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Seven perspectives from the competitive edge.

Perhaps the biggest strength of the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show is the face-to-face sharing between peers. So we reached out to seven peers in the commercial real estate industry who will be attending this June in Denver. We asked them about their buildings, the challenges they're facing, their strategies for overcoming those challenges, and how attending the conference and tradeshow will make a difference in their buildings.

Don Erb: Tackling Large Challenges is a Team Activity

Portfolio: 2.3 million square feet of Student Residential Property on two campuses (the approximate size of the Empire State Building). 1,425 beds on one of our two city campuses and the remaining 5,775 beds on or next to our suburban Amherst, New York campus.

Challenge: I manage the University at Buffalo's residential facilities. The housing system consists of 15 traditional residence hall buildings and five apartment complexes. The university projects 35 percent growth in the student population over the next few years, and we're charged with making sure those students wishing to live on campus have a place to call home. There is huge competition for funding for all the buildings and programs inherent in such growth. While we're breaking ground on a new LEED Silver rated modified residence hail, we also need to keep our existing buildings operating. The challenge for my team is to oversee the new project while maintaining our current buildings at the highest level possible.

Another wrinkle in the challenge--we follow a five year capital replacement program, so we have to carefully manage our expenditures to make sure we're not wasting our operating budget on items we plan to replace in the capital program.

Strategy: The most important step is to understand that tackling large challenges is a team activity. We've assembled a talented and experienced team--pulling not just from my department, but also the university at large and an outside design team. Now the strategy is to enable each team member to execute their important portion of the tasks at hand, so that the entire team can reach the desired outcomes. As a leader, my job is to clear the obstructions for my team, provide the resources for them to execute the collective plan, and recognize and reward their efforts when we attain our goals.

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For our existing buildings, we've been leveraging our capital replacement program for energy conservation retrofitting ... from conscious selection of roof color to window replacements and HVAC replacements. We completed a lot of the lighting retrofits about 10 years ago, and now we're slowly moving to new technologies such as LED lighting as the applications dictate. We run conferences and camps here during the summer, so the building use changes at that time. From May 15 to August 15, my department operates a hotel. We have to selectively use buildings and plan occupancy around deep summer cleaning, maintenance work and the capital improvement schedule.

Conference Perspective: I have never walked away from the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show without deriving benefits that impact my personal life and how I conduct business. I've picked up valuable tips and perspective about leading and motivating people, both from the marquee speakers and from my colleagues in the industry. The acquaintances you make here become life-long friends that are a continuous resource for problem solving.

The exhibitors at The Office Building Show are always ready to help you incorporate new technologies or processes into your operation while helping you separate the value-driven trends from the passing fads. Between the conference and the tradeshow, I've found many tools and processes that have saved the University many thousands of dollars and paid for my attendance and involvement ten fold. But attending isn't about finding any one single winning technique or process. It in itself is a strategy I use to stay informed and to produce results.

We are in very competitive economic times. Even at a university we look for as many ways to get an edge as possible. I don't work directly in the office building market, but this conference provides an edge for anyone in commercial real estate. I never fail to come back with something I can use.

Conference Headliners

Continuing a tradition of megawatt speakers at the BOMA International Conference, this year's headliners will share insight that will supercharge your business.

Tony Snow on the World, the Election and What Really Matters

Opening General Session Sunday, June 22 Tony Snow, former White House press secretary and print and broadcast journalist

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Market Transformation: Leadership + Operational Excellence = Green ROI

Monday General Session June 23

Take part in the year's most important conversation on sustainability and get answers to your specific questions.

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Rick Fedrizzi, President and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council

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Catherine Greener, Vice President of Consulting, Saatchi & Saatchi S

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Sally Wilson, Global Director of Environmental Strategy, CB Richard Ellis

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Brenna Walraven, Executive Managing Director of National Property Management, USAA Real Estate Company, and Chairman of BOMA International

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Ira Magaziner, Chairman, Clinton Climate Initiative

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Forrest Sawyer, award-winning broadcast journalist

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Marc Gunther senior writer at FORTUNE

What's Your Strategy?

