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Regional economic conference filling up

An opportunity to network with community business leaders and to hear forecasts and advice about the region's economy will be offered June 2 during a daylong event.

The third-annual Valley Real Estate & Economics Conference is expected to have a sellout crowd of 400, but some seats still are available.

"We're keeping the registration fee at $60, which includes a full breakfast and full lunch, because we want to encourage young business people to attend," said Dr. Stephen Endsley, who is organizing the event.

Previous conferences had been at the Modesto Centre Plaza, which enabled more than 500 attendees. But this year's event will be at the Gallo Center for the Arts, which will not hold as many.

The two keynote speakers both are chief executive officers of successful Northern San Joaquin Valley companies: Fritz Grupe of The Grupe Co. and Dan Costa of 5.11 Tactical.

Save Mart's CEO Bob Piccinini will be presented a lifetime achievement award at the event.

Other conference speakers include:

— Michael Zagaris of PMZ Real Estate

— Stanislaus County Supervisor Jeff Grover

— Craig Lewis of Prudential California Realty

— Modesto City Manager Greg Nyhoff

— Jim Applegate of Applegate Johnston construction

— Chris Courtney of Oak Valley Community Bank

— Paul Draper of Centerra Capital

— Lisa Finer of Wells Fargo Bank

— Bill Bassitt of the Stanislaus Economic Development Alliance

— Gerry Kamilos of PCCP WestPark

— Brian Hogan of U.S. Bank

— Susan Martin of Success Capital

— Mary Murtagh of EAH Housing

— Mark Reckers of Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate

— Bill Zoslocki of Zoslocki Construction

"All these guys are homemade successes, and the implication of them being here is: If they can do it, you can do it," said Endsley, a surgeon who also manages Endsley Properties.

A key aspect of the conference will be networking, Endsley emphasized.

"Bring your business cards. You're going to be spending the day with the finest people in Mo- desto, so might as well meet them and help each other out," Endsley said. "I want everyone to meet at least a couple of new people. I want them to be a mentor to someone and to let someone else mentor them."

The conference will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto.

Tickets are $60, including meals. They must be purchased in advance by calling 521-8111.