapter network to further the great work those chapters are doing in their communities and will also focus on developing NAIOP’s leaders and workforce.

Brian sums up: “As we look ahead into 2024, NAIOP will continue to be the leading organization to provide the research, knowledge and the education to ensure our members have access to everything they need to succeed.”

Brian, we at NAI couldn’t be more impressed by your vision for NAIOP and your drive and determination to further the organization’s mission. We look forward to watching NAIOP grow and expand under your leadership and are proud to call you part of the NAI network.

We are honored to have Brian Walker as the keynote speaker for the NAI Global 2024 Convention. We can’t wait to hear an insightful and inspiring keynote from a visionary in the commercial real estate industry.