YOU CAN INVEST WITH CONFIDENCE AT OPP ZONE.

Together, Opp Zone’s team has amassed an impressive total of 75 years in real estate and fund industry experience.

OPP ZONE’S DISTINGUISHED TEAM OF EXPERTS

Co-principal & COO

Jeanine Blake

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The Crane

Jeanine is Opp Zone’s heavy lifter. Her sturdy nature and visionary force garnered international attention through her entrepreneurial role as SVP of Global Partnerships for Portable on Demand Storage (PODS). Expertly navigating growth opportunities in an industry with massive barriers, she consistently doubled the revenues of the PODS system. This was done through strategic expansion marketplace decisions and the aligning of relationships for operations, equipment, infrastructure and financing needs. 70% of PODS footprint globally was a direct reflection of her dynamic skill sets as evidenced by over 200+ franchises in operation.

Proving to be a stable force in entrepreneurship and business, Jeanine exited in 2006, opening Express Medical Transporters of Tampa Bay- a Florida based non-emergency medical transport company. The first in 25 years to gain transportation authority, she grew the entity to service a 1.2M large population with consistent 70% growth year over year, selling in 2010.

Known for her strong foundation and supportive nature, she began Red Bag Service for small business owners where she focused on increasing her clients’ revenue through government contracts. Red Bag Service specialized in medical, pharmaceutical, hazardous waste, transportation, moving, storage, real estate and other small businesses looking to enter into the government sector.

Today, she functions as Co-principal, COO & Fund Manager for Opp Zone Capital. Jeanine continuously raises Opp Zone to new heights through the joint acquisition of world class leaders; individuals unparalleled in their expertise, drive, and industry knowledge.

Co-principal & CIO

Edmon Rakipi

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The Bulldozer

Growing up in the restaurant and hospitality industry after immigrating to the states from Denmark, Edmon is no stranger to moving ground. The sale of their family business launched him into a new industry at Medical Transporters of Tampa Bay, where he met Jeanine Blake and began learning operations to rise through the ranks. Edmon took his sharp edge into the grocer world with Aldi, and as a division leader he operated at the top 1% of Aldi’s worldwide operations.

Transitioning to Financial Services, he saw a great need of financial planning for his clientele from a holistic approach to their business operations, succession and taxation. Eventually acquiring 215 Life, Health and variable annuities, Series 7 General Brokers license, and Series 66 Uniform State Law Licensure, his accredited investment fiduciary and private wealth management practice incorporated financial planning, portfolio management and other aggregated financial services for individuals at Asset Management Financial Services in Clearwater, Florida. His unwavering curiosity regarding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 in relation to Opportunity Zones sparked a fire within and encouraged him to form the groundbreaking partnership with Jeanine that is now Opp Zone Capital. Through Opp Zone, Edmon is excited to dig deeper into his newfound passion.

CFO

Justin Nikolich

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The Compactor

Justin received his Bachelors and Masters of Accounting degrees from the University of South Florida, becoming a registered Certified Public Accountant with the State of Florida and is on the Board of Directors of OnBikes, Inc. Opp Zone benefits from his strong sense of direction and ability to simplify processes as our CFO.

Justin began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2010, where he was responsible for managing large 40-person teams, determining and negotiating fees, creating and monitoring budgets, coaching and reviewing staff work, and coordinating with foreign offices and specialists. Justin’s main industry focus was Financial Services clients, specifically alternative funds such as Hedge Funds, Private Equity Funds, and Mutual Funds. Justin also has experience in real estate assets, exotic securities/derivatives and their valuation techniques, financial analysis and modeling, option-pricing models, probability weighted expected return, discounted cash flows, and market multiple methods. He was the lead instructor of both statewide general assurance and regional asset management training, covering topics such as complex valuation, fund financial statements, and fund financial controls.

Justin then brought his talents to Katz Capital Management as CFO. Justin was instrumental in growing Katz from a private equity real estate investment firm to also include multiple insurance brokerages, a title company, a real estate brokerage and mortgage brokerage. Justin was instrumental in growing the valuation of Katz Capital by multiples over his three-year tenure. His responsibilities included oversight and governance of all businesses, budgeting, compliance, and strategic planning among others.

