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Speakers & Panelists
Part 3 Panelist: Adam Hooper, CEO, RealCrowd
Adam Hooper is the founder and CEO of RealCrowd, an online real estate equity marketplace that has brought its members access to $6.5 billion of investment opportunities. Founded in 2013, RealCrowd is a Y Combinator backed company that has grown to be the leader in the real estate crowdfunding space. RealCrowd operates as a direct investment marketplace, where investors participate directly in the underlying asset, rather than a platform sponsored entity. This benefits investors by increasing efficiency, transparency and most importantly, reducing fees and layers of middlemen.
Adam is also the founder and CEO of ReAllocate, an innovative fintech platform serving independent investment advisors, which helps RIAs provide access to professionally managed direct real estate investments via its risk-based Allocation Intelligence (AI) platform. Previously Adam was a partner at a leading real estate capital markets firm where he was involved in over $1 billion of transactions sourcing and structuring joint venture equity investments. In the commercial real estate business since 2004, he has been involved in launching three prior national platforms for investment sales and brokerage, as well as institutional joint venture equity investments. He also runs a weekly podcast, “The RealCrowd Podcast,” which boasts a huge following, and he received his CCIM designation in 2008 and his undergraduate degree from Penn State University.
Part 3 Panelist: Lisa Konieczka, Executive Vice President, CBRE
Lisa Konieczka focuses on the delivery of transaction based real estate services to corporate clients across the globe. Her advisory mindset drives real estate activities to support enterprise business goals and operating strategy, with a focus on occupancy strategies and flexibility challenges associated with new workplace trends, growth and change. Lisa provides advice and guidance to many of the country’s largest and most sophisticated occupiers, but views each occupancy need as a unique situation, requiring a customized and deliberate approach for the individual client. Lisa is a proven team leader, gathering the right resources to drive seamless results for her clients by managing complex situations and bringing the right resources to every challenge.
Lisa is also the founder and chairwoman of CBRE’s Women’s Network. This global organization’s mission is Advancing the Success of Women and has four main tenants, Growth, Connection, Mentorship and Advocacy. Recognized with a top 10 ranking on the Global Diversity List, CBRE’s Women’s Network has almost 5,000 members and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2020. Lisa obtained her masters in business administration from Loyola University in Chicago and her undergraduate degree from Marquette University.
Part 3 Panelist: Dan Letter, President, Central Region, Prologis
Dan Letter is president of the Central Region at Prologis. He is responsible for all activities, including development, acquisitions, and operations. The Central Region comprises 150 million square feet across ten markets, including Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Nashville, Austin, and San Antonio.
Dan joined AMB in 2004 and has served at multiple levels in Capital Deployment across the Central and West Regions of the U.S. for Prologis until taking his current role. He previously held the role of Managing Director, Capital Deployment of the West Region, overseeing an investment team in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, Reno, and Denver. Dan has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Marquette University. He is active in NAIOP and ULI, and is on the advisory board for the Marquette University Center for Real Estate.
Part 3 Panelist: Stan Nitzberg, Principal, Mid-America Real Estate Corporation
Stan specializes in providing advisory services to the retail real estate industry with a special focus on urban retail projects. He enjoys extensive experience in the major retail markets throughout the country and a successful history advising tenants regarding expansion strategies. He has represented tenants and property owners in over two million square feet of retail projects on North Michigan Avenue, Oak Street, State Street and North/Clybourn markets.
Exclusive tenant clients have included Crate & Barrel, Victoria's Secret, H&M Hennes & Mauritz, Columbia Sportswear, Apple Computer, Zara, American Girl Place, Virgin Records, Nordstrom Rack, Container Store and Estee Lauder. He is also active in the sale of investment real estate, having direct involvement in closing more than $2.0 billion of retail investment sale transactions during his career. A six-time recipient of the Chicago market Retail Broker of the Year award, Stan previously held roles as CAOr of Crate & Barrel and Division Head of the Retail Industry Lending Division at The First National Bank of Chicago. He obtained his MBA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Albany.
