Locations include Chicago, Chicago Suburbs and Milwaukee.
Disciplines include Appraisal, Brokerage, Consulting, Development, Financial, Legal, Management and Public Service

Andrew Ahitow

Andrew Ahitow

Founder,  Chicago Apartment Finders & City Pads

Discipline: brokerage

Location: chicago

Mr. Ahitow is Managing Partner and co-founder of Chicago Apartment Finders, and is also the Manager and founder of City Pads LLC a multifamily and mixed use investment company. Mr. Ahitow graduated from the University of Iowa and began his career in real estate as a multi-family broker. After a year and a half, he saw an opportunity in the market for another company and decided to go off on his own. He and his partner, Mr. Justin Elliot, started Chicago Apartment Finders in 2002 in a 200 square foot office space. In September 2015 he successfully sold Chicago Apartment Finders to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and continues his entrepreneurial vision with  City Pads leveraging his operations experience.

Chicago Apartment Finders is one of the fastest growing and most successful residential brokerage firms in Chicago with five locations and 150  sales associates. City Pads is a multifamily and mixed use real estate investment company focusing on urban living and branding with a fast growing portfolio exceeding $20MM.


Leonard F. Amari

Founding Partner,  Amari & Locallo

Discipline: legal

Location: chicago

A graduate of The John Marshall Law School, 1968, where he served as an adjunct faculty member for ten years, Mr. Amari’s concentration was in complex commercial litigation until 1982. At that point, Mr. Amari left the general practice of law to become counsel to the Assessor of Cook County, Thomas C. Hynes. After more than three years in that position he created his present firm, whose practice is exclusively that of the real estate tax assessment process. During his career, Mr. Amari has had the honor of serving as president of the 37,000 member Illinois State Bar Association (1989-90); presently serves as a member of the Board of of Trustees of his law school, The John Marshall Law School; is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Northern Illinois University Law School; an Advisory Board Member for the director of the Illinois Department of Revenue; recently concluded a three-year stint as Chairman of the Review Panel of the Illinois Attorneys’ Registration & Disciplinary Commission (where he still serves as a Review Panel member); is an Independent Director of the 13 billion dollar ABN AMRO Family of Mutual Funds and serves on the boards of the United Community Bank of Lisle and the Delaware Place Bank. Mr. Amari also is a past Chairman and founder and continues to serve as a board member of the Illinois State Bar Association/Mutual Insurance Company.

Marty Becker

Martin Becker

Partner,  Becker & Gurian

Discipline: legal

Location: suburbs

Mr. Becker is a founding member of Becker Gurian, and brings more than 25 years of experience as a seasoned real estate and transactional attorney, whose expertise includes an emphasis in real estate acquisitions and dispositions, development matters and complex leasing transactions. Mr. Becker draws on his experiences to address legitimate interests that the opposing party must protect, and to minimize the negotiation of issues that the opposing party can compromise. Mr. Becker is longtime member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and has led numerous roundtable discussions and seminars at the national law conferences hosted by the ICSC. Mr. Becker earned his BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his JD from the University of Colorado-Boulder and is licensed to practice law in both Illinois and Colorado.

Becker & Gurian is an aggressive law firm that provides a team of attorneys dedicated primarily to handling the legal side of sophisticated commercial real estate transactions having handled millions of square feet of commercial real estate representing public and non-public companies as well as entrepreneurial and institutional clients.


Peggy F. Blanchard

Director of Economic and Community Development,  Village of Barrington

Discipline: public_service

Location: suburbs

Ms. Blanchard is the Director of Economic and Community Development for the Village of Barrington, IL. She is an economic development professional with over 25 years experience and expertise in community economic development and downtown revitalization. The primary focus of her career has been in the areas of strategic planning, downtown revitalization planning, and implementation of economic development plans. Her experience includes negotiation of development issues, community planning and citizen involvement, market analysis, strategic planning and business district revitalization.

She has developed economic development programs for several Chicago Metro communities including Barrington, Highland Park, LaGrange, Downers Grove, and East and West Dundee. Her accomplishments include implementing business attraction and retention programs, project impact analysis, management of Tax Increment Financing Districts, negotiating redevelopment agreements, development of master plans and managing downtown revitalization program. In addition to her public sector experience, she was the Community Development Director for Mid-America Real Estate responsible for identifying retail opportunities.

