Trends & Strategies Conference


Meet the Featured Presenters
  • Tom Arnold

    Head of Americas
    Real Estate at ADIA

    Tom is responsible for the development and execution of ADIA’s global real estate strategy. Tom has 25 years of principal investing experience in real estate and private equity. Tom started his career as a transactional lawyer, principally with Holland & Knight focusing on real estate, lending, securities, and bankruptcy matters.

    Tom began his alternatives focus at Salomon Brothers (now Citigroup) with selective firm principal activity as well as related advisory work for financial institutions saddled with troubled loans and REO assets. After Salomon Brothers, Tom joined Credit Suisse as a Director and as a principal of the Praedium Funds. Tom then joined ING as a Managing Director and portfolio manager. Between ING and his current position at ADIA, Tom was a partner at Cerberus Capital Management.

    Tom is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, with honors, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida, a Masters of Law (Taxation) from New York University, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College. Tom is a licensed attorney and a holder of the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. Tom is active within important industry associations serving as a Trustee and Governor of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), immediate past Chairman of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE), current Chairman of a the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), and a board member of the Real Estate Roundtable.

  • Julie Augustyn

    Real Estate Director
    Office Depot, Inc.

    Julie Augustyn is a commercial real estate professional with a focused interest on technology use in the retail real estate industry. As Director of Real Estate for Office Depot, Inc., she is responsible for the Eastern US portfolio for Office Depot & OfficeMax stores.

    Ms. Augustyn obtained a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE) with honors from the University of Florida. Upon completion of her degree, she worked as a Civil Engineer in Florida and Texas for Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. Julie transitioned to the role of site selection and store development while at RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc. She later joined Woolbright Development, Inc., a south Florida based real estate investment company. As Development Manager, Julie was responsible for planning and obtaining approvals for 850,000 sf of retail and lifestyle center development.

    Julie Augustyn is an active member and regional panelist for International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and promotes #ICSCStyle. Additionally, she currently serves on University of Florida Real Estate Advisory Board as well as the City of Raleigh - Retail Task Force.

    In 2015, Julie Augustyn organized the first Connected Retail: Clicks & Mortar Meet up at South by Southwest (SXSW) and will be hosting same for SXSW 2016. She was named by Duke Long to list of “Top 10 Most Influential Online Commercial Real Estate People 2015” and serves as a CRE Tech Intersect advisor. Julie lives in NC with her family, and is a member of the HQ Raleigh community.

  • Dirk Aulabaugh

    Managing Director
    Green Street Advisors

    Dirk is a managing director and part of the leadership of the Advisory group, which provides strategic advisory and valuation analysis for a variety of companies in the commercial real estate business. Dirk brings 25 years of experience in real estate transaction, valuation, restructuring, and advisory services. Prior to joining Green Street, he was a Senior Director with Alvarez & Marsal Real Estate Advisory Services. He also worked as a sell-side equity analyst focused on REITs. He speaks frequently at real estate industry conferences and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and prominent real estate industry publications. Dirk earned a B.S. in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, and an M.A. in Business Administration, with a concentration in Real Estate, from the University of Florida. He is a member of the real estate advisory board for the Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida. Dirk is also a member of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, International Council of Shopping Centers, and Appraisal Institute. He holds a California broker's license.

  • Nick Banks

    Managing Director
    Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group

    Nick Banks is the managing director of Gainesville based Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group. With additional offices in Tampa, Orlando, South Florida and Ocala the full-service firm focuses on brokerage, financing, and property management solutions for its clients. Front Street is INVESTED in the communities in which they do business. Front Street donates 10% of all brokerage revenue to local cause-related organizations like the United Way, YMCA, and the American Heart Association. Nick has been in commercial real estate in Florida since 1994 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Florida. Nick serves as a board member on the University of Florida Bergstrom Center Real Estate Advisory Board. He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida. Nick is actively engaged in the community. He is a member of Leadership Gainesville class 38, the Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association and serves as vice-chair of the board of directors for the United Way of North Central Florida. Nick is a board member of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on Council for Economic Outreach. He chairs the Gainesville chapter for ULI and was the chairperson for the American Heart Association Heart Walk in Alachua County in 2013 which achieved the highest ever fundraising level for the event.

