The School MLIS conferenceThe Midwest Lodging Investors Summit (MLIS) drew between 300 and 400 hotel industry executives to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago July 17–19. Now in its fourth year, MLIS is a leading conference for lodging industry owners, developers, operators, lenders, consultants and brand company marketers.

With The School of Hospitality Business serving as the MLIS academic partner, the summit is produced by Lodging Hospitality in affiliation with HVS.

The MLIS agenda combines general sessions, break-out discussions and keynote speakers on a wide variety of topics related to hotel development, ownership, operations, and management, both in the Midwest and throughout the U.S.

School Associate Professor A.J. Singh moderated a panel titled, “Inside a Development Success Story,” during which Hotel executives discuss the most recent findings from the LMPI (Lodging Market Potential Index), a useful tool as lodging investors make their acquisition & development decisions. The LMPI was developed by Dr. Singh and School Professor Ray Schmidgall, along with several other MSU researchers. This was the third year its current findings were presented at the MLIS.

Panelists at the session included five School alumni, as well as Justin Epps, from Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. Alumni were Michael Kitchen (BA ‘09), associate with Paramount Lodging Advisors; Steven Marx (BA ‘87), president of Hotel Source, Inc.; Richard Niedbala (BA ‘82), senior vice president – asset management with Lodging Capital Partners, LLC; Nate Sahn (BA ’97), first vice president, investment properties with CBRE Hotels; and John Weeman (MBA ‘79), president of Partners in Development.

The School’s participation in MLIS and similar conferences (such as the Lifestyle/Boutique Hotel Development Conference, scheduled for October 19-21, 2011 at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami, FL.) is part of a larger effort to expand its involvement and educational opportunities in the real estate and development segment of the hospitality industry.The School recently established the MSU’s Hospitality Business Real Estate Institute (press release available at Real Estate Institute).

The MLIS keynote speaker this year was Stephen Rushmore, president and founder of HVS. Steve has been a Visiting Leader at The School, and was named Honorary Alumnus of the Year in 1988.

This year’s MLIS honored Steve Marcus, chairman and former CEO of Marcus Corporation, with the inaugural Lodging Hospitality Game Changer Award who helped lead the Milwaukee-based theater company into the lodging world with the acquisition and successful restoration of the historic Pfister Hotel in that city. He also helped pioneer the limited-service segment of the hospitality industry with the launch of the Budgetel brand in 1974, which was rebranded as Baymont in the late 1990s. That brand was eventually sold to La Quinta and now resides with Wyndham Worldwide.