Barrington is a village in Cook County, IL and Lake County, IL. Located 35 miles northwest of Chicago with a population of more than 11,000, the Barrington area ZIP code, 60010, is the seventh wealthiest ZIP code in the nation.

peter borzak

Peter Borzak

Co-Founder and Managing Member,  Pine Tree, LLC

Discipline: development

Location: suburbs

Peter is a co-founder and Managing Member of Pine Tree, LLC in Northbrook, Illinois. Peter began his career at The Balcor Company in 1984 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from George Washington University. In 1987, Peter joined First Dearborn Properties, a Chicago-based real estate investment company, as a Vice President of Acquisitions. In 1990, Peter formed Plymouth Court Properties, Inc., which owned and managed several office and apartment buildings and a public golf club in the greater Chicago area. In addition, the principals of Plymouth Court Properties were involved in the development of Michael Jordan’s Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. In 1995, Peter was a founding Managing Member of Pine Tree Commercial Realty, LLC, and Pine Tree Institutional Realty, LLC in Northbrook, Illinois. Pine Tree Commercial Realty offers a full spectrum of real estate services for retail properties, including development services, construction management, property management and leasing. Pine Tree Institutional Realty is an active acquirer of retail property nationwide. Peter has also been active with the George Washington University Alumni Association, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Chicago, Deerfield AYSO, the Deerfield Youth Baseball Association, and has served as a member of the board of directors for the Deerfield Park Foundation, Harold Eisenberg Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago, American Friends of the Be’er-Sheva Foundation, and the Standard Club of Chicago.

Pine Tree, LLC is a leader in the development, acquisition, leasing and management of retail properties throughout the United States. With retail partners ranging from superstores to specialty shops and local chains, Pine Tree representatives are experts in bringing to life both new and existing properties. Headquartered in Northbrook, IL – a northern Chicago suburb — Pine Tree was founded in March 1995 by Peter Borzak and Barry Herring. Pine Tree has since developed and acquired 90 shopping centers with an aggregate value of over $1 billion.


David P. Bossy

Chairman and Principal,  Mid-America Development Partners

Discipline: development

Location: chicago

Mr. Bossy co-founded Mid-America Development Partners in May 2001 with Michael Firsel and together they successfully initiated an impressive series of development ventures primarily involving retail and mixed-use properties. Through 2005, Bossy has planned or completed 65 projects totaling more than 10 million square feet of commercial and residential space. Prior to establishing Mid-Am, Mr. Bossy gained recognition as one of the Chicago areas most successful retail property brokers, a career he began in 1977. In 1983, he co-founded Mid-America Real Estate Corporation, which pioneered the concept of tenant brokerage in the retail field and has represented more than 100 national and regional chains. In 1992, he also helped establish Mid-America Asset Management Company, a property management firm with a portfolio of 20 million square feet of retail centers.

Mid-America Development Partners is committed to creating functional, attractive developments that enhance their communities and deliver an exceptional level of tangible value to both their partners and the municipalities they serve. Currently, Mid-America has more than 40 projects, including retail, hospitality and mixed-use in various stages of development.


Todd Caruso

Senior Managing Director of Retail Services,  CB Richard Ellis

Discipline: management

Location: suburbs

Mr. Caruso is the Senior Managing Director and Retail Client Advisory Director for Retail Services. Supported by a national platform, he is committed to providing retail portfolio ownership access to all of CB Richard Ellis service lines aligned to optimize portfolio value and meet client needs. Having been exposed to many types of retail properties, Mr. Caruso works closely with service line leaders in Brokerage, Property Management, Investment Properties, Finance, and Appraisal to create “go to” Integrated Retail Teams throughout the Eastern U.S. Mr. Caruso’s previous experience includes Retail Sales and Leasing, leading two of the company’s Chicago offices and Midwest Regional Retail responsibilities. In these roles his responsibilities included business development, revenue/expense, hiring and training.

CB Richard Ellis is the first globally integrated real estate services company. With a staff in excess of 10,000 in over 230 offices covering in excess of 32 countries, they sport the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of products and services.


Karen B. Case

Executive Managing Director and President-Commercial Real Estate,  The PrivateBank

Discipline: financial

Location: chicago

Ms. Case is Executive Managing Director and President of Commercial Real Estate for The PrivateBank where she oversees the group that develops and manages banking relationships with dynamic and growing commercial real estate developers, investors, owners and operators based in markets where The PrivateBank is located. Case is a member of The PrivateBank’s Operating, Executive, Management, Asset and Liability, Credit Policy, Community Reinvestment Act, and Loan Committees. Prior to joining The PrivateBank in 2007, Case was Executive Vice President for LaSalle Bank’s Commercial Real Estate team and was also responsible for launching the Corporate Real Estate Group, which banked national real estate companies, opportunity funds, and pension funds and advisors, and for the start-up of loan production offices in St. Louis, Kansas City and Denver. Ms. Case received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and MBA from the University of Chicago. She attended the University of London and the American College in Paris. She is a member of CREW Chicago; The Economic Club of Chicago; The Executives Club of Chicago; Real Estate Finance Forum; and Fellow, Class of 1997, of Leadership Greater Chicago. She serves on the Board of Directors for The Chicago Network; Community Investment Corporation; International Council of Shopping Centers; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Illinois Chapter as well as JDRF International; Rush University Medical Center; and TimeLine Theatre.

