The University of Maryland’s Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development honored four regional trailblazers in real estate development this week at the third annual awards dinner for “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Real Estate Awards.” The event recognized Elinor Bacon, Davor Kapelina, Douglas Lashley and Scott Plank for their successes and achievements in one or more aspects of real estate development and their “fearless” approaches to innovative and sustainable growth in the nation’s cities. Kapelina, Lashley and Plank are all graduates of the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD).
“We are so pleased to honor a group of professionals who have pioneered new and innovative approaches to real estate,” said Dr. Margaret McFarland, Director of the Colvin Institute. “Their efforts exemplify the creative, visionary and entrepreneurial practices that we aspire to and what we instruct our graduate and undergraduate students to follow.”
The Deans of The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the Robert H. Smith School of Business and the A. James Clark School of Engineering—Dr. Sonia Hirt, Dr. Alexander Triantis and Dr. Darryll Pines, respectively—hosted the evening’s events. The awards were presented by UMD’s Economic Development Chief Strategy Officer Ken Ulman, following his presentation of the exciting development and redevelopment happening in Greater College Park.
This year’s honorees excel in different aspects of real estate and offer diverse perspectives, but all strive to create vibrant, economically and environmentally sustainable assets that enhance the built and natural environment. Elinor Bacon, CEO of ER Bacon Development, has spent nearly 40 years fostering affordable, resilient housing, first through her own consulting company and later as Deputy Assistant Secretary of HUD during Clinton’s second term, where she administered the widely-lauded HOPE VI Program. Davor Kapelina has been integral in helping organizations across the country drive productivity, address risk and reduce their carbon footprint through modernized, high-performance construction and operational monitoring through his company, AtSite. With over 40 years’ experience in real estate law, finance and land use, Douglas Lashley has been at the forefront of the green development movement for more than 20 years, dedicated to balancing environmentally sensitive lands against economically viable and responsible development through his company, GreenVest. After 10 years working side-by-side with his brother at Under Armour, Scott Plank took his deft skills in business, development and finance to found War Horse, a multi-million-dollar real estate development firm specializing in vibrant, economically sustainable urban communities, with projects from San Francisco to Baltimore. Scott is currently launching a development in the Innovation District on the East side of Baltimore Avenue.
The evening kicked off with a keynote address by Daniel Sieberg, Senior Marketing Manager for Google and author of The Digital Diet: A four-step plan to break your tech addition and regain balance in your life. Daniel provided the professionals, faculty and students in attendance an overview of the Google tools available for research in real estate, as well as a shout out from Google founder Sergey Brin, a UMD Alum in Mathematics.
Real estate professionals from all sectors of the industry, government leaders, as well as administrators, faculty, alumni and students attended the dinner and awards ceremony to pay homage to the honorees and to support future leaders in the profession. Proceeds from the event go towards scholarships for UMD’s Real Estate Development Program, one of only twenty-one multi-disciplinary real estate programs in the U.S.
“This year’s honorees set the bar for sustainable, innovation-driven development,” said Sonia Hirt, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “Each of them exemplifies what it means to be a leader in this critical field and is a model of achievement.”