In the multifamily industry, it's all about who you know. That was clearly evident at the 2007 MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE Conference, where attendees, speakers, and exhibitors came together to network and form new relationships that will be vital to their success in a slowing housing market.

More than 550 people attended the event, which was held Oct. 2-4, at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. "I enjoyed meeting many new contacts, which will hopefully develop into new working relationships," said David Rosacker, director of business development at Fremont, Neb.-based R.L. Fauss Builders. "The presentations were timely and pertinent to the current market conditions [and] I always look forward to Linwood Thompson's [of Marcus & Millichap] market analysis."

The industry, which has been faced with distinct credit challenges the past year, seems intent on working through the tough times. "Despite the 'down tenor' of the [market], I think it was an informative and successful event," said Jeff Goldberg, managing partner of New York City-based Milestone Group, who also moderated a session on REIT privatizations.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the conference was the ability to interact with high-level multifamily professionals. "There's no other place where you can get access to the level of attendees at this conference," said Andrew Smith, president of AxisPointe, a post-construction solutions provider based in Lehi, Utah. "[This] is the kind of event where you make the four or five or six contacts that are going to impact your business for the rest of the year."

Additional event highlights included a powerful presentation by leading CEOs to kick-start a full-day of programming; the MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE awards gala where the 2007 Executive of the Year Dave Woodward was unveiled; as well as the sharing of vital data and spot-on forecasts by Marcus & Millichap.

Overall, attendees and exhibitors alike left feeling hopeful about the multifamily industry and the opportunities it presents. "We enjoyed the generally positive attitudes projected by multifamily executives," said Mark Gallant, vice president of corporate marketing for Atrium Cos., a Dallas-based manufacturer of windows and doors. "[That's] a decidedly refreshing experience when compared to the pain being felt now in the single-family residence market."

Additional reporting by Chris Wood and Rachel Z. Azoff