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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark J. RiedyMark J. Riedy, PhD

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate today competes with America’s best real estate programs for top graduate real estate students who will add to the prestige of USD and the Burnham-Moores Center as they advance in their careers. To continue to compete at this level against larger and more mature institutions, the Center needs to generate significantly more funds to recruit the most prized students possible, who represent the future of our program and the real estate industry.

Real Estate SummitOur goal is to have an annual scholarship pool of at least $250,000 to $300,000 to attract the highest caliber of Master of Science in Real Estate students. To achieve that critical goal, in the next 12 months we will formally launch a campaign to raise a $5 million permanent endowment for graduate student scholarships as part of a $20 million capital campaign to ensure the long-term financial viability of USD’s real estate program.

Readers might well question the timing of a major capital campaign whose donors most likely have been affected adversely—to put it mildly—by the real estate recession and stock market collapse. It is, in fact, this very economic adversity that underscores why such an endowment campaign is so urgently needed. USD’s real estate program cannot be subject to the whims of the economy. It must continue to be on a firm financial footing, impervious to externalities, so that we can continue to educate future real estate leaders who will serve the region, the nation and the world.

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate also must continue to compete for faculty scholars and professional staff to continue the trajectory of university, student, community and industry service that the initial endowments of the Center financed as the foundation of this program. These initial endowments include the $1.5 million generated by 200 donors to endow the Ernest W. Hahn Chair in Real Estate; the $685,000 provided by approximately 25 Policy Advisory Board members to endow the Daniel F. Mulvihill Professorship in Commercial Real Estate; and the $5 million donated by John Moores, the Burnham Foundation, and the employees and owners of Burnham Real Estate Services in 2004 to name and endow the Center.

While more information will be forthcoming when the capital campaign is launched formally, I wanted to let readers of this newsletter know that our scholarship needs are now. Your generosity will make a difference in the quality of graduate students we educate and subsequently send into this region as future industry leaders imbued with a strong sense of ethics and social responsibility.

Dr. Mark J. Riedy
Executive Director

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Burnham-Moores Center Co-Hosts Summit with SDAR

SDAR logoThe Burnham-Moores Center is co-hosting a Real Estate Summit with the San Diego Association of Realtors Aug. 20 at the Town and Country Resort in Mission Valley. The summit will feature speakers Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, and Jeff Davi, California Real Estate commissioner.

Check-in and networking are scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.; the lunch and program are scheduled from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. To register for the event, which sold out last year, go here.

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Real Estate Alumni Bowl for a Cause

REAA Bowling Tourney
(Left to right) Collin Phillips of Pacifica Enterprises Inc.; Nicolas Biancamano ’05 (MSRE) of Pacifica Enterprises Inc.; Kevin Meissner ’06 (BBA) of Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial; Jimmy Harris ’06 (BBA) of lane sponsor Q10 Dwyer-Curlett; Dan Berkus ’05 (MSRE) of Paragon Management Co.; and Jeff Barnett of event sponsor Mutual of Omaha Bank gather for a team photo.

On July 13, over 65 people attended the Real Estate Alumni Association’s fourth annual scholarship fundraising event, held at East Village Tavern and Bowl in downtown San Diego.

With the help of sponsors, the event successfully raised funds for three $1,000 Real Estate Alumni Association Scholarships. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student studying real estate at USD. This was the first year the event raised enough funds for three scholarships.

Of the 12 teams that participated in the bowling tournament, the winning team was: Tim Barr of Legacy Builders and University Relations chair of ULI, Bob Brittingham ’10 (MSRE) of Westcore Properties, Greg Drobot ’09 (MSRE/MBA) of Emerald Investment Ventures, Will Strong ’09 (MSRE) of Pacific Medical Buildings and Courtland Weisleder ’09 (MSRE) of Greener Dawn. Weisleder also took home the best individual score award.

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Alumni Profile: MSRE Alum Finds Niche in Healthcare Start-Up

By: Diane Gustafson, Communications Coordinator

Greg Drobot
Greg Drobot ’09 MSRE/MBA

In the summer of 2009, as Greg Drobot was finishing up both his Master of Science in Real Estate and Master of Business Administration degrees at USD, he had a lot on his mind about his future. Mainly, where was he going to find work, especially given the flat job market.

Fortunately for him and many of his fellow MSRE classmates that year, the final course of the MSRE program―Real Estate Capstone―had been restructured in response to the market to be more entrepreneurial-focused. Drobot took full advantage of the course by fleshing out his ideas for a company he was in the works of developing.

Drobot, 27, grew up in a family who worked in the healthcare industry in the fast-growing city of Bellevue, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. As a child he was always fascinated with buildings, the development industry and how new development could change a city’s dynamic. In 2005, he double-majored in economics and philosophy at the University of Washington. Even before deciding to come to USD for graduate school, Drobot and his father, a hospital administrator, had founded a small development company in Bandon, Ore. where Greg oversaw the development of a luxury condo project.

His background began to come together when Drobot discovered a real estate gap in the healthcare industry and opened Emerald Investment Ventures in May of 2009, just before finishing his joint MSRE/MBA degree program at USD. The company partners with physicians to help them purchase their own medical office buildings. Drobot believes that most physicians have the means and desire to buy their own buildings, but lack the time and expertise to tackle the project themselves.

Drobot says that, given the job market at the time he graduated, his start-up idea was an inevitable choice. “I had little interest in healthcare, but my family is in healthcare, so I wanted to come up with a way I could use what I knew about the industry, capitalize on my connections and put a real estate angle on it.”

