The Art, Science + Business of Housing


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PCBC Presents: The Re-Think Conference

June 28 & 29 | San Diego, CA

Conference Agenda

  Thursday, June 29

8:30 AM-9:30 AM

Upper Level, Room 20C
General Session Keynote with Steven Kotler
kotler steven-75Over the past decade, groups ranging from Silicon Valley executives, elite military special operators, and maverick scientists have turned everything we thought we knew about high performance upside down. Instead of grit, better habits, or 10,000 hours, these trailblazers have found a surprising shortcut—harnessing rare and controversial states of consciousness to solve critical challenges and outperform the competition.

Stealing Fire75Steven Kotler spent four years investigating the leading edges of this revolution—and what he learned was stunning. In their own ways, with differing languages, techniques, and applications, every one of these groups has been quietly seeking the same thing: the boost in information and inspiration that altered states provide. Stealing Fire is a provocative examination of what’s actually possible; a guidebook for anyone who wants to radically upgrade their life.

Steven Kotler, New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist and the Co-founder & Director of Research for the Flow Genome Project


10:00 AM-10:45 AM

Upper Level, Room 33
Creating a Brand Experience
How a Core Insight Activated a Homebuilding Business and Created a Powerful Brand Experience
"Brand experience" and “customer experience” have become the latest marketing buzzwords, much like "positioning" was, and then "content curation", now "storytelling" and so many more. Jargon aside, activating a brand experience is about simplicity. A core insight. A POV. Having one that is relevant and engaging for your buyers, and then staying true to it in all you do. Learn how design thinking can create innovative businesses and brand experiences, and how Fresh Paint, by Garman Homes did just that to create a business and a brand that is like none other. Learn how to stay true to customer observation and understanding until you find your core insight, to create and activate a brand experience that stands the "logo test". Does your brand sound, look, smell and feel like everyone else in your space? You can "re-brand" and "re-launch" all you want, but can you truly activate your brand?

Alaina Money, Division President, Garman Homes
Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, Principal, tst ink

Upper Level, Room 30DE
Urb Appeal: Bringing Urban Touches to Suburban Development
The urban aesthetic lifestyle has much appeal, from Millennials to Boomers. People are seeking a more connected and culturally creative life, and traditional suburbs can feel, well, sleepy. How do we breathe new life into the suburbs? This program will explore creative ways of bringing urban touches to suburban development. Topics include how to create a distinctive community through innovation in housing products and amenities, AND how to boldly express that distinctiveness through branding. Spanning a variety of market opportunities, from infill near commercial to fringe sites edging to nature, you’ll get insights into design, marketing and branding approaches to:

  • Artful Street Design – twisted street grids, livable lanes, intriguing enclaves
  • Artisan Influence – in art, wayfinding, color palette, and “main street” spirit
  • "Urban" Amenities – creative solutions for relevant and sought-after features, and how to activate your brand through events
  • Outdoor Integration – seamless, comfortably crafted courtyards on narrow lots, rooftop decks and open air lofts, "breathing space" within the site plan
  • Moderated Modern Style – a design aesthetic that captures the appeal of contemporary elements, beneath the comfort of familiar form

Steve James, AIA, Founding Principal, DTJ Design
Tom Stender-Custer, Senior Account Supervisor, Greenhaus

Upper Level, Room 32
AIAContinuingEd60Creative Play in Master Planned Communities
Creative Play is the act of exploration through tactical, visual and auditory experiences in our surroundings—or to put it more simply, being a kid! Getting dirty! Making mistakes and learning from them! But today’s kids rarely have those experiences (nor do adults), as our over-programmed, hyper-competitive lifestyles become increasingly all-consuming. School, tutor club, sports, dance, music, more tutor club. Enough already. How can we bring Creative Play back into our communities, for kids and adults alike? In this fun and spirited session, you’ll explore examples of master plans and civic planning that are doing just that. Through thoughtful design and amenities, these places are fostering physical, social and cognitive exploration and growth. Let’s create places that give our kids the same experiences we had growing up. Let’s create places that allow our seniors to grow and flourish in a safe and comfortable environment. Let’s make our communities fun!

