Category: Real Estate

VCU School of Business to receive $2.5 million from CoStar Group for endowed chair

October 12, 2017

Virginia Commonwealth University today announced a $2.5 million gift from real estate data firm CoStar Group to establish the CoStar Group Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics in the VCU School of Business.

“In establishing the CoStar Group Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics, we aim to bring the intersection of big data and real estate together to bring more transparency, velocity and efficiency to the global commercial real estate market,” said Andrew C. Florance, founder and CEO of CoStar. “Dr. David Downs, Alfred L. Blake Endowed Chair of Real Estate and director of the Kornblau Institute, and his team have done a tremendous job in taking a leadership role in developing the next generation of real estate professionals, and we want to provide VCU with the resources necessary to support and grow that effort.”

Florance founded CoStar in 1987, fundamentally changing the way commercial real estate professionals access, use and share information. Through CoStar, Florance pioneered the concept of commercial real estate firms outsourcing research functions to a third-party information provider. CoStar is among Forbes magazine’s 2017 list of 100 most innovative growth companies in the world, placing it among the top 10 companies within the software and services category.

“We are thrilled and excited to receive such a generous gift from CoStar,” said Ed Grier, dean of the School of Business. “The VCU School of Business and CoStar are natural partners with our common focus on creativity, analytics and innovation. We couldn’t have a better partner for our university and community.”

Read the full story from VCU News

25th Real Estate Trends Conference Highlights Investments, Social Media

From an article in Virginia Business, Oct. 22, 2015:

The 1,300 people who attended Thursday’s 25th annual VCU Real Estate Trends Conference in Richmond left with an overview on economics, affordable housing and a how-to on the best practices of social media.

The conference at the Greater Richmond Convention Center began with speaker Mary Ludgin saying the U.S. real estate market is well positioned despite global turbulence in other economies such as China. Ludgin, a managing director and director of global investment research for Heitman, noted that the U.S. doesn’t export much to China, with exports representing less than one percent of America’s GDP.  “So I don’t think China …  it represents something that will change the course of the U.S. economy in the near -or mid-term,” she said.

Read the full article by Paula Squires, including social media advice shared by bestselling author Erik Qualman, in Virginia Business.

The conference is presented annually by the VCU Kornblau Real Estate Program. Our thanks to everyone who made the program possible – sponsors, faculty, staff and student volunteers, the Real Estate Circle of Excellence, and especially to this year’s conference chair, Rene Shepperson, Senior Commercial Real Estate Banker at Union Bank & Trust.

25th Real Estate Trends Conference

Erik Qualman, who spawned the “Socialnomics” movement with his book of the same name, will speak at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business’ 25th annual Real Estate Trends Conference.

The conference, organized by the Kornblau Real Estate Program in the School of Business, will be held Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Doors open at 12:45 p.m. with registration and networking. Conference sessions run from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by closing remarks and a reception.

Called a “Digital Dale Carnegie” and “the Tony Robbins of Tech,” Qualman is the author of “Socialnomics” and “Digital Leader,” the latter earning him the distinction of second “Most Likable Author in the World” behind Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. His latest book, “What Happens on Campus Stays on You Tube,” explains the art and science behind the development and impact of digital reputations.

Joining Qualman are real estate and economics experts Mary Ludgin, Ph.D., Maurice Jones, J.D., and Michael Rubinger.

Ludgin is a managing director at Heitman, where she serves as the firm’s director of global investment research. She is a partner of the firm and holds a seat on its investment, valuation and management committee.

As Virginia secretary of commerce and trade, Jones utilizes Virginia’s assets to solidify its position as one of the preeminent places to live, work and conduct business.

Rubinger, president and chief executive officer of Local Initiatives Support Corp. since 1999, has more than 40 years of experience in the housing and economic development fields. Prior to joining LISC, he was executive vice president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the largest private foundations in the country.

An annual event where speakers discuss trends affecting the real estate and business economies, the Real Estate Trends Conference is expected to attract more than 1,400 people from the academic and professional ranks, representing segments such as banking, engineering, investments, consulting, government, brokerage and appraisal.

