February 5, 2020

Discussion: Real Estate & Blockchain

Speaker: Geoffrey Kasselman, SIOR, LEED AP

Sr. Vice President & Partner, Workplace Strategy, CRG


Geoff oversees CRG’s national accounts and leads all client-related initiatives for the company’s expanding industrial, office and data center project delivery platform. Geoff also provides clients with strategy for the future of their workplace and technology in real estate. Geoff also sits on various tech Advisory Boards, provides mentoring to select “proptech” start-ups, and owns an energy procurement firm. Kasselman has completed more than 1,000 transactions worth more than $1 billion of aggregate value. Geoff is also known for his volunteer role as the 2017 Global President of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), the largest non-profit trade organization of its kind, and for his keen business-futurist persona.

Speaker: Zach Smolinski, General Counsel

Smolinski Rosario Law

Zach is an experienced general counsel having a focus on intellectual property, transactional, and M&A law and a strong interest in emerging technologies. His skills include evaluating and negotiating license agreements and cloud services contracts, coordinating IP due diligence for investors and purchasers, and working with founders and executives to optimize their companies’ legal strategies.

Zach is a registered patent attorney with a background in physics, and he speaks regularly on legal matters of importance to founders, executives, and investors. He is also the Editor at Recent Developments in Copyright Law, Landslide (The ABA’s Intellectual Property Periodical), has also written “Blockchain and the Law,” for the FinTech Exchange, and “Copyright for Artists,” for the Illinois Institutes of Art in 2015, 2016. Zach also coordinates and speaks monthly at BUZZ, a blockchain discussion group in Chicago

March 4, 2020

Discussion: City of Chicago - Planning & Development

Speaker: Maurice D. Cox, Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and confirmed by the City Council on October 16, 2019.

Celebrated for his experience merging architecture, design, and politics through multiple public, private and elected positions, Cox is responsible for leading DPD's economic development, planning, and zoning functions while fostering community-improvement initiatives throughout the city. His primary focus is under-invested neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

In his previous capacity as director of planning and development for the City of Detroit, Cox created a new, resident-centered planning and development department and led innovative urban planning and revitalization strategies that championed the equitable redevelopment of neighborhoods that fostered population growth and new mixed-use, mixed-income investment. Cox was formerly the design director of the National Endowment of the Arts under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, where he represented the federal government for architecture and design matters and served as an advisor to more than 120 mayors on urban design issues.

He also served as mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, from 2002 and 2004, following six years as a City Councilor. As an elected official, Cox implemented numerous community visioning processes and strategic planning initiatives that resulted in Charlottesville’s consistently high ranking as one of the most livable cities in the United States, as well as the smallest city in the country to maintain an AAA-bond rating for excellence in fiscal management. He also chaired the city's Housing and Development Authority Commission, Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization, and Mayor’s Taskforce on Urban Housing Policy.

Cox is a former professor at Syracuse University, the University of Virginia and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design; a former associate dean for community engagement at Tulane University; and former director of the Tulane City Center in New Orleans. He also practiced architecture for 10 years in Florence, Italy, where he met his wife and raised their two children.

Cox has been named by Design Intelligence as one of the "most admired design educators in America" and by Fast Company magazine as one of “20 Masters of Design” in the United States.

A native of Brooklyn, he has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The Cooper Union in New York City and an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Detroit Mercy. He hopes to continue his 30-year tradition of walking and biking to work from a home he will share with his wife on the Near North Side.

April 1, 2020

Featured Discussion: COVID-19 & Building Inspections

Speaker: Marlene Hopkins

Managing Deputy Commissioner at City of Chicago

Ms. Hopkins is responsible for the day-to-day management of the department; ensuring that all activities and operations are carried out in compliance with local, state and federal regulations and laws governing the building industry and business operations. She is also esponsible for planning, directing and overseeing policies related to the staff and services of the department, ensuring that the staff and services are well organized and conducive to the progress of the agency. 