Todd Larner, Director of Planning & International Design, William Hezmalhalch Architects
Brett Park, Principal, BrightView Design Group
Michael Schrock, Partner + Founder, Urban Arena
Malee Tobias, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Newland Communities


10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Upper Level, Room 31
Innovate or Die: The Disruption of Home Building
For all of our focus on consumer segments, sophisticated sales technologies, and sexy design, operations guru George Casey says we’re missing the bigger problem. In markets throughout the country, there simply isn’t enough skilled labor to build what’s currently being sold, to say nothing of even greater future demand. The traditional solution to labor shortages, immigrant workers, is politically fraught. And with delivery times extending, and profit margins shrinking, today’s business models look alarmingly unsustainable. What’s needed, Casey argues, is a serious conversation about—and investment in—a fundamental retooling of the homebuilding process, incorporating robotics, offsite sub-assemblies, lean manufacturing, just-in-time delivery and other innovations. This powerful, in-depth session will frame not only the problem at hand, but potential solutions as well. Like golf, it will address the need for both a long game (how the delivery of housing might be fundamentally different ten years from now) and a short game (new models and processes and thinking you can implement in the near term). The program will incorporate hands-on exercises and discussions where you’ll explore examples of other companies—here and abroad—that are reinventing the homebuilding process. It won’t happen overnight, obviously, but you’ll leave with some concrete ways to take the first steps, including how to visualize the process through the eyes of the consumer.

George Casey, CEO, Stockbridge Associates, LLC
Kathleen Cecilian, CEO, Cecilian Worldwide
Glenn Cotrell, Managing Director, IBACOS
Gerard McCaughey, CEO, Entekra
Gene Myers, CEO, Thrive Homebuilders


11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Upper Level, Room 33
AIAContinuingEd60The Easy Sites Are Gone! Creative Solutions for Housing Innovation
Let’s face it, the easy sites are gone, and what we’re left with are the remnants—irregularly shaped, topographically challenged, limited access, with numerous constraints imposed by adjacencies, Specific Plans, utilities, and environmental challenges. A one-size-fits-all approach is fast becoming a thing of the past in all but the most suburban of developments. In order to meet these challenges, creative solutions are required. Fortunately, our panelists have plenty of them. Discover the innovative ways they’re overcoming obstacles and constraints to create quality living environments in tricky locations. You’ll get practical examples covering land acquisition, entitlement, parking restrictions, open space, optimizing density, and unit design that maximizes space and minimizes footprints. So, okay, the easy sites are gone. But with creative thinking, some of the best sites are yet to come.

Denise Ashton, Senior Principal, William Hezmalhalch Architects
Richard Douglass, Division President, Trumark Homes
Ron Nestor, AIA, Senior Principal, William Hezmalhalch Architects
John Santry, EVP, Acquisitions & Development, The Shopoff Group

Upper Level, Room 32
The Amazon of Home Building: Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer
A digital home-buying revolution is underway, one that’s transforming organizations as a digital generation of buyers (comprising more than just Millennials) arrives knowing and expecting more than ever. Learn how the unconventional business philosophies of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos can be applied to home building companies to establish a truly unique position in the industry. This fast-paced, interactive program shows today’s builder how to adapt business practices to meet the needs of tomorrow’s buyer. It’s a revelatory exploration of the current home buying experience and the dramatic impact technology will have on the future of new home sales. The current process of selling homes is unsustainable with new generations of buyers, and this presentation will reframe the concept of the “new home sales process” as the “new home buying experience”—placing the customer at the center of the conversation.

Jimmy Diffee, VP/Creative Director, The Bokka Group

Upper Level, Room 30DE
Meaningful Differentiation by Design
You want to give your homes a distinctive edge, but there are no comps for it. Or this market won’t support it. Or buyers won’t pay more for it. Or we simply don’t do it that way. Sound familiar? Yet examples abound of the market rewarding builders who break from the sea of sameness—and here’s an opportunity to learn from one of them. In a candid, free-flowing conversation, the award-winning designers of Pardee’s Escala—together with the builder who backed their bravado—will share the ideas and the execution behind designs that go to 11. Beyond simply seeing the interior and exterior “wow!” features, you’ll hear about what it took to make them a reality, how buyers are responding, and how and why builders in all markets can apply the same philosophies.