For more information, including registration details, visit the conference’s website at

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region, VCU Health is comprised of five health sciences schools (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy), VCU Medical Center, Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, VCU Massey Cancer Center and Virginia Premier. For more, please and

VCU Real Estate Circle of Excellence announces new members

The Kornblau Real Estate Program in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business added 11 members to its Real Estate Circle of Excellence on May 20.

The Real Estate Circle of Excellence consists of real estate executives that support the program’s education and research programs, offer internships and scholarships and organize the annual Real Estate Trends Conference.

The new members represent a variety of real estate-related businesses, said Robert W. Taylor, executive director of the Kornblau Real Estate Program.

“Each member brings expertise to the circle and our program and students benefit from their involvement,” he said.

The newest members are:

David Andrews, The Shopping Center Group.
Bruce Boykin, Eck Enterprises Inc.
Melissa Canavos, Safe Harbor Title.
James “J.G.” Carter, Union Mortgage Group.
David Gerstenmaier, Stewart Inc.
Richard S. Johnson, The Wilton Cos.
Daniel Jones, East West Communities.
D. Brennen Keene, McGuire | Woods.
Andrew Little, John B. Levy & Company Inc.
Walton Makepeace, Highwood Properties.
Muriel Rodriguez, Schnabel Engineering Inc.

The Kornblau Real Estate Program, part of the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, offers master’s and bachelor’s degrees in real estate. VCU was the first university in Virginia to offer a bachelor’s degree in real estate.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

VCU School of Business announces its largest endowed real estate scholarship

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business announced today that the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate (GRACRE) has increased its endowed scholarship fund for students in the school’s Kornblau Real Estate Program.

The additional backing brings the endowment’s total to $100,000 — the largest scholarship for VCU’s real estate students. Awardees are selected based on GPA.

Robert Taylor, executive director of the Kornblau Real Estate Program at the VCU School of Business and Bob Hughes, the 2015 president of GRACRE, announced the news during a meeting of VCU’s Real Estate Circle of Excellence, a group of real estate executives who advise on the quality and relevance of the school’s real estate program and offer student internships and scholarships, bringing practical real-world experience to the program.

“VCU is an excellent source of new talent for the next generation of real estate leaders and we are very proud of our partnership,” said Hughes, noting that GRACRE values its ongoing and special relationship with the Kornblau Real Estate Program, which dates back to when the scholarship was established in 2003.

GRACRE — an advocate for commercial property owners, developers and related professionals, comprising more than 450 area members — established the scholarship in 2003 with an initial $25,000. Since then, the organization has sustained an ongoing relationship with the VCU School of Business, most notably sponsoring the annual Real Estate Trends Conference. Its member businesses have hired VCU graduates and offered numerous internship opportunities.

Pictured in the photo (left to right) are:

Debbie Wake, GRACRE 2010 President, Divaris Real Estate
Roby Hackney, GRACRE Board Member, Hackney Realty Partners
Allison Petty, GRACRE 2013 President, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer
Nick Staffort, 2014/2015 GRACRE Scholarship Recipient
Jane Farrara, GRACRE Board Member, City of Richmond Economic Development
Tim Davey, GRACRE 2014 President, Timmons
David Auman, GRACRE 2009 President, Capstone Contracting
Doug Atkins, GRACRE 2012 President, Fidelity National National Title
Frank Martino, GRACRE President-Elect, LF Jennings
Bob Hughes, 2015 GRACRE President
Garrett Hart, GRACRE Board Member, Chesterfield County EDA
Kurt Wallenborn, GRACRE Scholarship Recipient, Kroger
Katie Coleman, GRACRE Scholarship Recipient, Douglas Development
Scott Corwin, GRACRE Board Member, Johannas Design Group
Lindsey Barden, GRACRE Scholarship Recipient, Rappaport
Robert Taylor, GRACRE Board Member and Executive Director of the Kornblau Real Estate Program

Thinking and Networking like ‘Freaks’ at 2014 Real Estate Trends Conference

It’s business alumnus Matt Ball’s second time at the VCU Real Estate Trends Conference. After last year’s iteration of the perennial conference which attracts real estate agents, brokers, analysts and experts, Ball said he found himself experiencing the conference in a different way this year.

