Topic: The Ion & Innovation District – Creating Value and Opportunity in Houston’s Innovation Ecosystem
Speakers: Aaron Ableson, Ryan LeVasseur & Sam Dike
September 15, 2020 | 8:00 - 9:00 am | Zoom link will be sent the day before the program
Aaron Abelson, Principal, HR&A Advisors
Aaron manages public-private development, real estate strategy, and open space projects for a range of public-sector, private-sector, and nonprofit clientsAaron’s work has included market and financial analysis underlying a vision plan and $100M public financing package for mixed-use redevelopment of a 40-acre former industrial site in Denver; project management and real estate strategy for Rice University’s development of a 16-acre innovation district in Midtown Houston; and investment and implementation strategy for Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s park, trail, and community development along four miles of waterfront east of Downtown Houston. In Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Charleston, and Boston, among other cities, he has provided clients with the analysis and strategic guidance to move large-scale projects from plan to implementation. Aaron is located in HR&A’s Dallas office.
Aaron joined HR&A in 2013 after two years working in Southeast Asia. As a Princeton in Asia Fellow in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Aaron coordinated fundraising efforts for the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, an NGO working to reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities in the developing world. He later joined Intel in Bangkok, Thailand, where he led development of a website about the company’s regional corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and supported the regional CSR team. Previously, Aaron worked for Slavic Village Development, a community development organization in Cleveland, and for the Supportive Housing Network of New York.
Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University, where he also received a certificate in Urban Studies.
Ryan LeVasseur, Managing Director - Direct Real Estate, Rice Management CompanyRyan LeVasseur joined Rice Management Company in 2019 as the Managing Director of Direct Real Estate. In this role, Mr. LeVasseur is responsible for investments in strategic development opportunities in Houston. Prior to joining RMC, Mr. LeVasseur spent five years in Hines’ New York development office where he was a Managing Director. Prior to joining Hines, Mr. LeVasseur was a Director at HR&A Advisors. While at HR&A, he was responsible for urban development assignments in an array of locations including the New York City metropolitan area, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Detroit. Mr. LeVasseur received an MS in Real Estate Development from Columbia University where he was a Kinne Fellow and a Bachelor of Architecture and a BA in Architecture from Rice University. Ryan serves as a member of the Columbia GSAPP Alumni Board and was an adjunct professor at Columbia University teaching a course on real estate market analytics.
Sam Dike, Manager | Strategic Initiatives, Rice Management Company
Sam Dike joined Rice Management Company in 2020 as Manager of Strategic Initiatives. In this role Mr. Dike is responsible for ensuring strategic investments, public policy and external partnerships align with RMC’s core real estate strategy. Prior to joining RMC, Mr. Dike was Vice President of Programs for the Houston Land Bank where he was responsible for managing programs to develop affordable housing as well overseeing partnership development and intergovernmental relations. Prior to joining the Houston Land Bank, Mr. Dike spent nine years on staff at Houston City Council with seven of those years as Chief of Staff for the Vice Mayor Pro-Tem. Mr. Dike received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Houston and is a Texas Legislative Intern Program (TLIP) Alum. Mr. Dike was appointed by Houston City Council to serve on the Board of Directors for Harris County Improvement District #23 and is actively involved in community and economic development efforts around Houston; serving as a member of the Board of Directors of local nonprofits, TXRX Labs Inc., East End Maker Hub, Architecture Center Houston Foundation and Truly Home Inc.