FSU Real Estate TRENDS Conference marks 25 years with industry luminaries

Dan Quayle, former vice president of the United States, poses with students at the FSU Real Estate Center's 25th Real Estate TRENDS Conference.
Dan Quayle, former vice president of the United States, poses with students at the FSU Real Estate Center's 25th Real Estate TRENDS Conference.

Real estate industry experts from across the country gathered at Florida State University for the FSU Real Estate Center’s 25th Real Estate TRENDS Conference held Oct. 24-25 in Tallahassee.

This year’s event featured speakers including top real estate investment executives David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group in Washington, D.C., and Dan Quayle, former vice president of the United States who is now with Cerberus Global Investments in New York. Grammy-award winner and FSU graduate Rita Coolidge performed at a special reception Thursday evening commemorating TRENDS 25th year.

More than 700 registrants attended the conference, including FSU finance and real estate students. The conference is made possible by the support of more than 100 sponsors and program partners and organized by the FSU Real Estate Center’s Conference Committee, headed by alumnus Chris Marino (B.S. Real Estate ’96), real estate acquisitions manager for the Florida State Board of Administration. The FSU Real Estate Program is ranked 6th in the nation among programs at public universities by US News & World Report.

The conference consistently brings together experts from across the country to discuss emerging trends, opportunities and critical issues facing the real estate industry. Attendees include institutional and private equity investors, advisors, lenders, asset managers, corporate users, developers, attorneys, brokers, appraisers and policy makers. Designed to extend the traditional classroom, the conference reserves space for 140 FSU real estate students.

Rubenstein is co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the largest and most successful private investment firms, managing $210 billion in assets from 31 offices around the world. Quayle is chairman of Cerberus Global Investments, a leader in alternative investing based in New York with more than $30 billion under management.

In addition to Rubenstein and Quayle, the speaker and panel lineup included alumni Peter Collins (B.S. Finance ’92/MBA ’97), co-founder and managing principal of Forge Capital Partners; and Ash Williams (B.S. Management ’76/MBA ’78), CIO and executive director of the Florida State Board of Administration. Other speakers included Nicole “Nikki” Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Wesley LePatner, senior managing director of the Real Estate Group and Global COO of the Core+ and BREIT at Blackstone; Mark Rose, CEO of Avison Young; Benjamin Schall, CEO and president of Seritage Growth Properties; Maury Tognarelli, CEO of Heitman; and nearly 40 others.

In celebration of the 25th year, the conference opened on Thursday with a reception on the rooftop terrace at the University Center Club, followed by food and entertainment in the ballroom. Friday offered a full slate of plenary and concurrent sessions at the Turnbull Conference Center focused on the issues affecting real estate investment, finance and operating decisions.

“Our conference has gained a reputation as one of the premier forums of its kind in the country,” said Donna Abood (B.S. Marketing ’81), chair of the FSU Real Estate Center’s executive board and principal/managing director at Avison Young in Miami. “The conference committee has worked extremely hard to put together the program and sessions on topics relevant to today’s real estate market and the global economy. In organizing this event for our alumni, students and the industry, our goal is to inform, challenge and inspire.”