RECN events in Denver and Las Vegas score points with participants

Nathan Zimmerman and Joey Friedmann have not seen each other for more than a year, but it only took a matter of minutes at the most recent JEWISHcolorado Real Estate & Construction Network (RECN) event for the two to find each other. They settled into a table to network and nosh.

Their friendship goes back years, including a 2018 Young Adult Division (YAD) mission trip to Israel, and now they are both delighted to learn that each family is expecting a baby later in 2024.

Zimmerman works for High Country Private Equity Search. Friedmann has a real estate portfolio that specializes in providing housing and services for people recently released from prison. Like many who attend RECN events, they have a variety of reasons for being there.

“Events like this are relevant to my passion and career,” Zimmerman said. “I am looking to meet people, and there is a sense of community.”

“It’s nice to rub elbows with people steeped in the real estate market,” Friedmann said. “You hear from people who know what is going on.”

“And the programming is excellent,” Zimmerman added. “The caliber of content is top-notch. You don’t find this at some random networking event.”

RECN spring networking event

The two men joined nearly 100 others at Gart Properties headquarters in Cherry Creek for an evening filled with energy and excitement. In the 18 months since JEWISHcolorado launched RECN with Mark Sidell, President of Gart Properties, as its chair, the initiative has built a reputation as a sterling way to connect with professionals in the real estate and construction industry.

“Since RECN came into reality, I have seen new relationships develop both within the Jewish community and with friends of the Jewish community, so we are inclusive,” said incoming RECN Chair Stuart Zall. “People are making deals here, but it’s important for everyone to remember who built this platform—JEWISHcolorado.”

‘Learning from other movers and shakers’

One of the highlights of this evening was the space—the headquarters of Gart Properties at 240 St. Paul Street in Cherry Creek—with its outdoor patio and open floor plan designed to promote team collaboration.

Evan Gart, Executive Vice President of Gart Properties, pointed out a conference room wall filled with pictures from Gart business history, including photos of the clock that has stood outside the Gart headquarters at three previous locations and has now moved to the new headquarters.

Event attendees network at RECN's spring networking event

“This is our first event, and it’s great to share our space with familiar and new faces,” Gart said. “So much of what we have done has been part of the Jewish community for five generations, and it’s good to continue community engagement with the Gart family today.”

RECN events draw people from a wide spectrum of professions related to real estate and construction. Jennifer Matthews from the Jennifer Matthews Insurance Agency arrived with a colleague, Sondra Holtz.

“We have lots of clients in the real estate world, and they always have questions—like ‘Which areas are up and coming?’” Matthews said. “I love learning from other movers and shakers, people who want to see Denver do well.”

“In our business, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the neighborhoods,” Holtz added. “Clients want to know when to purchase, when to sell, and you learn so much at an event like this.”

Kendra Goldstein and Jason Pomerantz served as the evening’s two emcees.

Jason Pomerantz and Kendra Goldstein speak at RECN spring networking event

“To have a foundation in human connections that translates into professional connections is a powerful tool,” said Goldstein. “It enhances your connections in both places.”

“Acquaintances turn into strong friendships,” added Pomerantz. “RECN has become a hub for personal connection, professional development, and Jewish cultural engagement.”

‘You can’t time or beat the market’

The main speaker for the evening was Matt Joblon, Founding Partner & CEO of BMC. Since founding BMC in 2010, Joblon has led the acquisition, recapitalization, or development of more than $2 billion in transactions including 10,000 units, 400,000 square feet of office, 80,000 square feet of retail, and 716 hotel keys.

Matt Joblin speaks at RECN event at Gart Properties

Joblon entertained a captivated audience with stories of his career path, starting with his first job as a janitor in his father’s textile factory.

“I went to see my father to complain about the work,” he said. “My father told me, ‘If you are not the best janitor this factory has ever seen, you will be a janitor for the rest of your life.’”

What makes RECN events like this so popular is the unfiltered advice and wisdom of a success story like Joblon. He remembered arriving in Denver in post-Great Recession 2010, when he started buying apartments.

“We made mistakes, but the market was good,” he said. “In real estate, it’s not you, it’s the market. You can’t time or beat the market. I just think about how lucky I am to have the story I do.”

Event attendees listen to Matt Joblin at RECN spring networking event

In response to a question from Sidell, Joblon talked about the role Judaism plays in his business.

“Judaism means there is something bigger than you, a set of values that you hold yourself to,” he said. “The culture of resilience is remarkable. We do not have the victim mentality. We keep getting up and moving forward.”

‘Know, Like, Trust in Vegas’

Just days before this event, 14 members of RECN traveled together to Las Vegas to meet with their real estate and construction counterparts and representatives of Jewish Nevada. Stuart Zall, who went on the Vegas trip, tied the main purpose to three words: “Know, Like, Trust.”

“When you spend three days together, you form relationships and bonds that otherwise might take years to develop,” Zall said. “You get to know people, you like them, and you trust them—this is the foundation for doing deals.”

RECN in Las Vegas

The trip included a back-of-the-house tour of Wynn, a tour of Lumina Las Vegas, an award-winning senior living home and memory care community, and a tour of the Plaza Hotel and Casino with its CEO, Jonathan Jossel. The Plaza Hotel houses one of the oldest casinos in downtown Las Vegas, and Jossel talked about the efforts to turn downtown Vegas around, creating a vibrancy that had been lost over the years.

“That had relevance to people in our group because downtown Denver has been going through some hard times,” Zall said. “In Denver, you can see where there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and on trips like this, you learn what other people have done that has been successful.”

“Know, Like, Trust”—and then make a deal. That’s what happens on a RECN trip.

“In Denver, we are working in our own worlds, and we don’t necessarily know the different players in the real estate business,” Zall said. “This was an opportunity to make connections and to elevate our business.”