Our Executive Board:

President - Robert T. De Forest

Robert 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 - Alex Hawkins

Alex Hawkins

 

Alexander is an Investment Manager in the Commercial Mortgage Lending group at AIG, where he manages a portfolio of $1.3 billion in loans across 9 states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. He manages the day-to-day asset management functions for his portfolio including lease reviews, escrow releases, future fundings, transfers and assumptions and loan workouts. Additionally, he helps manage the reporting for the entire $17.5 billion loan portfolio. Prior to joining AIG, Alexander spent 7 years in various corporate finance roles for the aerospace company, Raytheon. Alexander received a graduate degree from the full-time MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management with a Real Estate Specialization, and an undergraduate degree with Honors from Babson College, where he played basketball.

Secretary - Sarah Mercurio

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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 - Natalie Greenberg

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 - Darren Cline

Darren Cline

 
Darren Cline is responsible for investor relations at TerraCotta. TerraCotta is an Investment Management Firm that invests in commercial real estate credit both through acquisition and origination.

Before joining TerraCotta, Darren was with Grubb & Ellis, where he worked with many corporate clients and completed some of the largest real estate transactions in the San Fernando Valley/Ventura County. Earlier, when he was with Colliers International’s San Fernando Valley office, Darren received extensive training and developed a background in all aspects of brokerage services, including industrial/office sales, leasing and investment.

Darren graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in political science and a minor in international relations. While attending UCLA, he was a member of the UCLA Bruins football team and was a starter for two years.

Vice President - Scott Kend

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 Michels2

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 - Adam Lurie

Vice President - Tim Najera

Tim graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2009, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Business Economics and a minor in Accounting. and earned his Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Business in 2013, where he was named an Edward W. Carter Fellow and was awarded the J. Fred Weston Award for Academic Excellence in Finance. While at UCLA, Tim competed in a number of national competitions with his team finishing first in the 2013 KeyBank MBA Commercial Mortgage Banking Case Competition and second in the 2011 Transactional Law Meet.
Tim is currently an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher practicing in the firm’s Real Estate Department. Tim represents a wide range of clients in all aspects of real estate transactions, including joint ventures, acquisitions and dispositions of real property interests, and mortgage and mezzanine financings.

Vice President - Babak Ziai

Babak Ziai

Babak Ziai is the Founder and Managing Principal of BrandView Inc., an innovative commercial real estate investment, development and advisory firm. Mr. Ziai previously served as Vice President of Acquisitions and Development at Lowe Enterprises Inc., a diversified, vertically integrated, national real estate company with over $6 billion in assets under management. At the confluence of Lowe’s investment and operating platforms, Mr. Ziai led investments for $300 million in value-added commercial acquisitions in the Western U.S. and mixed use development totaling $800 million in Southern California.

Mr. Ziai began his career as a Consultant for Standard & Poor’s where he advised domestic Fortune 500 and foreign companies on business enterprise and asset valuations. Formal education includes a B.A. in Business Economics from UCLA and a Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California.

Vice President - Jason Meagher

Vice President - Bradley Ross

Brad Ross

Bradley Ross is primarily responsible for originating, underwriting, and executing capital placement opportunities for the debt and equity platforms within Karlin Real Estate, a private investment firm managing $1.5 Billion of equity capital. Prior to joining Karlin, he was a top producing broker with Major Properties Real Estate, a Los Angeles based commercial brokerage. Mr. Ross led sourcing, marketing, and closing efforts for 80+ sale and lease transactions across industrial, commercial, multifamily, and hospitality product types as well as for various development opportunities. Mr. Ross sits on the Board of the UCLA Ziman Center Real Estate Alumni Group and the Los Angeles Mortgage Association, was recently elected as one of Southern California’s “Tomorrow’s Leaders” by Real Estate Forum Magazine, and has been featured in GlobeSt Magazine. Mr. Ross is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A.), the UCLA Anderson School of Management (M.B.A.), and is a licensed California real estate broker.

Vice President - Alan Hiller

Alan Hiller

Vice President - Austin Richter

Austin Richter

Austin Richter is a Vice President at Westbrook Properties and is responsible for acquisition, value enhancement and realization activities in the residential sector within the western United States. Prior to joining Westbrook, Austin worked for LandCap Partners, a residential real estate investment firm formed by a partnership between Goldman Sachs Whitehall Funds and Northstar Realty Finance. Prior to LandCap Partners, Austin was a Credit Manager at Financial Federal Credit Inc., a $2 Billion NYSE listed company specializing in providing capital to mid-market construction companies. Other prior experience includes roles at Westport Capital Partners and Dinapoli Capital Partners. Austin received his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin.

Vice President - Phillip Wintner

Phillip Wintner

Phillip Wintner is the CFO of the Multifamily division of Kennedy Wilson, a Beverly Hills based global real estate investment and services firm. Phillip has been with KW since 2005 and is responsible for the oversight of financial reporting, debt financings and risk management of the US multifamily assets. Prior to joining KW, he was an auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He received his B.S. in Accounting from Yeshiva University and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is a CPA in California and New York.

Vice President - Alex Valente

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

Brandt Hollander is a real estate attorney at Elkins Kalt Weintrab Reuben Gartside LLP and a graduate of UCLA Law School. Brandt represents real estate owners, operators and investors in a variety of complex commercial real estate matters throughout the United States. Prior to his current position, Brandt was an associate at Goodwin Procter LLP where he focused on transactional real estate and was a founding member of the firm’s crowdfunding practice group. While in law school, Brandt served for two years as the president of the Real Estate Law Association and co-chair of the Skid Row Housing Clinic, he was also 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.

Vice 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.