Our Executive Board:

President - Robert T. De Forest

Robert is the Founder & Managing Principal of The Pinyon Group, a full-service real estate investment and advisory firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Since founding the firm in 2010, the firm has advised clients and partners on the acquisition, development, and/or disposition of $500 million of urban and infill real estate consisting of roughly two million square feet on over 100 acres of urban and infill land. Prior to founding The Pinyon Group, Robert served as Vice President of a New York-based a real estate private equity fund manager, where he was a key acquisition officer for the Western Region, investing $317 million closed‐end private equity funds in urban residential and commercial properties and/or real estate secured notes, representing over $1 billion of real estate. Robert holds a Master in Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from UCLA.

Treasurer - Tyson Strutzenberg

Tyson Strutzenberg is a Managing Director in the Commercial Investment Group at Kennedy Wilson where he is responsible for asset management of equity investments and workouts of debt investments.   Prior to Kennedy Wilson, Mr. Strutzenberg worked in the acquisitions group at RREEF in San Francisco where he was responsible for underwriting and closing equity investments. He has a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University, an MS in Aeronautics from Stanford University, and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.

Secretary - Sarah Mercurio

Sarah Mercurio is the Assistant Director of Student and Alumni Programs for the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate. Ms. Mercurio is responsible for the management and development of all Ziman Center programs, including student, alumni and industry events. She oversees the activities and strategy for the Anderson Real Estate Association, Real Estate Law Association, Bruin Real Estate Association and UCLA Ziman Real Estate Alumni Group. Ms. Mercurio holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from CSU San Bernardino. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Composition from her alma mater, where she is researching urban green space, specifically city parks, and their role in the social construction of wilderness.

Vice President, Membership - Natalie Greenberg

Natalie Atun Greenberg is a Senior Asset Manager at Colony Capital, where she manages a portfolio of non-performing loans. Previously she held the position of Assistant Vice President at Lowe Enterprises, a leading national real estate developer, operator and manager. While at Lowe, Natalie worked primarily in the finance group, and was responsible for closing over $800 million in aggregate loan transactions. Natalie began her career as an analyst in UBS Investment Bank’s Real Estate, Lodging & Leisure Group, where she focused on M&A transactions and private equity placements. Natalie received a graduate degree from the full-time MBA program at UCLA Anderson School of Management, and an undergraduate degree from Barnard College at Columbia University, where she received summa cum laude honors, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Vice President, Membership - Curtis Colon

Curtis H. Colon is a commercial mortgage broker specializing in the financing of multifamily, industrial, office and retail real estate assets located in California and the western United States.  He has over 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry; he passed the California real estate salesperson exam in 1991 and has been in the industry his entire career. Prior to joining Skyline Financial, Mr. Colon was the founder of Hermosa Capital, Inc., a commercial real estate brokerage specializing in investment properties located in Los Angeles County.  His primary clients were private high net worth property investors, including family trusts.

Previously, Mr. Colon was a Principal with Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, the commercial real estate lending arm of Prudential Financial, Inc.  During his six years at Prudential, he was responsible for leading a deal team that covered Southern California for “Pru” and originated, negotiated and closed approximately $2.0 billion in commercial real estate financing transactions located throughout Southern California and the western United States. Before Prudential, Mr. Colon was a real estate consultant with the Financial Advisory Services practice of Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers), where he specialized in financial consulting relating to the restructuring of commercial real estate loans and related litigation.  While with C&L, Mr. Colon also fulfilled all requirements for CPA certification in the State of California.

Curtis has served on the Board of Directors of the UCLA Anderson Alumni Network as Chair of the Alumni Development Committee and remains active in various alumni groups including UCLA Ziman REAG.  In the past he has served on various other volunteer boards including for several years with Habitat for Humanity – Los Angeles, where he held the position of Board Treasurer.  He received an M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

Vice President - Scott Kend

Scott Kend is the Senior Director of Development & Acquisitions for Combined Properties. He is responsible for identifying and acquiring new value-add retail and mixed-use projects as well as redeveloping portions of Combined’s extensive portfolio in the Southern California region. Scott began his real estate career at Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, an institutional real estate investor located in Los Angeles, California. He later worked for Standard Management, an owner/operator of retail and multifamily assets. Most recently, Scott was a principal at DTM Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based investor in the distressed single family residential market. Scott holds a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he was designated a Carter Fellow. He was a United States Fulbright Scholar in Mexico City, Mexico.

Vice President - Steve Michels

Steve Michels is an Associate in Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Hospitality Group. Since joining in 2011, he has been involved in over $550 million of completed sales, joint venture equity and financing transactions in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining C&W, Steve worked as a Venture Associate for The Marcus & Millichap Company, a diversified real estate holding company with subsidiaries in real estate investment, commercial and residential development, capital markets, and private equity. Other prior experience includes roles at Mesa West Capital, Wynn Las Vegas and the Bellagio Resort. Steve received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and a Masters of Business Administration from UCLA Anderson School of Management with a concentration in Real Estate Finance. He is an active member of Urban Land Institute, and a registered California Real Estate Broker.

