ACRE Program Seeks Diversity in Commercial Real Estate Industry

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

    The deadline for applications in the Milwaukee Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program is Aug. 22. ACRE is a commercial real estate industry-supported initiative administered by the Robert B. Bell Sr. Chair Program in Real Estate at Marquette University. The goal of the ACRE program is to recruit, train and place minorities in professional careers in commercial real estate.

    The program uses a 25-week formal curriculum in commercial real estate, featuring several networking events. ACRE seeks to attract more African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and others into the commercial real estate industry, according to professor Mark Eppli, Ph.D. and chair of the Bell program.

    Eppli is urging commercial real estate companies and executives to assist in the ACRE project.

    "Overall, not only would I like to see more commercial real estate professionals of color, I would also like to see greater economic and real estate development in Milwaukee’s minority communities, and also it would be great to see more of the wealth created in these minority communities staying with the minorities in the communities," Eppli said.

    "It is a business imperative to have a diverse workforce working in a diverse Milwaukee, as virtually all of the population growth nationwide will come from the minority population in the coming decades. It is a moral imperative, as well as a business imperative.  Of the real estate industry’s 100,000 or so professionals nationwide, who handle the $1.5 trillion of commercial real estate transactions in the United States, fewer than 1 percent are African-Americans. By comparison, blacks make up 7.9 percent of business executives and about 5 percent of lawyers," Eppli said.

    The ACRE program was launched last year, and 29 students successfully completed the course. The program has immediately generated some real-world results.

    Six graduates from the inaugural class received internships with industry partners: Melissa Goins with American Appraisal Associates; Javier de la Uz with The Mandel Group; DeShea Agee with the Pabst Farms development; Leng Lee with Irgens Development Partners; Danielle Morgan with Wispark LLC; and James Phelps with KBS Construction.

    In addition, class participant Keith Stanley was hired at West End Development Corp., and participants Dennis Walton and Jeff Speller have since co-founded Growth & Development Inc.

    Walton, a community liaison for Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee Jr., said he has been able to attract investors and has begun his first residential development project.

    "And we’re looking at some commercial opportunities that are coming our way," said Walton, who is being mentored at The Jansen Group Inc.

    The ACRE program has six corporate partners for its 2006 program: Irgens Development Partners, American Appraisal Associates, Gorman & Co., The Polacheck Co.; The Jansen Group Inc.; and Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    The Helen Bader Foundation provided financial support to administer ACRE, and the program has received additional support from several other organizations. More than 50 applications already have been received for the 2006 program.

    Applications for the program and additional information can be downloaded at

    August 19, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

    Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

    Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

    No posts to display