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From Site Selection magazine, January 2020

Biloxi Forum Programs and Speakers: A Preview

Colleen Caravati
Colleen Caravati

I’ve been attending Professional Forums since the fall of 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.

I remember the inspirational speaker there was Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb Mount Everest. Since Omaha, Professional Forums have evolved from events principally offering high-level, high-value networking toward conferences that include, as well, an array of current-issue CRE professional development programs. Today, we still have the best of the past but with new education offerings that are the key to our future.

We’re very excited about the spring 2020 Biloxi Professional Forum program portfolio. As I mentioned in my last letter, industry icon Bill Concannon of CBRE will address the Tuesday afternoon general session on the expansion of CRE outsourcing capabilities, which he was on the forefront of early in his career.

In addition, the Forum will feature some updates and new elements. For example, we’ve refreshed the format for the venerable Info Exchange with an upfront presentation by an expert on antiterrorism and active-shooter scenarios to lay out a base of information for the follow-on table discussions. Aric Mutchnick, President/CEO, Experior Group, will kick off the discussions. And at the Monday lunch, we’ll present a program on “industrial real estate career paths for women” with a panel of women leaders from the Corporate, Economic Developer and Service Provider membership groups.

The Sunday Corporate-member programs will include Research Roundtable on “Innovation in the CRE Space,” and four Interest Group sessions on “Warehouse and DC Robotic Automation,” “Real Estate Taxes — Planning, Auditing and Appealing,” “Facility Management Performance Metrics,” and “ASC 842 Roadmap and Lessons from the Trenches.”

On Tuesday, we’ll offer a slate of eight CRE professional development workshops. A program entitled “Last Mile Logistics & Multi-Story DCs; Nowhere to Go but Up,” will be moderated by Eric Zahniser of Lee & Associates. “How CRE Professionals Can Innovatively Contribute to Their Organization’s Sustainability Program Goals” will be delivered by Jay Womack and Blaine Rothauser, both of GZA GeoEnvironmental. A pair of technology-focused workshops will deal with “AI Applications for CRE” and “How Autonomous Vehicles Will Change Industrial Real Estate.” A program entitled “Lean Integrated Project Delivery” will be presented by Greg Fox of Miller-Valentine Group. Note that most, if not all, of these sessions will have Corporate member panelists to add color and commentary.

In addition to the plentiful professional development offerings, the Biloxi Forum will deliver two fine leadership programs Sunday morning. The Leadership Seminar is entitled “The Science of Emotional Intelligence — The Missing Ingredient Behind Building A Highly Engaged Organizational Culture” by Sara Ross, director of innovation for the Institute for Health and Human Potential. And the concurrent College of Fellows Leadership Masterclass is “Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Board Room” by Paul Sean Hill, a 25-year veteran of NASA’s iconic mission control.

For many Professional Forum attendees, the event’s pièce de résistance is the carefully curated selection of inspirational and motivational speakers we routinely deliver. In Biloxi, the Monday opener is Jesse Itzler, author of “Living with a SEAL,” co-founder of Marquis Jet, and an owner of the Atlanta Hawks. He will speak on “Build Your Life Resume.” Economist Bernard Baumohl will address the Tuesday morning general session on “Does This Economic Cycle Still Have Legs? What Are the Risks and Opportunities Ahead?” And the Wednesday closer is Paralympic Games ski medalist and Rhodes Scholar Bonnie St. John, who’ll talk about “Beyond the Lone Ranger, Listerine and the Energizer Bunny — The New Meaning of Perseverance.”

The Milwaukee Professional Forum had the highest-rated CRE education programs ever, according to the attendee satisfaction surveys. I believe the professional development sessions in Biloxi could be even better. But they won’t do you any good unless you’re there. Please look at your calendar, block out May 2-6, 2019, and sign up online. To register, go to Then you’ll automatically receive by email a link for securing your hotel room.

I’ll look forward to seeing you in Biloxi.

Colleen Caravati
Chair, IAMC Board of Directors

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