Dakota Brown is now the Senior Financial Analyst of Acquisitions for Opp Zone Capital, the Clearwater,
FL-based private equity real estate firm that enhances tax credits through qualified opportunity zone
funds. At Opp Zone Capital, Dakota oversees underwriting of commercial opportunity zone deals. With a
background in accounting within the commercial real estate industry, he is knowledgeable on
acquisitions, finance and underwriting.
Prior to his role at Opp Zone Capital, Dakota was a staff accountant at the full-service commercial real
estate development firm, Strategic Property Partners (SPP). While at SPP, he worked on The Water Street
Project, a $3.3 billion project scoping in at 55+ acres and nine million sq. ft. of development.
Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Dakota moved to Florida in 2014 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in
finance with a concentration in accounting at the University of South Florida (USF). After graduating in
2018, Dakota continued to pursue his MBA at the USF with a concentration in finance.
During his last year of university, Dakota started a real estate business called Tampa Acquisitions and
Investments, LLC, with a goal to build a portfolio of single-family homes and to eventually work with
large-scale, commercial acquisitions.
With decades of experience as a transactional attorney, certified public accountant, business owner, and principal investor, Brion has structured, negotiated, and closed hundreds of transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed in 2017, Brion has been helping clients across the country including municipalities, investors, and developers, navigate the niche Opportunity Zone landscape through every phase necessary to implement projects – from promoting the project and explaining the tax incentives to potential investors, through structuring the deal, to implementing, operating and exiting a successful project.
Will Powers holds over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Will’s experience spans over two decades, assisting new sponsors looking to raise capital in the independent broker dealer and RIA space. His skill set includes introducing new products to the market, organizing operational components to meet industry standards, building market segmentation strategies, developing marketing strategy and materials, training sales teams, raising capital, and expanding client relationships.
Will’s previous clients transcend over multiple channels and industries including real estate, lending, ETF’s insurance, and energy
Present day, he serves as the Founder and CEO of Alternative Advisors, LLC., providing sales management, wholesale distribution, and key accounts services for sponsors looking to roll out new products to the financial advisor community. These products include alternative investments, non-traded REIT’s, Reg D, 1031 programs, BDC’s, ETF strategists, etc. Mr. Powers has assisted companies in developing distribution and marketing strategies for independent BD and RIA channels, with past clients including Sortis Holdings, Participant Capital, Catametric’s Management, Capital Square, and Direct Finance.
Will Powers received his Bachelors of Business Administration degree from Emmanuel College in Boston MA, and currently resides in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale area while serving as a member of Opp Zone Capital’s Advisory Council.
A native of Denmark, Edmon moved to the US after a successful exit of his family-owned hospitality enterprise. In the US, his family successfully operated restaurants in the Midwest, and Florida. Edmon then joined Aldi Foods as a Manager Trainee before quickly being promoted to Store Manager, where he drove company expansion and corporate growth. Edmon implemented and executed on strategic and innovative initiatives that resulted in growing the Divisions “Corporate Store” sales by over $9 million in his last fiscal year, equating to a 57% increase in revenues. With a hunger for growth and a demand for positive results, Edmon began a career with Tampa-based insurance company, Aegon. Here he gained expertise in holistic risk management and asset protection. His focus on multi-generational wealth preservation and growth lead to his passion project of tax credits and incentives that lead to Edmon becoming an expert on the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. He quickly became a leader in the space which lead to his joining the Opp Zone Capital team.
His oversight spans Opp Zone Capital’s deal flow and underwriting process as well as all strategic initiatives for the team. He leads strategy with the implementation of new technology to increase efficiency and brings greater transparency and value to investors. Specifically targeting commercial real estate development and acquisitions, Edmon’s focus on utilizing both tax credits and the Opportunity Zone tax incentive has led to targeted projects with exceptional upside. Edmon’s asset protection strategy creates a fundamental construction of risk-adjusted investment portfolios providing a roadmap to maximize upside while ensuring goals and objectives are consistently achieved for investors.
A graduate of the University of South Florida with a B.S. degree in Finance, Edmon is also an active member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, assisting its Minority Business Accelerator Program.
