Jack Ramirez brings more than 30 years of financial and related experience to his role as Vice President of Finance at Next Realty. Throughout his career he has worked at some of the largest and most distinguished names in the commercial real estate industry, in Chicago and nationally. These firms, from the brokerage and development communities, include The John Buck Company (TJBC), Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), and CB Richard Ellis.
Jack plays an essential role at Next Realty, interacting in one way or another with all of the different divisions in the firm including management, staff, property personnel, outside vendors and counsel, and investors. Learn more about Jack below.
What is your role at Next Realty?
My title at Next is VP of Finance. My role includes oversight of both corporate and property reporting as well as investor communications. I have been with Next since June 2003.
What is the best, most rewarding aspect of your job at Next Realty?
The most rewarding aspects have to do with the personal side of the business at Next.
For example, I really like seeing both present and past staff members grow into their positions and become ready for their next challenges, whether that is at Next or as naturally happens, outside of the company.
I also enjoy working with people in all different facets of our organization and its reach. That would include team members, tenants, investors, bankers, vendors, and tax accountants. I’ve developed meaningful relationships with all of them and it really makes my job more enjoyable. That level of contact and interaction makes it fun to come to work!
How did your experiences at TJBC and JLL prepare you for your role at Next Realty?
Both TJBC and JLL were larger organizations. I learned a lot at those companies, but it had less to do with the mechanics or processes of doing my job and more about three critical elements: communication, teamwork, and collaboration. To be successful, regardless of the size of the organization, those three elements must be present. I try to be guided by those three principles every day.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your role in the company? How have you adapted?
Everyone—at Next, at our properties and across the industry—has had to adapt in some way to the pandemic.
During COVID-19, property reporting at Next underwent a complete overhaul of methods, incorporating practices to allow a more immediate recognition of revenue and expenses. This created new challenges for our accounting team and our executive staff in order to understand the new reporting system’s opportunities as well as its limitations.
Additionally, initially, tenant receivables had increased significantly as businesses held onto cash and worked to survive the first days of the pandemic.
Because of the level of delinquencies and the number of team members working on tracking, I directed our software company to develop a tailored, more interactive and collaborative aging report that enables a variety of team members to enter notes and status updates. In addition to being a significant time saver, the new system provides our executive team with a single report on current developments for each tenant. This reporting system is now standard, and we will continue its use for the foreseeable future.
What lessons, in general and as it relates to your role at Next Realty, have you learned from COVID-19?
First and foremost, it is important to stay positive despite the bad news that you hear from news outlets. Also, a lesson I learned long before COVID-19, but one that has been reinforced during the pandemic, is: perform your duties the best you can and it doesn’t matter if the tasks are small or large, you will make a difference at the end!