She is responsible for developing the department's annual operating and maintenance budget of $30 to $35M, including providing monthly financial reporting, cash flow management, capital spending, and expenditures review and approval. 
Ms. Hopkins has multifunctional support responsibilities not limited to, managing and directing the day to day inspectional activities of Conservation, Demolition, and Strategic Task Force bureaus to ensure all inspections are performed in compliance with the Chicago Building and Zoning Code provisions including Storm Water Management. 

April 1, 2020

Discussion: Applying the COVID-19 Response Act with Employees & Independent Contractors

Speaker: C. Doug Moran

Employment & Commercial Litigation Attorney


For over 25 years, Doug has concentrated his practice on representing employers, including corporations and banks. Doug has represented employers ranging from single-member LLCs and closely-held corporations up to Fortune 500 companies such as Daimler Chrysler Corporation, AT&T Mobility, and Kmart Corporation. Through his employment practice, Doug has advised employers, and litigated when necessary, issues related to state and federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended; the Equal Pay Act of 1963 as amended; the Civil Rights Acts of 1966 1971, and 1991 (race, color, creed, national origin, gender/sex discrimination); the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (disabilities discrimination); the Age Discrimination in Employment Act 29 U.S.C. §621; the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act; and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1974 as amended; (wage and hour claims). He has prosecuted and defended claims brought under the Uniform Partnership Act, the Fraudulent Conveyance Act, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and the Uniform Commercial Code, as well as various contract and common law claims.

Doug has significant first-chair trial experience representing clients in both jury and bench trials, as well as representing clients in arbitration. He has litigated cases before the Michigan Supreme Court and argued before the United States Court of Appeals in the Sixth Circuit and the Michigan Court of Appeals. Doug is admitted to practice in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, including admissions to: the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; the United States District Court for the Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of Illinois; the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin & Michigan; and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Doug has also been admitted pro hac vice to litigate cases in California, New Jersey and New York.

April 15, 2020

Discussion: Real Estate Insights 

Speaker: Jonathan Miller

President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm, co-founded in 1986.


Miller Samuel provides appraisal and consulting services on as much as $5 billion worth of property per year in the New York City metropolitan area. He is also co-founder of Miller Cicero, LLC, a commercial real estate valuation firm. Jonathan is a real estate analyst and a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut, performing court testimony as an expert witness in various local, state and federal courts across the U.S. He holds the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) and Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) designations. He is an Appraiser "A" Member of the Real Estate Board of New York and a former President of RAC, a national organization of appraisers who specialize in providing valuation solutions for complex residential properties.


Since 1994, Mr. Miller has been the author of an expanding series of market reports for Douglas Elliman Real Estate covering the New York City metropolitan area, Boston, South Florida, Los Angeles, Houston, Aspen, and others. These reports are relied on by the media, financial institutions, and government agencies, including the Federal Reserve, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the NYC Office of Management and Budget, the New York State Budget Division Economic Advisory Board and others.


He co-authored a research paper for NYU School of Law, and the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy titled The Condominium v. Cooperative Puzzle: An Empirical Analysis of Housing in New York City, published in 2007 by the Journal of Legal Studies at the University of Chicago. He developed pending home sale indices for the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metro areas in addition to Central Pennsylvania on behalf of Bright MLS, one of the largest multiple listing systems in the U.S. Mr. Miller teaches market analysis as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation in the Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) Program at Columbia University.


He serves on the New York City Mayor's Economic Advisory Panel representing the residential real estate sector. He has participated in studies with institutions including New York University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Baruch College, and Urban Land Institute. He is a well-regarded real estate commentator, covering U.S. and regional housing issues in print, online, television, and radio, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Reuters, AP, CNBC, CNN, ABC, and others.

April 22, 2020

Discussion: Assessed Tax Values & COVID-19 Impact 

Speaker: Scott Smith

Chief Communications Officer, Deputy Assessor

Office of the Cook County Assessor

Speaker: Jerry Brown

Property Tax Attorney, Siegel & Callahan

Southside Builders Assn. Board Member

April 30, 2020 & June 24, 2020

Discussion: Small Business Administration Resources & Real Estate, Illinois

Speaker: Robert Steiner

District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Illinois District Office


Steiner joined the SBA in February 2013 and leads SBA’s operations across the state of Illinois.  The Illinois District team of small business experts strengthens the entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem by supporting the efficient delivery of capital, comprehensive technical assistance, and access to government contracting.