Commercial real estate's veteran executives are seeing the signs--the market is changing and the companies and individuals who rise to the challenges ahead will apply a comprehensive strategy for sustaining their business. All seven of the pros profiled here sighted the importance of continuing education, building relationships and finding the best products, services and technologies for their buildings-and all seven sighted the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show as the ideal place to accomplish all three.

As a reader of Buildings magazine, you already have a wealth of information, news and industry insight at your fingertips. You know the importance of staying informed. For you, this event connects you face-to-face with the newsmakers you read about. With so many factors pushing and pulling on today's commercial real estate market, the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show is an opportunity that is too important to miss.

Don L. Erb, RPA, FMA

Director of Residential Facilities

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Jim Kleeman: Connecting with People Brings Opportunities

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Portfolio: The world-famous, Pinnacle Award-winning Time Warner Center in New York City--2.8 million square feet combining office space with residential, retail, a hotel property and entertainment complex.

Challenge: The Time Warner Center is made up of multiple different ownerships that range from a 5-star hotel and jazz concert venue to a high-end luxury residential tower and the headquarters of one of the world's largest communications companies. While my role as GM is to manage the common areas and superstructure of the entire complex, the challenge is striking the right balance between the building's general needs and goals and those of the various ownerships. Moreover, we are New York's newest landmark and a major tourist destination open to the public, so our security challenges are unique.

Currently, we are focusing on reducing our energy costs and carbon footprint, and we have implemented an energy master plan in several phases over the next few years.

Strategy: It's a great time to be focusing on energy because of the technology and incentives out there in the marketplace. We were able to offset costs for the first phase through a NYSERDA grant. Knowing that more opportunities are out there for additional funding is a great advantage. We are utilizing the grant to install a metering system for monitoring our chillers. We're examining recommendations that should conservatively reduce our energy cost by 7-15 percent in the chiller plant. And we're partnering with a service provider to help us continually monitor our energy use through our automated building systems via a Web interface. Our master plan also calls for reutilizing condensate to cool domestic water. We're installing new motion detectors and we're doing a retrofitting, which will allow us to install more energy efficient lighting. Our second and third phases should produce even more reductions.

We've also gone beyond the New York City recycling requirements and implemented green cleaning, education and other steps to improve the environment. We take part in the ENERGY STAR program, we've registered for LEED-EB and we're considering other programs that will push us to the next level of excellence.

Conference Perspective: There are three reasons I'm looking forward to this year's BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show. First, we've won the regional TOBY (The Office Building of the Year) award, so we'll be up for the international TOBY Award in June. The TOBY Awards program that culminates at the annual conference is a great motivator--the entire program is a blueprint for how to manage at the highest level. It feels great to be recognized among our peers.

The second reason is to learn more about green initiatives. This is an important opportunity to hear from people who are working toward the same goals we're trying to reach. Learning from their perspective and experience is enormously valuable. Education gives us the capability and resources to get things done and achieve the highest standards possible of operations excellence.

And the third reason is the people. Participating on this international stage, you make connections with both the local professionals from your own market and also top people from around the world. My contact book is loaded with people from the network of professionals that meet up at this conference. I've been fortunate to work with many of them on projects or through BOMA committees and I'm always impressed and inspired by the level of intelligence and experience these folks bring to the table. No matter where they're from or what type of property they oversee, these people are people I look up to. I always benefit from the feedback I get from them.

James R. Kleeman

General Manager

Time Warner Center

Related Management Company, LP

New York, New York

The [begin strikethrough]Office[end strikethrough] Every Building Show

This tradeshow is not about the hard-sell ... it's about the hard-SOLVE.