After a significant sale of her family business, PODS, in 2007, Jeanine Blake’s family experienced a significant capital gain event with no strategic plan on how to reduce, repurpose or exclude taxes.
When she went to re-enter the storage industry, she began looking for her next venture. She learned about Opportunity Zones, the exact tool for long term planning she had been looking for.
Previous employee of Jeanine’s turned wealth manager, Edmon Rakipi, was becoming quite the authority on the subject and educated Jeanine to the program. Through his expertise, diligence, and introductions they began consulting for various economic development groups and families anticipating a high tax event wanting to utilize the program and develop projects while preserving capital and building wealth. Collectively they did not know how to navigate the nuances of the space with deployment restrictions, timelines, and overall management of funds to prevent penalties that would far outweigh the benefits.
Opp Zone Capital was born
First, the foundation was laid with world class providers. Then, an architecture was designed for internal and external processes, a team was assembled, and development began to take hold. As the program continued to be finalized this team was educating and influencing like minded strategists and took on the role of fund management and advisory services. A turnkey solution allowing Qualified Opportunity Funds to be managed in a systematic approach with full transparency to the sponsor, investor, and government. This allowed large developers to focus on their primary business and ensure they followed the new tax code all while maximizing every benefit possible without fear of penalty.
Andrew has spent most of his professional career in both Paris and New York involved in the Real Estate, Hospitality, and Private Equity markets. Andrew started his career in 1981 as a Commodities trader with Rosenthal and Company in New York and later joined Société Generale to head their bond trading efforts in Paris in conjunction with the launch of France’s MATIF, their futures exchange. In the year 2000 Andrew joined Banque L’Union European, a boutique firm, as a partner where he was charged with investing in numerous parts of the world on behalf of the Private Client Group. Through his years at Société Generale, Andrew was able to develop and cultivate significant relationships both here and abroad with Private Equity Funds, Hospitality Management Companies, and direct owners of real estate.
Upon his return to the U.S. Andrew was a Managing Partner at DPH Advisors which he founded. Partnership activities included the sourcing, structuring, and financing of select multi-use real estate transactions with a strong emphasis in the hospitality sector. DPH was also active on the principal investment side through a series of joint ventures with operating partners.
Presently Andrew is Managing Partner of HEH Advisors, LLC a real estate advisory firm that he founded. HEH is currently advising on several Hospitality & Multifamily deals including but not limited to the sale or repositioning of hotel assets in both the US and internationally and the sourcing of strategic partnership. HEH has also worked extensively with Latin American Hotel companies on disposition & workouts of numerous distressed hospitality portfolios. Andrew lives with his wife and daughter in Manhattan.
Stephen Holden graduated from the University of Kansas with a J.D. in 1975 and began his career with an emphasis on commercial real estate, specializing in long-term health care properties and affordable housing developments. Serving as Developer and Lender’s counsel, Stephen has closed more than $2 billion in affordable housing projects in dozens of syndicated developments throughout the Midwest. With his extensive background in affordable housing, he saw an opportunity when the Low-Income Housing (LIH) Tax Credit market cratered in 2008. Rather than replicating the approach of larger institutions, he developed a syndication model to pair profitable community and state banks as investors in local and regional LIH Tax Credit developments. In addition, Stephen has applied his proven syndication model to the renewable energy field, resulting in the completion of numerous successful wind and solar projects.
Natalie Riley graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a J.D. in 2001. She has extensive experience with commercial real estate, business organization and affordable housing development and financing.
In 2003, Natalie closed the first multi-asset mark-to-market transaction in Missouri consisting of 10 projects and has been the lead attorney in several individual and multi-project closings. She has represented numerous developers, project owners, investors and financial institutions in affordable housing projects throughout the United States. Natalie has extensive experience working with various local, state and federal agencies including USDA Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Currently, she oversees the day-to-day financial operations of Sixty West and focuses the legal structure as it relates to the Sixty West principals’ acquisitions and investments in affordable housing, renewable and preservation projects.
Mike Mills graduated from The University of Missouri in 1996 with a B.A. in Agricultural Economics. He served as deputy state director for Missouri senator Kit Bond, responsible for policy in agriculture, natural resources, transportation, and energy, and as deputy director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, leading efforts in technology and innovation, biofuel and biomass strategies and tax credit administration.