Prior to joining the SBA, Steiner served with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service.  With the FPS, he managed a $68M budget while overseeing all human capital, logistics, procurement, and support activities.   Steiner joined the Federal Protective Service after eight years in the private sector, with roles in executive management, sales, and marketing. In the private sector, Steiner worked at DMX, business to business provider of commercial media services and low voltage systems integration. 

A United States Naval Academy graduate, he began his career in the military, serving ten years serving in the United States Navy as a commissioned officer and Naval Aviator. During his naval career, he deployed multiple times in support of naval operations across the world.

Speaker: Stan Bochnowski

Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer

Stan is an Executive Vice President of Lakeside and also serves as a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. He is the Chief Lending Officer, responsible for oversight of all commercial and residential lending activities at the bank.

Stan joined Lakeside in 1983. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and is a member of the Chicago Board of Realtors, Chicago Home Builders Association and Illinois Mortgage Banker Association. He also is a Director to the following organizations: Hong Kong Club, Valentine Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, Near South Planning Board, Southside Builders Association and the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce

May 6, 2020

Part I: Cook County Land Bank Working Together

May 27, 2020

Part II: Deeper Dive: Cook County Land Bank Working Together

Dubbed “The Change Maker” by Chicago Splash Magazine, Rob leads the Cook County Land Bank Authority, an organization that reclaims distressed properties and clean them up to make them desirable for new buyers.  Rob has a strong vision for the future with the ability to execute that vision among diverse stakeholders bolstered by his extensive background in finance, real estate and community development. Rob serves as a board treasurer of Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago and was recently appointed to the Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Council.  He also serves on the local advisory committees of financial institutions including Citibank, IFF and Fifth Third Bank.  He has received numerous awards including the NHS Community Impact Award, Dearborn Realist President’s Award, Chicago Defender Men of Excellence.  Rob is a Robert A. Toigo Fellow and is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.  Rob has an MBA from Cornell University and BBA from St. Edward’s University.

Speaker: Robert Rose Jr. (Rob)

Executive Director, Cook County Land Bank Authority


May 13, 2020

Discussion: Multifamily Market Overview and the COVID-19 Impact

Speaker: Brian Mond

Director Essex Realty Group

Brian Mond joined Essex Realty Group, Inc. in 2016 as a Director focusing on the South Side of Chicago. Brian was exposed to real estate at an early age while working in architecture and construction with his family’s business in Argentina. He has invested, renovated, and leased apartment buildings since 2010. As a broker and investor, he understands how to navigate the complexities and inner workings of an apartment building sale and what it takes for a sale to occur.


Prior to joining Essex, Brian worked for a brokerage firm specializing in the sale of multifamily apartment buildings in the Chicagoland area where he facilitated the sale of over $57 million in transactions during his three years with the company.

In 2007, Brian graduated from the College of Design at Iowa State University in Ames, IA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning. In 2012, he graduated from the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University with a Master’s of Science in Real Estate and was honored as the Hipolito Roldan Scholar.

Brian is involved in a number of organizations and is on the advisory board of the South Side Builders Association of Chicago. He is an active member of team sports, specifically with Chicago's sailboat racing the Mac Race since 2012 and racing J24s, J70s, and Beneteau 36.7s nationals. Brian also enjoys coaching and playing Rugby.

Special Edition: May 20, 2020

Discussion: Part I Real Estate Market Overview

Speaker: Lawrence Yun

Chief Economist & Senior

Vice President of Research

Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activities for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1.4 million REALTORS®.

Dr. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them the Blue Chip Council and the Wall Street Journal Forecasting Survey. He also participates in the Industrial Economists Discussion Group at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. Dr. Yun has also appeared as a guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal.

