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On Thursday, July 23, AZ Big Media hosted the inaugural AZRE Forum at the Ritz-Carlton.

It was a meeting of the minds featuring the top producing brokers, most influential economic developers, bankers and developers in the state.

The event sold out, with a standing-room only attendance of nearly 350 people. Another 40 people tuned into live streaming via Periscope and Twitter.

ASU Research Professor of Economics and Director of JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center Lee McPheters kicked off the program with a quick, optimistic and humorous slide show filled with the most up-to-date numbers (released 48 hours before the event) and outlook on the construction industry’s role in the state’s recovery.

Click to download his slides: AZRE Forum Lee McPheters Outlook

The first two panels featured rapid-fire brokerage discussing the life blood of the industry, as moderated by Pete Bolton. The brief, 15-minute panels were a “success,” he said.

“It was a success – that was obvious by the crowd,” Bolton said.

The last panel of the evening, moderated by Grady Gammage, Jr., was a successful discussion of lending, a talent shortage, new developments in the pipeline and a few propositions on the ballot regarding education and transportation.

“What a great event,” said Bonnie Arlia, vice president of Velocity Retail. “I hope this is the first year of many for your company to produce this in Arizona.  Everyone else does kick-offs, but this hits it in the middle.  Very clever”