Part 2 Panelist Bios
Part 2 Moderator: Kevin Newell, President, Royal Capital Group
Kevin Newell is President and CEO of Royal Capital, where he oversees all senior level investment and development related decisions while managing a disciplined company growth strategy. Prior to founding Royal Capital, Newell spent three years in public finance where he led efforts to allocate over $200Million in Federal and State resources as the Senior Underwriter and in the former he successfully managed over $100Million in loan assets as the Asset Manager of the Risk Based Portfolio. Newell’s leadership led to the deployment of the largest single allocation of Federal 9% Tax Credits in US History and in a separate transaction led the deployment of the first pairing of LIHTC and NMTC in Wisconsin state’s history. Newell is deeply involved in the community, including holding board positions with Junior Business Academy (Chair), Guest House of Milwaukee (Board Member), Greater Milwaukee Foundation (Impact Investment Committee), University of Wisconsin- Whitewater College of Business and Economics (Board Member), Marquette University Center for Real Estate (Board Member), MLK Economic Development Corporation (Board Member), and the Wisconsin Preservation Fund (Board Member). Newel is also a 40 Under 40 Winner from the Milwaukee Business Journal. Newell is an MBA graduate of the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater with an emphasis in Finance and Management, and a graduate of the ACRE program presented by Marquette University.
Part 2 Panelist: Joaquin Altoro, Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Association (WHEDA)
Governor Tony Evers appointed Mr. Joaquín Altoro as WHEDA’s CEO and Executive Director effective June 3, 2019. Altoro has an extensive, 28-year banking career in both residential and commercial lending. Most recently, he served as Town Bank’s Vice President of Commercial Banking. At Town Bank, he successfully utilized federal Housing Tax Credits to advance affordable housing options in Southeastern Wisconsin. As a former City Plan Commissioner for the City of Milwaukee, Altoro understands Milwaukee’s dynamic community and is well acquainted with diverse neighborhoods in order to serve their socio-economic and affordable housing needs. As CEO, Altoro is strategically positioning WHEDA to leverage affordable housing in a more holistic way to attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to grow. His multi-faceted banking expertise, successful track record of establishing public-private partnerships, and unique approach on advising community development helps to advance WHEDA’s mission throughout urban and rural Wisconsin. He has been recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 Business Journal Influencers for Finance and as one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2019 Power Brokers. Altoro has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Cardinal Stritch University.
Part 2 Panelist: Don Biernacki, Senior Vice President, Construction, Related Midwest
As Senior Vice President of Construction at Related Midwest, Don Biernacki oversees the building of the region's most iconic structures and staple communities, redefining and enhancing the landscape of real estate. Along with his team of talented design and construction experts, Biernacki is responsible for all of Related Midwest's ground-up and renovation projects. During his more than 27 years at Related Midwest Don has led the successful completion of more than 60 market-rate and affordable projects Biernacki is deliberate about bringing together individuals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines in a cohesive and collaborative community-driven approach to development. Biernacki is passionate about investing in the communities he works in. At Related Midwest, he created a mentorship program for small business owners to help support their operations, capacity building and growth. Known for his commitment to community hiring, Biernacki is dedicated to ensuring local residents, minorities and women, gain access to opportunities that lead to successful careers and thriving businesses in the industry. Don was named as the 2017 recipient of the Award of Honor by the CBC, an award given to individuals who have distinguished themselves in both the community, and the construction industry as a whole. He has also been recognized by Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition as a Distinguished Labor Leader and featured in Crain's Chicago Business for his steadfast community leadership and commitment providing community-based businesses valuable training and career opportunities. Biernacki is committed to a number of community and charitable organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors for Saturday Place and as a board member of the Construction Engineering Advisory Council at Marquette University. Biernacki is also the President of the Board of Directors of SOS Children's Villages Illinois, a quality and innovative and foster care provider. Biernacki earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Niles College of Loyola University.
