Morning Educational Sessions

9:30 AM — 10:15 AM  |  Industry Titans Tackle Tough Issues

In an exciting interactive setting, John Combs will interview Patrick Donahue to discuss his perspective on many important issues ranging from retail trends and the myth that the future of retail is online only, to the importance of creating a cohesive team with a multi-generational workforce. 


Patrick S. Donahue, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Donahue Schriber Realty Group

Mr. Donahue joined the company in 1979 and has been engaged in nearly all of the 32 million square feet of retail space in which the company has been involved. He has worked in every aspect of the business, including leasing, asset management, development and corporate strategy. Mr. Donahue has been instrumental in fostering key relationships and opportunities that paved the way through the company's early days in regional mall development and management and parlaying the knowledge and disciplines obtained into becoming a recognized leader in the operation and development of neighborhood, community and power shopping centers.

Mr. Donahue previously served as Executive Vice President of Operations and took on the role of President after the sudden death of his brother, Dan Donahue, in 2002. He added the CEO role when Tom Schriber stepped back from his day-to-day duties in 2005. Mr. Donahue assumed the role of Chairman of the Board upon Tom Schriber's retirement in 2010.

A 1978 graduate of California State University Fullerton, Mr. Donahue currently serves as a Past Trustee for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and is a frequent industry-wide speaker. He is actively involved with KidWorks and its Dan Donahue Center in Santa Ana, CA as well as Guardian Scholars at Cal State University Fullerton in Fullerton, CA and the California Showcase.

John G. Combs, Founder and Principal, RiverRock Real Estate Group

John Combs is Founder and Principal of RiverRock Real Estate Group, Inc., a West Coast-based commercial real estate service firm. RiverRock services over 28 million square feet of office, industrial and retail properties throughout California and Arizona from 26 offices.

John formed RiverRock in response to a market-driven need for a more client-centric property service model.

Prior to launching RiverRock, John served as Chief Operating Officer of Insignia/ESG for the Americas and Asia. He was also the President of U. S. Property Services for Insignia/ESG, Inc. John was responsible for all regional offices and service lines of an approximately 300-million-square-foot portfolio of office, industrial and retail properties. John was also a member of the Executive, Financial and Strategic Planning committees for Insignia/ESG.

10:30 AM — 11:30 AM  |  Industry Panel — Navigating Property Management Today

Let’s talk about navigating the challenges of managing real estate in California today. We hear complaints about laws that are not landlord friendly and the need to balance “rights” with “accountability.” What has your experience been in your sector of the market? How does your sector of the market impact other sectors? In this competitive market, the importance of tenant retention is paramount.  What are you doing now to attract tenants that is different than five years ago? We know that turnover is costly. What are you doing to “retain” tenants?  What benefits or services do you offer to stay ahead of the competition?

Michael Brown, CPM®, ARM®, President Property Management, Steadfast Management Company — Moderator

Michael serves on the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®) Executive Committee. As Steadfast Management Company’s President out of southern California, Michael is responsible for overseeing all facets of operations for this 38,000 apartment unit portfolio across 19 states including market rate and affordable communities valued at over $5 billion dollars. Brown has 30 years of real estate management experience with a primary focus in multi-family. Prior to joining Steadfast, Michael was Division Vice President for Camden Property Trust for the western US. Brown has also worked with such firms as Western National Group, The RREEF Funds, Stellar Management and R.W. Selby & Co., Inc.

Brown is a past President for the Orange County Chapter of IREM® and sits on various national committees. He has held various Board of Director positions in California with the Tri-County and San Diego Apartment Associations as well as the Apartment Association of California Southern Cities. Presently, he is an advisor on the board of the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Real Estate. Brown teaches property management classes and holds a California Broker’s License and an Associate Broker’s License in Colorado.

Sara D'Elia CPM®, CEO, Principal of The REMM Group

Sara D'Elia’s experience spans over 28 years, that includes having responsibility for over 4 million square feet of commercial space and over 12,000 multi-family units.