“Getting to come here and network with people, that’s how a lot of people in the real estate program get jobs,” Ball said.

He found a job last year as a commercial real estate appraiser for Valbridge Property Advisors . The conference now holds a new value to Ball. This year, he said, he would enjoy the event as a patron wanting to learn more about the market he now works in professionally.

“I’m not coming here networking looking for a job, I’m handing out cards and making business connections. It’s sort of the same thing, but it’s totally different,” Ball said. “It feels great.”

Visiting this year’s 2014 Real Estate Trends Conference was Real Estate Research Corporation president and CEO Kenneth Riggs, Realogy Holding Corp. CEO Richard Smith and Freakonomics author and media personality Stephen Dubner.Realogy Holdings Corp and CEO Smith own up to 28 percent of the American housing market [View Image]
Realogy Holdings Corp. and CEO Smith own up to 28 percent of the current American housing market

Attempting to keep the event fresh, conference organizers opted to hold the first two sessions as discussions instead of the panel forum that’s been most common in previous years.

Offering an economic overview and discussion on housing trends during the two sessions, Economics department chair Dr. Carol Scotese and School of Business dean Ed Grier facilitated conversations between invited speakers, themselves and event guest.

You can read more about those discussions and Dubner’s keynote speech here.

Rho Epsilon president and Kornblau Real Estate program ambassador Steven Lindsay said this year’s event came together in a much faster fashion than usual. Despite last minute pressure building for organizers leading up to the event, Lindsay said the conference seemed to be better than previous years.

“The speakers seemed to resonate with the crowd and we got a lot of questions out of them,” Lindsay said about conference speakers.

For younger Rho Epsilon students, Lindsay said he was proud of his colleagues for effectively networking at the event. This year, the student honor society invited mentors to help students meet and speak with members of the business community in attendance.

McGuireWoods partner Gloria Freye has been involved as an event sponsor for nearly eight years. Working in the legal commercial and residential real estate field, Freye has been a partner at McGuireWoods for over 20 years. The Trends Conference, she said, provides one of the region’s best opportunities to interact with VCU, The Kornblau Institute and eager students.Patrons were invited to e-mail questions in during the two sessions which would then be asked by Dean Grier [View Image]
Patrons were invited to e-mail questions in during the two sessions which would then be asked by Dean Grier

“The funds that we raise support scholarships and programs for the students,” Freye said. “It also helps establish a huge network for those students to get to know the real estate professionals in the area and what their businesses are and see all the ways you can use an education in real estate and develop as a professional. It’s pretty diverse.”

At the conclusion of the 2014 trends conference, guests were given note-cards and t-shirts asking patrons to mark their calendars for next year. The 2015 Real Estate Trends Conference will be held on Oct. 22, 2015 at The Greater Richmond Convention Center.

– Article by Chris Suarez, student journalist

The Real Estate Circle of Excellence announces new members

680wx250h_RECoE_(1) [View Image]
Effective July 1, new members of the VCU Real Estate Circle of Excellence were announced. The new members are:

·        David R. Auman, Capstone Contracting Co. 
·        Eileen Dahlstedt , Luck Development Partners 
·        Andrea J. Harlow, Williams Mullen 
·        Paul Heckman, Keiter 
·        Jane Henderson, Virginia Community Capital 
·        Jeffrey N. Lighthiser, Draper Aden Associates 
·        Diane Linderman, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. 
·        Ryan Lingerfelt, Lingerfelt Development 
·        Brian Marron, Spotts Fain 
·        James T. Napier, Napier Realtors, ERA 
·        Sam Reynolds, Apple REIT 
·        Drew Wiltshire, Thalhimer Realty Partners

To read the VCU News story on the announcement, click here.

For more information on the Real Estate Circle of Excellence, click here.