Dr. Yun received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Special Edition: May 20, 2020

Discussion: Part II Navy Pier 

Speaker: Randy Podolsky

Riverwoods Development Partners

Podolsky & Associates, Ltd.

Randy D. Podolsky has served entrepreneurial, corporate, institutional, and Not-For-Profit clients for 45 years. He provides personalized transaction and contract negotiation and advisory services to financial institutions, users, owners and Not-For-Profits for all facets of commercial real estate. Strategizing and executing complex real estate and debt transaction solutions is his passion. Randy is also a Past Commodore, Ninth District Western Region of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The concept of a marina at Navy Pier was born decades ago by avid boaters. Perfected in 2016 as the preeminent transient marina on the Great Lakes, Navy Pier Marina was envisioned by the project developer, Randy D. Podolsky, a Chicago born and raised entrepreneur, out of the need for a Lake Michigan boating destination that could offer boaters short-term, transient docking as well as quick and convenient access to dining, lodging, and entertainment at Navy Pier and the City of Chicago.  After years of planning, Navy Pier Marina offers both.


Navy Pier Marina provides boaters a one-of-a-kind Lake Michigan boating experience. The first and only dedicated transient marina on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier Marina offers exclusive and direct access to Navy Pier and the City of Chicago with hourly, nightly, and longer stay docking options.  All at the heart of the City.

Construction is scheduled to commence Fall 2020 and will be open to boaters in 2021. 

June 3, 2020

Discussion: COVID 19 Assessment Adjustment

Speaker: Fritz Kaegi

Cook County Assessor 

Speaker: Donald J. Meyer

Deputy Assessor - Chief Valuations Officer

June 10, 2020

Discussion: Southside Economic Developments

For 25 years, David has served neighborhoods throughout Chicago in various nonprofit and governmental capacities, including as a community organizer in North Lawndale and as Superintendent of the Chicago Park District.  At CNI, David focuses on strategy and raising capital, and helped lead an organizing effort to have Pullman declared a National Monument.  David has an undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and a Master’s in Social Science from the University of Chicago. David is also a member of Millennium Reserve Steering Committee and on the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation.

Speaker: David Doig

President, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Group

July 1, 2020
Discussion: Sanitizing & Restoring Companies During and Post COVID

Speaker: Nasutsa Mabwa, President ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons

Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, a MBE/WBE certified emergency disaster restoration company serving the Chicagoland area.


Mabwa has also served as a Senior Project Manager for McCaffery Interests, a real estate development firm. At McCaffery, she managed the Lakeside Development, a 600-acre mixed-use community on Chicago’s southeast side. Before joining McCaffery, Mabwa worked for the City of Chicago for seven years as an Urban Planner and Director.


Along with her professional accomplishments, Mabwa has held a variety of community and academic involvement positions. She is a 2018 Chicago Business Journal Influential Women in Business Honoree, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40, and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She currently serves on the board for the Civic Federation, as the Vice President, Executive Committee, to the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the Advisory Board for Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate. She is IICRC certified for (water & fire) WRT & FSRT.


Mabwa holds two advanced degrees: a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago and an MBA with a real estate development concentration from Roosevelt University.

July 1, 2020
Discussion: Tax Compliance and Maximizing Profits during and post COVID 
Speaker: Kevin Cawley
National Account Representative for Cost Segregation Services, Inc. (CSSI)

Kevin Cawley has been a National Account Representative for Cost Segregation Services, Inc. (CSSI) since 2015. Previously, Kevin spent 11 years in the construction management industry advising builders on how to safely and properly construct all types of commercial property.


During this time, Kevin learned how important cash flow is to every business owner he encountered. He also learned that relationships are key in business, and if you can develop a good rapport with your team and clientele, then work can flourish on future projects. This vast experience was a perfect fit for the CSSI team and parallels perfectly with building owners. Working through the details of cost segregation with clients not only requires specialized knowledge but also requires great attention to detail and strong communication skills. In fact, some of Kevin’s clients from his past career are still some of his clients with CSSI today. Kevin has lived in Chicago his entire life and currently resides in Portage Park on the city’s northwest side with his fiancé, Lauren. In his spare time, he enjoys taking boat rides with the family, fishing, and golfing. Kevin has also been playing guitar and piano for over a decade and still meets with his brother weekly to play.