Throughout Sara’s career, she has amassed extensive experience in acquisitions, lease ups and redevelopments. She has divided her time equally in fee management and owner managed assets during her career. Her leadership and communication skills have produced a proven track record in business relationships, team building, cost control and budget implementation.

Sara received her Bachelor of Arts from California State Long Beach in 1988 and her Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation in 1994. She served as President of IREM OC in 2013 during which the chapter received a national award for innovation. She is a licensed California real estate professional. Her background includes acquisition consulting and expert witness testimony.

Sara D'Elia served on the Board of Directors for Mercy House Living Centers for 14 years and continues to support her community via multiple philanthropic contributions.

Daniel Karcher, Senior Vice President, Davis Partners

Daniel Karcher joined Davis Partners in 2007. As a Senior Vice President, Daniel is responsible for managing the company's major industrial and office improvements, along with underwriting value-add and ground up development opportunities.  Daniel has completed over $100,000,000 of development and Capital improvement projects, and most recently in 2017 facilitated acquisitions and dispositions capitalized in excess of $75,000,000.   Some of these projects have been completed for major corporations, GSA, State of California, and local county tenants.

Through his participation in nearly every aspect of the company, Daniel has developed proven expertise in managing high visibility projects that require specialized skills, attention to detail and sensitivity to overall project objectives.

Daniel is actively involved in the real estate community, an active member of the local NAIOP and ULI chapters and has served on the board of the NAIOP Young Professional Program.   He earned dual degrees including a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Information Systems and Quantitative Management from Loyola Marymount University.

Jason Purvis, Senior Managing Director Southern California, Granite Properties

Jason is responsible for leading Granite Properties day-to-day operations and developing growth in the Southern California market area. Granite Properties was founded in 1991 on the belief that it has a responsibility to help its customers, partners, teammates and communities thrive. Over the past 26 years, Granite has acquired or developed more than 25 million square feet of commercial real estate. The company is headquartered in Dallas with offices in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston and Los Angeles.

Prior to joining Granite, Jason was a Regional Vice President at the Irvine Company where he led acquisition, development and reinvestment efforts valued at over $2.9 billion through California and Chicago.  During Jason’s 15 year career in real estate, he has held roles in finance, investment management and asset management. Prior to entering real estate, Jason was a business consultant at BearningPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting), where he worked on a number of strategic consulting assignments for Fortune 500 companies.

Jason is a member of NAIOP and ULI and serves on the board of Orange County’s Building Block Foundation Fund.  Jason has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA from the University of New Mexico. He holds a California Real Estate Brokers license.

10:30 AM — 11:30 AM  | Wild at Work:  A Dog Musher’s Perspective on "One Team, One Dream"

We know a diverse and engaged work force is your best asset in delighting your customers/residents and hiring and retaining great employees.  With differences come a variety of personalities, motivations, generations, and needs.  In this session, with the help of some hilarious stories from Chris’ sled dog team, we’ll go deep into concepts and tools to cultivate excellent teams in the real estate industry.  This fresh perspective offers insights into working together and finding and maximizing the strengths of each individual, whether your team has four legs or two!

Chris Heeter

Chris Heeter was selected as a Top Ten Speaker of 2014 by MeetingsNet, and was the highest rated speaker of Meeting Professional International's 2014 World Education Congress. She is out to create a Wild revolution in the workplace. A wilderness guide since 1984 and professional speaker since 2001, Chris has led and worked with a diverse array of teams, both canine and human!

Featured on The Discovery Channel's “National Geographic Today,” she brings decades of leadership experience indoors, to conferences and offices, working with teams and leaders, helping us recognize that leadership and teamwork doesn't have to be so complicated.

Combining business expertise with hilarious stories from her sled dog team and from guiding whitewater trips, Chris challenges and inspires organizations and individuals toward Wild leadership, compassionate presence, and daring authenticity.