Florida Real Estate Firm Adds Doctor to Team to Help in Pandemic

July 17, 2020

Crocker Partners, a commercial real estate company, in Boca Raton, Fla., hopes a newly created job position—a director of environmental health--will help frame its brokerage’s response to the pandemic. The position will bring in Dr. Walter Okoroanyanwu, a medical professional with experience in health care and infectious diseases, to help the firm develop a program to keep their employees healthy during the pandemic.

“My mission is to create and maintain a work environment that limits the chance of spreading COVID-19,” Okoroanyanwu, who holds a background in epidemiology, told The Palm Beach Post.

Florida has seen cases of the highly contagious coronavirus skyrocket in the last month. But Crocker officials say that without a statewide mandate to minimize the virus’ spread, employers are left trying to find best practices to continue business while keeping employees safe.

Crocker has more than 30,000 employees who work in their leased properties. They have been requiring tenants and visitors to wear masks in common areas at all their Florida properties.

Crocker Managing Partner Angelo Bianco told The Palm Beach Post the hiring of Okoroanyanwu as director of environmental health will allow them to shape new guidelines guided by science. Okoroanyanwu will review technical reports by scientists about ongoing research on COVID-19 and direct new building protocols and wellness programs. Okoroanyanwu also is looking into rapid tests from Abbott Laboratories that can deliver results within an hour to building tenants who may be positive for the virus.

Also, he has already implemented several safety measures, such as the use of technology to sanitize and disinfect ventilation systems.

“Supplementing the traditional office building staff with medical, health, wellness, and environmental experience will soon be commonplace,” Bianco says.

More companies are starting to add such specialists to their team. For example, the Miami Dolphins football team added an infectious disease specialist. Okoroanyanwu says he expects other major office landlords to follow suit as well.

“This is an innovative agenda here, and I see it as a stepping stone for other commercial developers to do the same thing,” Okoroanyanwu says.