PrivateBancorp, Inc., through its subsidiary The PrivateBank, delivers customized business and personal financial services to middle-market companies, as well as business owners, executives, entrepreneurs and families in all of the markets and communities it serves with 34 offices in 12 states and $18.2 billion in assets.


Edward Chupack

Senior Operations,  Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC

Discipline: legal

Location: chicago

Mr. Chupack is responsible for real estate development, commercial leasing, operational matters, litigation supervision, condemnation and purchase and sale agreements for retail operations of Bridgestone-Firestone centers nationwide. He is currently Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Corporate Real Estate Attorneys and Executives, editor of the very popular Lease Negotiation Handbook published by the American Bar Association, and lectures for the Prentiss Hall Law and Business, The Decalogue Society, the Chicago Bar Association, International Council of Shopping Centers School for Professional Development, John Marshall Law School and International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference.

Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC owns and operates the world’s largest chain of company-owned auto care centers through its 2,200 Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Expert Tire and Wheel Works retail locations across the US.


Norris R. Eber

President,  Abbell Associates

Discipline: management

Location: chicago

Norris Eber is the President of Abbell Associates and oversees all acquisitions and dispositions; asset management; investor relations; and strategic partnerships for Abbell. Prior to Abbell, Norris was EVP of Assets and Acquisitions at Joseph Freed & Associates. Before Joseph Freed Norris was SVP of Asset Management and Acquisitions for Tucker Properties. Mr. Eber serves on the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Open Air Center Committee, ICSC Education Advisory Committee and the ICSC Foundation as a member of the Board of Directors. He is a past ICSC Central Division VP, ICSC Trustee and State Director for Illinois.

Abbell Associates is a 70-year old private real estate acquisition, management and development company currently specializing in both enclosed and open-air retail and office projects. Based in the Midwest, Abbell Associates is focused on unlocking the hidden value in retail centers and office buildings through innovative leasing, management and re-development strategies with over 2.5 million square feet of ground up development as well as redevelopment of existing shopping centers has been successfully undertaken in recent years.

Todd Fishbein

Todd Fishbein

President and Chief Executive Officer,  Red Seal Development

Discipline: development

Location: suburbs

Mr. Fishbein leads Red Seal’s land acquisition, zoning, and development efforts.  Over the past 18 years, he has done so for dozens of residential communities throughout the Chicago Metro area, including the redevelopment of Fort Sheridan, a former U.S. Military Base. While at Red Seal, Mr. Fishbein has led the acquisition, development and entitlement efforts on projects accommodating over one billion dollars of new development. As part of Red Seal’s Turnaround and Workout Services, Mr. Fishbein has provided extensive consulting and asset management services to several Chicago area banks, assisting them with entitlement, development and disposition issues relative to their OREO properties. Mr. Fishbein is also responsible for overseeing all in-house legal matters and is involved in all aspects of Red Seal’s operations. Mr. Fishbein is currently an adjunct law professor at the University of Chicago Law School where he teaches a course in Real Estate Development Law. Mr. Fishbein received his B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors and then then earned his J.D. from the University of Illinois Law School, Magna Cum Laude.

Red Seal Development recently, within Chicago’s North Shore sub-market, has successfully acquired and developed nine subdivisions culminating with the involvement in the Town of Fort Sheridan Company and the $270 million redevelopment of Fort Sheridan’s Historic District.

harold francke

Harold Francke

Attorney,  MPS Law

Discipline: legal

Location: suburbs

Mr. Francke concentrates his practice in annexation, zoning, tax increment and special service area financing, business district development, development incentives, utility system and roadway infastructure construction financing and general real estate development matters. These have encompassed large-scale residential-golf course planned developments and mixed-use planned developments. Mr. Francke’s experience extends to all forms of development, including residential, commercial/retail, hotel, industrial, institutional, assisted living and independent living facilities and continuing care retirement communities. Before joining MPS Law Mr. Francke was a partner at DLA Piper LLP where he practiced for 34 years and was named Best Lawyers’ 2013 Chicago Land Use and Zoning Law Lawyer of the Year. In 2015, and prior years, Mr. Francke was recognized by Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers and Best Lawyers.

Like any other business, most law firms measure success in terms of growth – in revenues, profits, staff, and ever-widening service offerings. That stands in contrast to MPS Law, where success is defined solely by the needs and objectives of the clients they serve. The result: An organization designed to attract and support the best attorneys in select practice areas. An organization that is leaner in numbers, deeper in talent, and united by an uncompromising commitment to put its clients’ interests first and last.


Michael D. George

President,  Mid-America Real Estate and Asset Management

Discipline: brokerage

Location: suburbs

Mr. George is President of both Mid-America Real Estate and Mid-America Asset Management and co-founded Mid-America with David P. Bossy in 1984, developing the Chicago-based firm into a prominent retail real estate brokerage company. Mr. George has personally directed the firm’s growth in brokerage, as well as its diversification into investment sales and asset management. Mr. George has been responsible for some of Mid-America’s greatest successes in tenant representation, as well as counseling investment firms in the acquisition and sale of shopping centers.

Headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, the Mid-America Real Estate organization is Chicago and the Midwest’s leading full-service retail real estate organization. Founded in 1984 primarily to service an emerging national chain store expansion phenomenon, Mid-America Real Estate Corporation (MAREC) brokers and consultants have been unrivaled in tenant representation, pre-development and shopping center leasing, land assemblage, investment sales and consulting. Mid-America Asset Management Company (MAAMCo) has similarly become the region’s most dominant third-party asset management group, accumulating an impressive portfolio of clients and currently managing and leasing in excess of 16 million square feet, more than any other non-owner firm. The management company also provides construction management and development services for its clients. The two companies have also recently combined to offer retail consulting services to area municipalities. Mid-America Investment and Development Corporation (MIDCO), formed in 2001, focuses on the acquisition and development of retail product throughout the Midwest. Mid-America also has an office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Jeffrey B. Gurian

Partner,  Becker & Gurian

Discipline: legal

Location: suburbs

While representing tenants, publicly traded and private property owners, Mr. Gurian has negotiated complicated transactions involving more than 10 million square feet of commercial real estate. His areas of expertise are numerous, with an emphasis on sophisticated real estate developments and financing. His reputation is that of a dealmaker!

Becker & Gurian is an aggressive law firm that provides quality expertise in complicated real estate transactions, including the acquisition, sale, development, construction, leasing and financing of commercial, industrial, and residential property. They have extensive experience in a broad range of real estate projects including regional shopping centers, office buildings, custom home residential developments, condominium conversions and troubled debt restructuring.


Richard Hulina

Principal,  Clark Street Development

Discipline: development

Location: chicago

Mr. Hulina possesses extensive real estate background in the shopping center industry, having been actively involved in the development, leasing and sales of numerous regional, neighborhood and community retail shopping centers across the United States. Mr. Hulina has demonstrated success in assembling seasoned professionals in key areas of development, brokerage, tenant representation and management. During his 35 year career he has been a principal at several well known real estate development & brokerage firms including financing Homart Development Co., Vantage/Bradford Cos. & Hiffman Shaffer Associates.

Clark Street Development is a recently formed real estate development partnership of like-minded individuals that specialize in the development of retail shopping centers throughout the United States. Founded in the fall of 2005, the principals came together cementing already established development project relationships in this new venture. Balancing the interests of the retailers, with the intensity objectives of the developer and with the community and political concerns can be a daunting task. The Clark team, through creativity, experience and objectivity, has overcome these obstacles on numerous occasions over the years. The results are properties that are easily understood and have ready appeal to the investment community.


Daniel J. Hyman

President,  Millennium Properties, Inc.

Discipline: brokerage

Location: chicago

Mr. Hyman is the President of Millennium Properties and for over three decades has been one of the most prominent dealmakers in Chicago. He has brokered a variety of transactions – from apartments in Lincoln Park to Loop high-rise office buildings, industrial facilities in Montgomery to big box retail in Jacksonville, net leases to land leases – throughout Chicagoland and beyond. During his three decade career, Mr. Hyman became known as an aggressive negotiator, navigating through complicated deals with natural instinct. In 1996, Dan saw an opportunity to uniquely position himself in the market as David in the land of brokerage Goliaths. Early on at Millennium, Mr. Hyman’s sales figures were staggering with a vast management portfolio and long client list – all of which have kept Millennium on the forefront of the industry. Mr. Hyman has also performed the duties of receiver and consultant, as well as acting as the leasing and sales agent for foreclosed and over-leveraged properties on behalf of state courts and the federal bankruptcy court.

Millennium Properties was founded in 1996 as a boutique asset management and commercial brokerage firm and has completed more than $4.3 billion in real estate dispositions. Currently, Millennium Properties manages more than 100 industrial, office, retail and multi-family properties throughout the Chicagoland region providing receivership services, live and sealed-bid auctions, broker acquisitions and consulting services.

Klairmont new photo

Alfred M. Klairmont

President,  Imperial Realty Company

Discipline: management

Location: chicago

Since 1978, Mr. Klairmont has been involved hands-on in the process of finding, buying, rehabbing, leasing, managing and maintaining commercial properties. Mr. Klairmont directs a staff of over 100 professionals who are geared to offer “tender loving care” to all operations of property ownership. Fast-paced decision-making, ranging from large to small, is a constant. Mr. Klairmont is Chairman of the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation Mentor Program. He is an inductee to the Chicago Association of Realtors and Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Imperial Realty Company has built a portfolio of over 100 retail, office and industrial properties. Most acquisitions were purchased as distressed properties and have been subsequently guided to success through rehabilitation and repositioning to meet the needs of the respective marketplaces. The firm’s staff includes legal, architectural, space planning, brokerage, leasing, administration, management and maintenance.