In 2008, Mike became a partner at Spectrum Consulting focusing on energy and technology development.
Steve Burks is a senior Hospitality executive with an extensive background with over 30 years of experience. Steve has held many senior executive positions with Disney Development, Ritz-Carlton Development, Marriott Vacations, and Brightstone International. While at Marriott Vacation Club and Ritz-Carlton the team developed over 40 properties that included
Ritz-Carlton properties in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Bachelor Gulch, Colorado, Aspen Highlands, Colorado, San Francisco, California
Steve started his career in Hilton Head Island, SC and soon became one of the early team members at Marriott Vacations. He joined Disney Development to launch the Disney Vacation Club. He led the sales, development, recruiting, selection and training of sales and the Disney World theme park, hotel, and marketing strategy. Steve led the ramp-up to over $100 million in sales in the first year. He then rejoined Marriott to help lead the company to over $1 billion in annual sales and to add The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club to its portfolio.
Steve enjoys building relationships with brands and developers. He thrives in creating the best strategy for each property.
Steve has two grown sons Matt, Shelby, and his wife Jennifer.
Michael Williams graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in Finance and Economics. Michael started his career in sales consulting with a major manufacturing company before transitioning into operations management, doubling revenue at a regional service provider.
At Sixty West, Michael started in asset management where he provided diligence on projects prior to development and monitored performance throughout the length of the projects. He then moved into Investor Relations before eventually becoming Director. Michael educates clients, ranging from high-earning individuals to Fortune 500 corporations and financial institutions, on the benefits of tax credits and provides continued support through the life of the partnership. He is also responsible for leading the Investor Relations team as they continue to see exponential growth.
Robert Lay graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Finance. Robert joined Stonehenge Capital Company, LLC in 2007 where he was Vice President and focused on the sales and syndication of tax credit products to individual and corporate clients.
In 2015, he founded Tempus Capital Partners, LLC (“Tempus”), a boutique tax credit syndicator and advisor that was acquired by the Online Incentives Exchange, LLC (“OIX”). Lay served as the Chief Operating Officer of OIX, a cloud based, online tax credit marketplace and enterprise software solution for managing tax credits and related incentives.
Robert is a principal of Sixty West TCI, LLC and the director of tax credit investments. He is engaged in all aspects of the firm’s federal and state tax credit opportunities with a primary focus on developing and maintaining relationships with taxpayers and investors of various tax advantaged products, including Fortune 500 clients, public and privately held companies, family offices, accounting firms, investment advisors, and individual taxpayers. Robert also works closely with other Sixty West affiliates on tax advantaged real estate acquisition and development, structured tax credit products, and historic preservation and land conservation efforts.
Peter Watzka has over 45 years of experience in the hospitality industry across a broad range of disciplines with brands including Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton. In 2011, Mr. Watzka formed Customer Solutions Group to provide customized client solutions for the vacation ownership and resort real estate industry.
Previously, Peter was with Marriott International from 1990-2011 in a variety of roles including Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales, Service, and Operations for Marriott Vacation Club International.
Peter received his Bachelors of Industrial Engineering and Marketing degrees from Cornell University, and was elected into their Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 for his outstanding athletic career on the University’s baseball team. He serves on the Board of Directors for the On Course Foundation and Duvin Clothing Company, as well as the Property Advisory Committee for the PGA of America.
Currently, Peter functions as CEO of J A Hospitality, LLC. and Sixty West Development’s Director – Hospitality, utilizing his deep expertise and advisement with the Opp Zone Capital and Sixty West Partnership– The Gateway Partners.
Crystal brings significant 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 Prequin 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, valuation techniques, financial analysis and modeling, option-pricing models, and probability weighted return models.
Crystal obtained her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of South Florida and is a registered Certified Public Accountant with the State of Florida. Crystal is also an avid volunteer in the community.
Holding a Masters in Health Care Administration from Nova Southeastern and a Bachelors in Human Relations from High Point University, this Nursing Home Administrator for National Health Care turned entrepreneur leaped into the Portable Moving and Storage arena.
