My professional real estate finance career began in 1994 after graduating from the University of Michigan with Honors in Economics. I started at Commercial National Bank, a community bank in Chicago, IL, which quickly grew to become a regional bank named Corus Bank. I financed neighborhood apartment buildings, mixed-use buildings, small shopping centers, and other neighborhood basics. Those experiences taught me how important commercial financing can be to the fabric of local neighborhoods and communities.
After three years at Corus Bank, I diversified my commercial real estate skill set by moving to the investment bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). The move exposed me to the opposite end of the commercial real estate spectrum. I was a lead underwriter for multi-million dollar ($5 million to $100 million) loans. CIBC specialized in commercial construction, and we helped build regional shopping centers, convention centers, office buildings, and industrial parks all over the country.
While in Chicago, I volunteered at Broadway Children’s Center, an after-school program for at-risk youth. My work there eventually lead to a position on the Board of Directors. In 1998, I put my finance career on hold and devoted two years to full-time volunteer work. I moved to my adopted home, Portland, Oregon, and spent two years volunteering at Irvington Elementary School and James John Elementary School in the Portland Public School District. I mentored and supported at-risk youth by creating tutor/mentor programs for them.
Upon completion of my volunteer work, I continued my formal education at Yale University, where I completed my MBA in 2002. I moved back to Portland and restarted my real estate banking career at U.S. Bank’s middle-market commercial banking group. I managed a multi-million dollar portfolio of commercial real estate loans. In 2005, I took a similar position at Umpqua Bank, where I continued to manage a multi-million loan portfolio and serve commercial real estate clients all across the Portland and SW Washington metro area.
I moved into commercial mortgage brokerage in 2007 when I accepted a position at Capmark Financial Group. Capmark allowed me to both broker commercial loans and originate them in-house. Capmark went bankrupt during the 2009 global financial crisis. Undeterred, I decided to start Wapiti Financial Consulting LLC and continue commercial mortgage consulting. I had found my true professional passion.
In 2011, I married my other passion, my wife Kilee. We are raising three children and we’re proud to call Portland our home. When we’re not working, we take every chance we can to explore all the wonders of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.