Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ray Torto / NYC Pizza Drink Thing / Between the Bricks / Women's Leadership Workshop - Chicago

Dr. Ray Torto:  The end of an era

In Boston this week, CBRE hosted a retirement dinner for an industry legend - Ray Torto - most recently the Global Chief Economist at CBRE.

Ray and I first met around 1998 when he became a client of mine in another life.  Over the years we got to know each other better and had opportunities to be on stage together several times.  One experience that I fondly remember was at MIPIM (the global commercial real estate show in Cannes).  I was the host of one of only two live TV shows that MIPIM produced.  That first year, the panel consisted of Ray, Jeff Jacobson (Global CEO at LaSalle Investment Management), Bill Krauch (Senior Advisor to Bentall Kennedy) and Johann von der Ende (former head of real estate investing at the huge Dutch pension fund, PGGM).  One of Ray’s trademarks is his thick Boston accent; In the prep for the show, I mentioned that given the international studio and viewing audience (@20,000 people), it may be a good idea to try to speak American vs. Boston!  We had a good laugh about that – and he did a great job. 

Another time, at a CBRE Americas Summit in Las Vegas, Ray, Geof Dohrmann (CEO of IREI) and I were on a panel moderated by Asieh Mansour (Senior advisor with The Townsend Group).  Asieh had her hands full with us – each having a lot to say – about anything and everything!  But Asieh got us to behave – for the most part – and we, and the audience, had a lot of fun – debating a topic that I simply can’t remember.

When I was going through a particularly difficult period in my life, Ray invited me to spend the weekend with he and his family.  As some of you know, Ray is an avid sailor and one of the treats of the weekend was going out on the bay in his sailboat.  He lent me his guestroom and his ear at a time when I needed a friend. And for that I will always be grateful.

When you see Ray at an industry event, he’s always got a big smile on his face, whether he knows you or is meeting you for the first time.  He’s been a supporter of and mentor to younger people in the industry.

Torto Wheaton Research - which Ray and Bill Wheaton founded in 1982 and was later acquired by CBRE - was chock full of bright people, many of whom moved onward and upward:  Bryan Grad, Executive Vice President at RCA (Real Capital Analytics); Rick Brace, Director at AEW Capital Management; Cate Polleys, Principal at Hewitt EnnisKunpp; Ken O’Brien, Executive Director at IPD; Jim Costello, an industry consultant; Ward Caswell, Product Manager at Argus Software and many others at key positions around the global institutional real estate world. 

You can read about Ray online on many sites – he has had a major impact on the institutional real estate industry in a career that spanned more than 30 years.  But the word ‘retire’ is not in Ray’s nature.  He is currently a Lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him appear on Boards and Advisory Committees in the near future.

All the best Ray.  You have truly made a difference in our industry.  I have greatly appreciated your friendship and support over the years.

MIPIM TV Show (L-R: Steve Felix, Jeff Jacobson, Ray Torto, Bill Krauch, Johann von der Ende)

Pizza / Drink Thing

On Tuesday night I hosted one of my Almost Annual Pre-Holiday Pizza / Drink Things in New York City.  It was a great night – around 40 people – from all across the commercial real estate industry.  As you probably know by now, one of my favorite things to do is introduce people.  On Tuesday, there were also a few ‘reunions’ of sorts where industry people who hadn’t seen each other in a while got to catch up.  It was a truly cross-generational crowd. 

Pension funds, investment managers, investment sales brokers, retail leasing brokers, RCA (Real Capital Analytics), capital raising pros, lenders, an Internet start-up, other real estate technology companies, analysts, an executive recruiter…and a few people who had originally met at one of these events previously were there.

We, the commercial / institutional real estate community are pretty fortunate – there are so many really nice people who have chosen this industry. 

The scene at Joe G's Restaurant on Tuesday
Between the Bricks

My good friend Lois Weiss publishes a weekly column in the New York Post called “Between the Bricks.”  Lois writes about New York City commercial real estate as only a trusted insider can.  If you’re interested in reading about who’s doing what to whom in the greatest real estate city in the world, I encourage you to check it out.

Women’s Leadership Workshop – Chicago, December 3, 2014

Many commercial real estate firms are investing in the career development of women.  It’s about time

Felix / Weiner Consulting Group is excited to announce that our next Commercial Real Estate Women’s Leadership Workshop will be in Chicago on December 3, 2014.

Please click here to learn more.

Liz Weiner and Steve Felix

On the Road...

Nov. 14:  James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate / Wisconsin School of Business Global Real Estate Markets Conference, New York, NY

Dec. 3:  Women's Leadership Workshop, Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, Chicago, IL

Dec. 3 - 4:  NAREIM Capital Raising and Investor Relations Meeting, Chicago, IL

Jan. 14:  Women’s Leadership Workshop – Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, San Francisco, CA

Jan. 15 -16, 2015:  NAREIM Asset Management and Acquisitions Meeting, San Francisco, CA

Jan. 21 - 23:  IMN's Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing, Laguna Beach, CA (Special announcement about this event coming soon)

Jan. 26:  Women’s Leadership Workshop – Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, Los Angeles, CA

Feb. 2015 (Date TBD):  Women’s Leadership Workshop – Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, London, UK

Feb. 17 – 18:  NAREIM Research & Investment Management Meeting, Chicago, IL

Feb. 19 - 20:  University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Real Estate Challenge, Chapel Hill, NC

Mar. 2015 (Date TBD):  Women’s Leadership Workshop – Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, Washington, DC
Mar. 10 - 11:  National Association of Real Estate Research Professionals (ARERP) meeting, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Mar. 17 - 18, 2015:  NAREIM Executive Officers Spring Meeting, Miami, FL

Apr. 2015 (Date TBD):  Women’s Leadership Workshop – Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, New York, NY

May 2015 (Date TBD):  Women’s Leadership Workshop – Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, Boston, MA

June 2015 (Date TBD):  Women’s Leadership Workshop – Felix / Weiner Consulting Group, Dallas, TX


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