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The University of Alabama

UA Center to Present Alabama Commercial Real Estate Conference Feb. 1

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — K.C. Conway, executive managing director, market analytics, for Colliers International Valuation and Advisory Services in Atlanta, will deliver the keynote address for the 2013 Annual Alabama Commercial Real Estate Conference & Expo, or ACREcon, presented by the Alabama Center for Real Estate at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce Friday, Feb. 1 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham.

From 2005-2010, Conway worked in the Federal Reserve System in multiple capacities for the Atlanta District Bank. In these roles, he briefed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the Board of Governors, Federal Reserve District bank presidents and real estate industry groups on market conditions and burgeoning issues during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Conway’s work at the Federal Reserve was recognized with a Presidential Recognition Award by the Appraisal Institute in 2007 and “Key Player” and “Meritorious Service” awards by the Federal Reserve and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council in 2009 and 2010, respectively. He became a Counselor of Real Estate in 2009. He is a graduate of Emory University’s School of Business.

The focus of this year’s ACREcon is the opportunities made available by stabilizing economic indicators and favorable commercial real estate sales and leasing trends. The theme for the conference is “Traction in the New Age of Commercial Real Estate.”

ACREcon, the only statewide commercial real estate conference in Alabama, now in its 13th year, has a projected 2013 attendance of 450 business and real estate industry leaders. Each year’s conference format incorporates a slate of key industry speakers for continuing education and professional development, while providing ample time for networking with peers.

Christopher Lee, frequent industry keynote speaker and author, will headline the morning session. Lee has 30 years of industry experience through his Los Angeles-based CEL Associates Inc., a consulting company that has completed strategic and long-range planning assignments for more than 500 companies in the areas of financial planning and development of office, retail, mixed-use, hotels, industrial and residential projects.

He is a frequent contributor to national journals and has recently written “Transformational Leadership in the New Age of Real Estate.” Lee believes that leaders must not simply manage people or processes but will have to be visionary and promote individual entrepreneurship. The book outlines the likely future of real estate, while detailing important factors necessary for success in the next decade.

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, kicks off the morning session — a conference highlight as University of Alabama MBA students and their NAIOP mentors take the stage to present a statewide market review of the four major Alabama markets by property type.

Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist for Wells Fargo Securities, whose commentary and insights have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, will provide economic data and trends to guide direction for 2013 and beyond. The Economic Outlook session has had a consistent place of importance on the agenda throughout the history of ACREcon.

Entrepreneurship, vision and traction in today’s marketplace are common threads weaving throughout the entire day. Grayson Glaze,  executive director of ACRE, selected the theme of Traction in the New Age of Commercial Real Estate after hearing Lee speak at the IREM Legislative and Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. and after researching the connection between entrepreneurship and the real estate industry.

This led to conversations with Ken Dewitt, the afternoon keynote speaker, and learning of Gino Wickman’s book, “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.” Conference attendees will learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of their business, discovering powerful business strategies that give the owner more focus, more growth and more enjoyment.

DeWitt, a CPA and six-time business owner, has worked as an adviser for more than 100 Alabama companies. He serves as a chief financial officer, advisory board member or entrepreneurial operation system implementer for a dozen companies. DeWitt also is an active member in the Birmingham Angel Network, the Birmingham Venture Club and a contributor to state and national publications with offices in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.

Kitty Barrow, a partner with Southwestern Consulting, will complete the afternoon session with a presentation “Best Practices and Techniques for Customer Satisfaction, Retention and Growth (Lead Generation) in 2013.”

“As we enter the New Age of Real Estate, what can we do to ensure that our businesses are not just surviving, but prospering under the new realities? More than ever, companies must respond to rapidly changing market conditions, competitive pressures and shifting customer demands and expectations, to look ahead and put themselves in a position to seize the opportunities presented by the ‘new normal,’” Glaze said.

“In the New Age of Real Estate, successful companies will foster an environment that rewards creativity and innovation, remain flexible, diverse and responsive,” Glaze said. “Future success requires transformational leadership, which is the key to sustainability, productivity, profitability and growth. It sets the tone, provides the vision and brings out the best in people.”

The conference day begins at The Cahaba Grand Conference Center at 7:30 a.m. with registration and continental breakfast, concluding at 3:30 p.m.  Buffet lunch will be served between morning and afternoon sessions. The conference agenda has been approved for 6 hours of continuing education credit by the Alabama Real Estate Commission and the Alabama Board of Public Accountancy. Other real estate service affiliates including finance, legal and appraisal may also seek approval for continuing education from their respective licensing boards.

The conference admission also includes an invitation to a networking and business development reception hosted by Burr and Forman from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. All conference participants can network with professional colleagues while enjoying the skyline views from atop the Wells Fargo Tower in downtown Birmingham.

The conference event host is Daniel Corp. The ACRE Corporate Cabinet serves as the event’s lead sponsors. View the entire conference partner directory here and exhibitor directory here.

For registration and sponsorship information, visit the conference website at or contact Rachel Jennings, ACRE outreach coordinator, at or directly at 205/348-0188.

ACRE was founded in 1996 by the Alabama Real Estate Commissionthe Alabama Association of REALTORS and the Office of the Dean, UA Culverhouse College of Commerce. ACRE is not a state-funded entity, but operates in part because of the goodwill and generosity of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet and statewide ACRE Partners.

You can also follow ACRE here: Facebook:
Twitter:  @uaacre.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.