Adam Nelson, Design Lead, Bobby Berk Interiors + Design
Ken Niemerski, Senior Principal, Bassenian Lagoni Architects
Larry Simon, Director of Project Management & Architecture, Pardee Homes

Moderator: Heather McCune, Director of Marketing, Bassenian Lagoni Architects

12:00 PM-1:15 PM

Lunch break—on your own, or attend the Multifamily Lunch (ticket required)


1:15 PM- 2:00 PM

Upper Level, Room 33
Creating an Irresistible Company Culture
To build a great culture, you need a strong team. To attract the best team, you need a thriving culture. How do you maintain the cycle? In this interactive session, you’ll identify and discuss the key challenges to hiring and retaining talent in today’s modern workforce—and leave with actionable steps you can take to overcome them. You’ll learn: motivating factors for today’s workforce; where company culture begins, and why it’s not just up to leadership to create it; how to foster a company culture that everyone is part of; and how to create a hiring plan that will keep talent flowing and available.

Burk Moreland, Owner, Rainmaker Builders

Upper Level, Room 30DE
AIAContinuingEd60Sonoma Mountain Village - A Suburban Redevelopment Case Study
Sonoma Mountain Village (SOMO) is an innovative, 175-acre redevelopment of a former industrial site in Rohnert Park, California, 40 miles north of San Francisco. The community sets a new bar for environmental stewardship of a suburban redevelopment project, earning LEED Platinum certification and adhering to One Planet Living principles. This case study will demonstrate how environmental concerns and economic realities can be balanced in community design—and also how post-recession adjustments can be made while still preserving the original design principles. Get an inside look at this unique, forward-thinking community and take away lessons that can be applied to suburban redevelopment projects in markets everywhere.

Learning Objectives:
1) Sustainability and profit...are they mutually exclusive goals?
2) Strategies for bringing affordability in an un-affordable region.
3) Lessons for transforming underutilized suburban properties.
4) Maintaining entitlement flexibility while ensuring principles of urbanism and sustainability are maintained.

Brad Baker, President & CEO, SOMO Living
Tim Cornwell, Principal, The Concord Group
Jason Ficht, Director of Planning, JZMK
Richard Pope, Development Director, SOMO Living

Upper Level, Room 31
Reality Bytes: Virtual & Augmented Reality in New Home Marketing
Talk of virtual reality goggles is all over the media, and Pokémon Go introduced the term augmented reality into our everyday vocabulary. How do you bring these new technologies into new home marketing? More importantly, how do you use them to actually sell homes? This lively session will show you current VR technology and the off-the-shelf solutions that you can use today—from model and community walk-throughs to customizing materials and more. You’ll also explore AR technology and get five ways you can use it in your sales office within one week for little to no cost. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky stuff—you’ll walk away with practical information and tangible ideas about how to implement these game-changing technologies into your current operations.

Christopher Brown, Creative Leader, NEXT New Homes Group

Upper Level, Room 32
Liveness: The Art & Science of In-Person Experiences
Live events—concerts, sports, theatre—have a palpable energy to them, and indeed scientists can now measure the biological effects that shared experiences trigger. This has big implications for community gatherings, but it requires more than just infrastructure. Combining her passion for both placemaking and performance arts, Carla Neuss will discuss the art and science of "liveness"—in-person experiences that animate physical communities so that they function as social communities.

Carla Neuss, PhD Candidate in Theatre & Performance Studies, UCLA

Gather: Transforming Spaces into Thriving Places
What causes people to gather? What makes a space desirable? What inspires connection? For Maritza and Roshaun Davis, the answer is simple: create unforgettable experiences. Easier said than done, of course, but this dynamic duo will share their secrets for transforming unexpected, underutilized city spaces into rich environments for the community to connect. Through food, music, art, culture, unique retail and more, they’ll show you how to give people amenities and experiences right in your own backyard—so they don’t take themselves (and their wallets!) somewhere else to get them.

