Michael Lipson brings more than 45 years of experience in commercial real estate finance and asset management to Access Point Financial (APF). In addition to Lipson’s role as CEO, he continues to serve as chairman of the board. Prior to his role with APF, Lipson held several notable leadership roles where he leveraged his skills in financing and asset management to ensure client satisfaction and profitability.
This includes serving as senior vice president of multifamily asset management and operations for Freddie Mac. Other previous roles also include serving as president and CEO for Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC, and as president and founder for Lexington Mortgage Company.
Lipson oversees all aspects of the business and is spearheading APF’s expansion of lending programs available to qualified hoteliers.
Chief Financial Officer
Ankur Shah has over 15 years of experience in capital markets, specialty finance, commercial real estate investment, and investment management. Shah was the co-founder and managing partner of Pike Hill Lodging, a specialty finance company focused on the hotel sector (prior to its strategic alliance with APF). He formerly served as a Vice President of SunBridge Capital Management, was active at DiamondRock Hospitality Company (NYSE: DRH), and in a hotel real estate investment role at Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH).
He also formerly served as an observer to the Board of Directors of Real Time Medical Systems and as an investor representative at RailField Partners, and at Miller & Smith. Shah currently serves on the Carpenters’ Shelter Board of Directors.
At APF, Shah works in establishing, structuring, and managing capital and industry relationships. He is a member of the company’s executive committee.
Justin Perry, Esq
Justin Perry brings nearly two decades of real estate law, finance, and banking industry expertise to his role as general counsel at Access Point Financial. Perry began his career in real estate law in 2000, as a partner at Jones Cork, LLP in Macon, Georgia. Most recently he served for four years as senior vice president and general counsel for Coastal States Bank, where he managed corporate governance, litigation, contract review, loan assessment and resolution for a financial institution with more than $400 million in assets, operating in 26 states. Prior to that, he held positions as senior vice president, senior counsel for State Bank & Trust Company, and senior vice president and general counsel for Silverton Bank. Perry earned his juris doctor from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and finance from Emory University, Goizueta School of Business.
As general counsel, Perry oversees all legal matters pertaining to APF.
Managing Director, Head of Business Development
James Reivitis leads the Business Development Team and brings over 15 years of dynamic experience in hospitality finance, development, and leadership to Access Point Financial (APF) . Prior to joining APF, James excelled as a partner and advisor across various resort projects, specialty real estate, and brand platforms, spearheading underwriting, finance, and entitlement. Previously, James spent a decade at Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH), where he led their national site acquisition team, in addition to overseeing underwriting and negotiating direct capital investments into projects with private equity franchise partners and developers.
Conner Donnini has 10 years of experience in the commercial real estate finance industry with a specific focus on hospitality. Donnini olds a Bachelor of Business administration, Marketing & Professional Sales from the University of Cincinnati, Carl H. Lindner College of Business. At APF, Donnini has originated, structured, and closed over $500 million in new loans. He has built relationships with some of the most prestige hoteliers in the industry and through his network of hoteliers and brokers continues to originate high-quality loans throughout the country.
Matthew Hick has more than 20 years of professional experience in the commercial banking and finance field with a specific focus on the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Access Point Financial (APF), Hick spent four years with Specialty Finance Group, LLC (SFG) where he was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of loan underwriting, accounting, budgeting, lease portfolio servicing, collections and compliance, interest rate management/hedge agreements, and client relations. Prior to SFG, he spent the previous eight years with GE Capital Franchise Finance. Hick holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the W. P. School of Business at Arizona State University with an emphasis in accounting. He is also a certified public accountant. At APF, Hick is responsible for cultivating relationships with hoteliers throughout the United States. He is specifically focused on growing APF’s portfolio of assets under management with these Hoteliers and is focused on financing new loans with top tier brands in strong secondary markets.
Jon Kapit has over 23 years of finance, real estate, and hospitality experience. Prior to joining Access Point Financial, Kapit served as chief investment officer at Global Hotel Group where he led the investment analysis effort for a comprehensive asset management platform he established. Prior to that, Kapit was the senior vice president of asset management at Peachtree Hotel Group where he focused on the asset management and note acquisition portfolio oversight, and previously oversaw real estate dispositions and investor reporting. Before that, Kapit was a senior vice president in the real estate investing and servicing segment at LNR Partners. In addition, he was a director at hotelAVE, where he focused on a variety of asset management and advisory initiatives. He also served as an assistant vice president on TriMont Real Estate Advisors’ hotel team and spent seven years at Lehman Brothers in a variety of general finance and real estate-related roles. Kapit has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and has completed multiple advanced certification programs at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
Nicholas L. Meli
Nicholas Meli has worked in the hospitality industry since 2006. He has a broad base of experience including hotel operations, real estate investments, and capital markets. Meli graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Science degree and holds an MBA from Emory University. At APF, Meli has been instrumental in various underwriting assignments and restructuring of existing loans within the portfolio. He possesses strong analytical skills and is often responsible for ensuring the closing of some of the more complex transactions.
