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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark J. RiedyMark J. Riedy, PhD

Our 17th Annual Real Estate Conference on March 8 leads off with a Keynote Session featuring three of San Diego’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. This is a rare opportunity to hear Malin Burnham, Irwin Jacobs and Ernest Rady engage in a conversation about their expectations for the future of this region. As a group, their record of innovation and launching start-up companies is unparalleled.  Their new ventures became engines of job and income growth, attracted brilliant talent to this region and led to increased opportunities for real estate careers by stimulating residential and commercial real estate markets. 

17th ARECResearcher and author Greg Horowitt carries forward the theme of entrepreneurial activity to stimulate innovation and new start-up businesses during our second session. Horowitt travels the world challenging government policies designed to promote economic development and entrepreneurial activity, illustrating why existing policies must be re-examined and undergo significant revisions to respond to changing socio-economic conditions. Horowitt’s compelling research results are directly relevant to this region’s government-supported economic development initiatives and policies. They provide a credible argument and prescription for helping us enhance the probabilities of future success in promoting entrepreneurial achievements, which in turn bodes well for real estate. 

In effect, the first three entrepreneurs were able to be successful while largely flying solo, while the next generation of entrepreneurs in some instances benefited from government involvement, but in other cases were stymied by it. Horowitt addresses the questions of what it will take to make government programs dramatically more supportive of entrepreneurs whose successes affect this region’s economy, quality of life and real estate markets.

In her presentation, Asieh Mansour, PhD, head of Americas Research for CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate firm, will zero in on commercial real estate and capital market trends, including the challenges facing CMBS markets over the next two to three years. Mansour has access to the world’s premier data sources and real estate analysts. Her research is respected globally for its breadth and depth. Moreover, the quality and reliability of her interpretation give listeners valuable food for thought. This is a return appearance for Mansour, whose comprehensive presentations for us in 2005 and 2007 correctly anticipated the tumult in commercial real estate and capital markets.

Doug Duncan, PhD, senior vice president and chief economist for Fannie Mae, wraps up the conference with a compelling analysis of demographic changes occurring in America and what they mean for single- and multi-family real estate and mortgage markets. Duncan’s insights are equally valuable for commercial real estate executives because they also portend changes in retail, office and potentially industrial property demand. Duncan, one of America’s leading experts on residential mortgage markets, enjoys national recognition for his understanding of the strategic significance and direction of market trends. His views are in great demand in Washington, D.C., not only within Fannie Mae but also the Federal Reserve, Congress, regulatory agencies and the media.

I hope to see you on March 8 for what is sure to be a fascinating conference with unparalleled networking opportunities.

Dr. Mark J. Riedy
Executive Director

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Faculty, Students Travel to Asia over Intersession

(From left to right) IMBA students Gina Stavrakakis, Annik Prasad, Nick Alvarez and Assistant Professor Vivek Sah, PhD, at the Taj Mahal.

Burnham-Moores Center Assistant Professor Vivek Sah, PhD, led a 10-day international practicum in New Delhi, India from Jan. 5-15, which was offered for the first time this year. Three International MBA students participated in the practicum, where they each worked on a consulting project assigned by an Indian company. The project concluded with the students recommending a workable solution to a short-term management question given to them by the companies. During their visit, Sah and the students also visited the Taj Mahal.

Also over the winter intersession, nine MSRE students traveled to Manila, Philippines and Hong Kong, China Jan. 8-19 to take a two-unit “Commercial Real Estate Capital Markets” course taught by Professor Charles Tu, PhD. The study abroad program was designed so that students could learn about the business and economic environment of the regions through coursework‚ expert guest lecturers and opportunities to participate in socio-cultural group activities.

(From left to right) MSRE students Gregor Connors, Hao Wen, Anthony Ly, Tony Konstant, Inna Panchuk and Nik Parrish in Hong Kong (MSRE students not pictured: Evan Lippow, Bryan Masters and Ari Weinstein)

In addition to lectures and activities in the classroom‚ the class went on several company visits. In Manila, the students visited the Asian Institute of Management, where they met the institute’s president, Steven DeKrey. They also visited Ayala Land, the Philippines’ leading real estate developer, and toured the Bonifacio Global City project—a 600-acre master planned community. In Hong Kong, the program included three joint sessions with graduate students at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The students also joined MBA and undergraduate students at a reception hosted by University of San Diego Hong Kong-based alumni.

