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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark J. RiedyMark J. Riedy, PhD

In a recent meeting with young real estate professionals, they discussed at length the challenges of building careers, raising families and enjoying San Diego’s abundance of natural and man-made attractions. One of the most vexing issues for these bright young people is the high cost of living in this region, which will come as no surprise to San Diego readers. However, drilling deeper into the affordability issue, they identified two specific problems they found especially difficult to overcome as they contemplate long-term careers in the region.

Breakfast at the BMCFirst, even though each individual is earning an income well above average, fewer than half feel that their income is high enough to support meaningful discretionary spending. Their incomes cover basic necessities such as rent or mortgage payments; car, school and credit card debts; utility bills; and food, clothing and gas, etc. But their discretionary spending is limited to the point of dissatisfaction, in several instances. 

The second issue identified by the group is that time is a scarce resource. In order to generate incomes sufficient to provide meaningful discretionary spending opportunities, individuals need to be more productive, work longer hours and start side businesses, and/or their spouses need to do the same. These extra-income-generating initiatives eat up individuals’ discretionary time, the time they hoped to enjoy with family and friends.

In brief, the costs of living in San Diego stretch family budgets thin, reducing discretionary spending power. Efforts to build income to enhance discretionary spending capacity reduce free time and detract from individuals’ ability to enjoy the quality of life opportunities that San Diego has to offer. Participants in the discussion recognize these negatives yet still want to remain in San Diego. Hopefully, they are becoming sensitized to the importance of committing some of their already scarce time to getting involved in political, civic and industry organizations that will influence the future evolution of this region and affect significantly the desirability of living, working and playing in this region for decades to come. 

In particular the group members feel strongly that this region needs to broaden its employment base of higher-income jobs beyond high-tech, biotech, venture capital and a few other clusters. For them, seemingly insufficient numbers of employers offering higher-paying jobs in this region might lead them reluctantly to relocate to areas with lower costs of living where they believe that greater discretionary incomes and free time will improve the quality of their lives even if their new jobs are at or moderately below their current compensation levels.

San Diego does not yet seem to be suffering from a “brain drain” of younger people employed in above-average income jobs. In fact, a brain drain might not even be noticeable if it is occurring. Out-of-town students attending local universities typically decide to stay here, if they believe that jobs with good career prospects are available. The focus group of young professionals—who have typically been in the local labor force for five or more years—are less optimistic about career opportunities than newly minted graduates. They believe San Diego is not attracting many new employers with jobs that pay well.

Therefore, the long-term risk is that the region’s high and rising cost of living, over the productive years of these young professionals’ careers, will drive them out of the region. Their greener pastures might not turn out to be as bountiful as they hope and expect, but it well could be that they will end up having more discretionary time and income to enjoy their lives. In that event, their gain will be San Diego’s loss. 

Dr. Mark J. Riedy
Executive Director

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Sept. 13 Breakfast at the BMC to Feature CEO James Watson

James Watson
James "Watty" Watson

On Sept. 13, James “Watty” Watson will speak as part of the Center’s Breakfast at the BMC distinguished lecture series. Watson is CEO and president of CT Realty Corporation. As such, he is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of CTRI’s investment strategy as well as strategic oversight of the firm’s key initiatives.

Prior to joining CTRI, Watson served as president of the Koll Development Company, where he was responsible for real estate investment and development in the Western United States and Mexico. During his 10-year period with Koll, he oversaw the expansion of the company from Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego to multiple Mexican markets, the Bay Area, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and other strategic markets.

The event will be moderated by Charlie Abdi ’83 (BBA), principal at Finest City Realty Advisors and chair of the Center’s Commercial Real Estate Committee.

The Breakfast at the BMC series was launched by the Burnham-Moores Center in 2007 and has featured renowned speakers including philanthropist Ernest Rady, CB Richard Ellis CEO Brett White, Cushman & Wakefield Chairman John Cushman, former MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and Janet Yellen, vice-chair of the Federal Reserve.

