Featured Speakers


Ohio Economic Forecast Speakers, Tuesday, November 6, 9:00am – 10:30am

Housing Policy Plenary Speakers, Wednesday, November 7, 9:00am – 10:30am

Keynote Speaker, Wednesday, November 7, 12:00pm – 1:30pm


2018 Ohio Housing Conference Keynote Speaker


Byron Hill

Byron Pitts
Co-Anchor of ABC News' Nightline & Author, Step Out On Nothing

Known for his thought-provoking coverage and his commitment to exceptional storytelling, Byron Pitts is a multiple Emmy Award winning journalist and is a co-anchor of ABC's Nightline. In 2013, Pitts became an anchor and the Chief National Correspondent at ABC. Prior to working for ABC, Pitts was the Chief National Correspondent for CBS Evening News With Katie Couric. He was also CBS' lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the September 11th attacks and won an Emmy for his coverage.

A news veteran with over 20 years of experience, other major stories Pitts has covered include the war in Afghanistan, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the military buildup in Kuwait and the refugee crisis in Kosovo, to name but a few. Pitts realized a life-long goal when he was named a Contributing Correspondent to CBS' 60 Minutes in 2009. Pitts' many achievements are all the more extraordinary when he tells of the many obstacles he faced as a child. Raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until the age of twelve and had a persistent stutter. Capitalizing on his desire to play football, his mother mandated he receive B's or above in school in order to play. With that focus, Pitts learned to read and went on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University. With the help of his roommate and a college professor, Pitts found the support and encouragement necessary to pursue a career in broadcast journalism – a field that demands excellence in writing and speaking. By staying focused, setting simple and achievable goals and finding strength in faith, Pitts overcame powerful odds. He graduated in 1982 with a BA in Journalism and Speech Communication.

In May 2017, Byron released his second book, Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship with Hope. Through stirring interviews and with his award-winning storytelling ability, Byron Pitts brings the struggles and triumphs of six everyday heroes to other teens just like them, encouraging all to be the source of inspiration in their own lives and to appreciate the lives of others around them.

Pitts' grit and determination shone throughout his illustrious career garnered him several prestigious awards, including a national Emmy Award for his coverage of the Chicago train wreck of 1999, a National Association of Black Journalists Award, and second national Emmy Award for individual reporting of the September 11th terror attacks. He is also the recipient of four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards.

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Ohio Economic Forecast Speakers


Edward Hill

Dr. Edward "Ned" Hill
Professor at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University

Edward (Ned) Hill is Professor of Public Affairs and City & Regional Planning at The Ohio State University where he teaches economic development, public economics, and state and local public policy in The John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He is also affiliated with the Ohio Manufacturing Institute and the College of Engineering's Discovery Theme in Materials and Manufacturing for a Sustainable World. Ned served as Dean of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University for eight years and was a member of the faculty for 30 years. He was a nonresident senior fellow of The Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program and of the Institute for Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He was chair of the Advisory Board of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) from 2007 until 2010 and is a member of the program's research committee.


Rob Vogt

Robert Vogt
Partner, Vogt Strategic Insights

Robert Vogt is a principal and partner with the real estate market analyst firm of Vogt Strategic Insights, a firm specializing in providing real estate market feasibility studies and project consulting located in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Vogt has conducted market feasibility studies for the past thirty years. In this time, he has conducted, written and reviewed over 7,000 market analyses for market-rate and affordable Tax Credit apartments, as well as studies for single-family, condominiums, golf course/residential developments, office, retail, and elderly housing throughout the U.S. Mr. Vogt is a founding member of the National Council of Housing Market Analysts, an association formed to bring standards and professional practices to real estate market feasibility. He is a past chairman of this association. Mr. Vogt is a member of the Columbus Board of Commission Appeals and a member of the Urban Land Institute. Mr. Vogt has a degree in Finance, Real Estate, and Urban Land Economics from The Ohio State University.


Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington

Danushka Nanayakkara-Skillington
Assistant Vice President for Forecasting and Analysis, National Association of Home Builders

Danushka Nanayakkara is the NAHB Assistant Vice President for Forecasting and Analysis. She oversees the activities of the Forecasting & Analysis section of the Economics group which includes developing and maintaining national, regional, long-term, and remodeling expenditures forecasts. Before being promoted to Assistant Vice President, she worked at NAHB as a Senior Economist. Prior to joining NAHB, Danushka worked at J.D. Power as a Senior Economic Analyst in the automotive industry. She holds a M.A. degree in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.