Students had the opportunity to experience the cultural aspects of both cities. The group went on a jeepney tour and visited popular tourist destinations in Manila, dined at a traditional Filipino restaurant, played basketball with locals and visited a waterfall on a side day trip. In Hong Kong, the group took city tours to visit many of the popular tourist attractions including The Peak on Hong Kong Island, dinner at the Happy Valley Racecourse at the Jockey Club, and the iconic Jumbo Floating restaurant. After the program ended, the students took a side trip to Macau.

“This experience has made me realize that now, more than ever, our business leaders must think globally, learn from one another, and make decisions that carefully consider the impact on others,” said MSRE student Gregor Connors.

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Center Launches MSRE Scholarship Challenge

VideoThe Burnham-Moores Center kicked off the Master of Science in Real Estate Scholarship Challenge to create friendly competition among MSRE classes and raise scholarship money for prospective graduate students. To stay competitive with other graduate real estate programs, the BMC needs to offer more and/or larger scholarships to recruit the highest caliber of MSRE students locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The program is designed so that donations are measured on a percentage basis for each class. The BMC has also agreed to match each class’ total donations up to a capped amount. Alumni are encouraged to participate in the challenge individually and/or secure a donation from their employers or parents. These donations will be made in the student’s name to help their class’ participation percentage.

We welcome scholarship-oriented donations from all friends of the Burnham-Moores Center, of course. Donations can be made by check, credit card or stock/other asset transfers. Checks should be made out to “USD Burnham-Moores Center” and mailed to 5374 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, Calif., 92110, with a note indicating “scholarships” as the intent of the donor. To pay by credit card, contact Annie Grand at 619-260-7619 or Mary Ann Pulis at 619-260-2256.

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Fourth Volume of Journal of Sustainable Real Estate Published

The fourth volume of the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate is now available online at a newly launched web site: The journal’s web site is now managed by the Burnham-Moores Center and will include a wider range of green and sustainable resources beyond the journal itself.

JOSREPapers included in Vol. 4 include:

• “The Economics of Green Retrofits
• “LEED in the U.S. Commercial Office Market: Market Effects and the Emergence of LEED for Existing Buildings
• “The Key Drivers and Barriers to the Sustainable Development of Commercial Property in New Zealand
• “Sustainability and Income-Producing Property Valuation: North American Status and Recommended Procedures
• “Colorado’s High-Performance Commercial Buildings: An Index and Market Evaluation
• “Comparative Analysis of Housing in Conservation Developments: Colorado Case Studies
• “Sustainable Management of Real Estate: Is It Really Sustainability?
• “Landscape Restoration and Stewardship Funded in Perpetuity through Home-Site and Golf Course Development;” and
• “Sustainability for Suburbs.”

Burnham-Moores Center Professor Norm Miller, PhD, is editor of the journal; Myla Wilson is managing editor. Miller also is assisted by three associate editors: Nico B. Rottke, PhD, European Business School; Robert Simons, PhD, Cleveland State University; and Kwame Addae-Dapaah, PhD, National University of Singapore. The journal has an advisory board of roughly 30 leaders from academia, business and nonprofit institutions. An editorial board of approximately 20 university scholars and private-sector experts also guides the publication.

Journal editors are now seeking papers for the fifth volume; the submission deadline is Dec. 15, 2013. Authors are encouraged to submit original research that can help investors, developers, appraisers, lenders, asset managers, elected government officials and land use regulators improve their strategies, decision-making and understanding of the impact of sustainable real estate practices.

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USD Team Selected for USC Case Competition

The undergraduate team of USD students who will represent the university in the University of Southern California’s International Case Competition, scheduled for April 15-19 on USC’s campus, has been selected. The USD team will be made up of undergraduate students: Michelle Bates, Adrian Hochstrasser, Jonathan Fuller, Pilar Ruiz, Erica Taylor and Taylor Turner. John Demas, Esq., will serve as faculty adviser. Participating teams at the invitation-only event will compete for cash prizes and bragging rights by preparing oral and written presentations that address a real-world real estate problem posed by leading practitioners in the real estate industry. Students also will participate in networking and social events during the competition period and have their resumes compiled in a book that is distributed to the real estate industry by USC.