At Access Point Financial (APF), he works closely with business development to establish a relationship with the borrower and works to efficiently underwrite and successfully close each transaction, while overcoming any obstacles along the way.
Business Development Analyst
Jay Black has 3 years of experience in finance. Black holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Georgia.
At APF, Black is responsible for assisting the business development team with the upfront analysis and sizing of all new loan originations.
J. Dana Tsakanikas
Chief Investment Officer
Dana Tsakanikas has over 25 years of experience in commercial real estate private equity, structured finance, development, and operations. Prior to joining APF, Tsakanikas served as Century Capital’s president and chief investment officer where he worked with the principals of The Century Group to create a co-mingled fund focused on mid-scale hotel investments. Before that he was an executive vice president with Peachtree Hotel Group/Stonehill where he focused on joint-venture and preferred equity investments in qualified opportunity zones as well as expanding their senior/sub debt program. Tsakanikas was a senior vice president for 16 years at Rockbridge, a commercial real estate private equity firm preceded by various positions in commercial real estate structured finance and asset-based lending with Hanover Financial and Heller International. Tsakanikas also has experience in ground-up development projects as well as in restructuring distressed properties in various commercial real estate asset classes. He received a bachelor of science from the College of William and Mary.
At APF, Tsakanikas oversees and structures strategic investor relationships, as well as structuring various mezzanine and preferred equity investments with the capital markets team.
Preston Puleo, MAI
Preston K. Puleo, MAI, has a myriad of experience in the hospitality industry. He rose from associate to director at both HVS’ Boston and New York offices where he conducted evaluations for acquisition, disposition, investing, and refinancing decisions of lodging-focused real estate totaling $18.036 billion. He led developer and operator searches, development consulting, expert witness testimony and litigation support, franchise management company evaluations and recommendations, highest and best uses analyses, impact studies, market and feasibility studies, property tax assessments, return on investment (ROI) analyses, site selection, and strategic planning, among others. His prior hospitality experience also includes roles as an analyst at hotelAVE and internships at ClubCorp, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, and Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club. Preston holds the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute and serves on the Board of the Cornell Hotel Society New England Chapter. He graduated with honors from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. At APF, Preston co-leads investment and asset management strategies and activities for distressed lodging properties and underwriting debt placement, as well as assisting the efforts of origination and capital markets.
Kenny Crooks worked in various credit and underwriting positions for The Synovus Financial Corporation, Bank of the Ozarks, and KeyBank prior to joining Access Point Financial (APF). He graduated from the University of Georgia with an undergraduate degree in management information systems. He also received an MBA in finance from Clark Atlanta University before moving to Detroit, where he worked in commercial banking. At APF, Crooks is responsible for underwriting new loan opportunities, which involves analyzing property cash flows, reviewing global cash flows and credit worthiness, along with detailed analysis of the hotel market and specific demand drivers. His analytical skills have been an asset to APF. Crooks has successfully underwritten and closed multiple hotel loans across the country.
Pelvi Chavda De Vries
Pelvi Chavda de Vries has over 15 years of experience in hospitality finance and lending. De Vries joined APF from Specialty Finance Group where she served as senior and sub-debt underwriter. Her responsibilities included underwriting loan proposals, maintaining client relations, and monitoring the existing loan portfolio, as well as managing the loan operations department. Prior to SFG, she served as business development and loan processor for RBC Centura Mortgage. De Vries holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Georgia State University.
Throughout her tenure at APF, de Vries has held various roles and is currently responsible for underwriting new loan opportunities. Her underwriting expertise includes the analysis of both the borrower and guarantor financial information, property cash flows and market analytics.
Sumel Singh has over three years of experience in the industry. At MRI Software, he served as a billing analyst and a financial data analyst where he produced financial data for real estate asset managers. He analyzed raw data for recommendations after assisting with operating budgets, forecasts, and re-forecasts for corporate revenue expectations.
