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Asper Alumni Play Leading Role at the Winnipeg Real Estate Forum

Forum to discuss how Winnipeg has succeeded through the pandemic

April 20, 2022 — 

The  7th biennial Winnipeg Real Estate Forum (WREF) is back and in-person on April 26 at the RBC Convention Centre with more than 700 executives participating to learn how and why “Winnipeg Has Managed to Perform Strongly Through the Pandemic”.  

The Asper School of Business will have a significant presence at the forum, with 14 of our alumni serving as either a moderator or panelist at the event that is set to provide up-to-date and valuable insights on the trends and opportunities in Manitoba’s commercial real estate market.

The day will include a broad range of presentations, and panel discussions on economic drivers. These include major trends in the office, industrial, retail and apartment markets, the availability and cost of capital, and development activity and opportunities.

“This is Winnipeg’s chance to show Canada’s leading real estate investors opportunities to invest in our market and showcase our successes to date,” says Asper alum Rennie Zegalski [BComm(Hons)/95], Principal at Capital Commercial Real Estate Services Inc. “The event is an opportunity to host clients in our market and network face-to-face with those interested in Winnipeg’s commercial real estate market.”

Rennie Zegalski

Rennie Zegalski

Zegalski will appear as a moderator and panelist for a presentation entitled “Retail has been Bruised During COVID-19 but Landlords & Retailers Have Survived Better than Expected. What Does the Future Hold?”.

Alumna Franca Cerqueti [BComm(Hons)/94] joined by a moderator and three other panelists, including alum Ed Acuna [BComm(Hons.)/12] at a presentation entitled, “Land, Construction & Debt Financing: Where are Spreads and Availability Heading? Case Studies of Innovative Success Stories”.

Franca Cerqueti

Franca Cerqueti

Cerqueti, the Vice President & Managing Director of Commercial Origination at CMLS Financial, has been attending the event since 2010 and says it’s had a strong execution from the start. She says the importance of the conference is that it showcases Winnipeg’s strong and stable real estate market and the wonderful local families behind it. She noted that she was hired by her current employer, CMLS Financial, after presenting on the WREF panel.

“Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen and some people wonder what happened,” says Cerqueti.

Ryan Kuffner [BComm(Hons)/02], Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Economic Development Winnipeg, is leading a presentation entitled, “Winnipeg’s Competitive Edge: What it Means for the City’s Growth.”

Ryan Kuffner

Ryan Kuffner

“My talk will focus on how the economic fundamentals of Manitoba continue to drive Winnipeg’s competitive advantage vs. other major Canadian cities,” says Kuffner.

“Our investment advantages in terms of clean, affordable and renewable energy; a highly diverse and skilled workforce; geographic advantages for transportation and logistics; the strength of our airport as an economic driver, and the asset of North America’s largest inland port in CentrePort Canada all factor in to how we compete for investment and top talent in a fast-changing world.”

Ed Acuna

Ed Acuna

Ed Acuna [BComm(Hons.)/12], Vice President of Commercial Banking at Cambrian Credit Union, said he looks forward to re-connecting with other Asper alumni, faculty and students at the forum.

“WREF is important in gathering the business community together to hear about how we can continue to be competitive and grow as a city,” says Acuna. “The future is bright for Winnipeg and I’m excited to hear from a diverse line up of speakers and fellow attendees.”



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