It's called The Office Building Show, but it's not just for office buildings and it's not your typical tradeshow. In fact, forget the hard-selling environment you expect from most tradeshows. At The Office Building Show, you'll have ample time and the ideal environment to build cooperative relationships with the product and service providers who can help you solve the challenges of today's market. No weeding through residential and new construction solutions that don't apply to you. These experts can help you solve the most challenging building performance and operations issues you're facing ... issues like greening your existing buildings.

Green and energy-efficiency is such an important part of The Office Building Show that an entire section of the exhibit hall has been set aside as the Green Pavilion and ENERGY STAR[R] Showcase and we've enlisted the help of our partner, the U.S. EPA's ENERGY STAR Program, to ensure that the pavilion meets your unique needs.

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Face-to-Face is the Key to Optimization

The Office Building Show is designed specifically for the people who must optimize the ongoing operations and asset value of commercial real estate. Meeting face-to-face with the right product and service providers is an integral step in uncovering the ideas that will keep you competitive through any market cycle. This is your chance to ...

* Meet and exchange business cards with experts on all those products, services and technologies you've been meaning to research.

* Shake hands and share feedback with the leaders of the companies you already depend on.

* Discover innovative new service providers who could hold the answer to an ongoing issue.

* Lay the groundwork for important partnerships and business deals that could change the way you do business.

George Denise: Achieving Sustainability Means Starting Small

Portfolio: Adobe Towers--three platinum LEED-EB high-rise office buildings totaling one million square feet.

Challenge: We're focused on achieving the highest possible performance through sustainable practices. Our client, Adobe Systems Inc., has always had a strong environmental ethic, so the foundation for green has always been there. But initially, our approach to sustainability was really all about reducing operating costs and improving efficiency. Over the past six years, we've implemented a number of practices, procedures and processes that save energy, resources and nearly one million dollars per year in operating costs. Our challenge is to stay focused, keep the entire team involved and keep finding ways to achieve greater efficiency.

Strategy: For us, the key to success has been starting with a single project. In the beginning, we'd present one project at a time to Adobe's top decision-makers--the low-hanging fruit that is easy to approve. When the results proved successful, we were able to establish our credibility and keep adding more and more projects. We've now done 64 projects, including 26 load management projects to optimize equipment run times and temperature settings. We have more than 200 meeting rooms that are only in use 30 percent of the time, so now we have the HVAC in those rooms on motion sensors. It's a lot of common sense, very basic stuff, but it makes a huge difference. We've also done 19 lighting projects and six projects retrofitting major equipment. And we've done projects on water and waste management with a goal of reducing waste by 98 percent.

The way we put our teams together also makes a difference. Getting buy-in from all the players--not just our top executives, but also our key vendors and even our janitorial staff--is a top priority for us. As an example, when we first approached green cleaning, we brought in green cleaning guru Steve Ashkin to do an initial orientation with the entire staff and a few key vendors. After the orientation, I asked our staff if this was something they were ready to undertake. I wanted them to understand the commitment and take a stand either way. We started small, selecting a few volunteer janitors for extra training and green cleaning equipment. After a week or so, we got back together and they shared their feedback. It was easy to get everyone on board after that.

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Today, all three buildings are platinum LEED-EB and we've received numerous accolades and honors for our work, including the BOMA International Earth Award. But it all started with a few manageable projects and a team committed to putting in the extra effort it takes to reach the next level.

Conference Perspective: Another key aspect to our success has been staying on top of new green innovations. There are new technologies and techniques being developed that will help us continue to improve efficiency ... the trick is finding them. To that end, the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show has been a key resource for us. A lot of important innovation is coming from the service providers and industry leaders who attend. Meeting face-to-face at the conference and tradeshow helps us connect with experts who can guide us and recommend ways to create even more efficiency.

It's also a terrific forum for us to provide leadership, share our success stories and help guide other real estate executives toward sustainable practices. The more of us who are out there doing it, the more we can learn from one another and drive market innovation. At the BOMA International Conference, we're able to add to the momentum.

