Chicago, IL

April 14-15, 2015
Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago, IL

Real estate is in high gear, but how long will the momentum last? Upcycles breed optimism, but prolonged optimism can lead to over-lending, over-building, and over-investing. What are the red flags that indicate a peak has been reached? Our expert presenters from industry and academia will give you an informed view on where to invest, which sectors and markets offer the best prospects, and trends in the capital markets that will affect real estate.

Please join us for this invitation-only event filled with robust discussion, innovative perspectives, and high-level networking with industry leaders from every sector of the real estate business. The dinner and keynote presentation on April 14 and the conference on April 15 will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Thank you to our sponsors, board members, and guests for a successful event!


Chicago, IL

Tuesday, April 14
5:30 pm

Reception (Lakeview)
Sponsored by Draper and Kramer

6:30 pm Dinner (Lakeview)
Sponsored by MB Financial Bank
7:20 - 7:30 pm

Opening Remarks
Michael W. Brennan, Irgens Executive Director, James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate
Timothy Riddiough, Academic Director, James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate

7:30 - 8:15 pm Keynote Address
Justin Sydnor, Assistant Professor, Risk and Insurance, Wisconsin School of Business
Behavioral Economics and Investing: Understanding What Motivates Financial Decisions
In 1996, Alan Greenspan referred to investors in the market as having "irrational exuberance." Most of us who pay attention to the financial markets understood exactly what he meant:  investors taking risks inappropriate to their goals.  Some of the most successful investors, though, are also those who are willing to take on good risks when others are fearing risk.  What is the psychology behind all of this?  How can people be sometimes irrationally exuberant and other times shun risk all together?  Behavioral economics attempts to answer these types of questions by coupling scientific research on the psychology of decision making with economic theory.  In this talk, Dr. Justin Sydnor of the Wisconsin School of Business will discuss research from behavioral economics on the key drivers of financial decisions that helps to explain these varying attitudes people have about financial risk.  
8:30 pm Informal Gathering (Four Seasons Allium Bar)
Wednesday, April 15
7:30 - 8:30 am Continental Breakfast (Ballroom Foyer)
Sponsored by Brennan Investment Group and Keeley Construction, Inc.
8:30 - 8:45 am

Welcome and Remarks (South Ballroom)
Michael W. Brennan, Irgens Executive Director, James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate
François Ortalo-Magné, Albert O. Nicholas Dean, Wisconsin School of Business

8:45 - 9:45 am

Session One: The CEO Outlook
Industry leaders will share their insights on the opportunities and challenges facing real estate investors today. How long a runway does the current business cycle have? What should you be doing now to prepare for a changing cycle? This session will be broad ranging, covering real estate capital markets and operational issues, as well as geopolitical risk, both here and abroad.

Moderator: David Rubin, Senior Managing Director, Capital Markets, MB Financial Bank

Panelists: Benjamin Butcher, CEO, STAG Industrial, Inc.
Eugene Gorab, President & CEO, Greenfield Partners, LLC

9:45 - 10:00 am Break
Sponsored by Annaly Capital Management
10:00 - 11:00 am

Session Two: Finding Opportunities in Unpredictable Times
The U.S. economy is strong, interest rates are still low, liquidity is everywhere, and occupancy levels for all product types have reached or exceeded pre-recession levels, but prices have also soared. How do you judge if pricing levels are nearing the peak? What are the sectors or geographic areas where value can be found?

Moderator: Robert Karner, Managing Director, Annaly Commercial Real Estate Group

Panelists: John Bucksbaum, Founder & CEO, Bucksbaum Retail Properties, LLC
Jeff Friedman, Co-Founder, Mesa West Capital
Sujan Patel, Managing Director, NorthStar Realty Finance Corp.

11:00 - 11:15 am Break
Sponsored by Jones Lang LaSalle
11:15 am - 12:45 pm

Session Three: Navigating Macro Risks: Oil Prices, the Strong Dollar, and Slowing Growth Abroad
How will problems in Europe and a slowdown in China affect the U.S.? How does the political instability in Ukraine and Russia impact real estate? What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of lower oil prices? Industry leaders and academics will discuss the impact of these macroeconomic risks on business fundamentals and the real estate industry.

Moderator: Erwan Quintin, Associate Professor, Wisconsin School of Business

Panelists: Eileen Fahey, Chief Credit Officer, Fitch Ratings
Antonio Mello, Professor and Frank Graner Chair in Finance, Wisconsin School of Business

12:45 - 1:45 pm Lunch (State Room)
Co-Sponsored by CIBC and CBRE
2:00 - 3:00 pm

Afternoon Keynote

Keynote Speaker: Jacques Gordon, Global Strategist, Research & Strategy Team Lead, LaSalle Investment Management

3:00 - 3:15 pm Closing Remarks from Center Academic Director, Timothy Riddiough
3:15 pm Adjourn

