2014 Market Outlook: A Member Outreach Event

Mary Ellen Podmolik, Business Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Mary Ellen Podmolik has been covering the housing market for the Chicago Tribune since July 2008, six weeks before Lehman’s fall, and writes stories for the business section and a weekly Sunday real estate column. She previously worked at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Southtown Economist, and was a contributor to Crain’s Chicago Business and cnbc.com. She began her career at the Kokomo (Ind.) Tribune. Podmolik holds a journalism degree from Marquette University. Podmolik lives with her family in Oak Park and can be followed on Twitter @mepodmolik.

G. Joseph Cosenza, Vice Chairman & a Director, The Inland Real Estate Group, Inc.
President, Inland Real Estate Acquisitions, Inc.

G. Joseph Cosenza is vice chairman, a director and one of four original principals of The Inland Real Estate Group, Inc., as well as president of Inland Real Estate Acquisitions, Inc. He has personally overseen and/or negotiated for Inland the purchase of more than $36 billion of income-producing real estate, in over 3,000 individual deals, of which over 700 are in greater Chicagoland. Starting in 1982, he also was director of Continental Bank’s Oakbrook Terrace branch and board chair of American National Bank of DuPage, owned by Inland’s principals. He served as chairman and a director of Inland Bank & Trust and as a board director of Inland Bancorp, Inc., which has 10 Chicagoland locations. Cosenza earned his B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University and his M.A. from Northern Illinois University.

Steve Fifield, President & CEO, FRC Realty, Inc.

Steve Fifield founded Fifield Companies 35 years ago and recently formed Century West Partners in Los Angeles. Together, the companies have built over 75 mid- and high-rise projects worth $5.5 billion, almost equally split between apartments and office buildings. This includes eight million square feet of offices, 5,000 residential units, and another 1,500 units under construction in Chicago and Los Angeles. Another 1,500 units are in the planning and permitting stages in the two cities. Like Joe Cosenza, Fifield embarked on being a math teacher, but then got an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago and chose real estate instead. He and his wife and business partner, Randy – who convinced him to diversity into residential development 15 years ago – have seven children and five grandchildren.

Nobu Hata, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®

As NAR’s director of digital engagement since July 2012, Hata brings value-added information to members, brokers and associations, and insight back-up, both offline and in the digital domain. An industry veteran since 1996, Hata is a student of marketing, communications trends, social media, and technology in the real estate industry, having implemented and adapted various new-school techniques to his successful brick and mortar business in Minneapolis for Edina Realty before joining the NAR. He also is a speaker, instructor and volunteer member leader on NAR’s YPN, communications, equal opportunity/diversity and strategic planning committees.

Ryan Mecum, Senior Mortgage Associate, Wintrust Mortgage

Ryan Mecum, assistant vice president with Wintrust Mortgage, is regarded as a technical expert on residential mortgage lending, particularly in condominium projects. Wintrust is one of the largest regional financial holding companies with assets above $18 billion and is on its way to becoming Chicago's largest bank. Mecum joined Wintrust in March 2008, and graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in sociology.

Dr. Michael S. Miller, Associate Professor of Economics, DePaul University

Dr. Michael S. Miller has been teaching at DePaul since 1980, when he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh. His expertise is in applied macroeconomics and business conditions analysis. In addition to pursuing teaching and research interests, Dr. Miller spent five years as associate dean of academic programs in DePaul’s College of Commerce and six years as department chairman. He has twice been the recipient of the university’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Miller has taught in both domestic and international settings, including Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Bahrain. He has been interviewed numerous times on Chicago radio and television stations about macroeconomic conditions and Federal Reserve policy.

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