Leonard Kiefer

Leonard (Len) Carl Kiefer
Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac

Leonard Kiefer was appointed to the position of Deputy Chief Economist in December 2012. As the Deputy Chief Economist, Kiefer is responsible for primary and secondary mortgage market analysis and research, macroeconomic analysis and forecasting. Kiefer is also involved in the analysis of policy issues affecting the housing industry. Kiefer is a frequent speaker at professional and academic conferences around the country. Kiefer has also been quoted in the national media as an expert on the subject of housing economics. He is a member of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association and the American Economics Association. Kiefer joined Freddie Mac in 2009 as a Senior Economist. He was previously an assistant professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas where he conducted research on macroeconomics and monetary policy. He has also taught economics at The Ohio State University and finance at George Mason University. Kiefer holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Kentucky, and a PhD from The Ohio State University.

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Housing Policy Plenary Speakers


Michael Novogradac

Michael Novogradac
Managing Partner, Novogradac & Company LLP

Michael Novogradac is the managing partner of Novogradac & Company LLP. He has more than 30 years of experience specializing in affordable housing, community development, historic preservation and renewable energy. Mr. Novogradac's focus is in real estate taxation and accounting. He is the author of numerous real estate-related tax and accounting articles and books, including the New Markets Tax Credit Handbook and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Handbook. A frequent speaker at tax credit conferences and forums throughout the country, Mr. Novogradac is very active in advocating for the inclusion of affordable housing, historic, new markets and renewable energy tax credits in federal and state policy and broadcasts a weekly podcast that focuses on tax credit issues. In addition, he serves as advisor on industry and governmental affairs for the NMTC Working Group, LIHTC Working Group and the Opportunity Zones Working Group. Mr. Novogradac also serves on the executive committee of the Housing Advisory Group and the boards of directors of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, the National Housing Conference, the NMTC Coalition and Historic Tax Credit Coalition, as well as being an original member of the National Multifamily Housing Council's Affordable Housing Committee. Mr. Novogradac graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a bachelor's degree in economics. He received an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. He is licensed in California, Oregon, Maryland and Texas as a certified public accountant. You can follow Michael on twitter @novogradac and his blog at www.novoco.com/blog.


Stockton Williams

Stockton Williams
Executive Director, National Council of State Housing Agencies

Stockton Williams was appointed Executive Director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies in March 2018, having worked for the organization for five years at the beginning of his career. Stockton has held senior leadership positions in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors throughout a career dedicated to expanding housing opportunity. He has been an advisor to many local communities across the U.S., an author of original research, a speaker at industry events around the country, and a frequent commentator in the media on a wide range of real estate and economic development issues. Stockton was previously executive vice president of content and executive director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing at the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Before joining ULI, Stockton was Managing Principal of HR&A Advisors' Washington, D.C., office. He previously served as Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Energy. He has also held senior leadership positions at Enterprise Community Partners, Living Cities, and with an affordable housing developer. Stockton holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Princeton University.


Stockton Williams

Marietta Rodriguez
President and CEO, NeighborWorks America

Marietta Rodriguez knows what it’s like to be a new homebuyer because she was one. "I was 25 and living in a high-cost area," she says. "There was absolutely no way I could buy a home without someone holding my hand and walking me through it." The folks holding her hand were from a NeighborWorks network organization that provided counseling and financial assistance to first-time homebuyers. Soon, Rodriguez went to work for the organization that assisted her so that she could help more people in her hometown. Today, she leads the national homeownership effort for the NeighborWorks network, which includes a suite of pre-purchase, mortgage lending, and post-purchase programs and services. Rodriguez works with senior executives and nationally renowned experts to leverage the power of public-private partnerships. She has a proven record of leadership and accomplishment, creating and executing strategic initiatives that address some of the toughest challenges facing low-income families: homeownership, foreclosure prevention, community building and engagement. Rodriguez is responsible for leading NeighborWorks America's programmatic support to its 245 member organizations and nonprofit partners. Whether capacity building, technical assistance, grant management or relationship management, she has met or exceeded metrics for success while developing and mentoring her staff at all levels.


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