At Dollar Bank, he analyzed the financial status, credit history, and clientele property value to determine approving or denying loans. He also helped customers make financial decisions for their longterm financial goals. Singh holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Kent State University with a major in finance and minors in international business and psychology.
At APF, Singh assists the senior underwriters with market research, operating statement analysis, appraisal and other third-party report reviews, drafting underwriting memos, and deal management.
Director Portfolio Management
Michael Johnson has over 20 years of experience in portfolio and asset management. Johnson served as the director of asset servicing for 19 years at Trimont Real Estate Advisors. Before that, he worked as a relocation specialist at Prudential Relocation. Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Real Estate and a minor in speech communications.
Johnson is responsible for overseeing the closing and funding of loans within APF’s portfolio.
Managing Director, Corporate Development
Tim Peterson has over 24 years of experience in private equity, capital markets, and corporate development. Peterson was formerly co-founder and managing partner of Pike Hill Lodging Partners, managing director and chief investment officer at SunBridge Capital Management, and director of corporate development and finance for Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH). At Tim’s recent firms, he was responsible for investing and managing $1B of capital in real estate, operating companies, seeded funds, and securities. Other experience includes Rockwell Collins (now NYSE: RTX), Pricewaterhousecoopers, eCommerce Industries, and Arthur Andersen. Peterson has served as a board member or investor representative at Peaceable Street Capital, 1776, Union PLC, FJ Capital Management, Arena Analytics, RailField Realty Partners, Miller & Smith, Continuum Health, and Real Time Medical Systems. He currently serves on the board of trustees for the George Mason University Foundation where he is a member of the investment committee. Peterson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Peterson is a member of APF’s executive committee. His focus with APF clients is on establishing, structuring, and managing capital and industry relationships.
Managing Director, Investor Relations
Jon Hellbusch has more than 20 years of experience in the financial and capital markets industry. Hellbusch formerly served as executive director of asset-based finance at WestLB AG where he was responsible for the origination, structuring, and management of a multibillion-dollar book of asset-based loans made against portfolios of senior/sub debt secured by trade receivables, hotel commercial real estate, structured settlements, auto loans, equipment leases, film revenues, and future professional sports franchises cash flows. He also managed WestLB’s $200 million credit facility to Specialty Finance Group (SFG) in support of its hotel mortgage loan origination program. Prior to WestLB AG, Hellbusch served as Standard & Poor’s associate director where he structured finance ratings.
At APF, Hellbusch works in establishing, cultivating, and managing investor relationships, as well as negotiating structural and economic terms for prospective asset-based lending credit facilities. He recently led the structuring and closing of $183 million A-rated securitization of APF’s capex loan portfolio.
Alex Ruderman is a CFA charter holder. Ruderman’s experience stems from working on projects centered on litigation in different areas of the financial markets such as asset management, trading, derivatives, and real estate while working at a financial consulting firm. Alex graduated from Emory University Goizueta Business School with a degree in finance.
Ruderman is part of the capital markets team at Access Point Financial (APF), that engages in financial transactions for a $500 million plus portfolio of private debt. He maintains relationships with current and prospective lending/banking partners for capital raising needs and is involved in all aspects of capital markets relationships from initial due diligence through loan closing. He possesses strong financial modeling skills and actively manages the transactions, performing concentration calculations, waterfall analysis and scenario analysis.
Managing Director, Head of Asset Management
Bill Schachat has more than 30 years of experience in the commercial real estate lending and capital markets fields. Most recently, he worked as an executive director within the Real Estate Banking Group at JP Morgan, where he was responsible for a 12-person group covering the underwriting and credit approvals for the Northeast Region’s activities.
Prior to his 9-year tenure at JP Morgan, Schachat’s experience included 17 years at Citicorp/Salomon Smith Barney/Citigroup. At Citi, he was in the balance sheet lending group, the loan workout/special assets group and then 10 years in the commercial mortgage-backed securities group where he focused on loan origination and underwriting. He has experience with all primary commercial property types, including hospitality, and has been active in syndication, securitization, origination, and underwriting. Schachat holds a Master of Business Administration from The University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University.
Schachat is involved with both the capital markets and underwriting groups at APF.
Brandon Holman has been involved in many diversified roles in commercial real estate finance along with various project management roles, including hotel construction. Holman also worked in asset management for a privately held commercial real estate ownership firm. He has an undergraduate degree in building construction from The Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from The University of Georgia with concentrations in real estate and corporate finance.