SVP of Global partnerships for Portable on Demand Storage (PODS), Jeanine led a new brand and disrupted the Moving and Storage industry through her development of the PODS franchise system. Trajectory growth in an industry with massive barriers to entry she consistently doubled the revenues of the PODS system through strategic expansion marketplaces and aligning relationships for operations, equipment, infrastructure and financing. 70% of PODS footprint globally was a direct reflection of her dynamic skill sets as evidenced by over 200+ franchises in operation.
Post exit in 2007, Jeanine opened 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 servicing nearly 1.2MM population with consistent 70% growth year over year and sold in 2010.
She began Red Bag Service for small business owners where focused on increasing her client’s revenue through government contracts. Specializing in medical, pharmaceutical, hazardous waste, transportation, moving. storage, real estate and other small businesses looking to enter into the government sector.
Current day she is Principal for Opp Zone Capital, a private equity firm using strategic diversification of assets utilizing Qualified Opportunity Zone Business and or Qualified Opportunity Zone Business property to rebuild and reshape communities across the southeastern and western US with primary targets in Florida and Texas focused on multifamily, hospitality and storage.
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, Mr. Sefair 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 Director – Real Estate Services, Mr. Sefair is capable of combining his numerous years of real estate experience with his desire to provide sound and successful opportunities for accredited investors.
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 Administration. She coordinates staffing and operational support activities with ease, 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 the Opp Zone Capital team to function as a strong, cohesive unit in this fast paced industry.
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.
As Opp Zone Capital’s Director – Project Development, Jay remains passionate to utilize his keen eye to find the most opportunistic developments for our portfolio.
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.
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 Opp Zone Capital’s Director – Information Technology, Doug brings an adaptable, forward-thinking approach towards technological advancement and advises on the most modern practices.
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 – Acquisitions to continue to inspire, invest in, and improve economically distressed communities.
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. His 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.
He received his Bachelors and Masters of Accounting degrees from the University of South Florida. Justin is also a registered Certified Public Accountant with the State of Florida and is on the Board of Directors of OnBikes, Inc.
The Sixty West group of companies strives to bring their customers an integrated solution and turnkey source for tax-advantaged investment opportunities.
Sixty West is focused on historic preservation, renewable energy, multi-family, hospitality, and triple net leasing opportunities. Sixty West provides investors with a diversified portfolio of asset classes designed to optimize ROI while minimizing risk.
To date, Sixty West has raised over $1B of tax equity supporting over 3,000 affordable housing units. Sixty West owns or has syndicated over $500MM/120MW of renewable energy property. Sixty West has also syndicated over $200MM of various federal and state tax credits; developed 15+ extended stay hotels, 150+ NN and NNN triple lease retails stores, and 5 buildings located on the national register of historic places. Sixty West is actively farming 16,000 acres. Over the last two years Sixty West is actively developing $700MM+ of projects in the recently designated Opportunity Zones. Sixty West also owns and operates mines that are dimensional and crushed limestone along with mines of Army Corps of Engineers clay.
Robin Lester is Managing Partner of Florida Growth Partners, LLC, a branding and consulting firm that helps growth-oriented companies gain access to sources of capital across the Southeast. This positions them to connect with capital and capital sources for continued growth and job creation.
Prior to founding the Florida Growth Partners, Robin was Executive Director of the Florida Venture Forum where she helped raise more than $1.2 billion in venture capital to fund Florida-based companies. During her tenure, she helped grow the organization by more than 88 percent, making it one of the Top Ten Venture Capital Conferences held annually in the United States.
She is also a serial entrepreneur, having started, managed and sold more than three firms in North Carolina and Florida. She also has vast experience with publicly-traded companies, having served as Vice President and Investor Relations Officer of Sykes Enterprises (NASDAQ: SYKE) and BREED Technologies (NYSE: BDT), both based in Florida.
She began her career as a Legislative Committee Clerk for her home Commonwealth’s General Assembly in Richmond, VA. Immediately following, she was an officer of The Bissell Companies, a Charlotte, NC-based commercial real estate, development and brokerage firm.
Robin is active in many community organizations, serving as a Trustee of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, Board Member of the Outback Bowl, an Emerita Member of the Appalachian State University Foundation and Past President of the National Alumni Association.