July 8, 2020
Panel Discussion: Housing Developments through POAH Initiatives

As POAH's Vice President of Real Estate Development for the Midwest Region, Bill oversees all multifamily development activity for POAH’s regional office and leads the company’s implementation of a $30.5 million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in the Woodlawn Community.  He supervises project managers in the development process from acquisition to completion of construction and lease-up including, financial analysis, design and construction, on-time and on-budget closings and full lease-up. Bill also serves on the Board of Directors at Chicago Rehab Network.  

Bill holds more than 20 years’ of experience in economic development, affordable housing development and municipal finance. Prior to joining POAH in 2011, he served as Managing Deputy Commissioner for Chicago's Department of Housing and Economic Development's Housing Bureau. He managed the $500 million annual tax increment finance program and the $100 million housing development budget for the City of Chicago.

In the 1990s, Bill worked as a reporter and editor for several newspapers in the Northeast part of the country. He holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts - Dartmout

Speaker: Bill Eager

Sr. Vice President Midwest Region

Preservation of Affordable Housing

Felicia Dawson is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for POAH Communities, working as a liaison between the development team and property management around issues of community and resident engagement.

Felicia is responsible for supervising the Woodlawn Resource Center, a community center offering free social service support and workforce training for this South Side community in Chicago. She is working to duplicate the success of the Woodlawn Resource Center across the POAH portfolio, in large developments and other neighborhood revitalization projects. She also works closely with the Vice President of Community Improvement and the Director of Community Impact to establish local partnerships with creative, sustainable organizations that empower our residents toward opportunity.

Felicia joined POAH in April 2011 to develop government and community engagement strategies to successfully revitalize Woodlawn Park, a Choice Neighborhood Site in Chicago. She brought years of experience bridging the gap between community engagement programming and brick and mortar redevelopment—working as a Program Manager and Director at Bethel New Life, a local community investment organization in Chicago, then as a Program Officer for the Steans Family Foundation, and then as the Director of Community Building for The Community Builders.

She has a Master of Public Administration degree in Urban Administration and Nonprofit Financial Management from the University of Missouri Kansas City, and was recently named a 2017 University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy Fellow.

Speaker: Felicia Dawson
Vice President
Community Partnerships
Preservation of Affordable Housing
Speaker: Alex J. Sparhawk, Esq
Director of Acquisitions Development
DL3 Realty Advisors, LLC

Alex joined DL3 in 2015 and is involved in the financial structuring, design, entitlement, construction, marketing and disposition of all DL3 projects. Alex is currently overseeing in excess of $100 million of DL3 Realty’s strategic investments, which are designed to revitalize underserved urban communities and provide economic opportunities for local residents and legacy businesses. 


Alex is responsible for evaluating potential real estate development projects and works with community partners and service providers to source new opportunities. Alex received his Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law and Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs and Urban Planning from San Diego State University. In his free time, Alex enjoys rock climbing, biking and playing beach and indoor volleyball. 

July 15, 2020

Discussion: Nuts & Bolts of Chicago Building Codes, Permit, Self-Certification & Additional Dwelling Units

Speaker:  Cyrus Rivetna

Principal, Rivetna Architects

The founder and principal of Rivetna Architects is both creative and practical. He is the recipient of the prestigious American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Award; a published and exhibited photographer; and an expert on ancient Zoroastrian fire temples, witness a recent interview for a CBS documentary.


Much of his professional formation happened during his “Doshi Years”, a two-year stint as senior architect at Sangath (India) at the office of iconic architect Shri Balkrishna Doshi who worked with Le Corbusier in Paris and who returned to Ahmedabad to supervise Le Corbusier’s projects. Those “Doshi Years” were the crucible where the ancient architectural idiom of the east fused with the process and technology of the west, creating what would become the focus of Rivetna Architects: producing quality architecture which satisfies both the spirit and the practical.

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