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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark J. RiedyMark J. Riedy, PhD

The topmost thought on my mind this month is the retirement of Ilse Hunnicutt, my executive assistant for the last 15 years. While Ilse is featured elsewhere in this issue, I wanted to offer this personal tribute to an outstanding colleague and friend, a woman who worked from her heart as well as her mind and who will be missed tremendously by everyone who interacts with us in the BMC.

One of the real treasures of Ilse Hunnicutt’s tenure at USD was her loyalty, both to me personally and also to the real estate industry and its executives. We all recognize “loyalty” when we see or experience it, but I would like to reflect a bit more on the concept now.

Women in Real Estate ConferenceHistorically, long-term loyalty to an employer was a given, as was a firm’s commitment to its employees and retirees. It was a two-way street. Today, however, as everyone is painfully aware, employer/employee loyalty has eroded severely and is compounded by the economic pressure on firms to reduce or eliminate retiree benefits.

While my experience is that employees still are loyal to specific industries, employee turnover and its associated costs have increased substantially over at least the last decade. Replacing key employees takes time and much more effort—including compliance with a plethora of labor laws—than in the past.

There is a parallel business issue in that the all-in costs of retaining current customers, or tenants, in the case of real estate, generally are substantially lower than the costs of acquiring new customers (or tenants). Many firms and executives probably need to pay more attention to the issue of employee retention. It’s one thing to have a loyal 15-year employee like Ilse retire and move to another state to be closer to children and grandchildren since family trumps most everything. It’s quite another thing, however, to lose employees seeking new jobs because they have not felt valued or been challenged with new opportunities within a firm, either through greater responsibility or better compensation.

In real estate today, enhancing compensation packages for current employees is problematic, especially since well-paying job vacancies are rare, as are new jobs, period. To manage employee turnover and to increase employee loyalty as much as possible, I encourage managers everywhere to engage in introspection as well as making the issue of enhancing loyalty a higher priority. Real estate executives need to apply their entrepreneurial thinking and attention as much to employee retention and satisfaction as they do to customer and tenant retention.

Dr. Mark J. Riedy
Executive Director

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BioMed Trust CEO Alan Gold Speaks at Breakfast at the BMC

Breakfast at the BMC with Alan Gold
(Left to right) Alan Gold and Brad Geier at the Sept. 28 Breakfast at the BMC event on campus

Roughly 200 people attended the Burnham-Moores Center's fall Breakfast at the BMC event, held Sept. 28 on USD’s campus. Gold is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of BioMed Realty Trust Inc., which has over $4 billion invested in state-of-the-art research facilities and a current market cap of approximately $2 billion.

During the presentation, which was moderated by Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee member Brad Geier, founder of Merlone Geier Partners, Gold shared with the audience his circuitous path into the real estate industry. Gold said that he got into biotech real estate because it had “pent-up demand, constrained supply, barriers to entry and barriers to exit, and you really had to understand the asset class.”

“Those were the unique characteristics we saw, and we were able to capitalize on them,” he said. “It was an opportunity for above-average returns for below-average risk.”

Gold also described some of the unique qualities of life science tenants. “They always paid because they always had cash,” he explained. “They are some of the greatest sales people because they sell one of the greatest products on earth, and that’s hope.”

Gold said that culture compatibility is a key factor in BioMed’s hiring decisions. A major element of the culture, he says, is the permission to fail. “We all make mistakes,” he said. “If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not working, we’re not doing our job.”

After the public presentation, Gold met privately with USD’s class of Master of Science in Real Estate students.

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Executive Committee Member Sherm Harmer Receives Mulvihill Award

Sherm Harmer Recieves Mulvihill Award
(Left to right) Mark Riedy presents Sherm Harmer with the Daniel F. Mulvihill Leadership Award Sept. 22

At the Center’s Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee dinner Sept. 22, Executive Committee member Sherman Harmer Jr., principal of Urban Housing Partners Inc., received the Daniel F. Mulvihill Leadership Award.

Mulvihill WinnersHarmer received the award for his enthusiastic, generous and longtime support of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. The award was created in 2002 to honor Dan Mulvihill, chairman of Pacific Southwest Realty Services, for his leadership in helping to launch USD’s real estate program in 1992, as well as his intense involvement in building the program to its current level of prominence. This was the 10th year the award was given to a BMC supporter.

