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The Prestige of Taking Home a TOBY Award

By BOMA/Chicago

The buildings you manage are more than just brick and mortar and a checklist of passed inspections. Their sturdiness is not solely based on the metal foundations lining the walls. The buildings you walk into each morning do not just house profitable commercial square footage. The space inside provides professionals with a home away from home and an area that encourages productivity.

As passionate property managers, you all can attest to the fact that your buildings are living entities with a story to share – a story that combines how triumphs and tribulations have made your building what it is today.

Now that BOMA/Chicago has launched the 2013-14 TOBY Award season, you can give a voice to your building’s unique story while showcasing the expertise of your property management team. The TOBY competition opens the doors for you to boast about all of the ins and outs of your building’s operations, including tenant relations programs, community involvement, emergency preparedness and security standards and continuing education for your building personnel.

You are able to submit a TOBY application in one of 14 different award categories that represent property management excellence. Susan Hammer, General Manager for Riverview Realty Partners at 330 North Wabash and a TOBY winner and judge, affirms that even just entering the TOBY competition will provide your property with a great deal of free exposure that is targeted to the management and leasing world where your next tenants will come from. Applying for a TOBY is the perfect opportunity to tell your future tenants the tale of your building and to give all of the details about what sets your building and team apart from the rest.

Once you submit a TOBY application, your building will then undergo inspection from expert BOMA/Chicago judges. Frank Tverdek, a seasoned TOBY judge, encourages all TOBY applicants to treat their building inspections as a leasing tour. During the tour, you should ensure to highlight the distinctive services, accomplishments and amenities that differentiate your property from the pack.


January 2013 TOBY/Gold Circle Awards Gala

After the TOBY judges review all applications and complete the inspections, the winners are chosen. These winners are then announced at the TOBY/Gold Circle Awards Gala. This year’s gala will be held on January 30, 2014. BOMA/Chicago winners go on to compete in the North Central Region TOBY Awards in March and regional winners advance to the International TOBY Awards competition in May. International winners are announced at the BOMA International annual conference in June 2014.

Whether you win a TOBY award on the local, regional or national level, your building will automatically strengthen its resume, leasing power and overall competitive advantage. And even if your property does not win the competition, the feedback you receive from the professional judges is completely worth the effort you put into applying.

Participating in the TOBY awards competition also has a notable side effect of enhancing management team spirit as well as competence. Because the competition touches every aspect of building management and operations, each member of the team becomes an important component and is integral to the success of the competition.  Applying for a TOBY award gives your diverse property team something that cements them together in pursuit of the common goal. Your application also brings attention and notoriety to those departments at your property that are sometimes the unsung heroes of tenant services. And even if your building does not take home a TOBY this season, the effort each of your team members puts forth benefits your building in a dynamic and organic way and will motivate you to compete again in the future.

The TOBY award is not just a beauty contest. Winning a TOBY signifies management expertise. It becomes a symbol for years to come of your ability to operate a property at a peak level of financial performance for your owner and deliver a true value-enhanced occupancy to your rent paying tenants.

All building members are encouraged to enter the 2013-14 BOMA/Chicago TOBY Awards competition. Everything you need to enter this year’s competition can be found on the BOMA/Chicago TOBY Awards information page, including entry requirements, local competition applications (TOBY and Earth Award), building inspection forms and judging scoring sheets.


To enter, please email completed applications with requested attachments to Lisa Bluhm, Director of Marketing & Education. The entry fee is $250 and can be paid online by logging into the BOMA/Chicago website. All TOBY Award applications must be submitted by 5PM on Thursday, September 12.

Set your building apart from the rest. Tell us the unique story of your building and your team. Show us how your building stands out. Apply for a TOBY and then let your reputation pave the way for future success.