Programming a conference is a lot like publishing an issue of a magazine. You want to offer a diverse mix of topics, provide the chance to hear from industry leaders, and include a few provocative comments that will get people talking. And I think we've done all of that with this year's Multifamily Executive Conference.

For those of you who haven't joined us in previous years, our annual conference is a blend of high-quality programming and high-level networking. This fall, as in '04, we'll be in Las Vegas. Unlike last year, however, our conference is the only major industry meeting in Las Vegas in 2005. (Last year, when I seemingly traveled to Vegas every three months for a conference, a cab driver asked me, "So, do you come to Vegas often?" Actually, yes.)

We developed this year's seminars with assistance from a smart and talented group of editorial advisors, who have taken time from their own busy travel and work schedules to suggest sessions and speakers for this year's programming. There are too many advisors to list here, but I'm truly grateful to each of these men and women who have shared their insight and ideas.

Alison Rice
Katherine Lambert Alison Rice

Here are some highlights:

  • Demographics. I've heard from many of you how hungry you are for demographic information. So, at this year's conference, you'll hear from Moises Vela Jr., United Dominion Realty Trust's new vice president of multicultural strategy; Jack Kern, director of research at Archstone-Smith Trust; and Bruce Innes, the vice president of marketing for The Shelter Group. They'll discuss Hispanic, Generation Y, and senior renters, respectively. Moderated by MFE editorial director Boyce Thompson, this session will provide the data and understanding you need to capture the next wave of renters.
  • Managing your portfolio and your investors. How should you adjust your portfolio for '06? What should you buy? What should you sell? And most importantly, how can you manage the expectations of capital-flush investors in a lackluster apartment market? We'll address these key issues and more in two panels, one moderated by Keith Harris, executive vice president—investments of The Laramar Group, and another overseen by NMHC's Doug Bibby.
  • Customer service. In a weak market, retaining residents becomes even more critical. In this session, AvalonBay's Dirk Herrman (the company's chief marketing officer), Julie Smith, president of Bozzuto Management Co., and Mark Fogelman, president of Fogelman Management, will share the details of their customer service programs.

I'll be kicking off the conference Monday night with our traditional "power panel," which will feature Laurie Lyons of BH Management, James Kjolhede of Archon Residential Management, and Greg Mutz of AMLI Residential sharing their views on the most important issues facing the multifamily industry today.
See you in Vegas!

The 2005 Multifamily Executive Conference will be held Oct. 17-19, 2005, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. For a detailed program and registration information, visit Don't delay—August 12 is the last day for early bird conference registration. Hotel reservations must be made by 5 p.m. PST on Sept. 13.