Remembering Sam Kornblau

Kornblau interviews [View Image]

On behalf of 
Dean Ed Grier, the faculty of the Kornblau Real Estate Program and the School of Business, we would like to take a moment  to remember a man who transformed not only the real estate landscape in Richmond, but also real estate education here at VCU. Sam Kornblau, friend and staunch supporter of the VCU School of Business, passed away this morning.

Mr. Kornblau was instrumental in shaping the Kornblau Real Estate Program and left an indelible impact on it with his support. In 2006, he donated a generous gift to establish a real estate institute and in 2013 he renewed his commitment to formally name the program. His consistent and generous investment in future generations of real estate leaders was inspirational and leaves a lasting legacy in the Richmond community.

Our thoughts go out to the Kornblau family during this difficult time.

School of Business Awards Ceremony

Awards_VCU_Business-6130 [View Image]

On Friday, April 11th, the School of Business held its Awards Ceremony in the Snead Hall Atrium recognizing outstanding students, faculty and staff.

We want to congratulate all of the award recipients for their hard work and dedication in furthering themselves as well as the School.  We are proud to have such incredible individuals a part of the School of Business community.

Below is a list of all of the award recipients along with an image gallery.

Awards [View Image]


Find out more about the Office of Student and Alumni Engagement here. 

School of Business Hosts Nearly 90 Businesses For Biggest Career Fair to Date

The School of Business hosted its 2014 Spring Career Fair last week, featuring the largest number of visiting recruiters to date.

Despite being held on a make-up day due to the season’s ever-changing weather, the event drew nearly 90 businesses looking to hire VCU students and alumni.

This semester’s career fair was held in Snead Hall and the Qimonda Atriums. The wing of the Engineering School was used by the fair for the first time in order to accommodate all recruiting business’s exhibits.

With a 23 percent increase in companies attending from previous fairs, students had an opportunity to solicit information about jobs, internships and other opportunities with businesses looking for budding young professionals.

According to the School of Business Career Services, nearly 700 students attended the career fair.

Snead Hall [View Image]
“There was great participation by employers and students,” said VCU School of Business Career Services Director Mike Eisenman. “The employers were extremely complimentary of not just the volume of participation, but also the quality.”

Eisenman says at least one student was hired immediately after speaking and turning in a resume with one business. Twelve companies had already scheduled interviews with VCU students prior to the career fair as well, according to Eisenman.

“There are a lot of qualified individuals,” said Elizabeth Cane, a Regional Property Manager with Dodson Property Management. “We’ve gotten a lot of excellent questions. Everyone seems serious about this job fair and students are taking advantage of a great thing here.”

Joe Dodd, VCU Class of ’12, attended the fair as a recruiter with Geico. Dodd currently works for Geico as a Management Development Associate in Auto Sales and said he was happy to help recruit from his alma mater.

“I attended all of the career fairs while I was at VCU and I made a lot of good connections,” Dodd said. “If you see a name you recognize or something you’re interested in, my advice is to go up and just introduce yourself.”Geico recruiters Joe Dodd, VCU '12, and Sean Clark [View Image]
Geico recruiters Joe Dodd, VCU ’12, and Sean Clark

Abhishek Sabbe, a sophomore double majoring in Information Systems and Computer Science, said he attended the fair in order to find an internship for this upcoming summer.

“The Career Fair has been amazing because it has given me an opportunity to learn more about different companies I had never heard of,” Sabbe said. “It’s let me put my name out there and provides real job opportunities.”

New to this semester’s career fair were more businesses in developing fields such as Supply Chain and Analytics. Eisenman says professors like Wayne Slough were instrumental in attracting companies to recruit at the fair.

Eisenman says the Career Fair is mutually beneficial for both students and businesses, creating opportunities for both parties to be successful.

“Employment is good right now.It’s a good time to be looking for a job if a student is taking advantage of the resources available,” Eisenman said. “They need talent. That’s the reason they come and we have that talent here.”

For information on upcoming Career Fairs and career building workshops offered by the School of Business Career Services, click here.

Article by Chris Suarez, student journalist

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