Maritza and Roshaun Davis, Cofounders, Unseen Heroes


2:15 PM-3:15 PM

Upper Level, Room 30DE
AIAContinuingEd60Mining for Gold
After receiving rave reviews last year, this interactive, engaging panel is back, this time inviting you to tour and evaluate the best projects in the West—the Gold Nugget finalists. This architecture-centric program highlights design trends rather than being a portfolio presentation tailored to a specific topic. These distinguished architects will review the Gold Nugget Merit Award winners in multiple categories, highlighting the attributes that make these entries rise to the top. After each review, audience members will have the opportunity to vote for the project they think will be the Grand Award winner.

Learning Objectives:
1) The design differentiators of winning homes and neighborhoods
2) Distinctive difference makers
3) Inventive solutions in every housing category
4) Always more than one way to solve every housing challenge or opportunity

Manny Gonzalez, FAIA, Principal, KTGY
Dave Kosco, AIA, Senior Principal & Director of Design, Bassenian Lagoni
Mark Scheurer, AIA, Principal, Mark Scheurer Architect
Moderator: Jeffrey LaFetra, AIA, President, Bassenian Lagoni

Upper Level, Room 31
Marketers, Storytellers, Experience Makers: An Interactive Conversation
In music, artists sometimes engage in informal jam sessions to improvise on their familiar repertoire, taking it in new and unexpected directions. We’re borrowing that concept and giving you an interactive conversation with some of homebuilding’s top marketers. Fueled by questions from our moderator and you, these pros will discuss the challenges and opportunities of marketing in today’s consumer environment—where physical and digital experiences are merging, communications are conversations played out on social media, customization and personalization are expected, pet amenities are now a thing, and context, story and meaning matter more than ever.

Beth Callender, Principal, CallenderWorks
Linda Mamet, VP of Corporate Marketing, TRI Pointe Group
Carrie Schonberg, VP of Marketing, Ashton Woods Homes
Tracy Tannenbaum, Vice President of Marketing, Meritage Homes

Upper Level, Room 32
The Hero Myth: Building Excellence Through Teamwork
While popular culture and media love to focus on superstars, mavericks and heroes, studies clearly show that teamwork is the key to business success. According to a recent survey of 4,000 homeowners, builders with teamwork ratings of Very Good achieved a 100% willingness to refer, while Poor teamwork ratings yielded just 14%. And it’s not only customers who are happier—companies with strong teamwork have higher productivity, lower turnover, and healthier morale. Drawing on the real-world experience of highly regarded homebuilders, learn the crucial steps to assembling and maintaining an excellent team, including how to: Identify team players; define and reinforce a team-oriented operational plan; identify, measure and monitor key performance indicators for every employee; communicate effectively with staff (hint: it’s face-to-face); evaluate and respond to customer feedback; and, when needed, make smart changes on the fly.

Tom French, President, French Brothers
Vishaal Gupta, President, Park Square Homes
Charlie Scott, Director, Woodland, O’Brien & Scott


3:30 PM-4:15 PM

Upper Level, Room 33
General Session Keynote with Matthew Luhn: The Best Story Wins!
MatthewLuhn 75The most powerful tool in business is a great story. Stories compel us to engage in experiences, learn lessons, and define our values and ourselves within our organization. They bridge the gap between the mind and the heart. As one of the original story creators at Pixar Animation Studios, Matthew Luhn spent over two decades inside the most successful filmmaking group in the history of Hollywood. His story credits include Up, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Monsters University, Cars, Ratatouille, and all three of the Toy Story films. Prior to joining Pixar, he was, at 19 years old, the youngest animator to work on The Simpsons TV series.

In this (naturally) story-driven presentation, Matthew will demystify the storytelling process, providing practical strategies to connect more effectively and persuasively with audiences—and helping you drive your story toward one unforgettable selling point. Attach emotion to logic and anything is possible. That’s the power of story.

Matthew Luhn, One of the original story creators at Pixar

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