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Black Hard hats with "KRE" lettering in gold

By Sarah Murphy

On Tuesday, May 21, 12 real estate leaders from across the Commonwealth of Virginia were inducted into the VCU Kornblau Real Estate Circle of Excellence—an elite group of real estate professionals who collaborate to advance the quality and relevance of real estate education.

The 12 new Circle of Excellence members are: Stephanie Golembeski, business development director at Froehling & Robertson, Inc.; Michael Hanger, CPA, tax partner at FORVIS ; Thomas Hatcher, managing director of asset management at Commonwealth Commercial Partners; Ginny Johnston, real estate portfolio lead at Capital One; Debbie Lennick, CEO and owner at Creative; Henry Loughran, managing director, head of capital markets and investor relations at Lingerfelt; Vivek Murthy, land use development manager at Luck Companies; Rebecca Napier, director of the Richmond Division at Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.; Michael Nolan, director, Division of Real Estate Services, Commonwealth of Virginia; P. Kay Pangraze, manager of leased properties at the Virginia Department of General Services; Andrew Thacker, vice president of commercial real estate brokerage at S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co.; and Brandon Turner, director of Hanover County Economic Development.

“Real Estate is a ‘Big Table,’ and there are many career opportunities for our students,” says Lauren Grainger, associate director of the Kornblau Real Estate and Risk Management and Insurance programs. “The Circle members help mentor students in building the next generation of real estate leaders. One of our students was offered an internship as a result of meeting a new Circle member this morning. The student is an interior design major with a real estate minor.”

The Circle of Excellence also recognized long-time member and retired Virginia Housing CEO Susan Dewey, naming her an honorary member of the Circle. Just two other Circle members hold this distinction: James H. (Jack) Boykin, Ph.D., and Steven (Steve) Brincefield.

“Susan has been a force in housing affordability for 25 years,” says Robert Taylor, executive director of the Kornblau Real Estate and Risk Management and Insurance programs. “Other states look to Virginia Housing as a model to follow due to Susan’s leadership. She has been very active in our program, serving on the Real Estate Trends Conference board for 20 years, as president of the Circle in 2012 and as a mentor to numerous VCU real estate students.”

Andy Little, principal at Queenswood Partners and chair of the 2024 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference Committee, led the program and introduced guest speaker Victor Calanog, Ph.D., CRE, FRICS, managing director and global co-head of research and strategy at Manulife Investment Management | Private Markets.

Calanog’s presentation, “The World Economy in 2024: Rates, Recession, Recovery?” shared insights about the state of the economy today and the kinds of implications it might have for multifamily and commercial real estate in the United States. He opened the discussion with the topic of uncertainty, questioning whether or not it has improved since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Calanog advised attendees to look for two numbers that might indicate the Fed is ready to lower interest rates: unemployment trending upwards towards 4.5%—meaning labor markets are weakening—and personal consumption expenditures (PCEs) down to 2.5% for about 3-6 months.

When it comes to commercial real estate today in particular, Calanog says that the “drama” isn’t about income, but about pricing.

“A lot of what is happening was expected,” says Calanog. “We all anticipated a huge amount of multifamily to come in. We know that the office sector is going through convulsions right now because of the pandemic and working from home. Industrial logistics are still doing well. So it isn’t about the income; it’s about the pricing. The pricing has not yet stabilized.”

To learn about the Kornblau School of Real Estate at VCU, visit the program website. To learn more about VCU Business, visit

Save the Date: The 2024 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference will take place on October 10, 2024 at the Henrico Sport & Events Center. Registration is now open on the conference website.

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