  • Angie Brown

    Vice President and Principal
    Meridian Appraisal Group, Inc.

    Angie Brown, MAI, VP of Meridian Appraisal Group, Inc. earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida in 1983 with a major in Real Estate. She has over 33 years in the valuation industry and is currently a Principal and Vice President of Meridian Appraisal Group, Inc. located in Winter Springs, Florida. Meridian Appraisal Group, Inc. is a valuation and consulting firm providing its clients valuation, advisory services, market studies, feasibility analysis, expert witness testimony and appraisal review on both residential and commercial real estate throughout Florida with a primary focus on Central Florida. Since 1983 Angie has provided valuation and consulting services on almost all types of commercial real estate including land, retail, multifamily, office, industrial, and special purpose properties for lending institutions, accountants, attorneys, developers, property owners, government agencies and municipalities, non-profit organizations and corporations. Angie earned the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute in 1988 and is also a State-Certified General Real Estate Appraiser and began her career at Pardue, Heid, Church Smith & Waller where she became a Board of Director of the firm. During the S & L Crisis, she became a bank review appraiser at Southeast Bank and First Union Bank and after several years in the banking industry, Angie was appointed President of Realvest Appraisal Services, Inc. in 1992. In 2008 Realvest Appraisal Services became Meridian Appraisal Group, Inc. and in addition to help building a successful real estate company Angie has served in numerous local, regional and national positions with the Appraisal Institute and was the President of the East Florida Chapter and National Chairman of the Young Advisory Council of the Appraisal Institute. She has been qualified as an expert witness for Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida and for numerous Circuit Courts throughout Florida. Angie is actively involved with the UF Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Advisory Board and has been a board member since 2003. In her spare time, Angie enjoys time with her husband Chip, a UF MBA graduate and her two sons Trevor and Parker, also Florida Gators.

  • Daryl M. Carter

    Maury L. Carter & Associates, Inc.

    Maury L. Carter & Associates, Inc. is a commercial real estate investment and brokerage company based in Orlando, Florida. As President of Maury L. Carter Management Corporation., Maury is responsible for the investment/asset management portfolio of Florida and Virginia properties consisting of land, retail and office. He directs investment consulting, build to suit commercial development, and brokerage operations. He has led Maury L. Carter & Associates, Inc. to aggregate sales in excess of one billion dollars. He is an Elder at First Presbyterian Church, International Council of Shopping Centers member, Central Florida Commercial Real Estate Society member, University of Florida Center for Real Estate Studies Board Member and Ring Speaker 2008, and MLC Scholarship donor. He graduated from University of Florida in December, 1985 with B.S.B.A.; majored in Real Estate. His Post-Baccalaureate work was at Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park. He is married to Dr. Kirsten B. Carter, and has three sons. He resides in Orlando.

  • Steve Cohen

    Executive Vice President/CRE Banking Manager

    Steve Cohen is the Executive Vice President/Commercial Real Estate Lending Manager of the $5 Billion Sabadell United Bank based in Miami. Steve joined Sabadell United Bank in 2012 after 28 years in commercial banking. He worked in various positions in Southeast, Southwest, Central and North Florida during a 24 year career with SunTrust Bank where in held various leadership roles. He has worked with experienced developers, homebuilders and real estate investors and has significant experience in new business production, underwriting and administration of various residential and commercial construction and mini-perm loans. He has been an instructor for various courses offered by SunTrust University, the American Institute of Banking and Miami-Dade Community College. He is a past chair of the Bergstrom CRES Advisory Board and is the current Chairman of First Housing Development Corporation in Tampa. Over the years, Steve has been active in various professional and community organizations, including the Urban Land Institute, the International Council of Shopping Centers, CREW, Florida Citrus Sports, the March of Dimes and Give Kids the World. Steve received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from The University of Florida.

  • Steve Cohn

    SVP/Florida Region Executive
    Commercial Real Estate Banking, Bank of America

    Steve Cohn joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch Commercial Real Estate Bank group in 1989 in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, Steve serves as the Senior Commercial Real Estate Lender for Bank of America’s Commercial Real Estate Bank for North and West Florida. In this role, he is responsible for providing commercial real estate based financial solutions to Top Tier client accounts as well as coordinating the bank's varied capabilities in Real Estate Construction and Term Lending, CMBS Perm financing, and RE Investment Banking. Steve is also responsible for the Homebuilder Portfolio for the Southeast Region, providing Borrowing Base and Construction Base Loan Facilities to our Homebuilding clients.

    Steve has earned a Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) designation and has completed the NASD Series 7, Series 63, and Series 24 licensure. Steve is an active member with the Global Association of Investment Professionals/CFA Institute as well as with the Urban Land Institute.

    Steve serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Directors for the UF Bergstrom School of Real Estate and on the ULI Multifamily Product Council of West Florida. Steve is married and has three children, girls ages 21 and 17 and a son, age 15. Steve received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in German Area Studies from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. His hobbies include studying and playing jazz guitar.

  • Chuck Davis

    Met Life Real Estate Investments, Inc.

    Chuck Davis is a Managing Director and Head of the Southeast Regional Office. He oversees a $8.6 billion debt and equity portfolio in Southeast. Mr. Davis joined MetLife in 1995 and, during his tenure, has been involved in over $6.5 billion in mortgage originations and over $2.5 billion of equity investments including acquisitions, dispositions, leasing and development. Mr. Davis has more than 30 years of industry experience, including previous experience as a Vice President with Bank of America in the Real Estate Banking Group focusing on construction lending. Prior to that, he was Division Manager for AMRESCO, directing an asset management team in property management, leasing and sales functions for South Florida. He is a member of NMHC, ICSC, NAIOP, Bergstrom Advisory Board Center Real Estate (past chairman), Real Estate Investment Council (past president) and the Tampa Downtown Partnership (past chairman). Mr. Davis earned a BS/BA in Finance from the University of Florida and an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University.

  • Steven DeRose

    Senior Vice-President -Loan Origination
    Starwood Mortgage Capital

    Mr. DeRose is a Senior Vice President at Starwood Mortgage Capital, where he is responsible for originating, structuring and closing loans on all property types for securitization. Prior to joining SMC, Mr. DeRose was a Director at Tannery Brook Partners, a boutique real estate investment bank providing advisory services to clients on commercial real estate matters, which included mergers and acquisitions, property-level recapitalizations and debt restructurings. Prior to his time at Tannery Brook Partners, Mr. DeRose served as a Director in Wells Fargo Securities’ Special Situations Group, where he was responsible for the workout and restructuring of principal investments in structured commercial real estate debt throughout the country. In this role, Mr. DeRose was responsible for overseeing an approximately $1.3 Billion loan portfolio. Prior to working in the Special Situations Group, Mr. DeRose held various positions within the bank’s predecessor, Wachovia Securities’ Real Estate Capital Markets platform, much of which was spent in the firm’s Structured Finance Group, originating bridge loans, mezzanine loans, preferred equity and JV equity investments. Mr. DeRose holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Business Management and a Master of Science in Finance from the University of Florida.

  • Richard Donnellan, Jr.

    Vice Chair
    ARA Newmark

    Dick is a Vice Chairman of ARA, a Newmark Company, a capital markets brokerage specializing in the multi-family industry. Dick was Managing Director and a founding partner of ARA. He is based in the Boca Raton office where he oversees operations throughout the state of Florida. Dick has maintained a leadership position in the sale and finance of apartment properties for over 25 years. He has served twice as President of ARA National during its formation and growth. He also served on the National Executive Committee for ARA. He has specialized in the sale of multi-housing properties since 1990 with a significant track record representing major private and institutional investors. Dick also has extensive experience in arranging structured finance, JV equity and pre-sale transactions.