Part 2 Panelist: Ciere Boatright, Vice President of Real Estate and Inclusion, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI)
Ciere Boatright is the Vice President, Real Estate and Inclusion for Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Inc. Since joining Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) in 2013, Boatright has managed the planning and development of new projects, including Pullman Park, the 180-acre mixed use site at 111th Street and I-94, where CNI has coordinated over $350 million of new investment and created nearly 1,500 new jobs. In addition to planning and development, Boatright has been instrumental in leading CNI’s community engagement process. By forging positive relationships with community groups, community members, she fostered widespread support for several projects including: Artspace, an innovative new work/live space; the new Whole Foods Distribution Center in Pullman; the new Gotham greens in Pullman, a Mariano’s in Bronzeville; and a new community center in Pullman, the largest year-round, indoor athletic complex of its kind in the region. Boatright also spearheads CNI’s efforts for diversity and inclusion: Through her management and project oversight, CNI has achieved between 30 to 50 percent minority business enterprise contractor participation in its projects. She serves as a Commissioner for the Roseland Medical District and a Commissioner for SSA 71, on the executive board of ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, and serves as a Link Unlimited volunteer and Sponsor. Boatright is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and was recognized as one of Crain’s 2019 Notable Women in Commercial Real Estate, as well as one of Chicago Scholars’ 2019 35 under 35 impactful leaders in Chicago. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College and a Master’s in Urban Planning at University of Illinois Chicago in 2016.
Part 2 Panelist: Lafayette Crump, Commissioner, Department of City Development, City of Milwaukee
\In July 2020 Lafayette Crump was nominated by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barratt to become the Commissioner of the Department of City Development. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Crump most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Diversity, Vendor and Engagement Officer for the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee of the Democratic National Convention. Crump was also Chief Operating Officer of Prism Technical Management & Marketing Services, LLC, a multidisciplinary management consulting firm based in Milwaukee, WI, most known for its development, management and monitoring of programs and projects that ensure supplier and workforce diversity, inclusion and equity, particularly on large scale construction projects and events, and within sizable organizations. Under Lafayette’s leadership, challenging supplier and workforce diversity targets were consistently surpassed, including on Milwaukee projects such as Fiserv Forum, the Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons, the Milwaukee Streetcar, Century City, The Brewery, The Moderne and more. In addition to his work for Prism, Lafayette practiced law for a number of years, working to ensure equity for small businesses and nonprofits, and is an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School, where his focus is ensuring that law students understand the needs, expectations and reality of business owners. Lafayette is the past Chair of the Board for Safe & Sound, and has served on the boards for the Salvation Army, the Visit Milwaukee Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee and the Wauwatosa Equity and Inclusion Commission. Crump is a part recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal Forty Under 40 award, the Milwaukee Times Black Excellence Award, the University School of Milwaukee Alumni Service Award and The Foley & Lardner Lyndford Lardner Attorney Service Award. Lafayette is a graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law, where, collectively, he served on the Journal of Gender Law & Policy, the Harassment Grievance Board, the Moot Court Board, and was president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Part 1 Keynote: Bob Sulentic
President & Chief Executive Officer
CBRE Group, Inc.
Bob Sulentic has been President & Chief Executive Officer of CBRE Group, Inc. since December 2012. CBRE is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, with 2019 revenues of $23.9 billion and more than 100,000 employees (excluding affiliate offices) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE is ranked #128 on the Fortune 500, and has been a Fortune Most Admired Company for eight consecutive years, including 2020 when it was ranked #1 in the real estate sector for the second consecutive year.
Prior to becoming CEO, Mr. Sulentic served as President of CBRE, with responsibility for all business segments. In addition, he served as the company's Chief Financial Officer in 2009, during the depth of the global financial crisis. Earlier, Mr. Sulentic served as Group President for CBRE’s EMEA, Asia Pacific, and Development Services businesses.
Mr. Sulentic began his real estate career with Trammell Crow Company in 1984 as an Industrial Leasing Agent in Houston, Texas. Throughout the next 23 years he served in various leadership positions, including Project Partner, Divisional Partner, Managing Director and CFO. Mr. Sulentic was elected President and CEO of Trammell Crow Company in October 2000, and he became Chairman of the Board in April 2002. He served in those roles when Trammell Crow Company merged with CBRE in late 2006.
Mr. Sulentic is a member of the CBRE Group, Inc. Board of Directors and its Global Operating Committee. He also served as the independent Chairman of the Board of Staples, Inc. until its acquisition by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, in September 2017.
Mr. Sulentic received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Computer Science from Iowa State University. Mr. Sulentic founded and chairs a private foundation that supports various charitable endeavors by providing direct grants to third-party organizations as well as executing its own initiatives.