In 2022, my team of Cushman & Wakefield Right of Way (R/W)/Eminent Domain appraisers and I devoted 6,000 hours to supervising appraisal trainees. This means we dedicated an extreme amount of time overseeing full-time employees new to the business who had no experience developing R/W reports or interacting with our clients.
It was one of the best things we did for our clients in 2022, and I’ll tell you why.
A Little Background
North Carolina is home to many of Cushman & Wakefield’s R/W/Eminent Domain team members. It is one of eight states from which our practice serves all major markets. As some of you know, many of us joined Cushman & Wakefield over a year ago from North by Northwest, a R/W-specific appraisal firm based in Hickory, NC.
One of our biggest North Carolina R/W clients is the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). One of their major ongoing concerns is a lack of licensed appraisal professionals to help on their projects. This is partially due to a general shortage of qualified appraisers; another reason is that working on an NCDOT project, like any DOT, requires specific training and expertise to complete the project competently. Any way you look at it, too few appraisers is a bottleneck in the delivery of the R/W needed to get to construction.
Not Just Quality Work, But More of It
For NCDOT, and for so many appraisal firm clients, providing quality work is very important, but having access to enough professionals to provide more quality work is equally so. Therefore, in 2022—my team’s first year as part of Cushman & Wakefield—we had more capability to grow, so we did, including by adding more trainees.
In 2022, we added four certified general appraisers to the NCDOT approved list, for a total of 10, and we anticipate six more approvals in 2023. In addition, we employed six fully salaried NCDOT trainees in 2022 and expect to add two more trainees in 2023.
Firmwide, Cushman & Wakefield implemented an Associate Development Program (ADP) in 2022 to address the growing educational and mentorship needs of new appraiser talent in the industry. Currently, there are ± 80 trainees enrolled in the ADP across the U.S.
Meet Justin, a Trainee Real Estate Appraiser
Justin Beebe, who joined our team in June 2022, just earned his Trainee Real Estate Appraiser certificate and is well on his way to becoming a North Carolina Certified General Appraiser. He has been involved with several NCDOT projects, including in Mecklenburg, Randolph, Moore and Cumberland Counties.
Justin says, “I look forward to assignments involving a wide variety of infrastructure projects including new roads, road widenings, bridges, utility easements and more. The right-of-way industry is exciting and there is great demand for new appraisers in this space. As an appraiser trainee, I hope to play a role in improving the quality of life for North Carolina citizens by improving our infrastructure, while also helping protect the constitutional right to just compensation for the private landowners.”
Mentoring Is a Competitive Advantage
I couldn’t agree more with Justin, including about our business helping protect constitutional rights of U.S. citizens—all of us here are passionate about what we do. And I believe my company understands and supports the value to our clients of teaching and mentoring, as well as to the industry.
Mentoring is an investment. In the short term, it slows things down. That said, I’m glad my team could devote those 6,000 hours in 2022, and we look forward to more in 2023. Being committed to our clients means ensuring our knowledge and dedication will continue—through others as well as ourselves—in decades to come.