The Value of Industry Associations for Commercial General Contractors


There is no doubt the construction industry is one built on relationships. They are forged with the clients, subcontractors, architects, coworkers, and colleagues. as well as local and state jurisdictions.  Each serve a distinct purpose and help us deliver a high level of coordination and communication for the successful delivery of construction projects. 

But what about the relationships that are built off the jobsite? As a large commercial general contractor, our business depends on having a pulse on all aspects of the industry to be innovative and ahead of the curve. This starts with being actively involved with organizations that directly influence real estate and provide networking, education, and advocacy opportunities.

At Perlo, we are honored to have deep and lasting relationships with many of these organizations and continue to nurture and foster our connections through active participation. Today we highlight several of the organizations that make an impact on our industry and people.

The CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women)

CREW aspires to transform the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally. Founded in 1989, CREW currently boasts over 12,000 members in 75 markets. Through their initiatives, members are given the tools to build a successful presence in the commercial real estate industry.

CREW has proven to be an invaluable resource for business networking through their conventions and leadership summits. In addition, their exclusive technology platform works as a personal marketing tool via a membership directory and resource and referral center. CREW strives to be a leader in achieving gender equity and greater diversity in commercial real estate. Their industry research delivers critical data for the development of meaningful actions that serve to positively impact women and the BIPOC community.

Members are provided multiple opportunities for high-level leadership development, including service on boards and committees. CREW provides programs to educate women and young girls about careers in commercial real estate, promotes education and provides scholarships for college-level courses and mentorships.  

Their website explains that, “A CREW Network membership is generally open to individual professionals of any gender currently employed in a qualified field of commercial real estate. Many chapters also offer “Affiliate” membership for individuals who do not work in a qualified field of commercial real estate”.  They advise consulting the chapter website or contacting them for additional details.

Perlo’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Elissa Looney describes her experience;

“I’ve been a part of CREW for more than a dozen years and served on the CREW Portland board from 2014 – 2017, acting as Chapter President in 2016. CREW has been instrumental to my professional growth. I can say, without question, that CREW Portland and CREW Network have been integral to my success in this industry.

The Associated General Contractors of America

The AGC functions as a “voice for the construction industry” by providing access to experienced contractors and construction companies all with a dedicated emphasis on the values of skill, integrity, and responsibility.   Currently, the AGC represents more than 27,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. Additionally, through their expansive network of chapters across the nation, more than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC. Nationwide chapters seek to provide a full range of services that address the needs and concerns of its members, “thereby improving the quality of construction and protecting the public interest”.

These core services address critical components of the construction industry such as safety, labor relations, advocacy, and workforce development. Members have access to vital programs such as health insurance, retirement, and workers’ compensation, and generous discounts on industry-related products through vendor partnerships. Most notably, the AGC is a premier education resource for its contractor members through their extensive training and certification courses designed to improve safety and reduce accidents.

The AGC sponsors multiple events like golf tournaments and conventions where members can socialize and network with those in the industry. The AGC offers two types of membership: Contractors and Associates. While Contractors have access to programs and services, Associate members can still make connections with industry colleagues to market their products and services and to build relationships. Associate members are also invited to serve on councils and committees and can participate in sponsorship opportunities.

To learn more about membership with the AGC, visit their contact us page on their website.

Perlo Project Manager Lainee Perala says of AGC:

“As an active member of AGC of America, I get a front-row seat to the inner-workings of a hugely influential construction organization at a national level. Through my participation on a number of national boards, I have been able to not only develop my own project management and leadership skills, but also aid in creating a construction industry that is diverse, engaging, and beneficial to all involved.

The Commercial Real Estate Development Association

The Commercial Real Estate Development Association is a leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. The association began in 1967 when a small group of industrial park owners and developers in the eastern US formed the NAIP (National Association of Industrial Parks) to provide a forum for open exchange and information. The “O” to the acronym was added later to include office parks but due to a change in membership, the words behind the acronym were dropped to better reflect the composition of their members. Today, NAIOP’s 20,000+ membership advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy in North America.

NAIOP’s mission is to provide advocacy, education and business opportunities through an influential network of professionals in the commercial real estate development and investment industry. Through their advocacy and educational resources, NAIOP takes action on legislative priorities relevant to commercial real estate such as tax and regulatory policies and provides career advancement opportunities via their courses and certificate programs. NAIOP’s sister organization, the NAIOP Research Foundation conducts dedicated research to evaluate emerging trends, economic conditions, and to assess the overall needs of the industry. With their 50+ years of experience, NAIOP has laid out a clear vision statement, “Commercial real estate solutions meet the changing demands for how people work, live, shop and play”.

NAIOP continues to attract a diverse group of members, representing the many facets of the commercial real estate industry who are committed to excellence, entrepreneurial in spirit, and want to reach new heights in building excellence.

Membership information is available by contacting the state chapter or visiting their website.

Perlo Marketing Coordinator and NAIOP Marketing & Communications Committee member Meuy Tzeo, remarks

“NAIOP Oregon has been a game-changer for me professionally and personally. As a newbie to construction, I initially got involved to expand my network and gain insights about the industry. I quickly discovered that this association goes beyond small talk and surface level advocacy. I have built meaningful relationships, and get to see first-hand the work put in by board of directors, committee members, sponsors, and members to make the Greater Portland Metro area a wonderful place to live again.”

Final Thoughts

Investing our time and efforts into these associations provides Perlo and the larger industry with critical insights and data that assist us with strategic planning, relationship building and political advocacy. We are proud to be members of each of them and look forward to what the future holds for the commercial real estate market.