George Denise, CFM, CPM, FMA

General Manager

Cushman & Wakefield at Adobe Systems, Inc.

San Jose, California

Becky Hanner: Tackling Green Means Fostering Talent

Portfolio: My office handles 4.5 million square feet of office, medical, industrial, flex and retail space.

Challenge: Colliers Pinkard is a Baltimore, Maryland based third party commercial real estate firm offering a full array of real estate services, including property management services. I run the Property Management Department for the Raleigh office. One of my primary focuses is new business development.

Our biggest challenge? Digestion! The learning curve is great for many of us in implementing green and sustainable practices in our buildings. How do you know that "green" product really IS green? Where does your recycling really go? What additional water conservation measures can be taken in our buildings, especially with severe drought areas like the South? What are acceptable options for treating expenses incurred to reduce energy costs in a building when it will affect base year expenses? The list goes on.

Another focus is finding talent. Our employment pool is getting slimmer and slimmer. The good prospective employees are demanding fewer hours and greater pay. We look at different avenues to find prospective employees, however this continues to be a challenge.

Strategy: I find our most effective strategy is to take small bites. The enormity of this green theme is much easier if sliced in sections and tackled piece by piece. Each member of my team focuses on certain initiatives. For example, one team member focuses time and research on construction recycling, one on water conservation, another on reading energy bills. This allows each of us to focus on one piece of the puzzle and educate the others in the group, so we aren't being redundant and can make better headway. Our entire team takes the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) courses and takes advantage of other educational opportunities, as well.

My primary strategy for the talent issue is employee retention. Each member is a true asset to the team. We foster talent through continued education and a visual career path. The culture we've created here makes finding new talent easier--prospective future team members want to be valued and this is a place where everyone is valued.

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Conference Perspective: Since education is so important to us, attending the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show just makes sense. And education is not the only thing we gain. We learn new ideas, build relationships with expert exhibitors at The Office Building Show, see all the latest products and technologies, discuss best practices, get validation from our peers who can help us evaluate new ideas we've implemented, network with future clients, meet potential employees, develop leadership strategies, and share ideas with others who face the same challenges.

When I've attended in the past, I've met owner representatives who have provided me the opportunity to quote on new business with success. I have forged relationships with exhibitors who provide excellent service at very competitive prices. And, I have met rising stars who we've brought in for various positions within the company. It's also a great opportunity to tap into the BOMA network--there's no better avenue for leadership training than serving on a committee and participating in BOMA.

Where else can you go to see new products and services, have face time with the industry's top suppliers, get the best of the best in educational programs, find out industry trends, and have an open exchange of information? Attending enables us to raise the quality of our service another notch and helps us retain an edge in the market.

Rebecca B. Hanner CPM

Vice President

Colliers Pinkard

Raleigh, North Carolina

Scott Kuklish: Education Helps Us Keep Pace

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Portfolio: 2 million square feet of medical office space spread across the United States from Florida to Hawaii.

Challenge: Since my primary focus is healthcare real estate management and leasing, the biggest challenge for my team is getting our arms around the growth of the healthcare industry as it relates to real estate management and leasing. Medical office buildings are a proven asset class--outpacing the commercial office sector during this market cycle--but to really excel you have to understand the market dynamics and the political landscape that shape the healthcare industry. Not only do we need to manage to a higher standard, but also we need to understand the physician's practice so we can add value and help our tenants be more successful.

It used to be that when you went to the doctor to have a medical procedure, you went to a hospital. Today, many of those procedures are taking place in the medical office buildings and ambulatory surgery centers that we manage. Unlike commercial office space, many are open seven days a week, sometimes 24 hours a day. We've had to adapt our management techniques accordingly.

The reality of managed care is that we cannot be the most expensive option out there. Our tenants are getting a smaller percentage of insurance reimbursement, so we need to respond with a competitive rate. We've also committed to being socially and environmentally responsible, for both new development and our existing properties.

