April 27, 2024

FCI Attends Baker Tilly 2024 DevelUP Conference

Partner Highlight, Announcement

DevelUP Panel on Keys to building your business sustainably and equitably
Pictured: DevelUP Panel on Keys to building your business sustainably and equitably.

A History of Commitment to Affordable Housing

FCI partner Baker Tilly continues to change Wisconsin’s affordable housing landscape with groundbreaking initiatives. 

Baker Tilly was founded in 1931 by Ed Virchow in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The firm initially focused on performing audits for Midwestern canning companies, which were crucial for sustaining the nation during the challenging period of the Great Depression. It has since evolved into a global entity, merging with over 50 different firms to expand its presence across the United States and internationally. Throughout this decades-long growth, Baker Tilly has remained dedicated to its culture of passion, innovation, and collaboration, continuously seeking new and improved ways to serve clients and connect with communities.

As highlighted in a recent case study on Yahoo Finance, Baker Tilly’s dedication to supporting emerging affordable housing developers is central to their business practices. Their commitment to this vital sector resonates deeply with their mission to foster sustainable communities and ensure access to safe, affordable housing for all.

2024 DevelUP Conference: Bringing Diverse Developers Together

FCI is honored to be part of Baker Tilly’s mission-driven efforts, including being a valued sponsor at their third annual DevelUP Conference held in Chicago from April 17-18. DevelUP brought together hundreds of underrepresented developers, allies, community leaders, and industry professionals to collaborate, network, and forge meaningful connections. With a commitment to creating equitable economic development, DevelUP aimed to empower underrepresented stakeholders within commercial real estate, economic development, and both private and public capital industries.

FCI’s CEO and President Ryan Zerwer and Community Lender Fausto Rivera participated in discussions that focused on increasing diversity in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit space by exploring alternative loan structures to mitigate risk for BIPOC emerging developers. The sessions emphasized capacity building through goal setting to foster trust, likening entrepreneurship to baseball with a focus on persistence, and cultivating a growth-oriented culture aligned with mission-driven goals.

In addition, the dynamic conference showcased industry professionals engaging in networking sessions designed to inspire, educate, and empower attendees to take actionable steps toward building a more inclusive future. Topics covered included:

  • The state of the commercial real estate market
  • The implications of the Inflation Reduction Act on commercial real estate and essential insights for businesses to compete in the energy economy
  • Strategies for equitable access to capital and intentional approaches to support diverse real estate sponsors

Speakers for this year’s event included: 

  • Collete English Dixon: Executive Director of Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University
  • Daryl J. Carter: Founder, Chairman, and CEO at Avanath Capital Management, LLC
  • Robert Byron: Chairman and Co-founder, Blue Vista Capital Management, LLC
  • Faron A. Hill: President, Peregrine Oak
  • Vernon Jordan: Founder, Equity Platforms
  • Tia Perry: Executive Director at AEC Unites
  • Ra’eesa Motala, SIOR: Founder, Evoke Partners
  • Julia Stevenson: Director, Langdon Park Capital
  • Maggie B.: Healthcare Development Executive, Mortenson

Events like DevelUP play a crucial role in empowering emerging developers and allies through learning, growth, and connections. They also amplify diverse voices and extend industry expertise to minority-owned businesses in commercial real estate.


FCI looks forward to seeing the transformative impact of Baker Tilly’s initiatives as they unfold in communities across Wisconsin. Learn more about Baker Tilly’s 2024 DevelUP event here.



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