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Norm Miller Presents Free Webinar on Office Space Trends

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, will present a free Webinar on “Changing Trends in Office Space Requirements,” on March 7 at Noon Pacific Time.

Norm Miller, PhD

In the 25-minute Webinar, which is hosted by CoStar, Miller will discuss his latest research, where he:

• Reviews several cutting-edge designs and formats;

• Identifies various perspectives by country, industry or location;

• Discusses office space per worker trends; and

• Outlines the implications for future office space demand.

Space is limited. To register, go here.

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Undergrad Alum Leverages USD Experience to Land Job

Amir Atefi
Amir Atefi ’12 (BBA)

Undergrad alum Amir Atefi ’12 (BBA) discusses his post graduation work experience, including his new position at Wells Fargo, which he starts next month.

Q: What have you been doing since you graduated?
I have been working with my family’s general contracting business, Atlas Development, since its inception in 2009. After working as an assistant project manager for two years, I began managing my own projects the summer before my senior year for owners such as the city of San Diego, San Diego County, the California Department of Transportation, FEMA, the U.S. Navy, as well as some private clients. After I graduated from USD, the projects I worked on were larger, more critical and much more technically complex.

Q: Your family’s business had an interesting opportunity to work at the San Diego Airport. What role did you play and what challenges did you encounter?
In April 2012, I estimated and was awarded a sizeable project to renovate existing infrastructure for concession and retail spaces as well as to build out some new ones in both the Commuter Terminal and Terminal 1 for the San Diego Regional Airport Authority. I was the Project Manager, which meant that I was Atlas’ primary point of contact with the airport, as well as with our numerous sub-contractors and suppliers. To keep my finger on the pulse of the project, I was on site every night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to direct the field construction. I also worked during normal business hours to manage the business and office side of the project. My primary responsibilities were estimating, scheduling, change order negotiations, submittal review and field coordination.

Our biggest challenges were in the form of unforeseen conditions, such as obstructions that forced us to work with the architect and engineering team to redesign a good portion of the project. However, this was a great opportunity for us to implement value-engineering techniques, such as when we proposed to run the natural gas line on the roof of Terminal 1 rather than through the T-bar. This allowed our company to save enough money in the form of labor hours that we were able to give some money back to the owner. We turned a problem into a win-win situation.

Q: Tell us about your new opportunity at Wells Fargo. What prompted you to pursue it?
My decision to shift careers and industries shocked many people in my life. In only four years, we managed to create a startup construction firm run by my father, brother and myself out of our living room, where we would actually perform some labor, into a multi-million dollar a year company that has become a force in the San Diego public contracting market. I have always been interested in pursuing a career in real estate finance and after obtaining some invaluable leadership experience as well as construction expertise with Atlas, I decided it was time for me to move on from the family business and create my own career from scratch.

I had heard about Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate Financial Analyst Program (FAP) when I was the chairman of the USD Real Estate Society and how Wells Fargo is the No. 1 bank in commercial real estate. When I got an e-mail from career services stating that they were hiring, I decided to send my resume. Before I knew it, I was being interviewed on campus, then put up in the Beverly Hilton Hotel, interviewed again in Century City, and was offered a position at the West Los Angeles Institutional and Metro Markets Group office. I begin working there in early March.

Q: What was the hiring process like? Did your experience as a student in USD’s real estate program help you at all?
I went through one on-campus interview and a “super day” where I had eight back-to-back interviews, some of which had two interviewers. This was slightly intimidating as they were the first and second interview experiences in my life. The first interview was more technical than the second. Questions ranged from basic accounting to real estate specific to work experience. The second interview was more personal. I was able to overcome any lack of previous finance or real estate experience on my resume because of my experience in USD’s undergraduate real estate program.

By networking with alumni and real estate professionals across the industry through the Real Estate Society and its Mentor Program, as well as by asking the staff at the Burnham-Moores Center to put me in touch with industry leaders, I was able to get some insight into the world of real estate finance. My experience as a team member on the NAIOP University Case Challenge allowed me to speak about financial and real estate terms during my interviews. Going through a semester-long case study of a live property allowed me to apply my education from the classes I took as a real estate major into the context of a development project from concept to closing. Without these extracurricular activities, I am not sure that my work experience would have been enough to land me the job.