Strategy: We've poured a lot of resources into education and research. For us to achieve our goal--to provide services that will enhance the relationship between the physician and the patient and make the doctor's business more profitable--we have to manage both the bricks and mortar and the unique opportunities for healthcare tenants. We try to identify synergies where we are able to put together the right mix of doctors into a single development so they can benefit from cross-referrals. We look for value-added services like electronic medical record storage and supply e-procurement. All this while working to create an appealing (and hospital clean) environment so our tenants will stay in our buildings and refer people to our buildings.

From the real estate side, we're taking part in the ENERGY STAR program. We've accepted BOMA's 7-Point Challenge to reduce energy compump[tion by 30 percent by 2012. We've been working toward LEED certification in our new developments. In our existing buildings, we constantly work to maximize our operating systems and improve the quality of the environment inside the building envelope. It's absolutely critical that we keep pace with the best practices in building operations, for example, by participating in BOMA's annual benchmarking report, the Experience Exchange Report.

Conference Perspective: That's where the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show excels. It's all about exposure--building a sense of awareness about other folks' methods, including the pluses and the minuses. I also want to mention the Medical Office Building Seminar that takes place just before the BOMA International Conference. BOMA embraces healthcare real estate, Both events are great for real estate education and bringing together a fantastic group of industry peers.

For me, the single greatest benefit of attending these events is building my peer network. Just last week I was able to leverage my network to ask questions about business opportunities in a new region for us. It was like we knew one another and shared a similar vision.

And the other great benefit is the tradeshow. The Office Building Show is excellent. It's really important for us not just to learn about the latest products out there but also to see them, touch them and meet the people behind them. Building relationships with our vendors helps us recognize and understand new opportunities when they arise.

R. Scott Kuklish

Executive Vice President--Managing Director, Medical Property Services

PM Realty Group

Houston, Texas

Kit McPhail-Bowman: Optimizing Technology is Key to Continued Success

Portfolio: Approximately 1.3 million square feet including a 56 story office tower, Republic Plaza, the tallest in Denver, a retail building, a food court, a 1,250 space parking garage and some other small properties.

Challenge: The challenges we face and will continue to face is to maintain operating expenses at a competitive level while maintaining the first-class service that our tenants have come to expect. We continue to face increases in property tax cost, insurance cost, energy costs and labor costs. In addition, we face the challenge of continuing to green the building in partnership with our tenants.

Preserving the first class service and enhancing the value of the asset is always a top priority for Brookfield, and as general manager of a Denver landmark, that means continuing to achieve the highest level of building performance is my top priority.

Strategy: Regarding sustainability, Republic Plaza's procedures, technology, training and commitment are integral to the successful reduction of energy use and cost. The ownership and management of Republic Plaza have been relatively unchanged for more than 20 years, and the senior engineering staff has been with the building since its construction began in 1981. The state-of the art (for the time) energy management equipment and procedures put in place initially have been updated and improved upon throughout the life of the building, largely due to the long-term experience and commitment of these staff members and the support of Brookfield Properties.

Optimizing technology is the key to improving efficiency and providing our staff with the tools they need to meet their goals. Each team member is integral to our performance. Identifying and implementing tools that can actually help them save time and be more productive is critical. Knowledge of the latest technologies has allowed Brookfield to proactively maintain the value of its properties throughout the country. New products and techniques are also key to tenant buy-in and participation for earth-friendly practices.

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We've also participated in several awards programs as a way to keep our competitive edge. Republic Plaza has been very successful in the TOBY (The Office Building of the Year) and Earth Awards programs that culminate at the BOMA International Conference. We've won the local TOBY in 1991, 1995 and 2004, the Midwest/Northern Regional TOBY in 2004, the International TOBY in 2004;2005, and most recently, the BOMA/Denver Metro Earth Award in 2007.

Conference Perspective: Over the years, attending the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show has helped us uncover and understand how to implement the latest technologies and products. Being there also gives us access to our contemporaries who have experienced the pros and cons of the new technologies first-hand. Together, we share our knowledge, sparking creative ideas that help us continue to achieve our goals.