Vice President - Blake Thomas

Blake graduated from Vanderbilt University, where he earned his B.S. in Engineering Management and M.S. in Civil Engineering. He went on to spend five (5) years as a development consultant for a local municipality in South Florida. During this time, he completed over $100M of ground-up construction and obtained his Professional Engineering license. In 2012, Blake earned his MBA at UCLA Anderson with an emphasis in Real Estate and Finance. While at UCLA Anderson, Blake was the President of the Anderson Real Estate Association, and held numerous internships at companies including Worthe Real Estate Group, Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage, and Urban One. Additionally, in the fall of 2011 Blake was part of the winning UCLA NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge team. Currently, Blake works for Jones Lang LaSalle in Los Angeles, providing Landlord and Tenant representation for sale and lease transitions, focused on office and entertainment real estate. He is licensed by the California Department of Real Estate, and is an active member of ULI’s Young Leaders Group.

Vice President - Brent Steele

Brent Steele joined CBRE Global Investors in 2010 as a member of the Strategic Partners U.S. team. Brent has been directly involved in the acquisition, closing or commitment of over $1.8 billion of investments and other related transactions. Previously, Brent worked for AIG Global Real Estate in various capacities, which included acquisition, disposition and asset management, as well as for Mesa West Capital originating/underwriting high-yield debt investments. Prior to joining the real estate field, Mr. Steele spent three years working in mergers and acquisitions, most recently with Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, and specialized in the financial institutions sector. Brent received a B.A. degree in Political Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Vice President - Babak Ziai

Babak Ziai is Vice President at Lowe Enterprises where he is responsible for acquisitions and financing of commercial and mixed-use developments in Southern California. In previous capacities he served as Acquisition Officer for commercial properties in the Western U.S. and Development Manager for mixed-use development in Los Angeles. Mr. Ziai began his career as a business valuation consultant with Standard and Poor’s Corporate Value Consulting Group. He received a B.A. in Business Economics with Honors from UCLA and a Master of Real Estate Development with Honors from the University of Southern California.

Vice President - Rebecca Perlmutter

Rebecca Perlmutter Finkel, CFA graduated from the Anderson School of Management with a Real Estate emphasis in 2005.  She joined the Longo / Emmons Industrial Investment team at CBRE as a Director to assist clients with their disposition and recapitalization needs, as well as manage the seven person support team.  In 2012, Rebecca executed over $1.7 billion of industrial investment sales across the west coast in markets such as Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, Phoenix, the Bay Area, Seattle and Portland.   Prior to entering the real estate brokerage industry, she was the Senior Acquisitions Associate at KB Urban.  She also worked at Wells Fargo Securities as an Equity Research Analyst and Investment Banking Associate for 4 years before obtaining her MBA.

Vice President - Scott Burrin

Scott Burrin is the Chief Investment Officer for Jamison Realty Advisors; a Los Angles based private capital real estate investment syndicate.  The Jamison Group owns and manages approximately twenty million square feet of office, medical, retail and hospitality investments in California and Texas. Mr. Burrin holds a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA, graduating Magna Cum Laude and a Juris Doctor from Loyola Marymount University. Mr. Burrin licensed by both the California Department of Real Estate as a broker and by the California Bar as an attorney.

Vice President - Peter Carmichael

Pete is the Waterfront and Economic Development Director for the City of Redondo Beach where he is responsible for the $250M public/private redevelopment of the City’s Waterfront. Prior to his work at the City of Redondo Beach, Pete was at Arch Bay Capital where he oversaw the Special Assets Group and the disposition of the fund’s $300M default portfolio. He began his real estate career in residential development at home builders The Olson Company and John Laing Homes. Pete holds a BA from UCLA in Psychology and Business Administration as well as an MBA from the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.

Vice President - David Todd

David works at MKS Residential where he is responsible for investment identification, underwriting, due diligence and acquisition. Prior to joining MKS, David obtained his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management with an emphasis in finance and real estate. During this time he concurrently worked with The Ratkovich Company underwriting and evaluating investment opportunities. Prior to attending UCLA he worked as a project manager for Evergreen Development leading commercial projects through entitlements, design, permitting and construction completion. He began his career working for Wells Fargo as a Financial Analyst in the commercial real estate group. David graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in finance.

Vice President - Ash Baraghoush

Ash is a Senior Associate with Ares Management responsible for originating and underwriting equity, mezzanine and senior debt for real estate investments.  Prior to Ares, Ash spent seven years in private equity responsible for acquisitions, underwriting, asset management and workout strategies for real estate ventures. Ash began his career at Bank of America in the Global Corporate Investment Banking Real Estate division.  Ash holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Business Economics, minor in Accounting.