    He is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Real Estate. He is an active member of the National Multi-Housing Council. He served on the Executive Committee of the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies and is the past Chairman of the Center’s Advisory Board. He has appeared as a spokesperson at national meetings and forums including National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF), Nova University Masters program, UBS Annual Investor Conference and the University of Florida Masters of Real Estate program. He received the UF Alumni of the Year Award. He has been recognized on numerous occasions by the Real Estate Forum and Co-Star with their distinguished “Power Brokers” award.

  • Andrea Drasites

    Managing Director, Real Estate Group,

    Andrea Drasites is a Managing Director in the Real Estate Group. Ms. Drasites is involved in the asset management of Blackstone’s domestic retail investments including Brixmor (formerly Centro), Equity One, Regency, DDR, Glimcher, Kimco and Edens portfolios as well as other retail projects inside of Blackstone’s hotel and office platform.

    Prior to joining Blackstone, Ms. Drasites worked at Equity One, Inc., a publicly traded shopping center REIT, where she was responsible for asset management as well as acquisitions and dispositions across the US. Prior to Equity One, Inc., Ms. Drasites worked for Woolbright Development, a shopping center owner and developer based in Boca Raton, Florida.

    Ms. Drasites received a BA in International Business from Rollins College and an MBA from the University of Florida.

  • Jim Fried

    Managing Director
    Aztec Group Inc.

    Jim Fried is a Miami-based real estate business person. He is the Managing Director at Aztec Group, Inc. Mr. Fried brings over 25 years of successful experience within real estate capital markets, structured finance and investment transactions.

    He buys, sells, brokers and finances real estate every day. He also uses technology to reach people through his radio show and social media. He is always looking for the newest and most creative alternatives in property finance and deal structuring. Be it family office, Delaware Statutory Trust, preferred equity or a 1031 –Jim knows capital. He has closed over $2billion in transactions in his 30 year career.

    Mr. Fried’s previous affiliations ranged from managing the Miami office of Grubb & Ellis to participating as a principal in real estate investments.

    Mr. Fried holds an M.B.A in Finance and Real Estate and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration – from the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida.

  • Robert Klein

    Managing Director
    Evercore Partners Inc.

    Robert Klein is currently a Managing Director at Evercore (NYSE: EVR) for the firm's corporate advisory business focusing on Real Estate, Gaming and Hospitality. Evercore is a premier independent investment banking advisory firm, headquartered in New York with offices across the United States, Europe, Central and South America and Asia. Evercore serves leading multinational corporations, large institutional investors and financial sponsors, and high net worth individuals. Mr. Klein has significant experience representing public companies, private companies and special committees on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships, portfolio acquisitions and sales, restructuring transactions, IPOs, and strategic alternatives. While at Evercore, Mr. Klein has advised a number of public and private companies including the Westfield Group, Seavest Healthcare Properties, Starwood Properties Trust, Fibra Uno, Duke Realty, Kite Realty Group, UDR, Simon Property Group, and creditors of Centro Properties Group. Prior to joining Evercore, he was a Vice President at MJC Associates LLC, a boutique investment banking predecessor to the Evercore Real Estate Team. During his time at MJC Associates, Mr. Klein worked on several deals for clients including UDR, Developers Diversified Realty (DDR), Cole Capital Advisors, Lubert Adler and Fairfield Residential. Upon graduation from Business School Mr. Klein was an Associate at Reckson Associates, a publicly traded REIT (NYSE: RA). In this position he acquired over $2 Billion of office properties in New York City and the Tri-state area. Mr. Klein started his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. primarily working with Fixed Income Derivatives and Private Wealth Management.

  • Andrew Hogshead

    Chief Executive Officer
    The Collier Companies

    J. Andrew Hogshead joined The Collier Companies in 2004 as its Director of Acquisitions and Development. He has served in several capacities with the firm and is currently its Chief Executive Officer. In that capacity, he is responsible for developing the company’s strategic goals for growth and corporate financial structure with the Chairman and executing the same. During his tenure, the company has acquired or developed more than 7,000 units and raised more than $750 million in debt and equity. Mr. Hogshead has a 25-year background in real estate finance in several facets of the industry. Prior to joining The Collier Companies, he was a Senior Vice President at Wachovia Bank’s Real Estate Finance Group. He also has experience working in large and small real estate investment banking firms in New York City.