To register for the event, go here. For sponsorship opportunities, contact John Ferber.

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Women in Real Estate Conference Scheduled for Nov. 5

Leanne Lachman
Leanne Lachman

The Center’s Second Annual Women in Real Estate Conference will be held Monday, Nov. 5 on the University of San Diego campus. The keynote speaker will be Leanne Lachman, president of Lachman Associates, an independent real estate consulting firm based in New York, and an Executive-in-Residence at Columbia University’s Graduate Business School. A highly sought-after speaker and widely published author of books and articles on the real estate industry, Lachman also is a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and a Governor of the Urban Land Foundation.

Lydia Jacobs-Horton

The event also will feature Lydia Jacobs-Horton, director of Procter & Gamble’s Global Facilities & Real Estate Organization (F&RE), within Global Business Services. F&RE leads corporate real estate strategy, operations and outsourcing relationship management for P&G’s global portfolio. Jacobs-Horton has a Bachelor of Science in civil/structural engineering and an MBA from the University of Cincinnati. She is a member of the Counselors of Real Estate.

S. Gail Goldberg

The event moderator, S. Gail Goldberg, AICP, was named executive director of the Urban Land Institute-Los Angeles in June of 2011. Goldberg had previously served as director of the Los Angeles City Planning Department from 2006-10, where she was responsible for organizing and directing the policies and activities of the city’s Planning Department, including the development, maintenance and implementation of all elements of LA’s General Plan, as well as a range of other special zoning plans. Prior to that, Goldberg worked for 17 years in the Planning Department of the city of San Diego, the last five years serving as Planning Director.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact

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BMC Welcomes New Residential Real Estate Director

Joe Bertocchini
Joe Bertocchini ’01 (BBA)

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate is pleased to announce that effective Aug. 1, Joe Bertocchini is the Center’s new residential real estate director. Bertocchini is a 2001 graduate from the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration. After graduating, Bertocchini became acquisitions manager at R&R Capital and co-founder and vice president of Capital Real Estate Investments Inc. He returned to USD in 2009, serving as the development coordinator for USD’s School of Business Administration.

Bertocchini filled the vacancy left by Louis Galuppo, Esq., who earlier this year decided to devote all of his energies to his growing real estate practice. Galuppo will continue to teach in the Master of Science in Real Estate program this fall and is now a member of the Center’s Commercial Real Estate Committee.

Bertocchini can be reached at or (619) 260-4183.

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BMC to Attend Greenbuild 2012

Greenbuild LogoThe Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate will be attending the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo Nov. 14-16 in San Francisco. Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. The 2011 show in Toronto drew more than 23,000 attendees and featured more than 1,700 exhibit booths. The Burnham-Moores Center continues to strengthen its leadership position in the area of sustainability through teaching and research. The Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, which is edited by Professor Norm Miller, PhD, was launched at USD in 2009 and will publish its fourth edition this fall.

If you plan to attend the conference, stop by our booth to visit. If you would like a complimentary pass to the Expo, please contact us so we can register you as our guest. An alumni networking event will be held in San Francisco during the conference, so please watch for updates.

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USD Real Estate Alum Receives National Recognition

By Diane Gustafson

Travis Trautvetter ’04 (BBA)

When USD School of Business Administration alum Travis Trautvetter started an internship his senior year of college at Marcus & Millichap, he had no idea the position would be such a launching point for his career. After graduating cum laude in 2004 with a Bachelor of Accountancy degree with an emphasis in real estate and finance, Trautvetter was hired on a full-time basis as an assistant to a senior agent, and the following year was promoted to an associate. Cut to 2011, when Trautvetter was promoted to vice president of investments and senior director of the national office and industrial properties group, due to the number of transactions he closed.

Not only did Trautvetter receive a new title, he also was ranked as the No. 1 agent nationally at Marcus & Millichap for office and industrial property sales in 2010 and 2011 and received a number of other sales recognition awards within the company, such as the National Achievement Award and the Seven Figure Club.

