A capacity crowd of SPIRE members was on hand September 30th to honor two of California’s most influential real estate developers -- Bill Wilson, founder of Wilson Meany Sullivan, William Wilson & Associates and Webcor Builders, and Don Koll, founder of The Koll Company.
They were the inaugural Stanford Real Estate Hall of Fame inductees.
The gala was the formal kickoff of the Stanford Real Estate Hall of Fame, which honors both past industry luminaries and pioneers, as well as living legends still shaping the real estate industry and our world.
“It was a great idea to have the Hall of Fame and to honor Stanford icons like Don Koll and Bill Wilson,” says Fred Allen, senior partner at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory and Natsis LLP in Los Angeles, and a Charter Member of the Stanford Real Estate Council. “A good time was had by all.”
But the dinner was just part of a unique event for SPIRE members. The bulk of the weekend was the 2011 Stanford Real Estate Conference, with exclusive invitation-only programming sessions involving some of the top real estate executives in the industry in expert-guided presentations and informal give-and-take.
“The SREC was spectacular,” Mr. Allen says. “It was an extremely helpful and candid discussion of real estate and real estate finance issues.”
Adds Hamid R. Moghadam, Chairman & Co-CEO of Prologis Inc., “I thought the morning sessions were good. Larry Diamond was fabulous.”
Attendance was limited to about 75 to foster the less formal interactions that led to deeper discussions.
Because attendance was strictly limited and comments were off the record, participants were able to gain a deeper insight. Veterans of other real estate industry conferences say this was the best one they have ever attended.
"The sessions were great. They were interesting and up to date. In my view the things that were unique that I haven't found in other conferences were the level of interactivity within the group and among the group and the panelists, and also the level of openness that I think results from being a manageable size and having a common bond in having a relationship with Stanford," says Mark Zytko, Co-Founder of Mesa West Capital.
"This wasn't a sponsored mega conference -- it was a select group of people who were there because they wanted to be there and participate," he says.
"I really enjoyed the conference," says Ron Zeff, CEO of Carmel Partners Inc. "It was great catching up with old friends and colleagues. I also thought the non-real estate presentations from John Powers are the status of the endowment and Larry Diamond's remarks were especially interesting. Look forward to attending next year."
“It was different by definition,” adds Mr. Allen.
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Koll, who was represented by his wife Kathi, were each presented with engraved iPads, which were programmed with the tribute video in which their closest friends and colleagues gave their tributes.
"Quite simply, the best conference of any kind that I have attended," says O'Malley Miller, Partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.