MBAs Bury Stanford in Golden Shovel Competition

The Golden Shovel—the gleaming victory trophy for winning the NAIOP Real Estate Challenge—will reside at Haas for the fourth year in a row, after a Berkeley MBA team defeated Stanford GSB in the annual regional challenge May 4.

Under the name of Campanile Advisors LP (CAL), evening and weekend student Charlie McEachron, MBA 12; full-time MBA 2012 candidates  Dan Byrnes, Tyler Kepler, and Derek Simmons; and environmental design student Michael Song teamed up to win both first place and the audience choice award. Their win brings the lifetime Golden Shovel score to Cal 13, Stanford 9. (NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, stands for National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.)

The challenge this year was to present a multi-use development plan for three sites in Livermore, Calif.

Victory was no easy feat: To determine feasibility of city-proposed uses or propose alternate uses for the sites, the team consulted with more than 100 experts, including the Livermore mayor and several top city officials, developers, hoteliers, retail specialists, apartment builders, brokers, attorneys, and tenants. “The Cal network served us well in opening doors,” says Byrnes. The project lasted for two months and culminated with a 200+ page proposal, a detailed Q & A session with the jury, and a presentation to an audience of 300.

The team proposed “Livermore on Broadway,” which combined high-density residential and mixed-use retail. “Our thought process was guided through detailed analysis of Livermore’s current financial resources and obligations, many of which were determined by a proposed 2,000-seat theater,” says Byrnes. “The judges were particularly impressed with our ability to understand the city’s financial motivations and constraints, and those of the three sites, and to propose a feasible development plan that addressed these in a difficult capital markets environment. Having an incredibly gifted architect on our team, who worked literally around the clock to make our vision come to life, certainly didn’t hurt.”

“When we started this process, Dennis Williams, Cal professor and event organizer, said that the Shovel would be ‘the hardest thing we did in business school, but the best thing as well,’ and he was absolutely right,” says Byrnes. In addition to trophy rights, Mechanics Bank will donate $2,000 to Challenge for Charity (C4C) in the team’s honor.

Pictured here are Berkeley team adviser Craig Davey; Charlie McEachron and Tyler Kepler, both MBA 12; environmental design student Michael Song; Dan Byrnes and Derek Simmons, both MBA 12; Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena; and competition Chair Dennis Williams.