SVN Specialty Awards: Innovator of the Year – Al Stepan

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

SVN Innovator of the Year 2015If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Innovator of the Year 2015 – Al Stepan

Al Stepan - SVN Innovator of the Year 2015

When it comes to treating an SVN franchise like a business, no one is more of an innovator than Al Stepan. He has led the organization in investing in bringing in outside specialists to support recruiting, which has allowed him to scale his teams. He was also a driving force behind the consolidation of our Denver and Fort Collins offices, positioning them to be a regional powerhouse. These are just a couple of the examples of thinking big and applying best business practices to the operation of an SVN franchise. And it’s an innovation that we can all learn from.

Al Stepan is a principal of SVN | Chicago Commercial and serves as a Managing Director along with Michael Thanasouras and Scott Maesel in Chicago, IL.

The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

Sperry Van Ness® 2012 Innovator of the Year, Ryan Imbrie

As an early adopter of using the iPad as a selling tool, Ryan Imbrie is a natural choice for the Sperry Van Ness® 2012 Innovator of the Year Award. This award is given to an advisor who embraces the latest technology to further his or her business and career. Ryan, working the International Council of Shopping Centers RECon floor with his iPad in hand, truly personifies the message that SVN is the company of the future.

Ryan Imbrie, 2012 Rookie of the Year with SVNIC's Vice President for Organizational Development Bo Barron
Ryan Imbrie, 2012 Innovator of the Year with SVNIC’s Vice President for Organizational Development Bo Barron

Ryan is a CCIM and a senior advisor at SVN/Imbrie Realty, LLC in Portland, Ore. He believes in using readily available technology to increase productivity. Ryan is never far from his iPad where, with the swipe of a finger, he is able to access all his listings, due diligence, and database contacts. When most brokers may still be dragging around massive binders with their listings, Ryan uses the iPad during meetings to show clients existing inventory.

Ryan also uses the iPad to its full real estate potential. He uploads PDF marketing packages into one of three folders: Current Listings, Closed Transactions, and Pocket Listings using iBooks. During client meetings, Ryan is able to show detailed listings and immediately email a full package if there is an interest.

To increase the functionality of the iPad, Ryan uses and recommends the following apps:

  • The SVN Connect AppSVN’s own app offers access to all of our listings, advisors and offices, along with a suite of helpful tools
  • LoopNet: The property listing service
  • PocketProfile: Ticor Title’s App allows you to pull up ownership information based on an address or the more useful “Near Me” feature
  • Dropbox: A useful tool for sharing due diligence with brokers or buyers
  • UPad: Excellent note-taking app
  • Splashtop: Allows remote access to a desktop or laptop computer
  • AppBox Pro: This app provides a loan and amortization tool
  • MagicPlan: A tool that uses the camera on the iPad to create basic floor plans
  • A Fin Pro: A financial calculator
  • WhitePages: A phone book on the go

Ryan uses technology as a productivity booster, but it doesn’t substitute for the skills needed to succeed in commercial real estate. He says: “I remind myself on a regular basis that business is not won based on technology. The key to success in commercial real estate is forging relationships.”


 *All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.