Jeff Kuchman

Principal/Director of Tenant Brokerage,  Mid-America Real Estate Corp.

Discipline: brokerage

Location: suburbs

Mr. Kuchman has over twenty-five years of experience in the areas of retail tenant representation, shopping center development, surplus property disposition, shopping center leasing, commercial sales, assemblage, development consulting and market analysis.  Mr. Kuchman represents selected clients in as many as 50 major metropolitan markets, in addition to his efforts in the Greater Chicagoland Area. At Mid-America, Kuchman is responsible for the coordinated efforts of a 30+ member tenant representation brokerage group that collectively represents over 200 of the country’s top retail chains. Mr. Kuchman has completed nearly nine hundred transactions with a collective value approaching $6 billion. Mr. Kuchman earned his B.A. from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and serves as a former President of the Illinois CCIM Chapter and is an active member of ICSC, ULI and NICAR.

Since 1984, Mid-America Real Estate Group has focused exclusively on retail real estate. With companies located in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, Mid-America is the largest full-service retail real estate organization in the Midwest.


Rich LeBrun

President,  LeBrun Advisory Group

Discipline: brokerage

Location: chicago

Mr. LeBrun has more than 30 years of experience in the management, leasing, and marketing of commercial real estate assets. He has extensive experience with a wide variety of product types, markets, and ownership structures. Prior to forming LeBrun Advisory Group Mr. LeBrun was Vice President of NAI Hiffman overseing a portfolio of 18 million sqft of commercial property. Before joining NAI Hiffman, Mr LeBrun was the Director of Asset Management at Janko Group and Vice President at Prime Group Realty Trust. Mr. LeBrun is a Board Member of Food For Friends, Red Dress Foundation and an Instructor for BOMA.

LeBrun Advisory Group helps individuals purchase a business opportunity to reach their financial and personal goals in life. Our mission is to help our clients who are in life transition discover the best opportunity for themselves and their family by providing trustworthy consulting services. Our company’s vision is to experience our clients rejoicing in their new found vocational freedom.


Gary Litvin

Managing Director / Tenant Representation Division,  Horizon Realty Services, Inc.

Discipline: brokerage

Location: suburbs

Mr. Litvin entered the real estate brokerage business in 1985 subsequent to a 12 year career as a retailer. He has been a leader in the representation of retail users as well as other user types in their initial and subsequent roll outs in the Chicago area. He has been recognized as such by The Chicago Sun Times as a Finalist for Retail Broker of The Year. Mr. Litvin’s personal involvement, attention to detail, creativity, and unique ability of “becoming the Tenant,” with each deal is apparent. He has, over the years, been responsible for the “roll out” of numerous retailers’ locations throughout the Chicago area. In addition, Mr. Litvin represents several retailers in their expansion throughout the United States, and on a regional basis. In 2009 Mr. Litvin joined Horizon Realty Services, bringing a major enhancement to the Tenant Representation side of the firm.

Horizon Realty Services manages over 1,000,000 square feet of retail properties in 26 centers. Horizon Realty has direct responsibility for leasing 120 different properties currently with 4 brokers responsible for the leasing duties. In addition, the Tenant Representation Division represents numerous retailers such as Goddard Schools, Urban Active Fitness, Dunkin Donuts, Firehouse Subs, Colorific, Tucanos Brazilian Grill, Running Room and Paragon Theaters.


Kenneth C. Marino

President & CEO,  GROBMAR Real Estate Investments, LLC

Discipline: development

Location: suburbs

Speaker Series Chairman

Mr. Marino is the President & CEO of GROBMAR Real Estate Investments, LLC, a retail shopping center developer. GROBMAR focuses on neighborhood strip centers along with single-tenant outlot developments throughout the Chicago land Area and the Southeast portions of the United States. Prior to starting GROBMAR Investments, he was the founding partner for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in St. Louis and Chicago markets where he built, operated and owned 15 locations.

He was the Vice President of Real Estate for Sunglass Hut International based out of Coral Gables, Florida where the chain went public on NASDAQ and grew from 160 locations to over 2,000 during his tenure. He started his career at Wilmorite, Inc., a private Mall Developer with over 20 million square feet of property. Mr. Marino was involved in leasing to local, regional and national chains.


Michael S. MaRous

President & Owner,  MaRous & Company

Discipline: appraisal

Location: suburbs

Mr. MaRous, MAI, CRE, in addition to providing appraisals has served as an expert witness in litigation proceedings for many financial institutions, local municipalities, corporations, builders and developers, architects, governmental agencies, law firms, and school districts in the Chicago metropolitan area. He also has provided cost estimates, highest and best use studies, and marketability and feasibility studies for a variety of properties. Mr. MaRous is the former Mayor of Park Ridge, Illinois.