    Hogshead is a graduate of Harvard University with an BA in Biological Anthropology and he holds an MBA in Real Estate/Finance from Columbia University. He sits on the Executive Committee of the National Multi-Housing Council, and the advisory boards for the University of Florida Center for Real Estate Studies. He also has been an officer on several charitable boards, including the YMCA, Children’s Home Society, and The Jacksonville Zoo among others and he was appointed to the Florida Department of Education’s Advisory Council on Educational Facilities.

  • Steven McCraney

    President & CEO
    McCraney Property Company

    Steven McCraney has developed commercial and industrial projects in the South Florida and Orlando Metropolitan areas for over twenty years. His marketing industrial development skills, asset management, brokerage background, and construction project management abilities have spurred the consistent growth of McCraney Property Company. The Company, with offices in West Palm Beach and Orlando, has corporate holdings exceeding 2,000,000 sq. ft. specializing in commercial/industrial, office/flex, office, and warehouse distribution. The Company’s existing land holdings will occupy 1.85M sq ft. Current and future developments include: Vista Center (550,000 sq ft); Orlando Regional Airport Center & Orlando Central Park (304,000 sq ft) and Treasure Coast Commerce Center (250,000 sq ft) to name a few. McCraney recently purchased 49 acres adjacent to Belvedere Road and fronting the Florida Turnpike. The property is adaptable to the ever changing markets and can sustain various types of industrial, commercial or residential development. Mr. McCraney graduated from Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania in December 1985 and remains active in the Villanova University Advisory Board. He is a former Chairman of YPO Florida. Presently, he serves on the Southern US Region Board of “YPO” Young Presidents Organization, the Business Development Board (BDB of of Palm Beach County), National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), Executive Board Member of Boy Scouts of America, and is a Board Member of the Cultural Arts Council of Palm Beach County. He also holds CCIM and SIOR designations. Education B.S., Villanova University.

  • Jim McGowan

    VP Acquisitions

    Jim McGowan has over 20 years of experience in land development and land acquisition including project management, financing and sales of residential and commercial developments, pursuing and evaluating new land opportunities and starting and operating new business ventures for development companies.

    During his career, he has developed an extensive background in financial management, land sales, business operations and new business development. Mr. McGowan has held executive level positions with several land development companies thoughout Florida and is currently the Vice President of Land Acquisition for CalAtlantic Homes in Orlando. CalAtlantic Homes through the merger of Ryland Homes and Standard Pacific Homes is the fourth largest homebuilder in the United States.

  • Ted McGowan

    Executive Director
    Clay County Port, Inc.

    Ted McGowan is the Executive Director and COO of Clay County Port, Inc. and Reynolds Real Estate Ventures serving the Northeast Florida and Richmond, Virginia Markets. Ted is a 1983 graduate from the University of Florida College of Engineering and holds Florida real estate and building contractor licenses. Prior activities include 15 years with the St. Joe Co. He currently serves on the boards of St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Clay County Economic Development Corporation and is active in ULI, ICSC and NAIOP and manages the yacht donation program for the University of Florida Foundation housed at Reynolds Park. See Ted is married to Nancy Peek McGowan UF ’82 and has five children.

  • Nelson Mills

    President and CEO
    Columbia Property Trust

    As President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Columbia Property Trust, Nelson Mills is responsible for the company’s overall strategy, capital transactions, operations, and performance of its portfolio of investments. Mr. Mills served as an Independent Director on the Columbia Property Trust Board since 2007 before being named President and Chief Executive Officer in 2010. In this position, he led the company in the establishment of an internal management team, a substantial repositioning of the portfolio, enhanced and expanded access to more efficient capital resources, and the development of a comprehensive strategic plan and growth strategy for the future.