Trautvetter, 30, who says he comes from a blue-collar background, attributes much of his career success to a lesson he learned from his father at a young age: There is no substitute for hard work. “I understood that as a fact,” he said. “While that’s a simple concept, everything else begins with that approach, and there are no shortcuts to success.”

He also believes that the education he received at USD helped him develop a variety of important skills for life in the workforce, from the university’s small class sizes, which encouraged involvement from all students, to the relationships he made with business school faculty and staff who had a genuine desire to help students get to the next level.

“A typical 10-12 hour day goes by before I even realize it, and my work is never done,” he says. “I just reach a point where I have to go home before the janitor shows up.”

One of Trautvetter’s favorite aspects of his job is that he is an independent contractor, so he is essentially his own boss, which works well for him since he is so self-directed. “A typical 10-12 hour day goes by before I even realize it, and my work is never done,” he says. “I just reach a point where I have to go home before the janitor shows up.”

He believes that for someone to be successful in his position they must have a natural ability to connect and interact with people of all personality types, backgrounds and levels of experience. “Real estate itself can be learned, and family history in the business is not a requisite,” he says. “A degree or other experience in business or real estate or finance does give a useful head start, however.”

Trautvetter continues to stay connected with the university and the Burnham-Moores Center. This past March, he was invited to speak at USD’s Real Estate Society meeting to give undergraduate students advice for getting started in their careers. He also explained the importance of trying out several internships before graduation to find a good fit, as he learned first-hand while attending USD. As a self-described diehard baseball fan, Trautvetter can also be spotted in the bleachers at home games each season cheering on the Toreros.

In the future, Trautvetter plans to continue to grow his brokerage business as he gets more experience in his new role and expands his relationships within the industry. He also plans to continue to invest in real estate individually and with some of his clients and other connections. He is optimistic that, even after the challenges within the market the past few years, there is still “a figurative ocean of opportunity in the real estate field at this point.”

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Center Offers Argus Training for Industry Professionals

Argus logoThe Burnham-Moores Center will be offering Argus training for industry professionals on Saturday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 3. Argus Valuation-DCF is the industry standard for commercial real estate cash flow projection and investment/valuation analysis.

Professor Charles Tu, PhD, will teach the two-day workshop. Tu has served as faculty adviser for the winning “Argus Software University Challenge” Master of Science in Real Estate teams each year of the competition and has helped dozens of MSRE students become Argus Software Certified.

The workshop will cost $600; a 10 percent discount is available for USD alumni and for multiple registrations. Registration will open in September.

For questions about workshop content, contact For registration questions, contact

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Continuing Education Program Offers New Courses

Jay Wexler
Jay Wexler

USD’s real estate continuing education program has announced two new courses for its fall schedule: “Development Feasibility,” which will be offered Tuesday evenings in October, and “Strategic Perspectives in Asset Management,” which will be offered Thursday evenings in November.

“Development Feasibility” will be taught by Jay Wexler, founder of Discovery Group, a strategic and development advisory group. The course will examine the commercial and industrial development strategies necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing marketplace. Students will explore issues related to market research, processing and permitting, physical planning, phasing, capital sources, and management preparation for the next real estate cycle.

Alex Perry
Alex M. Perry

“Strategic Perspectives in Asset Management” will be taught by Alex Perry, LEED AP BD+C, MCR, SIOR, a management consultant who specializes in strategic real estate analysis, executive and career coaching, as well as sales and organizational development. The course will examine techniques for increasing the value of real estate assets on behalf of the owner. Topics will include: the roles of the property, asset and portfolio manager; understanding investment objectives and relations of investors; buy/hold/sell decision analysis; risk and diversification strategy and negotiation concepts and strategies.

For course dates and times, go here. For questions about the courses or the program, contact Adriana Serrano at 619-260-5976.

