Six Students Receive NAIOP Diversity Scholarships

Fall 2019 Issue
By: Hannah Buckles
L-R; Robert Conley, James Kilpatrick, Gabriel Lazcano, Melissa J. Meagher, Nathan Huynh, Linh My Tran

For the fourth year, the association has awarded scholarships to graduate and undergraduate commercial real estate students from a wide range of backgrounds.

NAIOP is pleased to announce the six recipients of the 2019 NAIOP Diversity Student Scholarships.

The scholarship program was established in 2016 to support graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees at NAIOP university-member schools that will lead to careers in the commercial real estate industry. Preference is given to students from backgrounds that have not had significant representation in the industry.

In addition to a $5,000 scholarship for graduate students and a $2,500 scholarship for undergraduate students, beneficiaries also received complimentary registration to NAIOP’s CRE.Converge 2019 conference, which will be held October 14-16 in Los Angeles.

A panel of industry experts reviewed dozens of applications before selecting these six candidates. All winners are NAIOP student members involved in commercial real estate through NAIOP events, club memberships, and volunteer or work experience.

Graduate Students

Robert Conley is a former chief of police for Clark Atlanta University who recently earned a master’s degree in real estate development from Auburn University. While working full-time as the owner and president of a security and investigations firm, Conley immersed himself in the commercial real estate industry and earned a Georgia real estate broker license. He has brokered multiple sales of retail space and developed a medical office building. He intends to expand his newest company, the Conley Realty Group, into mixed-use development projects. Conley is a community volunteer for various causes, including medical missions and homelessness, and he participates in CRE events with NAIOP, the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors and other groups.

James Kilpatrick is a spring 2019 graduate of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. Kilpatrick earned a master’s in real estate development while working as the business development manager at Cameron Construction. He previously worked in marketing at Bowen Studios and BNA Consulting Engineers before following the example of his grandfather — a Chinese immigrant who worked and saved to develop apartments in Salt Lake City — to pursue a CRE career. Kilpatrick plans to pursue brokerage, business development and eventually, development of industrial, office and multifamily properties. He plans to use his work experience, education and strong community relations background, including volunteering as a basketball coach with Jr. Jazz, the official youth basketball league of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, to help him make the next steps in his CRE career.

Gabriel Lazcano left Tampa, Florida, where he worked with Phillips Development & Realty and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Properties Group, to attend Clemson University in South Carolina for a master’s in real estate development. Before starting the graduate degree, Lazcano had already earned a Florida real estate license and become a LEED Green Associate. He aims to put his degree and experience to work developing affordable housing for low-income communities and revitalizing inner cities through the redevelopment of abandoned buildings. Lazcano is an avid participant in Habitat for Humanity, and he eventually wants to open his own non-profit to develop health care facilities for underserved communities.

Melissa J. Meagher, a graduate student at Portland State University, is ex-pecting to receive her master’s in real estate development in late 2019. Meagher has held various positions within CEG Multifamily, a real estate investment firm, including operations, marketing and asset management.  She also founded and is the head of Real Estate Emerging Leaders, an interdisciplinary organization at Portland State for individuals in all CRE-related fields focused on inclusivity, innovation and resilience. Following graduation, Meagher intends to create a development firm emphasizing equitable, sustainable, people-centric designs. She hopes that with an increase in new perspectives emerging in CRE, the field can expand in value culturally, ecologically and economically.

Undergraduate Students

Nathan Huynh is a double major in real estate and finance at University of San Diego (USD). Huynh has held many internships, including a research position with Cushman & Wakefield: Land Advisory Group, Agribusiness Solutions Team. He plans to build on his internship experience with the Land Advisory Group after graduation and enter a career in land brokerage. He says he would like to use CRE to make a positive impact on his community. Huynh is actively involved in USD’s Real Estate Society and the local Urban Land Institute (ULI) and NAIOP chapters. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering as a dance instructor.

Linh My Tran is a student in real estate and development/urban studies and planning at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). While in school, she was also an instructor in accounting for the San Diego Community College District. Tran is a believer in the power of networking, and she has sought opportunities to connect with mentors and learn from a variety of CRE professionals. Following graduation, she wants to use her development and urban studies knowledge to create public-private partnerships to address issues regarding affordable housing and create opportunities for upward mobility for members of those communities.

NAIOP champions diversity through strategic initiatives aimed at incorporating professionals from traditionally under-represented groups — including women, African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics — throughout the industry.

Hannah Buckles is the member services coordinator for NAIOP.