MaRous and Company has appraised more than $10 billion dollars worth of primarily investment grade real estate in over 25 states. Mr. MaRous is a State of Illinois Certified General Real Estate Appraiser and past President of the Chicago Chapter of the Appraisal Institute. He has published articles and lectured to a number of professional organizations. His list of clients encompasses large corporations, law firms, financial institutions, local governments, and large owners of every property group.


Barry Millman

Principal,  Horizon Realty Services

Discipline: brokerage

Location: suburbs

Speaker Series Chairman

In 2000, Mr. Millman and his partner Stuart Lenhoff founded Horizon Realty Services. They are engaged in the Leasing, Management, Development, and construction of Retail properties. Over the last 8 years they have completed 100’s of lease transactions from 1000 to 100,000 square feet. Mr. Millman began his retail career in the 1970’s at Saint Mary of Nazereth Hospital as the Hospital Administrator and Attorney with the responsibility of acquiring land for additional structures. With early success negotiating acquisitions he was appointed to directing two Hospitals within the city. Mr. Millman continued his path by opening his own retail store and spearheading the leasing of Port Clinton Square in Highland Park.

Horizon Realty Services manages over 1,000,000 square feet of retail properties in 26 Centers. Horizon Realty has direct responsibility for leasing 120 different properties currently with 4 brokers responsible for the Leasing duties. In addition they represent in the Chicago market, Hertz Rent a Car, Sprint, Goddard Schools, Cuppys Coffee and Dunkin Donuts.


Stanley Nitzberg

Principal,  Mid-America Real Estate Corporation

Discipline: brokerage

Location: chicago

Mr. Nitzberg has spent his thirty year business career involved in the retail industry with a special emphasis on retail real estate. He joined Mid-America Real Estate Corporation in June, 1991. Mr. Nitzberg specializes in providing advisory services to tenants and landlords with a special focus on urban retail projects. He has represented tenants and property owners in over 1.5 million square feet of retail projects on North Michigan Avenue, State Street and Lincoln Park. Exclusive tenant clients have included Crate & Barrel, The Container Store, H&M, Sears “the great indoors”, Nordstrom Rack, Facconable, Apple Computer, Virgin Records, American Girl Place and Allen Edmonds. Mr. Nitzberg is also recognized for the sale of investment retail real estate. He has been directly involved in the closing of over $520 million of retail investment sale transactions. Mr. Nitzberg received the 2002, 2001, and 1998 Chicago Retail Broker of the Year Award.

Headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, the Mid-America Real Estate organization is Chicago and the Midwest’s leading full-service retail real estate organization. Founded in 1984 primarily to service an emerging national chain store expansion phenomenon, Mid-America Real Estate Corporation (MAREC) brokers and consultants have been unrivaled in tenant representation, pre-development and shopping center leasing, land assemblage, investment sales and consulting. Mid-America Asset Management Company (MAAMCo) has similarly become the region’s most dominant third-party asset management group, accumulating an impressive portfolio of clients and currently managing and leasing in excess of 16 million square feet, more than any other non-owner firm. The management company also provides construction management and development services for its clients. The two companies have also recently combined to offer retail consulting services to area municipalities. Mid-America Investment and Development Corporation (MIDCO), formed in 2001, focuses on the acquisition and development of retail product throughout the Midwest. Mid-America also has an office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Donna J. Pugh

Partner,  Foley & Lardner LLP

Discipline: legal

Location: chicago

Ms. Pugh is a partner and real estate business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP where she focuses on obtaining land use and zoning entitlements on behalf of her retail, health care and corporate clients. Ms. Pugh has an exceptionally high success rate of securing necessary approvals for land development projects in the Chicago area. She is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Practice and Health Care Industry Team. A consensus builder, Ms. Pugh works to unite property owners, elected officials and community groups to achieve approvals that maximize flexibility of future land use and benefit all involved stakeholders. Ms. Pugh was selected for inclusion in the 2005, 2006 and 2008-2016 Illinois Super Lawyers® lists. Ms. Pugh received a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago in 1983 and a B.A. degree from the University of Florida (Gainesville) in 1979, where she majored in political science and minored in environmental studies.

Foley & Lardner LLP provides award-winning business and legal insight to clients across the country and around the world.  Foley has been recognized in a survey of Fortune 1000 corporate counsel as an elite BTI Client Service 30 for 12 years — one of only seven law firms to hold this distinction for more than 12 years (2015 BTI Client Service A-Team survey, The BTI Consulting Group, Wellesley, MA). In addition, Foley received 27 national Tier 1 rankings in the 2016 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms and was named to the InformationWeek 500 list for seven of the past eight years for technological innovation that enhances business value.


William A. Shiner

President,  Shiner Group

Discipline: development

Location: suburbs

Mr. Shiner oversees all of the activities of The Shiner Group, LLC including identifying new projects, procuring financing for developments and negotiating with anchor tenants. Bill also is responsible for approving leases and making property management decisions for a portfolio of over two million square feet of retail space.

