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Real Estate Games benefit diabetes group

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Clark Construction Group seems to have a knack for hiring athletes. For the fourth year in a row the company won first place at this year’s recent Real Estate Games at American University, hosted by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

More than 1,300 people from the real estate community — including construction companies, architectural firms, contractors and developers — competed in the all-day event. Despite 102 degrees of blistering heat, contestants still ran 5-Ks, 100-meter dashes and relay races. Inside the Bender Arena gym was table tennis, weight lifting, hockey, basketball, foosball and wrestling.

Johanna Hsu, manager of office service at Clark, said the Olympic-style games are “everyone’s favorite event of the year” around the office. She received a text message from a teammate the night before: “I feel like a kid before Christmas!”

The company, which has 2,000 local employees, brought 100 of its staff to the event.

Clark focuses its corporate philanthropy on youth, education, arts, health and home rehabilitation projects.

Through sponsorships, registration, a live auction and a preliminary golf tournament, the foundation raised $400,000. Organizers say that 20 percent will finance operating costs and 80 percent will support cure-based diabetes research and other projects such as the Artificial Pancreas Project, which is being designed to automatically monitor glucose levels and calculate insulin dosages for diabetic patients.

The Real Estate Games started more than two decades ago as a small basketball tournament organized by a group of friends in the real estate community. It has raised more than $4 million since then.

The Meltzer Group won second place while JBG and Turner Construction’s mid-Atlantic office tied for third. Included in the 70 participating companies were HITT Contracting, WorkSpaces, Herman Miller, Tishman Speyer and ING Clarion Partners, the presenting sponsor.

“There’s a lot of business building here,” said Ami Kelly, director of marketing and business development at GHT, an engineering consulting company. “All the architects and contractors we work with are out there. I just found out one of our clients plays volleyball. So do I. That’s something else we can talk about.”

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