An overflow of undergraduate and graduate students filled the room in the Pyle Center on Thursday, October 20 for the University of Wisconsin Real Estate Club’s annual CEO Panel.
The panel featured respected real estate leaders from across the country, including Phil Hawkins, CEO of DCT Industrial; Chris Ludeman, President of CBRE; Gregory Mutz, CEO of AMLI Residential; and Tim Pire, Faculty Associate and Advisor of the Graaskamp Center’s Applied Real Estate Securities Analysis Track (AREIT). Graaskamp Board Member John Gates Jr., CEO of PortaeCo, moderated the session.
Pire started the meeting with a brief update on global smart cities, mentioning continued urbanization, the declining costs of green energy, new patterns in human mobility and the ageing of the world’s population. “They will impact everything you do in the real estate industry as you look forward,” Pire said.
The CEO panelists focused on the intersection of real estate and technology and Gates asked the panel a series of questions related to how the industry will change as new trends emerge. Hawkins mentioned that the beginning stages of construction for FedEx’s new truck terminal saw 80 electricians on site. Ludeman offered an anecdote of how his team put together an app over a long weekend after a competitor made a play to take over their Nike account.
“We manage their corporate campus in Beaverton, Oregon,” Ludeman said. “If we weren’t that agile and didn’t have smart, savvy tech people that we could put next to our services people, we probably would’ve lost that account.”
The discussion then moved to cities or areas that the panel thought are more technologically savvy. Pire challenged everyone to think from a global perspective rather than just the current hot cities in the U.S., noting that more young people will live overseas. Mutz and Ludeman said there could be underrated opportunities in the suburbs of big urban areas.
“The suburbs aren’t dead. We have seen as these millennials who have waited longer to form families and have children, they’re moving back to the suburbs,” Ludeman said. “How do you create that urban mixed-use environment in the suburbs? That’s a hot topic.”
The last part of the panel focused on the influx of big data into real estate. All four agreed that the real winners of big data would come from those companies that are able to organize and mine the data effectively rather than just accumulating it.
“Everybody’s a customer of one,” Mutz said. “You have to use data to make everybody unique.”