    Mr. Mills has 27 years of experience in the real estate investment and financial services industries. Prior to joining Columbia Property Trust in 2010, he served for five years as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Williams Realty Advisors, LLC, manager and advisor to a series of real estate investment funds serving both institutional and individual investors. In this role, he was responsible for the firm’s investment and financial strategy and oversaw the design, formation, investment, and operations of several substantial funds, across multiple asset classes.

    Previously, Mr. Mills served as Chief Financial Officer with Lend Lease Real Estate Investments (US), Inc., one of the world’s largest institutional investment managers specializing in the acquisition and management of commercial real estate. He began his career in the financial industry as a partner with KPMG LLP, specializing in tax and transaction advisory services for the real estate industry.

  • Luke J. Petherbridge

    Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer

    Luke J. Petherbridge is Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer, a position he assumed in March 2015. He previously served as Executive Vice President of Capital Markets and Treasurer since January 2013, after joining the Company as Senior Vice President of Capital Markets in December 2011. During his tenure at DDR, Mr. Petherbridge has been responsible for capital raising, actively managing the balance sheet, maintaining strong lender relationships and executing various corporate level transactions. He has been a member of the Company's executive committee since joining DDR in 2011 and is a member of the Company's enterprise risk management committee.

    Prior to joining DDR, Mr. Petherbridge was the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of shopping center owner EDT Retail Trust (formerly Macquarie DDR Trust), a company which had been publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange and previously managed in a joint venture between DDR and Macquarie Group. Before that, Mr. Petherbridge served as Director of Transactions with boutique real estate investment company Rubicon Asset Management. While in this role, Mr. Petherbridge worked on approximately $5 billion of transactions focusing on United States, European and Japanese real estate and real estate structured finance.

    Mr. Petherbridge holds his bachelor of commerce from Macquarie University. He is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

  • Patrick Ramge

    Senior Vice President, Division Manager
    Commercial Real Estate
    Wells Fargo & Company

    Patrick (“Pat”) Ramge is a senior vice president and the State of Florida regional manager of Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate Group. Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, he leads more than 15 team members in a network of two regional lending offices in Florida. As one of the nation's leaders in the real estate industry, Wells Fargo provides a comprehensive platform of banking and financing solutions to regional/national owners, operators and developers, real estate funds and REITS.

    A 25-year financial services and real estate veteran, Pat joined Wells Fargo in 2003 to open the Commercial Real Estate Group’s office in Fort Lauderdale, FL, covering the South Florida market. In 2005, Pat was promoted to the Florida State Manager position for the Commercial Real Estate Group. Pat began his career at The Chase Manhattan Bank in 1988. He also worked Comerica Bank from 1999 until 2003 when he joined Wells Fargo.

    Active in the community, Pat’s professional affiliations and volunteer time include the International Council of Shopping Center and Urban Land Institute. He is also a board member of Jack and Jill Children’s Center in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Dr. Larry Sabato

    Founder and Director
    U. of Virginia Center for Politics

    Dr. Larry J. Sabato is the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. and the University Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, and has had visiting appointments at Oxford University and Cambridge University in Great Britain.

    Prof. Sabato directs the Center for Politics’ Crystal Ball website, a leader in accurately predicting elections since its inception. In 2004, the Crystal Ball notched a 99 percent accuracy rate in predicting all races for House, Senate, Governor and each state’s Electoral College outcome. In 2006, the Pew Research Center and the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Project for Excellence in Journalism recognized the Crystal Ball as the leader in the field of political predictors.

    In 2008, the Crystal Ball came within one electoral vote of the exact tally in the Electoral College, while also correctly picking the result of every single gubernatorial and Senate race across the country. In 2010, the Crystal Ball was the first to forecast a solid Republican takeover of the House.

    In 2014, the Crystal Ball won a “Beast Best” award from The Daily Beast as one of the top political sites on the web.

    In 2013 Prof. Sabato won an Emmy award for the television documentary Out of Order, which he produced to highlight the dysfunctional U.S. Senate. In 2014, Prof. Sabato won a second Emmy award for the PBS documentary The Kennedy Half-Century, which covers the life, assassination, and lasting legacy of President John F. Kennedy.

