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Introducing CREA: The Commercial Real Estate Alliance of RASM

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  • | 10:45 a.m. December 19, 2019
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Your local coffee shop, industrial park, downtown main street, and even the office where you work. For more than 30 years, the commercial division at your local REALTOR® Association has brought together commercial real estate professionals to be the leader in our marketplace by promoting business development.

When the REALTOR® Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) began a branding project to further define their brand, the Board of Directors from the Commercial Investment Division (CID) seized the opportunity to take a closer look at their own brand and its position in the community.

The CID Board felt it was important to remove the word “investment” from their name. This word limited the group’s ability to expand beyond the perception that their organization is a commercial brokerage office or a group of investors, and not the REALTORS® and affiliated business members who make up the network. A Marketing Committee reviewed naming options that fully encompass the vision of the commercial group at RASM.

The one word they kept coming back to was “Alliance.” Alliance is defined as a “union or association formed for mutual benefit.” The Committee agreed that everyone involved in their network mutually benefits from cooperation and professionalism in the commercial real estate market. Not only are members in alliance with each other, but the group itself is an alliance between the business community and commercial real estate professionals.

After approval from the membership, the commercial group at the REALTOR® Association of Sarasota and Manatee is now known as the Commercial Real Estate Alliance (CREA).

CREA will continue support more than 300 commercial REALTORS®, brokers, lenders, attorneys, and professionals involved in all aspects of the commercial real estate market.

Susan Goldstein, a Commercial REALTOR® with Michael Saunders & Company and the 2019 President of the Commercial Division, helped lead the change from “investment” to “alliance.”

“We worked to create a name that represented who we are and the communities we serve,” said Goldstein. “We support more than just ‘investments’ – we work to sell and lease commercial properties for business owners and investors. We are also a true alliance of all the participants in Commercial Real Estate.”

With the new name, the Alliance brings more opportunity for more connections. The Board of Directors has set a 2020 goal to position CREA within the local community as the source for commercial real estate.

The main objectives of CREA remain the same:

  • To unite those engaged in commercial real estate activities for the purpose of exerting a beneficial influence on matters affecting the profession and related interests.
  • To promote commercial real estate business activity among members.
  • To provide members the opportunity to better serve the public through formal and informal education.


Joe C. Hembree, CCIM, of Hembree & Associates, was recently installed as the 2020 President of the Commercial Real Estate Alliance. The 2020 Board of Directors will engage with members and the community to support the local market.

“CREA supports the community by working to improve the knowledge and professionalism of our members which helps build a better commercial property marketplace,” said Hembree. “I’m looking forward to a successful year of engaging with the membership to make an impact on the community around us.”

CREA leadership works to advance membership by providing marketplace sessions, professional development opportunities and community-focused events.


  • President: Joe C. Hembree, Hembree & Associates, Inc.
  • President-Elect: Erick Shumway, Re/Max Alliance Group
  • Vice President: Ben Bakker, Michael Saunders & Company
  • Treasurer: Tom Johnson, LWR Commercial
  • Secretary: Melissa Harris, Ian Black Real Estate, LLC.


  • Michael Gallatin, SaraBay Real Estate, Inc.
  • Susan Goldstein, Michael Saunders & Company
  • Ken Hughes, CNK Realty, LLC
  • Neil McCurry, Sabal Palm Bank
  • Tony Veldkamp, SVN Commercial Advisory Group
  • Harvey Wasserman, Harvey Wasserman & Company Real Estate
  • William Wilson, Florida First Capital Finance


When you hear the word “REALTOR®” you often think of buying or selling a house, not a business. Commercial REALTORS® are a very important segment in this trademarked profession. They abide by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, putting ethics at the core of every business decision.

Business owners can count on local commercial real estate professionals to take an active role in making the community a better place to work and live. Members of CREA provide local market expertise to their customers and advocate for issues affecting the business community. You can trust a local Commercial REALTOR® to turn your business dreams into a reality.

For more information about CREA, visit or call (941) 952-3408


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