This year's program--focusing more on greening and adding value in existing buildings--is especially compelling. This conference always has expert speakers and inspiring keynotes, and now the five new education tracks will help us zero in on a gold mine of information in one location in a short period of time.

Who Will Win Commercial Real Estate's Top Honors?

The Office Building of the Year (TOBY) and Earth Awards honor the buildings--and the men and women who own and manage the buildings--that exemplify excellence in building management, operational efficiency, tenant retention, emergency planning and community impact. In addition, the Earth Award honors the buildings that are solving the toughest sustainability issues for existing buildings, This awards program recognizes excellence in hundreds of communities around the country, first at the local level, then regional and culminating in the international awards that are bestowed at the annual TOBY and Earth Awards Banquet on the last night of the BOMA International Conference and The Office Building Show.

Kit McPhail-Bowman, CPM

General Manager

Brookfield Properties

Denver, Colorado

Ron Simpson: Negotiating Green for the GSA

Portfolio: For the last eight years, I have been a realty specialist for GSA, acquiring space for use by federal agencies. Currently, I handle acquisitions in the state of Colorado. Part of my responsibility is to require our private sector lessors to conform and perform the green functions of our lease. I was part of the team that negotiated the ten-year lease for a design/construct for the nine-story, 290,000 square foot EPA Regional Headquarters in downtown Denver, which incorporated a significant number of sustainability and green requirements.

Challenge: With 24 LEED-certified buildings and more on the way, GSA has taken a position of leadership in energy efficiency to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, GSA must follow the requirements set forth in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which also established the Office of High-Performance Green Buildings (OHPGB) in the GSA to promote green building technology implementation in federal buildings. The extent to which we meet Congressional mandates varies from procurement to procurement.

Strategy: Inherently, size does matter. When we do design/construct, the federal government is almost always the dominant tenant and that's when we can specify green in more areas. Even though the same rules apply to leased space, we have to deal with the marketplace and that means we can't be as stringent as we'd like. When we are a small tenant in a large building, we have to adjust our expectations so that a private sector lessor will be willing to work with us. It simply doesn't make economic sense to make them spend enormous amounts of money to accommodate us, especially in small, rural communities. We apply a sliding scale based on the percentage of the space we occupy in a given building to determine the level of green building requirements. We deal with procurements one at a time.

Conference Perspective: With 48 years of experience in commercial real estate and as BOMA International president from 1983-1985, I understand the business, but I always learn something new. Education has played a tremendous role and continues to help me meet the needs of changing markets and overcome challenges along the way. The Office Building Show has been a prime learning experience for me with its cutting-edge solutions and suppliers. Over the years, I discovered floor wax that allowed us to have shiny floors without creating a hazard, and carpet tiles that are now affordable, durable and versatile. I got my first look at modular office furniture, which, by the way, many thought would not be successful, and so many other products and services that have helped me manage buildings more effectively and better meet my tenants' needs prior to my association with GSA. I've learned a fair share by attending the BOMA Conference, too. Staying up-to-date is a must in this business and the BOMA Conference provides just what we need.

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Interested in Going Behind the Scenes?

Operational excellence comes to life in these two award-winning buildings. Both Republic Plaza and the EPA Regional Headquarters, a hallmark of environmental sustainability, are among the six high-performance buildings that attendees will have the option of touring during the conference in Denver.

Ronald L. Simpson, RPA, CPM, COTR

Leasing Specialist/Contracting Officer

Colorado Service Center

U.S. Government Services

Administration
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Title Annotation:The BOMA International Conference & The Officer Building Show; Building Owners and Managers Association International
Comment:Seven perspectives from the competitive edge.(The BOMA International Conference & The Officer Building Show)(Building Owners and Managers Association International)
Publication:Buildings
Date:Apr 1, 2008
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