Leadership Award

The CU Real Estate Center Leadership Award is given to those individuals who are outstanding exponents of the real estate or related industry and who have brought extraordinary credit to the University and the Center. While only one award may be presented annually, it is not mandatory that one be selected each year. The following areas are considered when selecting the Leadership Award recipient.

  • Service to the CU Real Estate Center
  • Service to the community
  • Career achievements
  • Professional impact
  • 2015 Recipient

    Ken Gillis, President
    Centennial Realty Advisors

    Centennial Realty Advisors, LLC is a Denver-based commercial real estate management and investment firm. We focus on adding value by uncovering unique opportunities to enhance investment returns.

    The management team has an average of 28 years experience in property management, leasing, asset management, development and acquisitions. Currently, Centennial manages 1.6 million square feet of properties, including five office buildings, an office/warehouse and two mixed-use developments. We are constantly seeking additional high-quality assets to add to our portfolio..


    2014 Recipient

    Randy Nichols,President/Founder
    The Nichols Partnership, Inc.

    The Nichols Partnership, Inc. is based in Denver, Colorado and specializes in the development of commercial and multi-family real estate. With 30 years of experience in real estate development, brokerage and management, Mr. Nichols started his career in real estate brokerage in 1981 with LaSalle Partners in Denver. In l986 he became a Vice President of LaSalle’s New York office representing the firm’s corporate clients in commercial brokerage transactions across the country. Mr. Nichols co-founded a private development company in Chicago in 1989, then returned to Denver to pursue commercial development opportunities in Colorado establishing the Nichols Partnership in 1993.

    The Nichols Partnership has developed 1.5M square feet of commercial space and over 1,000 units of housing including such prominent urban Denver projects as “Clayton Lane”, 1899 Wynkoop” and “SPIRE”. Mr. Nichols holds a Master’s degree in real estate development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in business from Colorado State University. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Colorado University Real Estate Council, on the board of the Colorado University Real Estate Foundation and a board member of NAIOP.

    Mr. Nichols holds a Masters degree in real estate development from MIT and a Bachelors degree in business from CSU. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the MIT Center for Real Estate, and the Advisory Board of the Leeds School of Business.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Real Estate – 2004 Spaulding Award
  • NAIOP – 2004 Owner/Developer of the Year
  • Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce – 2004 Businessman of the Year
  • Denver Business Journal “Power Book” – 2007 Industry Leader (Residential Real Estate)
  • Colorado State University – 2008 Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year
  • 17th Annual Real Estate Forum, CU Real Estate Center - 2014 Leadership Award
  • Video

    2013 Recipient

    John Shaw, President

    Founded in 1991 in Loveland, Colorado, McWhinney is a diversified real estate company that develops, owns and manages large-scale, multi-use properties. The organization has successfully developed office, medical, industrial, hospitality, retail, multifamily and institutional projects within its 3,000 acre Centerra property in Loveland, Colorado and Garden Grove, California. The recent addition of the 935 acre North Park property in Broomfield further positions McWhinney to participate in the growth of the metropolitan Denver marketplace. As president, Mr. Shaw oversees the entire McWhinney portfolio for commercial and community development projects and the acquisitions of new properties.

    From 1995 until 2007, John Shaw was responsible for the Opus Denver, Kansas City, and St. Louis operations and the execution of all development work undertaken within these regions. The Denver office generated more than 7 million SF of commercial properties since opening in January 1995; the Kansas City office created and successfully completed over 2.5 million SF of commercial properties since opening in 1999 and the St. Louis office developed over 1 million SF of commercial properties since opening in 2001.

    Prior to joining Opus, Mr. Shaw served as Senior Vice President of Rancon Financial Corporation, where he was responsible for all acquisition, planning, entitlement, site development, building construction, marketing, leasing and sales activities for Rancon’s $350 million portfolio of office, retail, industrial and residential properties in Southern California. Mr. Shaw has also been the Senior Vice President of the Denver Technological Center where he managed the land planning, zoning, development, architectural control, marketing and sales activities associated with the nationally recognized 750-acre mixed-use business park and the 1,150-acre Meridian International Business Center.

    Over the past twenty-five years, Mr. Shaw has had direct development responsibility for more than 24 million square feet of commercial properties located throughout the western United States. Mr. Shaw currently serves on the Board of Governors for the University of Real Estate Council and as President of the University of Colorado Real Estate Foundation.


    2012 Recipient

    Cal Fulenwider
    LC Fulenwider, Inc.

    Cal Fulenwider III has been the President of LC Fulenwider, Inc. for more than 20 years. Fulenwider has had the key role in the strategic planning, development and management of the approximately 7,500 acres surrounding DIA and owned by LCF Inc. Prior to developing projects in the DIA area, Fulenwider was the Venture Manager for the 500,000 square foot Bank One building in downtown Denver and has overseen the development and management of numerous high-end residential projects, including Polo Club North, Polo Club North Homes and Polo Field West, and Larimer Place Condominiums (a downtown Denver high-rise). Fulenwider is a founding member of the CU Real Estate Council and the DIA Business Partnership, and he obtained a bachelor's degree in Real Estate from the University of Colorado.


    2010 Recipient

    John Freyer
    President and Sales Manager
    Commercial Sales Team
    Land Title Guarantee Company

    John E. Freyer is president of both Land Title Guarantee Company and Land Title Insurance Corporation. Mr. Freyer is a 1971 graduate of the University of Colorado with a major in real estate. He is a founding sponsor of the Brokers for Battered Kids charity event; past chair and board member of the Cleo Wallace Center, the Metro Denver Executive Club; past board member of NAIOP; current president of the Hundred Club of Denver; and current board member of the Denver Botanic Gardens Endowment Fund, Boy Scouts, Colorado Concern, Institute of International Education, and the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.


    Prior Recipients

    • 2007: Cal Marsella
    • 2006: Tom and Caroline Hoyt
    • 2005: Harry Frampton
    • 2004: John Hickenlooper
    • 2002: Ray Baker
    • 2001: Federico Pena
    • 2000: Byron Koste
    • 1997: Bill Reynolds
    • 1996: Rod Slifer
    • 1995: Bill Moore
    • 1994: Walt Koelbel
    • 1993: Philip Milstein