Barbi Reuter, president of Picor Commercial Real Estate Services, was recently elected president of the Tucson Metro Chamber board of directors.
She has held a seat on the board since 2016 and is an active member of the community, serving on the boards of the YMCA of Southern Arizona, Tucson Girls Chorus, and is an advisory board member for Real Estate Tech News and TREND Report.
“Barbi Reuter is a dedicated community leader and she’ll be key in advancing the chamber’s efforts to be the connector of leaders and influencers, the catalyst for business growth and the champion for a stronger community,” said Amber Smith, president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber. “Under Barbi’s leadership the chamber will be poised to address community issues such as workforce development and talent attraction, economic expansion, and infrastructure improvements, as well as provide pro-business advocacy and support for businesses of all sizes.”
Reuter, 52, shared her thoughts about what she hopes to accomplish.
Q. How long have you been a commercial broker in Tucson?
A. Oddly in this day and age, I’ve had my entire career with one company. While I was a UA student in the 1980s, I started typing leases for our founder, Mike Hammond, six months before he opened the doors. I was licensed at 20 and launched our property management division soon thereafter. Twenty years into my career, I stepped into company operations and leadership and became president in 2017. The most rewarding aspect of my career has been to make connections and create opportunities for others in return for the doors that were opened for me.
Q. When did you first get involved with the Tucson Metro Chamber?
A. Picor has held chamber membership since we opened in 1985. We saw the great strides the chamber was making about five years ago and upped our investment. Like anything, you get back what you contribute, and it’s not our style to be passive investors.
Q. What fueled your interest to get involved?
A. It’s part of our ethos to be deeply involved in our community. Because our commercial real estate advisory work is focused on Southern Arizona and with businesses across a broad spectrum of industries, the chamber was a natural fit. I was impressed with the chamber’s impact and was pleased to be invited to fill a board seat in 2016.
Q. What are some chamber programs/initiatives that you have been involved with?
A. I served with a very dedicated group on a task force called “Project Prosperity,” which worked closely with city leadership to remove barriers for new and existing businesses, particularly in the development and land use realm. We accomplished a great deal and developed a strong level of trust which opened the door for continued efforts to benefit the community. I also joined a chamber delegation to Capitol Hill the past two years to share priorities with our elected officials in the halls of Congress. We held a small business roundtable recently and learned we can provide more opportunities for business-to-business networking which caused us to expand our events. Others active in the chamber are focused on workforce development initiatives, reviewing candidates and ballot initiatives, and working closely with the Tucson Airport Authority to encourage business travel out of Tucson to help fill planes and improve air service.
Q. How does your experience as a commercial broker influence the way you see business development in Tucson?
A. We have the opportunity to walk beside businesses as they navigate the system to open, expand or relocate their offices, warehouses, manufacturing facilities and retail establishments. Living through multiple recessions, we know that job creation is the lifeblood of this community and that the war for talent is very real. This is an incredibly rich and vibrant place to live, work and play, and Tucson is well positioned to expand existing businesses and attract more quality jobs.
Q. Will you seek specific regulatory changes at the local or state level?
A. We listen to our members in the business community and go to bat for them when roadblocks hinder their delivery of products and service to the region or keep them up at night. We want to use our collective strength for good, to provide a voice of reason for projects and efforts that will improve the prosperity of greater Tucson.
Q. What do you believe is the role of the Chamber regarding economic development?
A. Think of the three C’s: Connector, Catalyst, Champion. Connector is about bringing leaders and influencers together for mutual benefit, catalyst means business growth (job creation and wage growth follow), and champion for a vibrant and healthy economy.
Q. What would you like your legacy to be?
A. In my mind, the best measure of success for this community would be a meaningful increase in our gross metropolitan product. Relative to similarly-sized cities, Tucson lags significantly by this measure. This spells opportunity, and the chamber is embracing it.
Q. Anything else you would like readers to know?
A. We’re modernizing the chamber to be both responsive and proactive to today’s business community and paving the way for our new CEO, Amber Smith to lead her team to success. We want every business in Tucson to see an investment in the chamber as an imperative because value is delivered. We’ve just seated new board members for the term ahead, and I’m so excited about the talent and diversity at the table. We have broad representation by gender, ethnicity, age, company size, and business sector.