Fairway for America event with President George W. Bush at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX. Photo by Grant Miller

George W. Bush and Greg Hughes

Last month we attended the SBRE Summit in Dallas to present our real estate investment fund and we were followed by the former president, George W. Bush (43).  Okay, maybe it didn’t happen exactly that way but it is fun to say.

The SBRE in the title stands for “small balance real estate.”  This is a first class event put on every six months by Fairway America and includes about 100 accredited investors and their spouses.  Some of the investors were repeats from the Seattle and Scottsdale Summits and many were new, especially from the Dallas area.

The first day of the event is dedicated to helping investors navigate the SBRE fund arena.  What to look for, how does it work, what to ask fund managers, etc.  For some of the investors, this may be their first time attending and being exposed to these types of alternative investments.  However, I would guess the majority have either been exposed one way or another and/or have already invested in this space.

Fairway America is a really well run company and understands this investment arena better than most.  They are operating their 7th fund and have been involved in this arena for over 20 years. Currently, their fund has invested multiple times into our real estate fund, ROI Strategies, LLC.

What they do best when putting these summits on is identifying who everyone is by a different colored lanyard.  Black lanyards were fund managers like us, green were accredited investors, blue were participants, and red were Fairway America.  Now, why is this so important?

We pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time to present at these events.  There is nothing worse than being at one of these types of events and having no idea who you should talk to.  The main reason for our being there, of course, is to find new investors for our fund.

Then Matt Burke, the CEO at Fairway, goes one step further with the audience.  He talks about posers.  Normally when you attend one of these events there are a lot of “posers.”  That means the actual investors you want to talk to are hard to identify.  They stay quiet a lot of the time.  The ones that you think are investors because they are talking up a storm are usually the “posers.”  They are not really there to invest but like to play the part.

We still had a few of those at the SBRE Summit, but for the most part, the fund managers and the accredited investors have been identified and know why they are there.  It relieves a lot of the pressure on both sides and makes for a first class event.  As Matt always says, “Just be who you are.  Be authentic.”  How refreshing!

Speaking of being authentic, it was a lot of fun to hear the former president talk about things other than the standard politics.  He had a chat with Matt Burke for about an hour.  We were in a room of only 250 to 300 people so it was an intimate setting.  Matt asked him questions and he had some interesting and amusing answers.  He spoke about his newfound hobby of painting, his dad as a huge mentor, his mom as the true boss of the family, some about what is going in the world today, and how he unfortunately has to stop at red lights when he drives places now.  He also said what he missed the most about being president was Air Force One.  I would suspect that is hard to replace.

Fairway for America event with President George W. Bush at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX. Photo by Grant Miller

George W. Bush and Steve Sixberry

Now you can see that W. did actually follow our presentation, but not exactly right after.  Plus, we had to pay to be there while he, of course, was paid to be there.  I think he was a bigger draw than we were.  Go figure.

Here is the best part.  After he spoke, the presenters and some select investors were able to get their picture taken with him.  I was probably 15th in line.  I don’t know what happened to my brain as I walked up to get my picture taken, but there was a glitch.  Something that sounded like a breaking up sound on a cell phone came out of my mouth.  All I could say was, “Aaaahhh Mr. Presiidt.”  I can’t even spell what came out of my mouth.  I then turned and smiled for the camera.  As I was walking away he said, “Where are you from?” I said, “Reno, Nevada” and off I went.

It all happened so fast, it was just a surreal moment.  I didn’t have anything brilliant to say anyways, but I could have at least sounded intelligent.  I was telling my story to others that night and some of them said they did the same thing, so maybe I don’t have to feel so silly.

It reminded me when you hit a foul ball in baseball and you know the catcher is going to catch it.  You so badly just want a do over.  Oh well, there is always next time, right?