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Fourth Annual Bowling Tournament Raises Scholarship Funds

(From left to right) Jimmy Harris ’06 (BBA), Alex Leonard ’12 (MSRE), Kate Gillingham ’09 (BBA) and Brett Milke pose for a team photo at the Fourth Annual Real Estate Alumni Association bowling tournament.

The Real Estate Alumni Association’s annual scholarship fundraising event, held at East Village Tavern and Bowl in downtown San Diego July 25, was sold out once again this year. With the help of sponsors, a raffle and individual registration fees, the event raised over $4,000 in funds for Real Estate Alumni Association scholarships. The scholarships are awarded to outstanding undergraduate or graduate students studying real estate at USD.

Of the 12 teams that participated in the bowling tournament, the winning team was Jeff Barnett and Sean Barry of Mutual of Omaha, the event’s presenting sponsor. Nick Walsh ’10 (MSRE) took home the best individual score award.

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Charles Tu Presents at International Conferences

Charles Tu
Charles Tu, PhD

Charles Tu, PhD, professor and academic director of the MSRE program, attended the Global Chinese Real Estate Congress (GCREC) Annual Conference in Macau, China from July 2-5 and the joint Asian Real Estate Society (AsRES)/American Real Estate and Urban Economics (AREUEA) conference in Singapore July 7-10.

At the GCREC meeting, Tu discussed the findings of a joint research project, “Graduate Real Estate Education in the U.S.: Careers and Compensation,” along with two professors from Clemson University. At the AsRES/AREUEA meeting, Tu commented on a paper that assesses the performance of green office buildings in Australia. Tu also met with real estate professionals in Taiwan to discuss sustainable real estate development in their local markets.

Back to TopIn the News

Professor Norm Miller was interviewed for a July Realtor Magazine article on the payback of greening office buildings.

Norm Miller was quoted in a July 5 article on additional components of the Homeowner Bill of Rights that still need to be passed by lawmakers.

Norm Miller, PhD, and Associate Professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the July 7, July 13, July 20 and July 26 editions of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s weekly “EconoMeter.”

Norm Miller was quoted in a July 9 Daily Transcript article on San Diego County’s declining number of trustee deeds and rising number of defaults.

An opinion piece written by Executive Director Mark Riedy, PhD, on the importance of personal communication was published in The Daily Transcript July 12.

Mark Riedy, PhD, was interviewed for a Fox 5 news segment July 18 on the importance of Realtors securing vacant properties.

Alan Gin, PhD, was mentioned in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the North County Times, The Daily Transcript, San Diego Buisness Journal, KPBS and following his most recent release of the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, which he compiles for the Burnham-Moores Center.

Back to TopCalendar of Events

SUNDay, Aug. 19, 2012

USD Alumni Party at the Races

  • First run at 2 p.m.; Gates open at 12 p.m.
  • Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, 92014
  • $20 per person. Includes Stretch Run admission, reserved seating on Il Palio’s patio (entire patio reserved for USD), daily racing program and hosted light appetizers
  • Limted seats available. To register, go here.
  • For more information, contact Annie Grand at (619) 260-7619.

THURSDay, SEPT. 13, 2012

Breakfast at the BMC featuring James Watson, CEO and President of CT Realty Investors

  • 7:30 - 9 a.m.
  • Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego campus
  • $35, includes registration fee and breakfast
  • To register, go here.
  • For sponsorship opportunities or more information, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379.

MONDay, NOV. 5, 2012

Second Annual Women in Real Estate Conference-Save the date!

  • 7:30 - 10 a.m.
  • Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego campus
  • Speakers include: Leanne Lachman, president of Lachman Associates and an executive-in-residence at Columbia University’s Graduate Business School; Lydia Jacobs-Horton, director of Procter & Gamble’s Global Facilities & Real Estate Organization (F&RE); and Gail Goldberg, executive director of ULI Los Angeles
  • For sponsorship opportunities or more information, contact Jeryldine Saville at (619) 260-4786.

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