About 60 to 80 hours a week, Drobot is on the road meeting with brokers and doctors, looking for underutilized properties that can be turned into medical use and trying to put together deals. While it’s sometimes challenging educating medical doctors about real estate, when a deal does finally go through, Drobot finds his work incredibly rewarding and enjoys meeting interesting people and “the thrill of the hunt” along the way.

Drobot admits that launching his own company was much more challenging than he anticipated, mainly due to the political climate at the time. When he started the company, most doctors were concerned about how the Obama Health Care Plan was going to affect their practices. This year, work is picking up for him now that doctors are beginning to have more confidence in the plan and are more willing to invest in the future.

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Professor Vivek Sahs Paper Accepted for Publication

Vivek Sah
Vivek Sah, PhD

A paper authored by Professor Vivek Sah, PhD, titled, “Year-End Trading Motives of REIT Investors: Further Evidence Based on Price and Trading Volume Relationship,” has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management. It will appear in the journal’s September 2010 edition.

The paper examines the relationship between past price changes and future abnormal trading volume of REITs to identify the motive of investor trading, specifically, whether it is tax-induced or window dressing.

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Real Estate Alumni Network at USD

REAA Event
(Left to right) Chad Iafrate ’01 (BBA), Derek Adams ’01 (BBA) and Merrick Matricardi ’06 (MBA) catch up at the quarterly real estate networking event at O’Tooles Lounge on the USD campus.

The Real Estate Alumni Association (REAA) brought its quarterly Market Watch real estate networking event to USD’s campus July 8. The event included a happy hour at O’Tooles Lounge, located in USD’s new Student Life Pavilion.

At the event, Greg Zackowski, the university’s executive director of Student Life Facilities, provided a tour of the Student Life Pavilion, which is expected to receive LEED gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Market Watch events are designed to give USD alumni in the real estate industry an opportunity to reconnect with former classmates, make new connections and learn about exciting new real estate projects in the San Diego region.

“USD events are a great place to reconnect with old classmates,” said Brooks Klassen ’10 (MSRE), who attended the event. “The university has done a great job with its LEED efforts.”

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Malin Burnham to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from Corporate Directors Forum

Malin Burnham
Malin Burnham

Malin Burnham, vice-chairman of Cushman & Wakefield of San Diego, will receive a lifetime achievement award in corporate governance at the Corporate Directors Forum Director of the Year Awards, scheduled for Sept. 30 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. Burnham is an ex-officio member of the Center’s Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee.

For more information on the event, go here.

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Mark Riedy Makes Whos Who List

Mark J. Riedy, PhD, executive director of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, was recently selected for the 2011 edition of “Who’s Who in America” due to his outstanding achievements in the real estate and banking industries. Riedy has been listed in “Who’s Who in America” since 1982 and “Who’s Who in the World” since 2005.

Back to TopIn the News

Alan Gin and the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, which he compiles for the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, was mentioned in several media outlets following the release of his monthly report including: two San Diego Union-Tribune stories (Article 1, Article 2), three KPBS stories (Article 1, Article 2, Article 3), the North County Times, The Daily Transcript, San Diego Metropolitan Magazine, the San Diego Business Journal,, San Diego 6, Fox 5 San Diego, Del Mar Times, and two independent blog entries (Entry 1, Entry 2).

Norm Miller, distinguished research professor, was quoted in a June 29 New York Times article on the closing of car dealerships around the country during the recession.

Mark Riedy was quoted in a July 6 article on the credit market of commercial real estate on the Web site

Norm Miller was quoted in a July 12 San Diego Union-Tribune story on home prices in San Diego County. The story was later discussed in a blog entry.

USD alum Alvin Mansour ’03 (BBA), senior vice president of investments and a director of Marcus & Millichap’s National Retail Group in San Diego, was quoted in a July 12 San Diego Business Journal story on how San Diego County’s retail real estate market has been faring compared with other regions. 

Norm Miller’s co-authored studies, “Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?” and “Does Green Pay Off?” were referenced during a presentation by Scott Muldavin, executive director of Green Building Finance Consortium, at ULI’s Underwriting Sustainable Property Investments Summit in Atlanta July 13.

Norm Miller was interviewed for a July 20 Gainesville Sun article on how coastal property value from Louisiana to Clearwater, Fla., has plummeted since the BP oil spill. The article was also picked up by and

Mark Riedy was quoted in a July 26 Daily Transcript article on the impact the new financial reform legislation will have on the credit markets for commercial real estate.

Back to TopCalendar of Events

FriDay, Aug. 20, 2010

Real Estate Summit, Co-Hosted with San Diego Association of Realtors

  • Speakers: Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, and Jeff Davi, California Real Estate commissioner
  • 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. (Check-In and Networking); 12 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Lunch and Program)
  • Town and Country Resort, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego 92108
  • For more information or to register, go here.
  • For questions or sponsorship opportunities, contact Diane Gustafson at or 619-260-2379.

SAturDay, Oct. 9, 2010

Real Estate Alumni Homecoming Reunion

Join us for an evening of food, festivities and friends as we celebrate Homecoming 2010! Professor Dave Davis’ band Phil n’ the Blanks will provide entertainment.

  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Garden of the Sea, University of San Diego Campus
  • For more information or to RSVP, email

Back to TopContinuing Education - Upcoming Courses

STARTS Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010

Real Estate Finance and Underwriting


  • Course taught by Daniel Phelan, President and CEO of Pacific Southwest Realty Services
  • To register, contact Monica Phelps-Zambrano, or register online
  • For more information on this course, go here. For more information on Real Estate Continuing Education, go here.