“Students should stop wasting time on Facebook and go have a face-to-face conversation with someone who can help them get their life on track.”

Q: What advice would you give to undergraduate real estate students regarding their time at USD?
It is crucial to get involved. You will only get out what you put in. I do not believe taking a few classes or showing up to Real Estate Society meetings for extra credit is going to cut it. The staff at the Burnham-Moores Center wants to see their students succeed and will do everything they can to help them out; however, they need to know them first. Undergraduate students should show interest in real estate and take the initiative by seeing John Ferber during his office hours, applying for leadership positions in the Real Estate Society, applying for participation for the USC and NAIOP case competitions, attending professional organization events such as NAIOP, ULI, IREM, IYP, ICSC, and CREW. If you don’t know what these organizations are, you should. Most students stand in the corner at these events and talk to each other. Be the one to show up and confidently speak to everyone in the room and make sure they remember you. A lot of these activities go further than your GPA and internships because in the corporate world a lot of it is who you know, not what you know.

The other very important thing is to prioritize your activities and to not make excuses when it comes to multi-tasking. During my junior year I was managing five public projects, taking a full-time course load, serving as the chairman of the Real Estate Society, sitting on the board of a professional organization, and working on the NAIOP challenge. The job market is brutal right now so students should stop wasting time on Facebook and go have a face-to-face conversation with someone who can help them get their life on track. If you are passionate about real estate then USD is the perfect place to be. You just need to really show up.

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MSRE Students Recognized at MBA CREF Conference

(Left to right) MSRE students Inna Panchuk and Skye Morland at the MSRE program booth during the conference

Master of Science in Real Estate students were recognized at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Commercial Real Estate Finance (CREF)/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo 2013 during MBA’s president and chief executive officer Dave Stevens’ opening general session speech. The conference, which took place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego Feb. 3-6, was attended by more than 2,500 top commercial and multifamily real estate finance professionals from across the country. The MSRE program also participated as an exhibitor at the conference.

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Scholarship Recipients Honored at NAIOP Event with Mayor

NAIOP Breakfast
(From left to right) NAIOP board member Gary Katz, MSRE student Bryan Masters, NAIOP board member Charlie Abdi ’83 (BBA), MSRE student Nick Norris and NAIOP board member Chris Pascale ’83 (BBA) at NAIOP’s Seventh Annual Breakfast with the Mayor Feb. 5

On Feb. 5, Master of Science in Real Estate scholarship recipients Nick Norris and Bryan Masters attended NAIOP’s Seventh Annual Breakfast with the Mayor, where newly elected San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was in attendance. Norris and Masters were the Fall 2012 recipients of the Mickey Carhart Memorial Endowed Scholarship/NAIOP, San Diego Chapter and were honored at the event.

Mayor Filner was elected last year to replace Jerry Sanders. His focus on neighborhoods, job creation, making government services efficient and effective, as well as setting a new tone for the city was part of the dialogue at the event.

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Mark Riedy, Norm Miller Speak at Academic/Industry Events

Mark J. Riedy
Mark Riedy, PhD

On Jan. 24, Executive Director Mark Riedy, PhD, was one of two speakers at the Bull and Bear event, which was hosted by the Building Industry Association of San Diego at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. The event featured a lively, wide-ranging Q&A discussion between Riedy and George Chamberlin, executive editor of The Daily Transcript. Tim Sullivan of Meyers LLC, moderated the discussion, which was attended by over 200 real estate industry professionals.

Norm Miller, PhD, attended the 48th Annual American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association Conference in San Diego Jan. 4-6, where he chaired a session on sustainable real estate and presented his paper on office space trends and implications. On Jan. 24, Miller was one of the featured speakers at a presentation on practical applications, academic insights and best practices in the built environment. Miller’s co-presenters were: Dave Pogue, global director of sustainability at CBRE; Lisa Shaffer, deputy mayor, Encinitas and sustainability lecturer at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California-San Diego, where the event was held.

Back to TopIn the News

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, and associate professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the Jan. 3, Jan. 11, Jan. 18, Jan. 25 and Jan. 31 editions of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s weekly “EconoMeter.”

Executive Scholar Kevin Villani had columns included in the Jan. 4, Jan. 23 and Jan. 29 editions of the American Banker.

