Category: FIRE

VCU conference explores risk management issues tied to today’s workers

“Navigating Risks & Challenges of a Changing Workforce” will take place Tuesday, March 7, at Snead Hall, 301 W. Main St., first floor. Registration opens at 7:15 a.m.

Keynote speakers are Antonio Canas and Janet L. Walsh, Ph.D.

Antonio Canas.
Antonio Canas

 Canas, a self-described “insurance nerd,” blogger and speaker, is a prominent voice of the millennial generation in the insurance industry, helping it understand how to engage this large demographic that will soon make up more than 50 percent of the workforce.

Janet L. Walsh, Ph.D.
Janet L. Walsh, Ph.D.

Walsh is CEO and president of Birchtree Global, a business services firm that provides the legal, financial, tax and human capital infrastructure for globalizing businesses. She is also an adjunct professor of global business in the executive MBA program at the New York Institute of Technology.

“This year’s RISC Conference will explore and address many of the talent risk exposures facing organizations,” said Tim Cook, director for the Risk and Insurance Studies Center at the VCU School of Business. “Attracting and retaining quality employees moves an organization from good to great. The conference will provide insight into the challenges associated with talent risks by presenting a variety of topics, including the overall exposures of an organization, analyzing data, creating the future workplace, the impact of wellness and navigating the changes with the incoming millennial talent.” The conference is open to all and is geared toward insurance, risk management and human resource professionals. Sponsorship and proceeds from the conference provide for student development, enrichment and scholarships.

To register, visit

Student team shines at YOUniversity competition

cache-9016-0x0For the second year in a row, a team of Virginia Commonwealth University students reached the finals of the Duff & Phelps YOUniversity Deal Challenge.

Conrad Roos, Shayan Dareikia and Ishan Bose formed this year’s team. Faculty adviser Cory Bunting, director of the Capital Markets Center in the School of Business, accompanied the students earlier this semester to New York City, where they delivered their presentation before the panel of judges.

Each team was assigned a company, for which they had to come up with a strategic and financial buyer. Having researched potential buyers and determined the company’s worth, the VCU team’s collaborative final project consisted of a slide deck of market research on its client. It included competing companies, evaluation and analysis of television ratings, along with a strategy to address the growth in online media viewing.

The VCU presentation placed second in the competition and each student received $2,000 in scholarship money.

“Overall it was an invaluable experience,” said Roos, a junior studying chemical engineering in the School of Engineering. “Besides the practice gained through valuing the companies and preparing the slide deck, presenting in front of the firm’s management was a unique experience that really drove home the value of preparation.”

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Current student and alumnus team up on web portal for doctors

Congratulations to alumnus Fadi Muhsen and current student Umair Awan for their achievements abroad and recognition by The pair created Doxunity, a web portal dedicated to doctors. The portal currently has close to 130 users from the GCC, North African nations, Iran and Lebanon. During their years at VCU Business, the duo paid close attention to the tech and startup spaces, attended events, and even reached out to CEOs for guidance and tips. Muhsen completed a BS in Applied Economics with a concentration in Business and Finance, while Awan is currently pursuing his BS in Information Technology. Read more 

25th Real Estate Trends Conference Highlights Investments, Social Media

Conference speakers included Mary Ludgin, Managing Director, Heitman (above); Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade; Michael Rubinger, President & CEO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); and Erik Qualman, Author of Socialnomics.
Conference speakers included Mary Ludgin, Managing Director, Heitman (above); Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Commonwealth of Virginia; Michael Rubinger, President & CEO, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); VCU School of Business Dean Ed Grier, and Erik Qualman, Author of Socialnomics.

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

Brent C. Smith, Ph.D., Kornblau Professor of Real Estate, Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, School of Business

Smith_Brent-smSmith’s “Early Termination of Small Loans in the Multifamily Mortgage Market” received the American Real Estate Society’s best paper award.

Smith presented the paper, co-authored by Anthony Pennington-Cross of Marquette University, at the society’s conference in the spring, and he recently received formal notice of the award.

“Early Termination” provides analysis and evaluation on early mortgage termination in the Fannie Mae multifamily loan pool. The paper identifies those factors that uniquely explain prepayment and default in the “small loan” subset of mortgages in the Fannie Mae portfolio from 2005 through 2011.

VCU School of Business announces its largest endowed real estate scholarship

GRACRE leadership and previous scholarship recipients proudly present their gift to the VCU School of Business Foundation. Photo credit: Clement Britt
GRACRE leadership and scholarship recipients proudly presented the organization’s gift to the VCU School of Business Foundation in support of Kornblau Real Estate Program student scholarships. Photo credit: Clement Britt

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

Daniels invited to speak at Sovereign Investor Institute Investor Roundtable

Kenneth Daniels
Kenneth Daniels

Kenneth Daniels, Ph.D., professor of finance, School of Business has been invited to speak at the prestigious Sovereign Investor Institute Investor Roundtable in Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 25–27. The Sovereign Investor Institute represents sovereign wealth funds from around the world and allows funds managers to engage in open dialogue about the current investment environment.

Fifty-seven delegates are scheduled to participate in the roundtable, including representatives from such various institutions as Bank of Tanzania, Bank of Uganda, Reserve Bank of South Africa, Nucleos Instituto De Seguridade Social (Brazil), FMO Netherlands, Regents of the University of California, Oxford University, Barclays Africa Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and T. Rowe Price International.

Daniels will serve on a “spotlight session” panel discussing Government and Shareholder Rights along with:

Scott E. Kalb (Instigator)
Executive Director
Sovereign Investor Institute
Institutional Investor
New York

Daniel Malan (Presenter)
Senior Lecturer, Business Ethics; Corporate Governance
University of Stellenbosch Business School
Cape Town

Dr. Renosi Mokate (Questioner)
Board Chair, GEPF
Executive Director, Graduate School of Business Leadership, UNISA University

Daniels, chairman of the board of the Richmond Retirement System, has participated in several investor roundtables sponsored by institutional investors. Virginia Commonwealth University’s participation in such internationally sponsored events signals the rising quality of the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate at the School of Business.

2015 Thalhimer Scholarship Luncheon

Thalhimer Scholarship recipients Mariam Bello (undergraduate) and Miles Dumville (graduate) with Harry and Marcia Thalhimer

The annual Thalhimer Scholarship Luncheon was held at The Jefferson Hotel on Friday, February 6th, 2015. The Charles G. Thalhimer Family Endowment was established at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business through a generous gift from the family in 1986. In addition to supporting the Thalhimer Executive-in-Residence and the Thalhimer Scholar-in-Residence programs, the endowment awards two merit scholarships annually, one for a top graduate student and one for the top undergraduate student.

Mariam Bello, this year’s recipient of the undergraduate award, is a senior with dual majors in accounting and finance. While at VCU, Mariam has been involved in many student organizations including Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Honors Society, Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society, and the Business Student Ambassador program. In addition to holding leadership positions in three student organizations, Mariam tutors at the VCU campus learning center. After graduation this May, Mariam plans to take the CPA exam, and hopes to live and work abroad in the future.

Miles Dumville, this year’s graduate recipient, is currently pursuing his MBA at the VCU School of Business. In addition to his full-time coursework, Miles has served on the School of Business Strategic Planning Committee as well as the Master’s Program Committee. He was also recently invited into the Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key academic honor societies. His interests include marketing, finance, real estate, the outdoor industry, the hospitality industry and not-for-profit humanitarian and conservation organizations.

Both scholarship recipients attended the lunch, as well Dean Ed Grier and members of the Thalhimer family, including Harry Thalhimer and his wife Marcia.

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