The 2011 award was presented to Harmer “in grateful recognition for his extraordinary commitment, generosity of time and treasure, and personal support of the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.” At the dinner, Executive Director Mark Riedy highlighted Harmer’s extensive contributions to the development of USD’s real estate program, including: his hiring of University of San Diego students; his active participation on the Center’s Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee, which he is past chairman of; his current chairmanship of the Executive Committee’s Task Force on the Future; his position as an adjunct instructor in the Master of Science of Real Estate program; and his multiple wins of the MSRE “Teacher of the Year” award.

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Burnham-Moores Center Debuts New Web Site

The Burnham-Moores Center has redesigned its website with a new streamlined look and feel and easier-to-access content. Content is now organized by audience: students, industry, faculty, alumni, donors and media. Additionally, the home page features two columns of quick links to the site’s most popular destinations. The new site also features an expanded alumni presence; USD real estate alumni now have their own microsite within the larger BMC site.

To view the new site, go here. For questions or suggestions, contact Jeryldine Saville.

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Real Estate Society Hosts First-Time Homebuyers Seminar

First-Time Homebuyers Seminar
(Left to right) Panelists Patty Schobelock-Neal from West Coast Escrow, Kevin Jacobs from Bank of America and Tasha Manzano from Coldwell Banker at the First-Time Homebuyers Seminar Sept. 29

On Sept. 29, over 70 University students, faculty and staff attended the First-Time Homebuyers Seminar and luncheon, sponsored by the USD Real Estate Society and the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, with funding provided by the California Mortgage Bankers Association Foundation. Lunch was provided by the San Diego Association of Realtors.

The seminar was designed to give prospective homebuyers a background on the area’s current housing market and requirements for entry. It featured views from three panelists: Kevin Jacobs from Bank of America, Tasha Manzano from Coldwell Banker, and Patty Schobelock-Neal from West Coast Escrow. After presentations from each of the panelists, which were moderated by the Burnham-Moores Center’s Executive Director, Mark Riedy, attendees posed a wide variety of questions to the experts.

The University’s Real Estate Society is a 200-plus member student organization that was formed in 2005. Through industry outreach and monthly meetings the society provides resources and information to students interested in pursuing a career in real estate. Meetings are held the last Thursday of every month and feature real estate professionals who share their industry experience and insight with students. Real Estate Society events are open to all undergraduate students.

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Norm Miller, Alan Gin Featured at Oct. 11 Union-Tribune Event

Norm Miller
Norm Miller, PhD

University of San Diego Professors Norm Miller and Alan Gin will be featured speakers at the San Diego Union-Tribune’s U-T Talks Community Dialog event Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre on USD’s campus.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature the seven regional economists who make up the paper’s weekly EconoMeter panel. At the event, the panelists will assess the state of the economy, look into prospects for 2012 and answer questions from attendees.

To register for the free event, go to

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MSRE Students Visit Chelsea Investment Corp., Affordable Housing Complex

Chelsea Investment Corp. company visit
MSRE students with Chelsea Investment Corp. employees at the company's offices Sept. 30

Chelsea Investment Corp. hosted MSRE students at its Carlsbad offices Sept. 30. The company’s CEO, Jim Schmid, along with Chris Arthur ’06 (MSRE), project manager; Erin Autry Montgomery, project manager; Wally Dieckmann, senior project manager; Matt Grosz ’08 (MSRE), project manager; and Cheri Hoffman, president, spoke about the company’s history in the affordable housing industry. After the presentations, Dieckmann took the students on a tour of Glen Ridge, an affordable housing complex developed by Chelsea.

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Undergrads Meet Mentors, Center Faculty and Staff

Undergrad Mentor Breakfast
(Left to right) Undergraduate student Anchal Sud gets to know her mentor, Jacob Schwartz ’02 (BBA), development associate at Urban Housing Partners Inc., at the mentor kickoff breakfast

On Sept. 13, over 50 students were introduced to the Undergraduate Real Estate Mentorship program at the first Real Estate Society meeting of the fall semester. The program highlights were provided by Real Estate Alumni Association (REAA) board members and former Woodruff Scholarship recipients Ron May ’07 (MSRE) and Brett Kondrick ’08 (BBA), as well as undergraduate students who participated in the program when it was launched last semester.

The REAA kicked off the program for the 2011 Fall semester at a breakfast on campus Sept. 30, where the undergraduate students and their mentors met for the first time. The 22 students, who were paired with local real estate professionals, are required to meet with their mentors throughout the semester and submit a written account of their experiences.