  • Rick Scarola

    Managing Partner
    Covenant Capital Group

    Rick Scarola is responsible for setting investment strategy, acquisitions, creating proprietary deal flow and disposition. During the past 20 years, Rick has been involved in the acquisition and disposition of apartment properties for a number of companies. Rick is a principal and investor in both Covenant Apartment Fund II, LLC and Covenant Apartment Fund I assets, a Managing Member of Covenant Apartment Investors III and Covenant Apartment Investors IV and a founder and principal of Covenant Capital Group. From 1998 to present, Rick has invested in 7,500 apartment units in 39 separate transactions with a value in excess of $300 million. Rick was directly responsible for identifying, evaluating, negotiating and/or executing these transactions for apartment communities located in the Southeast or Midwest. Rick was previously an Executive Vice President with Brookside Properties, Nashville, Tennessee. From 1992 to 1996, under exclusive advisory agreements, Rick acquired apartment properties for Mid-America Apartments Communities, Inc., New Plan Excel Trust, and Graystone Properties. Rick previously worked for Insignia Capital Advisors and predecessor organizations from 1985 to 1998 where he managed the sale of apartment communities. These transactions involved 250 apartment communities with a value of over $2 billion.

  • Jim Stine

    RAM Realty Services

    Jim Stine is President of Ram, a leader in real estate development and acquisitions. Stine is responsible for new acquisitions, dispositions and development strategy for Ram and the Ram equity portfolios. Prior to joining Ram, Stine was chief investment officer of Stiles Corporation where he coordinated the focus and objective of the firm's real estate development, leasing, asset management and property management departments. Formerly president of Stiles Capital Group, Stine was responsible for asset management activities, including arranging and executing all project financing, as well as the acquisition and disposition of assets from the company portfolio. Having joined Stiles in 1986 as vice president of project finance, Stine successfully negotiated and closed in excess of $1 billion in real estate transactions. He has developed numerous successful negotiations strategies for the restructuring of loans with various commercial banks and life insurance companies. Stine is an active member in the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Additionally, he currently serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Florida Center for Real Estate Studies (UF CRES) as well as the University of Florida Broward County Regional Development Committee. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Children's Place at Homesafe as well as Leadership Palm Beach. Mr. Stine is licensed in mortgage brokerage and real estate sales in the the estate of Florida.

  • Cliff Taylor

    Senior Vice President, CBRE

    Cliff Taylor is a Senior Vice President in the Jacksonville office of CBRE focusing on retail investment sales as a member of the company’s Investment Properties Group. His main focus is representing sellers and developers of retail centers ranging in size from unanchored strip centers to grocery-anchored and power centers. Although located in Jacksonville, Mr. Taylor has systematically expanded his presence into markets throughout the southeast and is now licensed in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Over the course of his career he has represented REITs, hedge funds, private equity firms, private syndicators, developers and individual investors. Since joining CBRE he has sold more than 120 shopping centers totaling 9.7 million square feet and valued in excess of $1.3 billion.

    Cliff is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and serves on the Advisory Board of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida. In addition to holding a Master of Science in Real Estate from the University of Florida, he has also completed professional education courses at both The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Mr. Taylor resides in Jacksonville with his wife and two children.

  • Tim Wallace

    Community Healthcare Trust Incorporated

    Mr. Wallace was a founder and has served as CHCT’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President since its formation. Mr. Wallace was instrumental in forming the company, developing its strategy, recruiting the management team, negotiating the acquisition of its properties, recruiting directors and performing other activities required to launch the company. Prior to founding CHCT, from 2003 to 2014, Mr. Wallace was co-founder, President and majority owner of Athena Funding Partners and related entities which provided financing solutions to the higher education industry for on-campus student housing facilities mostly in rural areas.