William A. Shiner founded Shiner Group in 1982 for the purpose of acquiring and developing real estate in the Midwest. Acting as sole principal for the past 25 years, Mr. Shiner has developed and owned over four million square feet of retail, 100,000 square feet of office, and has acquired over 1,000 acres of land for development. Mr. Shiner has completed projects in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and California.


Joel D. Simmons

Executive Managing Director,  Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

Discipline: financial

Location: chicago

Mr. Simmons is the Executive Managing Director of the Debt and Structured Finance Group. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Simmons served as an executive vice president of Grubb & Ellis Company, a commercial real estate services and investment company. Prior to joining Grubb & Ellis, Mr. Simmons was a senior partner at Cohen Financial Corporation, a national real estate mortgage banking firm. During his career thus far, Mr. Simmons has been personally responsible for the structuring and placement of over 900 real estate commercial property debt and equity placements, developed many of its correspondent institutional lender relationships of the firms he has been associated with, and has assisted in the creation and growth of each company’s national mortgage banking platforms.  Mr. Simmons is on the Board of Directors of the NYSE traded REIT; Inland Real Estate Corporation (IRC). Mr. Simmons is also a Director of Albany Bank & Trust Co. of Chicago, a Chicago-based bank and Inland Bancorp, Inc. of Oakbrook, Illinois.

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is one of the world’s leading commercial real estate advisory firms. Operating from more than 400 offices on six continents, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank serves the property needs of tenants, owners, investors and developers worldwide.


Gary L. Stein

Executive Vice President & Partner,  CB Richard Ellis

Discipline: brokerage

Location: milwaukee

Mr. Stein joined the Milwaukee based Polacheck Company in 1970. He has specialized in leasing both regional and strip-shopping centers, land development and site selection. He has represented numerous national and local chains throughout the State of Wisconsin including Kohl’s Food Stores, Roundy’s, Sentry Foods, Walgreens, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, Barnes & Noble, Famous Footwear, Comp USA, McDonald’s, Toys R’ Us, OfficeMax and others.

While we’ve adapted to new technology and techniques, our strength is in solid market knowledge, relationships and the anticipation of trends as well as the ever-changing needs of our clients.Their services include appraisal, international services, mortgage banking & brokerage services, facilities management, research services, and institutional investment advisory services.

Founded over 50 years ago, The Polacheck Company A CB Richard Ellis Company, is a results oriented real estate firm and industry leader nationally known for unparalleled attention to detail.


Perry Weinstein

Director of Tax & Real Estate Services,  FGMK, L.L.C.

Discipline: financial

Location: suburbs

Mr. Weinstein specializes in all areas of taxation and designs creative solutions to tax issues for family businesses, asset acquisitions and dispositions, real estate transactions and high net worth individuals. Mr. Weinstein brings over 30 years experience to consulting engagements on various real estate projects and businesses, including commercial, industrial and residential real estate developments. He regularly advises real estate development companies on management, financing and operational issues. He also provides valuation support for purposes of asset transfers, family succession and divorce. From time to time, he also provides expert testimony on such matters.

FGMK, L.L.C. is a progressive, rapidly expanding certified public accounting and consulting firm dedicated to the concept of providing quality and attentive service to their clients. The firm has been in business since 1969, has a staff of 86, including fifteen partners, senior principals, professionals, and support staff. Industries served include service firms, real estate and construction, manufacturing and healthcare. A full range of accounting, audit, tax, estate planning, computer and consulting services are provided. FGMK is the 20th largest firm in the Chicago area, and the largest firm in Lake County.

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Steven Weinstock

First Vice President / Regional Manager,  Marcus & Millichap

Discipline: brokerage

Location: suburbs

Steven Weinstock is a First Vice President / Regional Manager of Marcus & Millichap’s Chicago Oak Brook office. He served as Sales Manager of the Columbus and Cincinnati offices in 2008, was named Regional Manager of Chicago Oak Brook in 2009 and was promoted to First Vice President in 2015. Steven began his commercial real estate career in the 1980’s leasing office properties in metro Detroit. Eventually, he opened his own brokerage and property management company and sold it to Trammell Crow Company in 1994. He joined Marcus & Millichap’s Detroit office in April 2001 becoming Vice President of Investments and was a Director of the National Multi Housing Group and a member of the National Self-Storage Group. Mr. Weinstock is the recipient of multiple national achievement and sales recognition awards.

Steven received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School. He earned the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation (CCIM). Mr. Weinstock enjoys serving on the Executive Board of the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, a foundation committed to cancer research as well as education/mentor programs which provide college and graduate students with exposure to and experience in the commercial real estate industry. He resides in Deerfield, IL with his wife Lisa and has two sons, Nathan & Jeremy.