On Jan. 29, residential real estate director Joe Bertocchini was interviewed in a Fox 5 news segment on the local residential real estate market rebound.

Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in a Jan. 29 Daily Transcript article on the FHA’s reverse mortgage policy.

Back to TopCalendar of Events

TuesDay, FEB. 19, 2013

Workshop: How to Finance Your Graduate Degree

The University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration is hosting a free workshop to show prospective students how to finance up to 100 percent of the cost of a graduate degree. Experts on financial aid, merit and need-based scholarships, graduate grants and military/veteran education benefits will be on hand to explain the resources available.

  • 5:30 - 7 p.m.
  • Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, Room 222A, University of San Diego campus
  • Free
  • To RSVP or for more information, contact Ines Kraft, PhD, at (619) 260-4150.

THURSDay, FEB. 28, 2013

11th Annual Real Estate Career Expo

The 11th Annual Real Estate Career Expo, conducted speed-networking style, connects graduate and undergraduate students with company representatives from a variety of fields within the industry. Company representatives are given a résumé book of the students registered for the event to assist them with future hiring decisions.

  • 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Hahn University Center, University of San Diego campus
  • Participation and exhibit space is free
  • To participate or for more information, contact Annie Grand at (619) 260-7619.

THURSDay, MARCH 7, 2013

“Changing Trends in Office Space Requirements” Webinar featuring Norm Miller, PhD

In this 25-minute office space trends Webinar presented by CoStar, Norm Miller, PhD, will discuss his latest research on: cutting edge designs and formats; perspectives by country, industry or location; office space per worker trends; and the implications for future office space demand.

  • 12 - 12:25 p.m. PST
  • Free
  • To register, go here.

FRIDay, MARCH 8, 2013

17th Annual Real Estate Conference

  • 7:30 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Hilton San Diego Bayfront, One Park Blvd., San Diego, 92101
  • Featured speakers include: legendary local entrepreneurs Malin Burnham, Irwin Jacobs, ScD and Ernest Rady; Gregory Horowitt, author of “The Rainforest;” Asieh Mansour, PhD, Head of Research-Americas, Global Research and Consulting at CBRE; and Douglas Duncan, PhD, chief economist at Fannie Mae
  • $140 per person, $700 for a half table of five reserved seats, or $1,300 for a full table of 10 reserved seats
  • To register, go here.
  • For questions or sponsorship opportunities, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379.

FRIDay, MARCH 8, 2013

Post-Conference Alumni Lunch

Join your fellow alums at a casual lunch at the Fox Sports Grill immediately following the 17th Annual Real Estate Conference.

  • 11:30 a.m. (immediately following the 17th Annual Real Estate Conference)
  • Fox Sports Grill at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, One Park Blvd., San Diego, 92101
  • No RSVP needed; individual checks will be arranged
  • For more information, contact Annie Grand at (619) 260-7619.

SATURDay, March 9 anD 16, 2013

Argus Training

The Burnham-Moores Center is offering its third two-day Argus training for industry professionals on Saturday, March 9, and Saturday, March 16. Argus Valuation-DCF is the industry standard for commercial real estate cash flow projection and investment/valuation analysis.

  • 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Room 125 in Olin Hall, University of San Diego campus
  • $600 per individual; 10 percent discount for group registrations and members of the Real Estate Alumni Association
  • Instructor: Charles Tu, PhD
  • To register, go here.
  • For questions about workshop content, contact For registration questions, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379.

THURSDay, MARCH 14, 2013

Real Estate Alumni Association’s Casual Thursday

Join the Real Estate Alumni Association for a casual night of networking and reconnecting with old friends within USD’s real estate community. A group tour of Kimpton's newly renovated Hotel La Jolla will be available.

  • Hiatus Lounge at Hotel La Jolla, 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, 92037
  • 5:30 - 7 p.m.
  • Happy hour prices until 7 p.m.
  • For questions, contact Annie Grand at (619) 260-7619.

Back to TopContinuing Education - Upcoming Courses and Seminars


Real Estate Investment and Income Analysis 102


  • Course taught by Nathan Moeder, strategic consultant and real estate economist with The London Group Realty Advisors Inc.
  • To register, contact Adriana Serrano, or register online.
  • For more information on this course, go here. For more information on Real Estate Continuing Education, go here.

TUESDAY, JULY 16, 2013

Real Estate Process Seminar