Members of a ULI Advisory Services Panel in Atlanta.

From recommending how communities in Puerto Rico can better prepare for extreme weather events to how Atlanta can “stitch” a divided downtown back together with new streets, buildings, and parks, ULI members have provided creative solutions to the most complex land use challenges facing communities for more than 70 years through the Institute’s Advisory Services program.

“It’s an excellent program and has obviously stood the test of time,” says Rick Krochalis, a full member of ULI since 1989. “You can connect with your colleagues and really give back. The program is a great way to stay involved within ULI as a real, contributing member.”

ULI’s Advisory Services program “brings together leaders from across the fields of real estate and land use policy to exchange best practices and help serve the community’s needs,” Michael Bloom, full member since 2014, says regarding his recent involvement with the Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, panel, convened in December 2018. “The experience was very rewarding and intense.”

Panel members delve deeply into the communities they visit, helping residents gain fresh perspective and come to innovative solutions for complex land use and real estate development challenges.

“No matter the end result of the project, I already see how this weeklong assignment has positively affected and engaged the local community,” says Wei Haung, full member since 2015, reflecting on “The Stitch” panel in Atlanta, convened this past February.

Michael Bloom (right) chats with Toa Baja’s Mayor Betito Márquez after the public presentation of the panel’s recommendations in Puerto Rico.

Contributing to the Institute’s mission of creating and sustaining thriving communities across the globe, Krochalis, Huang, and Bloom’s participation in the Advisory Services program helps shape the future of the industry through the exchange of expertise, best practices, and lessons learned.

“The panel report and presentation serve to share knowledge,” Bloom says. “Whether a professional service provider, a developer, or anyone else within the ULI family, we are all interested in best practices and lessons learned. So having a written report that tells the story will certainly make for better projects, activities, and outcomes in the future.”

Over the past year, nearly 100 members have expressed their interest in the Advisory Services program for myriad reasons, both personal and professional. The program fosters collaboration among ULI members to provide their expertise and promote best practices. The hard work and long hours required as part of a panel visit pay off in experience and professional development.

Over the past year, 65 percent of Advisory Services panels have included one or more panelists recruited through Navigator.

Launched in spring 2017 and exclusive to members, Navigator helps members find and connect to ULI opportunities to lead and volunteer by providing access to about 500 different ways to get involved across the organization, on a local or global level.

“If you are a new member or you don’t know what ways there are to get involved, Navigator is your opportunity to say, ‘This is what I am interested in doing. What do you have for me?’” says Krochalis, who has served on three Advisory Services panels as a result of Navigator. “I found the process of applying through Navigator very easy and view it as electronic networking.” With Navigator, members can ensure that they are being connected to the right person at ULI who can help them become more involved.

For more information on joining an Advisory Services panel or on other ways to get involved across ULI, visit Navigator.