Controller

Crystal DiJoseph

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The Trencher

Crystal has laid a strong foundation of fund, real estate, and technology experience with a mix of public and private accounting and a focus on operational excellence. Crystal began her career at USAA as an investment advisor in their brokerage practice. She partnered with clients to develop risk-adjusted portfolios that achieved client specific goals. She then joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Core Assurance practice where she focused on private equity, hedge and mutual funds. She participated in PwC’s national engagement quality review program where she was selected to review national engagements for compliance with regulatory bodies. She also was heavily involved in PwC’s innovation program where she trained and instructed nationwide engagement teams on how to implement technology to create efficiencies and greater accuracy in processes.

Crystal then joined InvestRes (formerly Avesta) in the multi-family real estate world where she served as Controller. InvestRes managed over $1.5B in AUM, acquired over 17,000 doors and have consistently beat the Preqin Top Quartile in returns. Crystal was responsible for fund and deal reporting, tracking and calculation of performance, budgeting, updating of models, compliance, investor relations, capital account tracking and monthly close processes.

Crystal now serves as Controller for the Opp Zone team and as Director of Hollywell Partners, a Tampa based firm offering advisory and assurance services.

CTO

Douglas Coleman

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The Boom Lift

Doug possesses over 20 years of expertise in corporate finance, information systems, logistics, supply chain management and competitive strategies. He has served in executive management not only for The Roebuck Group, but also Commercial Carrier Corporation- a nationwide transportation and logistics provider. Additionally, Doug has served in senior management at Vology, a global value-added reseller of technology solutions. Doug earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Florida as well as a Juris Doctorate degree from Stetson University College of Law.

Serving as CTO of Opp Zone Capital, Doug brings an adaptable, forward-thinking approach towards technological advancement and advises our team on the most modern practices.

Community Liaison

Connie McMullen

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The Light Tower

With over 35 years of excellence in sales, marketing and managerial experience in building relationships and recruiting partnerships, Connie is a successful business professional who sustains an unyielding belief in self, the company its product and mission. Connie holds the creativity to differentiate Opp Zone from the competition through a demeanor that promotes long lasting mutually beneficial relationships and loyalty.

With Opp Zone Capital, she strives to educate individuals, investors, developers, business owners and trusted advisors in all matters relating to Opportunity Zones. Connie hopes that by guiding the individuals who will be operating and investing in these communities, she can ensure successful execution of community development and business operations. She is ready to provide hands on consulting to make sure your investment and values-based needs are met.

Executive Administrative Assistant

Morgan Blake

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The Forwarder

Morgan found her professional start as an accountant for short term vacation rentals and small business health care. Her ability to adapt and carry large loads led Morgan to Opp Zone Capital as an Executive Administrative Assistant. She coordinates staffing and operational support activities with ease and crosses all terrains, serving as a liaison with other departments and operating units in the resolution of day-to-day needs.

Morgan brings an ability to drive forward intricate details, allowing our entire team to function as a strong, cohesive unit.

OUR PROMINENT FUND ADVISORY TEAM

Director of Development

Jay Mize

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The Excavator

Jay has developed over $100 million in commercial and residential developments across Downtown Tampa and Clearwater Beach. He is also the proud owner of the Irish 31 restaurant chain and Ferg's Live in Downtown Tampa, as well as a partner in the health franchise, Orangetheory Fitness. A heavy lifter for Opp Zone, he has proven his development expertise and continues his groundbreaking efforts alongside our team.

As Director of Development for Opp Zone Capital, we are excited to have Jay’s keen eye for opportunistic endeavors.

Real Estate Director

Dan Sefair

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The Drum Roller

Dan carries more than 18 years of experience in the real estate sector, representing both individual clients and Real Estate Investment Trusts. Over the course of his career, Dan has developed over $100 million dollars in completed construction developments in Central Florida, showing his excellent ability to maintain traction in a growing competitive landscape.

As Opp Zone Capital’s Real Estate Director, Dan is capable of combining his numerous years of real estate experience with his desire to provide sound and successful opportunities for accredited investors.