On Oct. 5, the Burnham-Moores Center hosted an informal networking lunch for Real Estate Society members to get to know Center faculty and staff. A second networking luncheon is set for Nov. 16.

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Ilse Hunnicutt Retires from the Burnham-Moores Center

Ilse and Bob Hunnicutt
Ilse and Bob Hunnicutt at the Center’s Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee dinner Sept. 22

Ilse Hunnicutt, executive assistant to Burnham-Moores Center Executive Director Mark Riedy, has retired after 14½ years of service to the University of San Diego, nearly 13 of which were in the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. Ilse is moving to Glasgow, Ky., with her husband, Bob, and son, Mark, to be closer to her daughter’s family and begin a hydroponic farming business.

Ilse was honored at an on-campus farewell party on Sept. 21, as well as at a Sept. 22 dinner of Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee members, where she was presented with a farewell gift from EC members.

Ilse is retaining her USD email address and can be reached at

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Professors Co-Author Article in Institutional Real Estate Letter


Vivek Sah
Vivek Sah, PhD

Norm Miller, PhD, and Vivek Sah, PhD, had their co-authored article, “Market Turning Points: A Look at Commercial Office Markets by Price Segments over the Past Five Years,” published in the October 2011 edition of the Institutional Real Estate Letter-North America. In their analysis, Miller and Sah found that price dispersion may provide a signal of market turning points well before the actual turn.

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Mark Riedy Makes Who’s Who in the World List

Mark J. Riedy, PhD, executive director of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, was recently selected for the 2012 edition of “Who’s Who in the World” 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

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in a Sept. 9 Daily Transcript article on 9/11’s effects on the housing boom and bust.

Norm Miller, PhD, and Associate Professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the Sept. 10, Sept. 15, Sept. 18, Sept. 25 and Oct. 1 editions of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s “EconoMeter.”

Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in a Sept. 17 North County Times article on loans and foreclosures. The article was also picked up by

Executive Director Mark Riedy, PhD, was quoted in a Sept. 24 San Diego Union-Tribune article on refinancing mortgages.

Alan Gin’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, which he compiles for the Burnham-Moores Center, was mentioned in several outlets following the August release. Articles appeared in the San Diego-Union Tribune, the North County Times, KPBS, and

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Sept. 28 Breakfast at the BMC event featuring BioMed Realty Trust Inc. CEO Alan Gold was reported on in San Diego Union-Tribune and The Daily Transcript articles.

Back to TopCalendar of Events

THURSDay, OCT. 6, 2011

Real Estate Alumni Association’s Casual Thursday

Join the Real Estate Alumni Association for a night of networking and reconnecting with friends within the USD real estate community.

  • 6 p.m.
  • Maria Maria, 1370 Frazee Road, San Diego, 92108
  • Free event
  • For questions, contact Annie Grand at

TUESDay, OCT. 11, 2011

San Diego Union-Tribune’s U-T Talks Community Dialog event

The event will feature the seven regional economists, including University of San Diego Professors Norm Miller and Alan Gin, who make up the paper’s weekly “EconoMeter” panel. At the event, the panelists will assess the state of the economy, look into prospects for 2012 and answer questions from attendees.

  • 7 p.m.
  • Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego campus
  • Free event and open to the public
  • To register, go to

WEDNESDay, Nov. 9, 2011

Women in Real Estate Conference featuring keynote speaker Lauralee E. Martin, chief financial and operating officer of Jones Lang LaSalle

  • 7:30 - 10 a.m.
  • Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego campus
  • $45 per person, includes registration fee and breakfast
  • To register, go here.
  • For sponsorship opportunities or more information, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379.


12th Annual Residential Real Estate Conference: Outlook 2012, featuring keynote speaker Doug Duncan, PhD, vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae

  • 7:30 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Hahn University Center, University of San Diego campus
  • $60 per person, $550 for a table of 10; includes registration fee and breakfast
  • To register, go here.
  • For sponsorship opportunities or more information, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379.

FRIDay, MARCH 2, 2012

16th Annual Real Estate Conference featuring U.S. Bank CEO Richard K. Davis - Save the date!

  • 7:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Hilton San Diego Bayfront, One Park Blvd., San Diego, Calif. 92101
  • For questions or sponsorship opportunities, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379 or

Back to TopContinuing Education - Upcoming Courses and Seminars


Working with the Maze of Stakeholders


  • Course taught by Chris Morrow, senior vice president and planning director of Project Design Consultants
  • 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.

ThURsDay, NOV. 10, 2011

Update on Tax Considerations in Real Estate