    From 1993 to 2002, Mr. Wallace was a co-founder and Executive Vice President of Healthcare Realty Trust (NYSE: HR). Between the initial public offering of HR in 1993 and his departure from HR in 2002, Mr. Wallace was integral in helping to grow HR from $2,000 to over $2 billion in asset value. Mr. Wallace remained as a paid consultant to HR and subject to a non-compete until 2008. Prior to HR, Mr. Wallace was with Ernst & Young and began his career in 1980 with Arthur Andersen & Co. Mr. Wallace holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Masters in Business Administration, both from Western Kentucky University.

  • William Walton

    Managing Member and Co-Founder
    Rockpoint Group

    Bill Walton is co-founder and managing member of Rockpoint Group, L.L.C., a global real estate investment management firm. Mr. Walton is responsible for the overall operations and management of Rockpoint, as well as overseeing the origination, structuring, asset management, and disposition of all of Rockpoint’s investment activities. In addition to his responsibilities at Rockpoint, Mr. Walton is co-founder and managing member of Westbrook Real Estate Partners, L.L.C. Since 1994, Mr. Walton and his partners have sponsored thirteen opportunistic, core plus and finance vehicles, and have invested in approximately $50 billion of real estate throughout the world. Prior to co-founding Westbrook in 1994, Mr. Walton was a Managing Director in the real estate group of Morgan Stanley, which he joined in 1979. Mr. Walton is involved with several real estate industry organizations and has served as a Director or Trustee on the Boards of several public companies, as well as non-profit organizations, with a particular interest in educational entities, including Communities in Schools, the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute, KIPP Schools Jacksonville, Princeton University, and Princeton University Investment Company. Mr. Walton received an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University in 1974 and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1979.

  • Rachel Elias Wein


    Rachel Elias Wein founded WeinPlus, a strategy and management consultancy focused on retail and real estate organizations, in 2008. During this time of sweeping economic transition a wide range of organizations—public REITs, private shopping center owners, fast-growing grocery chains and more—were hungry for adaptive strategies. Ms. Wein answered the call. As president, she has grown WeinPlus into a top-tier consultancy with a client list dominated by a Who’s Who of public and private companies.

    Working with clients’ existing teams in management and operations, WeinPlus supports real estate owners and retailers by uncovering and capitalizing on new opportunities for growth.

    Prior to launching the firm, Ms. Wein was a development executive at St. Petersburg, Florida-based The Sembler Company, where she directed the development of retail assets located across the Southeast. Additionally, Ms. Wein served as a senior associate in the Real Estate and Construction Advisory practice of Ernst & Young LLP, in Philadelphia.

    A licensed architect, Ms. Wein graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she earned Masters degrees in both real estate and architecture as well as an Undergraduate degree in architecture. She serves on the boards of directors for the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, the Real Estate Investment Council of Tampa Bay, and Great Explorations Children’s Museum. The University of Florida named Ms. Wein to its Hall of Fame in 2003 and named her an Outstanding Young Alumnus in 2012.

  • Dan Woodward

    Vice President
    Tampa, Highwoods Properties, Inc.

    A 30-year commercial real estate veteran, Dan is directly responsible for the Company’s day-to-day operations in Highwoods Properties’ Tampa Division, overseeing all acquisition, leasing, management, and development activities. The Tampa portfolio is comprised of 3.6 million square feet and represents approximately 12 percent of Highwoods’ total annualized revenue. With Highwoods since July 2006, Dan was formerly with Trammell Crow Company as senior vice president responsible for the oversight of Trammell Crow Company’s development activities in Central Florida. Dan has also held similar positions with The Pizzuti Companies in Orlando and The Vantage Companies in Tampa. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree and MBA from the University of Florida and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A licensed Florida Real Estate Broker, Dan is active in a variety of professional and civic organizations including past president of the Central Florida Chapter of NAIOP. He currently serves in various executive committee and board positions with the Westshore Alliance, Tampa Hillsborough EDC, and Advisory Board for the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida. Company value proposition: Highwoods owns, develops, acquires, leases and manages properties primarily in BBDs (an acronym for Best Business Districts) of Atlanta, Greensboro, Kansas City, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Richmond and Tampa. As of September 30, 2015 Highwoods owned or had an interest in properties encompassing 30.5 million square feet.