Director of Acquisitions

Jeff Wills

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The Harvester

Jeff is an accomplished Tampa Bay Area real estate professional who brings a strategic yet personable approach to the industry. He has built a solid reputation for himself as an industry leader with a solid track record that specializes in attention to detail in commercial and residential transactions.

Holding a bachelors in Finance from the University of South Florida, Florida Real Estate License, and his Broker’s License, Jeff forged a partnership with Mize and Sefair Investments, which unleashed his true passion for community. His site selection, diverse asset class experience and keen understanding of opportunity zones is the quintessential trifecta for success. With well over $100 Million in projects to date, he serves the Opp Zone Capital team as Director of Acquisitions to continue to inspire, invest in, and improve economically distressed communities.

Our Dedicated Investment Committee Members

Investment Committee

Joseph A. Kennedy

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Joseph A. (“Jay”) Kennedy is the Principal and President of Kennedy Investments, Inc., a diversified value-added real estate investment firm with over $100,000,000 in assets under management. In 2020, his firm successfully raised their second investment fund, KI Florida Fund II LLC, with over $18,000,000 in capital commitments.
Jay brings diverse commercial real estate experience ranging from investment brokerage to retail and office development. Over his 25 year career, he has completed more than $500,000,000 in real estate transactions, executed more than 200 commercial leases and facilitated numerous commercial developments.
Jay is a licensed real estate broker and has been active in many professional and non-profit organizations, including Champions for Children and the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA. As a past board chair of the South Tampa YMCA, he led a major capital campaign to develop a new state of the art aquatics facility which opened in September 2015. Jay and his wife Ronna have been married 20 years and have three sons. He is a graduate of Miami University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the Richard T. Farmer School of Business.
Investment Committee

Beau Benton

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As president of LBA Hospitality (“LBA”), a hotel development and management services company, Beau is all about people – motivating them, inspiring them, and helping them reach their full potential at LBA. Given his background, some might assume he is a “numbers guy,” but even as a public accountant, he was more interested in finding the value behind the numbers. Leading the executive team in shaping the company’s vision, direction and culture, Beau knows it is LBA’s employees who give LBA its true value.
Prior to joining LBA, Beau spent 14 years in public accounting with a regional certified public accounting firm, with the last 4 years as a principal. [working primarily with entrepreneurs, he excelled at identifying business value and pinpointing key drivers that could impact that value. He worked diligently to find ways to either unlock that worth or help successfully transition the business to future generations – a characteristic that serves him well at LBA.
Beau’s role at LBA includes management and oversight of the team of directors responsible for each line of business that LBA is engaged in. As a hotel management and development company their lines of business and services include information technology, sales, marketing and ecommerce, revenue management, operations, accounting and finance, human resources, and hotel development. His experience in the operations, management and development side of the hospitality sector coupled with his financial acumen from his accounting background is the reason that the Fund believes Beau will be a valuable asset to help evaluate prospective real estate investments.

OPP ZONE’S FUND SERVICE PROVIDERS

LEGAL – FOLEY & LARDNER LLP

Foley & Lardner LLP is an international law firm founded in 1842. With over 1,100 lawyers in 24 offices across the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia, “Foley” provides best-in-class legal services by understanding its clients’ priorities, objectives, and challenges, in addition to their legal needs.

ACCOUNTING – PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPER

PwC is a global network of firms delivering world-class assurance, tax, and consulting services for your business. PwC ranks as the second largest professional services firm network in the world and is considered one of the Big Four accounting firms, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG.

BANKING & FUND SERVICES – J. P. MORGAN & CO

J.P. Morgan & Co. is a global leader in financial services, offering financing solutions to the world’s most important corporations, governments and institutions in more than 100 countries.

FUND ADMINISTRATION – NES FINANCIAL

NES Financial is a specialty financial administrator which offers purpose-built FinTech solutions for private equity, 1031 exchanges, EB-5, and Opportunity Zones. Their expertise in supporting and tracking complex tax-deferred investments and government-regulated investment programs, combined with their institutional-quality private equity fund administration capabilities, uniquely positions them to help Opportunity Zone Fund managers navigate this rapidly evolving marketplace.