Thaddeus Wong

Co-Founder,  @properties

Discipline: brokerage

Location: chicago

Thaddeus Wong is the co-founder of @properties, the largest independently owned residential real estate brokerage firm in Illinois and one of the 25 largest brokerage firms in the U.S. by sales volume.

Wong, a Loyola graduate (BBA ’96), began his career in real-estate sales in 1996 and quickly established himself as one of the most successful agents in Chicago. During the early years of his career, he earned four consecutive Golden Eagle Awards from the Chicago Association of REALTORS® as the top-producing agent among the organization’s 10,000+ members.

In 2000 Wong and business partner Michael Golden established @properties, and in less than 15 years have grown the company from $40 million in sales to more than $4 billion in annual sales. Today, @properties has 15 offices in the city of Chicago, surrounding suburbs and southwest Michigan. The firm has divisions for residential and commercial brokerage, development marketing, relocation, property management and bank-advisory services.

A highly energetic and creative entrepreneur, Wong is focused on implementing his vision for a real estate company in which both the agent and client experience the highest level of service and support. He is primarily responsible for the recruitment and retention of @properties’ more than 1,200 agents, as well as the development and implementation of the firm’s award-winning marketing programs. Wong created and manages the company’s signature training, education and performance coaching programs utilized by hundreds of agents per year.

Wong is also one of the industry’s most valued advisers to developers of new-construction and condominium conversion projects in the Chicago area. He takes an active role in all facets of his clients’ projects, including design, promotion and sales. Under Wong’s direction and leadership, @properties has successfully marketed more than 100 developments representing more than 5,500 units valued at over $2.2 billion.

Wong’s accomplishments have been widely recognized by the real estate industry and the broader business community. Honors include: the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Midwest; Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 500/5000” list; inclusion on Crain’s Chicago Business’  “Fast Fifty,” “40 Under 40,” and “Largest Privately Held Companies” lists; Inman News’ “100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders”; induction in the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame; the Impact Aware from the Lincoln Park Builders Club; and the Damen Award from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Continuing and Professional Studies (graduated class .

Wong and @properties support a number of charitable and civic organizations through the @properties Friends and Neighbors Community Fund. Past and present beneficiaries include: Teen Living Programs, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Off The Street Club and Community Partnership for Affordable Housing.

Separately, Wong sits on the board of NFTE, is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, and co-chairs the annual Beelzebub Halloween Bash and Fundraiser.

Wong resides in Lincoln Park with his wife, also a successful REALTOR®, and their four children.


Theodore I. Yi

Partner,  Quarles & Brady

Discipline: legal

Location: chicago

Mr. Yi concentrates his practice in the area of real estate law with a a particular focus on commercial lease transactions representing both owners and users of office, retial and industrial properties including a number of Fortune 250 corporations. Mr. Yi earned his B.A. and B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. Mr. Yi is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and is selected for inclusing in the 2005-2010 Illinois Super Lawyers lists.

Quarles & Brady LLP provides broad-based, national-level legal services through a strong network of regional practices and local offices. Quarles & Brady LLP attorneys have direct experience with a wide range of industries from traditional manufacturing to leading-edge technology and nearly every point in-between.


Mark D. Yura

Partner,  DLA Piper USA LLP.

Discipline: legal

Location: chicago

Mr. Yura joined DLA Piper USA LLP in 1979 and concentrates his practice in real estate transactional matters. His clients include lenders, investors, developers, and contractors. Mr. Yura is a frequent speaker before trade and professional groups on matters of state and federal legislation, multi-family housing financing, and commercial real estate lending topics. He is a member of various housing trade associations, including the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association and the National Multi-Housing Counsel. He is also active in numerous bar-related groups, including the Chicago Mortgage Attorneys Association, the Affordable Housing Forum of the American Bar Association and the Affordable Housing Law Subcommittee of the Chicago Bar Association Real Property Law Committee. Based on peer and client reviews, Mr. Yura has been selected as one of America’s leading real estate lawyers by Chambers & Partners, a respected English research firm.

DLA Piper USA LLP is a business law firm of about 975 lawyers with offices in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Edison, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Reston, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington. The firm’s practice is focused on litigation, real estate, technology and business, government affairs, and international law.


Edward M. Zifkin

President,  Zifkin Realty Group, LLC

Discipline: brokerage

Location: chicago

Mr. Zifkin has an extensive background in commercial real estate and has been active in the Chicago metropolitan market for more than 25 years. Prior to starting his own company, Mr. Zifkin was a Principal at Hiffman Shaffer Associates, Inc., one of Chicago’s largest full-service commercial real estate companies, where he was responsible for developing HSA’s retail group in Chicago. During his career Mr. Zifkin has completed over 2000 transactions with value in excess of $1 billion.

Zifkin Realty Group, LLC provides attentive tenant representation services to a number of active national retailers. In addition, Zifkin Realty purchases retail properties for their own portfolio.