Business communityReal Estate Trends Conference

The annual VCU Real Estate Trends Conference is one of the leading forums in the region for the exchange of ideas and information about real estate. This conference attracts real estate professionals from various industry sectors such as law, finance, construction, development, brokerage and appraisal, and it provides the opportunity to look into the future of real estate, to share their expertise, and to make and strengthen professional relationships and friendships.

The conference will be held on October 8, 2020, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in downtown Richmond, Virginia. We are actively monitoring the current and projected situation with regard to COVID-19 and remain optimistic that by October we will be able to hold the conference.



Registration details will be announced soon.

2020 Speakers

Keynote Speaker:

Sam Zell
Chairman, Equity Group Investments

Sam Zell is a global, industry-agnostic entrepreneur and investor. He has a long track record of turning around troubled companies and assets, leading industry consolidations, and bringing companies to the public markets. 

Sam has stewarded dozens of companies across industries including: energy, logistics, manufacturing, communications, healthcare, and real estate. He is a founding father of the modern REIT industry, and created three of the largest real estate investment trusts. One of them, Equity Office, sold for $39 billion in 2007 in the largest leverage buyout at the time.

Sam was also a pioneer in investing in the emerging markets. He applied his commitment to strong governance to institutionalize companies in Latin America, and introduced the first Brazilian mall company and the first Mexican homebuilder, respectively, to the New York Stock Exchange.

Sam chairs five companies on the New York Stock Exchange, including: Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc., Equity Residential, Equity CommonWealth, Covanta Holding Corporation, and Anixter International. He is an active philanthropist with a passion for entrepreneurship. In 2017, he was named by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.


Richard Fry
Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center

Richard Fry is a senior researcher at Pew Research Center. He is an expert on school and college enrollment in the United States, as well as the returns to education in the labor market and marriage market, and its connection to household economic well-being such as net worth. Fry’s analyses are largely empirical, as he has extensive expertise analyzing U.S. Census Bureau and other federal data collections.

Before joining Pew Research Center in 2002, he was a senior economist at the Educational Testing Service. Fry received his doctorate in economics from the University of Michigan. Fry regularly documents U.S. educational and enrollment milestones, the economic well-being of the nation’s young adults, the role of student debt in financing college education, and the changing relationship between education and marriage and cohabitation.

Revathi Greenwood
Americas Head of Research, Cushman & Wakefield

Ms. Greenwood is the Americas Head of Research for Cushman & Wakefield with overall responsibility for the research platform within the Americas region. She provides leadership to hundreds of professionals who are focused on producing predictive, timely and interpretative analysis on the latest real estate trends. A well-established thought leader, Revathi has 22 years of experience in the CRE industry, advising on properties valued at more than $15 billion for various clients. She brings significant consulting and corporate finance experience as well as strong global exposure across Europe and Asia.

Revathi started her career in India and later moved to London where she worked for four years at Citigroup's European Investment Banking Division. After working as a Director of Corporate Finance for KPMG in London from 2003 to 2012, she moved to the U.S., where she most recently held the position of Americas Head of Investment Research at CBRE.

Ms. Greenwood holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Past speakers

Mary Ludgin from Heitman

Mary Ludgin, Heitman

Mary is Heitman’s Senior Managing Director, Head of Global Research and an equity owner of the firm. She is a member of the firm’s Board of Managers, Global Management Committee, North American Private Equity Valuation Committee, and Private Equity and Debt Investment Committees. She is the author of numerous articles and research studies relating to real estate markets, portfolio management and strategy. Prior to joining Heitman, she was an urban planner for the City of Chicago and she worked in retail site location.

Mary received an AB from Vassar College and an MA and PhD from Northwestern University. She is a Governing Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and sits on its Global Board of Directors. Mary also chairs ULI’s Chicago District Council. Among other professional affiliations, she served two terms on the board of the Pension Real Estate Association and was its president. Mary is also a former president of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries. She was named a fellow of the Homer Hoyt Institute in 2000, is a docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is a member of the board of the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago.

Mary’s presentation at the 2019 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference has been made available by clicking the link below:

VCU Trends Conference October 2019 Mary Ludgin

Greg Lindsay from NewCities

Greg Lindsay

Greg Lindsay is the incoming director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot, CoMotion. He is also a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s  Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

His work with Studio Gang Architects on the future of suburbia was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2012. His work has also been displayed at the 15th and 16th Venice
Architecture Biennales, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, and Habitat III.

Greg is a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, and has advised Intel, Samsung, Starbucks, Audi, Chrysler, Hyundai, Tishman Speyer, British Land, André Balazs Properties, Emaar, Aldar, and Expo 2020, among many other organizations. He was the inaugural urbanist-in-residence at URBAN-X — BMW MINI’s urban tech accelerator.

Greg’s presentation from the 2019 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference is available by request for attendees of the event only.  Please email to request a copy.

Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D from GraphsandLaughs LLC


Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. is a nationally acclaimed economist and public speaker specializing in making economics fun, relevant and educational.  Dr. Eisenberg earned a B.A. in economics with first class honors from McGill University in Montreal, as well as a Master and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University.  Eisenberg is the Chief Economist for GraphsandLaughs, LLC, an economic consultancy that serves a variety of clients across the United States.  He writes a syndicated column and authors a daily 70-word commentary on the economy that is available at

Dr. Eisenberg has spoken to hundreds of business groups and associations, often as keynote speaker on topics including economic forecasts, economic impact of industries such as homebuilding and tourism, consequences of government regulation, strategic business development, and other current economic issues.  Dr. Eisenberg has been invited to testify before lawmakers and is often asked to comment on proposed legislation.  His research and opinions have been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Bureau of National Affairs, Forbes, Fortune, and many other publications.  He is a regularly featured guest on cable news programs, talk, and public radio.

Dr. Eisenberg was formerly a Senior Economist with the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C.  He is the creator of the multifamily stock index (the first nationally recognized index to track the total return of public firms principally involved in the ownership and management of apartments), the author of more than ninety-five articles, serves on the Expert Advisory Board of Mortgage Market Guide and is a regular consultant to several large real estate professional associations, hedge funds and investment advisory groups.

Elliot’s interests include keeping the rate of restoration of his 65-year-old house ahead of its rate of deterioration and doting on his daughter. He loves ice hockey and talking economics with crowds large and small!



Steve Weikal from MIT Center for Real Estate

Steve Weikal

Steve Weikal is Head of Industry Relations at the MIT Center for Real Estate, responsible for managing relationships between the Center and its global network of industry partners and nearly 1100 alumni of the MIT Master’s in Real Estate Development (MSRED) program, in 43 countries. He is also a lecturer and researcher, focused on innovative new technology and business models that disrupt the traditional ways of developing, transacting and managing real estate.

Steve is the Founder of MIT Real Disruption, a successful series of conferences discussing the impact of emerging technology on the real estate industry, and he sits on the advisory boards of three real estate technology start-ups. Steve has spoken extensively about real estate disruption at conferences for AFIRE, IREM, SIOR, CCIM, CoreNet, and BOMA, and has been quoted by numerous media outlets, including BuzzFeed, TechInsider, the Boston Globe, GlobeSt. the Real Reporter, and Anuario Inmobiliario LatinoAmerica.

Steve holds a Master’s of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) and Master’s in City Planning (MCP) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School. He is a licensed attorney, a licensed real estate broker, and a LEED Accredited Professional.


Prior to his position at the MIT Center for Real Estate, Steve was Vice President of NOW Communities, a Concord, MA-based developer of new residential neighborhoods that merge the best of traditional design with 21st-century energy technology. Before graduate school, Steve was National Media Tour Producer for Martin Scorses’s The Blues, for WGBH Boston, was Manager of Partner Acquisition at Curl, a VC funded tech start-up launched to commercialize a new coding language developed at the MIT Lab for Computer Science (LCS), and was a Founding Partner
of Sonoma Coast Vineyards, maker of award-winning Pinot Noir from the Extreme Sonoma Coast of California. He began his real estate career restoring and redeveloping historic theaters in Detroit’s Fox Center entertainment district.

2020 Conference Committee

Committee Chair

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Members


In the real estate industry, who will be the post-COVID winners and losers?

In the real estate industry, who will be the post-COVID winners and losers?

Monday, May 11

How will COVID-19 affect the real estate industry?

2019-2020 School of Business Kornblau Real Estate Program and Risk & Insurance Studies Center Award Winner

2019-2020 School of Business Kornblau Real Estate Program and Risk & Insurance Studies Center Award Winner

Monday, May 4

Each year the VCU School of Business departments recognize the outstanding achievements of select students.

VCU to Host Annual Real Estate Trends Conference

VCU to Host Annual Real Estate Trends Conference

Monday, September 30

29th Real Estate Trends Conference will be held on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2020 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Brigadier General Reinvents Himself with VCU Real Estate Degree

Brigadier General Reinvents Himself with VCU Real Estate Degree

Monday, July 1

Learn why Jeff Farnsworth chose VCU’s Kornblau Real Estate Program to fast track into a second career.

Want to predict real estate market activity? Chris Morris has an approach for that

Want to predict real estate market activity? Chris Morris has an approach for that

Friday, April 12

A financial technology student has developed a pluralistic method to apply math to real estate industry predictors.

New CoStar Chair will lead data analytics in real estate at VCU

New CoStar Chair will lead data analytics in real estate at VCU

Tuesday, April 9

VCU School of Business named Brent C Smith, Ph.D., the inaugural CoStar Group Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics.

How VCU Business helped Zack Helminiak do more

How VCU Business helped Zack Helminiak do more

Thursday, November 1

The founder of Nomadix reflects on how VCU shaped his business and his philosophy of own less, do more.

Business Endowment Day Luncheon

Business Endowment Day Luncheon

Wednesday, October 31

Over 100 donors and student recipients attended the 2nd annual School of Business Endowment Day Luncheon