Spring 2015 Board Conference Presenter Biographies

Michael BrennanMichael BrennanBiographyIrgens Executive DirectorJames A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, Wisconsin School of Business
John BucksbaumJohn BucksbaumBiographyFounder and CEOBucksbaum Retail Properties, LLC
Ben ButcherBenjamin ButcherBiographyCEO, President, & Chairman of the BoardSTAG Industrial, Inc.
Eileen FaheyEileen FaheyBiographyChief Credit OfficerFitch Ratings
Jeff FriedmanJeff FriedmanBiographyCo-FounderMesa West Capital
Eugene GorabEugene GorabBiographyPresident & CEOGreenfield Partners
Jacques GordonJacques GordonBiographyGlobal Strategist, Research & Strategy Team LeadLaSalle Investment Management
Robert KarnerRobert KarnerBiographyManaging DirectorAnnaly Commercial Real Estate Group
Antonio MelloAntonio MelloBiographyProfessor, Frank Graner Chair in FinanceNicholas Center for Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, Wisconsin School of Business
François Ortalo-MagnéFrançois Ortalo-MagnéBiographyAlbert O. Nicholas DeanOffice of the Dean, Wisconsin School of Business
Sujan PatelSujan PatelBiographyManaging Director and Co-Head of InvestmentsNorthStar Realty Finance Corp.
Erwan QuintinErwan QuintinBiographyAssociate ProfessorReal Estate & Urban Land Economics, Wisconsin School of Business
Tim RiddioughTimothy RiddioughBiographyAcademic Director and ProfessorJames A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, Wisconsin School of Business
David RubinDavid RubinBiographySenior Managing DirectorMB Capital Markets
Justin SydnorJustin SydnorBiographyAssistant ProfessorRisk and Insurance, Wisconsin School of Business

Graaskamp Spring Board Conference

April 14-15, 2015 | Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago, IL 

Sponsorship opportunities

Don’t miss the opportunity to support this conference sponsored by the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. This event offers outstanding opportunities to increase your visibility before a highly qualified audience of key decision makers in the industry -- all who are part of a long, proud tradition of fostering excellence in real estate education, research and outreach.

We offer sponsorship opportunities at several levels. (Please indicate your selection.)

• April 14 
    • Reception at the Four Seasons ($2,500) - Sponsored by Draper and Kramer
    • Dinner at the Four Seasons ($5,000) - Sponsored by MB Financial Bank

• April 15
    • Networking breakfast ($1,500) - Sponsored by Brennan Investment Group & Keeley Construction, Inc.
    • Networking break ($1,000) - Sponsored by Annaly Capital Management
    • Networking break ($1,000) - Sponsored by Jones Lang LaSalle
    • Keynote Luncheon ($3,000) - Co-Sponsored by CIBC and CBRE

General event sponsorships also available at any level!
Events also sponsored by:
Prudential Mortgage Capital Co.

* You may invite up to three guests or colleagues.

Why Sponsor the Graaskamp Spring Board Conference?

  • Direct access to high profile industry leaders who are shaping the future of the industry. Build rapport as you meet face to face and network with real estate leaders. You will have access to all networking functions providing a social and enjoyable environment to meet with all conference attendees. 
  • Recognition throughout the marketing campaign and at the conference. This includes: pre-conference recognition in outreach materials and media release; company logo on web site with link; company logo on promotional materials and on-site program; name/logo of organization on sponsorship slide in high traffic area; verbal acknowledgement at the conference. 
  • Gain valuable name recognition and goodwill for your company by supporting this high-profile conference on current trends and issues in the real estate industry. Be a part of this dynamic conference that features a range of experts who are on the front lines of real estate market research, policy and practice. 

Sponsor Information 

Please complete this form and email, fax (608-265-4823) or send it to the Wisconsin School of Business by March 27, 2015.  You can also register online via our secure server: CLICK HERE.  

If you are interested in any of the sponsorship options, please contact Lee Gottschalk by or before Friday, March 27. If you have questions, please call Lee at (608) 265-2032.

Chicago, IL

April 14-15, 2015
Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago, IL

At our invitation-only spring board conference, board members and guests will be immersed in best-in-class thinking and diverse perspectives in an intimate forum with an elite group of industry peers, renowned faculty and our great group of real estate MBA students.

Members are also encouraged to identify a guest from your peer group who you think would be a good candidate for board membership. Please submit names and bios to Michael Brennan prior to inviting due to space constraints and so we can avoid duplication. 

Deadline: Wednesday, April 1.
Currently we are at capacity for the Spring Board events. Please email graaskamp@bus.wisc.edu to request to be added to the wait list.

Graaskamp Center Spring Board Conference

Four Season ChicagoThe Graaskamp Center spring board conference will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Chicago on April 14-15, 2015.

Four Seasons Hotel
120 East Delaware Place
Chicago, IL  60611-1428
(312) 280-8800 or (800) 819-5053

Four Seasons rates begin at $445/night. Other nearby hotels include The WhitehallThe PeninsulaThe Conrad, Public, and The Chicago Marriott. There are several large conferences and conventions in Chicago at this time, so we encourage attendees to make their lodging arrangements as soon as possible.