REIAC Southwest celebrates 20 years of networking, philanthropy, mentoring

REIAC-Rockefeller Challenge 2019 winners (Submitted photos)

The Southwest chapter of the Real Estate Investment Advisory Council celebrates its 20-year anniversary of networking, philanthropy and mentoring, this year.

Since hosting its inaugural event in Phoenix on Nov. 4, 1999, the organization has reached a milestone of being amongst the Valley’s leaders in commercial real estate networking and mentoring organizations, according to a press release.

REIAC Junior Achievement 2019.

Founded by businessman Larry Heath, who was with Vestar Development at that time, REIAC is described as an exclusive national fellowship of “top” real estate executives offering educational events, networking opportunities and community service, the release said.

With four regions in the U.S., REIAC was established as a nonprofit trade association to provide a forum for exchanging ideas, concerns and experiences among senior executives who conduct commercial real estate transactions, the release said.

Three programs noted for establishing the Southwest chapter as a leader in educating and mentoring future generations of commercial real estate professionals are:

The REIAC/Rockefeller Challenge: The top three out of six teams consisting of graduating students from Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, Masters of Real Estate Development program, present their development projects to REIAC’s membership who question the teams about their proposals. Each member of the winning team walks away with a $1,000 check from REIAC and the event sponsor, The Rockefeller Group. It completed its sixth year in 2019.

“The Challenge has changed the dynamics and competitiveness among the teams to be chosen as one of the top three invited to the Challenge,” said Mark Stapp, Executive Director of the MRED program.

MRED scholarships: REIAC awards two scholarships to MRED students at the beginning of each academic year. The MRED faculty select six students, interviewed by several REIAC board members, selected by financial need; desire to pursue a career in real estate development or investment after graduation and; desire to stay and pursue their career in Arizona after graduation. After the interviews, the top two students are each awarded a $2,500 scholarship.

The REIAC Southwest/Junior Achievement of Arizona Land Development Pitch Competition: REIAC members present five classes per semester introducing high school students to the built environment and the real estate development process. Teams of students from Gateway Early College High School in Phoenix present their proposed developments to a panel of REIAC judges to convince them that their project is the best investment. Each member of the winning team receives a gift card for up to $175. It completed its first two semesters during the 2018-2019 academic year.

“This program made our 11th and 12th grade students extremely happy and most importantly, confident as they leave our school and move on to bigger and better futures,” the students’ teacher, Karen Hawkes, said of the REIAC volunteers, in a prepared statement.

“The MRED Challenge and the Junior Achievement program give REIAC the opportunity to share our members’ expertise,” said Mark Singerman, president of REIAC Southwest and vice president/regional director-Arizona for The Rockefeller Group, in a prepared statement.

Cheri Brady, vice president and senior national account manager, National Commercial Services Division, is a founding board member with the REIAC Southwest chapter, who noted that community outreach and mentoring are signatures of the organization.

She said there are about 85 members in the local chapter and the board’s goal is to field a roster of about 120 professionals.

“Being an active member of REIAC has provided me many opportunities over the years and I attribute much of my professional success to this organization,” Ms. Brady said in a prepared statement. “It is a privilege to regularly interface with our membership and create relationships with industry leaders. The benefits include numerous business opportunities for me and my team.

“The first year I put a toe in the water to see how it would play out. Twenty years later I’m still an active member and love what the organization has become. As a board member and membership chair, I have a dual incentive to encourage REIAC’s growth,” she added.

Networking opportunities REIAC Southwest offers members include four main evening programs a year and four breakfast programs with panelists discussing industry trends,according to the release.

The speaker program has featured national industry experts such as Dr. Peter Linneman, Hessam Nadji, John Cushman, Gerald Hines Sr., Dr. Michael Crow, Jerry Colangelo, Gary Knight, Jerry Moyes and more.

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