The 32nd American Real Estate Society (ARES) Annual Meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa was a great success, and I appreciate your support and participation in the meeting. We had over 350 registered participants, and we also had approximately 150 additional industry and student participants March 29 – April 2, 2016. Held in conjunction with the International Real Estate Society (IRES) board meeting, this year’s ARES meeting was an exciting event with outstanding research presentations and panel discussions by thought leaders in real estate from every continent except Antarctica.
This year’s meeting started with an evening reception at the Ritchie Center at the University of Denver. Friends and colleagues from around the world had the opportunity to enjoy great food and drink in an outstanding facility. We thank Denver locals Glenn Mueller (University of Denver) and Steve Laposa (Alvarez & Marsal) for organizing this event, and we greatly appreciate the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, Dividend Capital, and Alvarez & Marsal for their sponsorship of this outstanding off-site reception.
Following the well-run and productive board of directors meeting on Wednesday morning, the conference officially kicked off on Wednesday afternoon with the “Critical Issues Seminar” in the Grand Ballrooms. Attendance and participation at this event was outstanding, with approximately 140 practitioners and academics, about 50% higher than previous meetings, coming together to exchange ideas and think about the issues facing our industry in the next 25 years. I appreciate Steve Pyhrr (Kennedy Wilson), Ron Throup (University of Denver), Neil Shah (RICS Americas), and our panelists and roundtable leaders for making this year’s session so successful.
The main program started Thursday morning and included 79 sessions: 5 seminar sessions, 12 panel sessions, and over 230 papers across 62 paper sessions. In addition to being large and comprehensive, we attempted to follow best-practices in the organization of the program while innovating in some areas. Building on the advice from those who came before me in this role (Bill Hardin – Florida International University, David Harrison – University of Central Florida, and Mike Seiler – College of William and Mary), this year’s program is based on a “Track” system where similar-themed sessions are held in the same room in back-to-back time slots. The tracks include Housing, Valuation, REITs, and Sustainable Real Estate, among others. In addition, Tom Geurts (George Washington University) and other educators set up an Education track for the issues confronting our discipline, and Elaine Worzala (College of Charleston) also worked her magic with an outstanding Doctoral Student Consortium. The doctoral students doing research in real estate are the future of our discipline. Getting and keeping them engaged at ARES is an imperative. I also appreciate David Chapman (University of Central Oklahoma), Margaret McFarland (University of Maryland), Bennie Waller (Longwood University), and their students for making the first ever ARES undergraduate and graduate student symposium a success.
Our ARES Awards Luncheon on Tuesday was a time of great food and fellowship, and thanks to Steve Laposa, we began the lunch with remarks from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Later we recognized some outstanding members of our organization with research, service, and lifetime achievement awards. The business meeting that afternoon saw a lively and fun-spirited election that even included a coin flip to break a tie vote for a position on the ARES board of directors.
Thanks to the slightly cool weather and the ambiance of the hotel, we had very large crowds at each of our social events. The Wednesday and Thursday receptions in the Brown Palace Lobby along with the Friday reception at Ellington’s were some of the best we have ever had at a meeting, and the Future Leaders of ARES (FLARES) meeting and social hour in the lobby on Friday was a huge success. I appreciate Jeremy Gabe (University of South Australia Business School) and Reid Cummings (University of South Alabama) for organizing the FLARES event.
In closing, it should be noted that an event of this magnitude takes a team effort. ARES has a strong support team involved with planning, marketing, registration, and all the tasks required that happen before the meeting, and the hotel staff works late hours before, during, and after our visit. Thus, I want to express my appreciation to my committee co-chair and vice program chair, Ken Johnson (Florida Atlantic University) for his support through the process, Steve Pyhrr and Melissa Miller (Kennedy Wilson) for their assistance with planning conference events and talking me through problems when they arose, and former ARES program chairs Steve Laposa, Bill Hardin, David Harrison, and Mike Siler for encouraging words when I needed them.
Diane Quarles (Clemson University) and her sister Sue Kirby worked tirelessly on registrations, e-mail blasts, and organizing other logistics for the meeting, and I also thank two of my staff at Mississippi State University, Carol Young and Wilma Peterson, for their assistance and support at the meeting. I also appreciate Art Schwartz and Mindy Yarling (ARES Meeting Planners) for their work with the hotel and organizing the outstanding F+B selections we enjoyed this week. Speaking of the hotel, I want to specifically thank Christin Kruczek and the staff at the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa for working with ARES to make this meeting successful. Finally, although this is not an exhaustive list, I also truly appreciate Evelyn Gosnell (Conference Management System), Mark Sunderman (ARES Website–University of Memphis), Susan Thrall (Newsletter), Cathy Coleman (Graphic Design), and Tom Springer (ARES Secretary–Clemson University) for their assistance with the 2016 ARES Meeting.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the 33rd Annual ARES Meeting at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort and Spa in San Diego, California, April 4-8, 2017.