Vice President - Alex Valente

Alex Valente serves as a Senior Associate in Development & Investment for Trammell Crow Company. His primary focus is underwriting the cost of development and performing investment & market analysis. Property types include office, industrial, multifamily, medical office, vacant land and retail. Alex holds a BA in Economics from Trinity College where he was Phi Beta Kappa and an MBA from UCLA Anderson where he was the President of the Anderson Real Estate Association (AREA) and the winner of the John Long Award for Most Outstanding Student in Real Estate.

Vice President - Brandt Hollander

Brandt Hollander will be joining Goodwin Procter’s Business Law Department as an associate upon graduation from UCLA Law School in 2013. While in law school, Brandt has served for two years as the president of the Real Estate Law Association and as co-chair of the Skid Row Housing Clinic and was named a Peter Bren Distinguished Fellow in Entrepreneurial Real Estate. Prior to law school, Brandt was a real estate agent at A.C. Lawrence & Co. in Manhattan where he founded and led the firm’s most productive rental team. Brandt holds a B.A. in political science from Yale University where he captained the varsity football team.

Board Advisor - John Gebhardt

John Gebhardt is a Principal in the real estate consulting and investment firm of Sherwood Equity Group, LLC. (SEG).  In such role he is active in project consulting, leasing, valuations, redevelopment, design, entitlement, financing and recapitalization of retail, office, mixed-use and multi-family properties.

Prior to such role at SEG, Mr. Gebhardt served as the local Partner and Project Principal for Panattoni Development Company, an international commercial real estate developer.  In such role he was responsible for all ownership activities in the Greater Los Angeles area, including property acquisition, entitlements, leasing and development for retail, office, mixed-use and multi-family properties.

Previous to Panattoni Mr. Gebhardt was a Project Partner with the J.H. Snyder Company, one of the largest commercial real estate developers in Southern California.  In this role he focused on the acquisition, entitlement, leasing, financial underwriting, and development of retail, office and multi-family properties.

Prior to joining the J.H. Snyder Company, Mr. Gebhardt was with CB Richard Ellis, the world’s largest real estate service company.  He served as a Managing Director of the San Fernando Valley office, the West Los Angeles office and in Charlotte, North Carolina.  During such tenure he was licensed as a Real Estate Broker in California, North Carolina and South Carolina.  In such roles he helped formulate the strategic plans for the respective geographic areas, with a focus on development and redevelopment.  He also served as the Co-Director of the firm’s Institutional Services Group for the Los Angeles metro region, which included landlord leasing, property management, mortgage banking and investment sales.

Prior to his leadership role at CB Richard Ellis, Gebhardt was with The Voit Companies, a full-service real estate development company based in Woodland Hills, CA.  During his tenure at Voit, he achieved the title of Senior Vice President.  He was responsible for the company’s suburban development projects throughout Los Angeles, and oversaw the growth of the company’s asset management business.  He was also Director of Marketing for Warner Center Properties, a 2.8 million square foot mixed-use project in Woodland Hills, as well as development manager for the 80-acre Simi Valley Business Center.

Mr. Gebhardt began his career as an associate with Price Waterhouse, where he earned the credential of Certified Public Accountant from the state of California.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from UCLA, and has participated in Harvard University’s Executive Education Program and Stanford University’s Advanced Management College.  He is currently a licensed Real Estate Broker in California, and is a member and former Southern California Board Member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and is a former Co-Chairman and Board Member of the Los Angeles Commercial Realty Association (LACRA).  He also has served as an Executive Committee Member for the UCLA Real Estate Alumni Group.  He holds the designations of Real Property Administration (RPA) and Facilities Management Administration (FMA) through BOMI.  He is also an active member of REIAC.

Ex-Officio Member/Immediate Past-President - Ronnie Gul

Ronnie Gul is the Immediate Past-President of UCLA Ziman Real Estate Alumni Group. Ronnie is a Principal and co-head of west coast originations at Mesa West Capital.  Ronnie has structured and closed over $1 billion in transactions on over 6 million square feet of commercial real estate properties.  Ronnie’s real estate experience also includes the acquisition, management and renovation of a private multifamily portfolio in Los Angeles.  Ronnie received a B.A. in Economics with honors from UCLA and an MBA from UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.

Ex-Officio Member - Reuben Berman

Reuben Berman is the founder of Entrada Partners, a full service multifamily platform that manages 3,500 units in California, Hawaii, Colorado and Texas. Before founding Entrada, Reuben worked in the acquisitions and development group at Kor Realty Group, a Los Angeles based real estate firm focused on apartments, condominiums, boutique hotels and resorts. At Kor, Reuben led the acquisition and disposition of $330 million worth of multifamily properties. Prior to Kor, Reuben worked at AEW Capital Management, a real estate pension fund advisor with $32 billion of assets under management. At AEW, Reuben worked with joint venture operating partners to acquire over $500 million of commercial real estate, sell a $615 million portfolio of office buildings to Arden Realty, negotiate debt facilities and underwrite numerous other investment opportunities. Prior to joining AEW, he worked at Wells Fargo Bank’s Real Estate Group underwriting construction loans and borrowers for new real estate developments. Reuben earned a BS in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and holds an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA.