This audio segment was recorded at the graduation ceremony of the 2016-2017 class of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program on June 13. Featured speakers included Rocky Marcoux, Wyman Winston, and Mark Eppli and Barry Mandel, offering the real estate development community words of advice and inspiration.

“You are here because you know there is a future, and you’re willing to take on projects that are difficult. But when they are accomplished, they are going to bring innumerable rewards to the folks that live in our neighborhoods. Some of those people you may know, but some people you may never meet. You will touch this city in a way that will leave lasting impressions, and lasting opportunities for folks that may never know your name. They may never know a person of color actually developed it, because twenty years from now the neighborhoods that you’re working in are going to be so successful that the history will be forgotten.” – Rocky Marcoux

“Milwaukee is not the only built environment in this state. The skills and talent that you have is needed across Wisconsin. I would encourage you not to have a myopic view and simply look at opportunities solely here. But to take the skills that you have and apply them across this state.” – Wyman Winston

“Remember the poem about the man in the mirror. Remember that the path is not always easy, but you’ll pass the test. If the image in the mirror is your friend, look closely at that image every day, and look at it honestly. That image will define you. Your reputation is your most important asset. There are no boundaries to the success you may achieve individually. There are no limits to the returns you might receive from investing in yourself and the community in which you live.” – Mark Eppli

“My passion has been in the city of Milwaukee. And in this region there is something extraordinarily special about changing the dynamics of the place you live in, making it better for the future. I see the opportunities more than ever today, at any time in my career. Why? Because the region needs the city of Milwaukee on several levels. Jobs need to be filled throughout the region. Transportation and affordable housing needs to be provided throughout the region. Trades of all types, from construction to manufacturing are short of people. Yes, the city has severe problems. But the number of people in Milwaukee represent a manageable amount of people to make those problems manageable. Unlike the cities of Chicago and Detroit, you as individuals can make a difference in Milwaukee.” – Barry Mandel