Holman is responsible for managing various loans within APF’s portfolio. His responsibilities include performing risk analysis, as well as quarterly valuations on the borrower, property and market analysis of any new supply that could impact the loan.
Evan Miles’ experience includes various roles within asset management throughout his career. He previously served as associate director of asset management at Trimont. Prior to that, he held roles as a transaction manager at CBRE, and as commercial evaluator at Valuation Management Group. Miles majored in finance, real estate, and risk management at the University of Mississippi.
Miles is responsible for portfolio management at Access Point Financial (APF). His duties include recapitalization modeling, valuations, effective revenue management and cost containment, insurance oversight, and risk analysis.
Jeff Gevertz has 23 years of asset management, finance, and reve nue management experience. As asset manager of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, he conducted all of Georgia’s multifamily affordable housing assets management responsibilities. Gevertz served as VP of asset management for Banyan Investment Group where he oversaw hotels across the US. As VP of asset management and finance at Tivoli Properties, Inc., he sourced $6M in project capital and captured over $20MM in savings on one project. His other roles include finance manager for Portman Holdings, hospitality finance manager for Apollo Real Estate Advisors, and controller for Marriott International. He is a graduate of Florida State University and holds a Master of Business Administration-Real Estate Finance and a Bachelor of Arts in Finance plus an asset management certification from C ornell University in Ithaca, NY.
At APF, Gevertz oversees a portfolio of hotels under management, which includes performing risk analysis, recapitalization modeling, quarterly valuations, as well as competitive market analysis.
Chris Decker has about 20 years of experience in corporate hotel finance and hotel operations. Previously, Decker worked for the worldwide corporate headquarters of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in FP&A for 9 years. Prior to that, he gained hotel operations experience with Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton and Microtel brands. Decker has been employed with Access Point Financial (APF) since 2013. At APF, he is responsible for analysis of APF’s assets under management to ensure ongoing compliance.
Beau McKenna is a recent graduate of The University of Alabama, Culverhouse College of Business, Tuscaloosa, AL. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration. McKenna majored in finance with minors in real estate and sales. Through his studies at UA Honor’s College, he taught personal finances and business to inmates at Bibb County Correctional Facility in Centreville, AL. At Access Point Financial (APF), McKenna is an asset manager. He is responsible for performing risk analysis, as well as property and market analysis for loans within APF’s portfolio.
Deputy General Counsel
Valerie Richmond has over two decades of experience counseling lending institutions in a wide range of real estate and asset-based financing and investments. Prior to joining APF, Richmond worked in the financial services and restructuring department at Burr & Forman LLP in Atlanta. Before that, she served in similar roles at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in Chicago and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in New York. Richmond has specific expertise in structuring and documenting loan originations, swaps, and other hedging arrangements as well as assisting in loan asset management and servicing issues. She also has extensive experience utilizing and implementing a wide range of strategies in loan workouts including inside and outside of bankruptcy court. Richmond earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and her juris doctor degree from DePaul University. At APF, Richmond serves as the Deputy General Counsel, assisting with all legal matters pertaining to APF, including loan closings and capital markets.
Senior Vice President
Dave Minesinger has over thirty years of experience that began in public accounting serving as an auditor for Arthur Young in Walnut Creek, CA. Minesinger then worked for the Chronicle Publishing Company in San Francisco, CA in accounting and finance for 5 years. He went on to work for ERE Yarmouth/Lend Lease Real Estate Investments/Capmark/GMAC Commercial Mortgage in mortgage accounting and reporting for 10 years. Minesinger also worked for Triad Advisors and Generation Mortgage in accounting and finance for a total of about 5 years prior to joining Access Point Financial (APF) in accounting and finance, eight years ago. Minesinger holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Georgia State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
At APF, Minesinger is responsible for financial reporting and treasury functions.
Director of Accounting
TJ Larson has over 15 years of accounting and finance experience. Larson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Financial Management, a Master’s Degree with a concentration in finance, and an Master’s Degree in Accounting from the State University of New York, Binghamton University. He is a CPA.
Access Point Financial (APF), Larson is responsible for the firm’s month-end and year-end financial close function including financial reporting. He is also responsible for maintaining and reviewing all accounting activities to ensure all financial transactions are properly recorded and reconciled.
Leo Deng, CFA
Director of Finance
Leo (Tianhang) Deng has over 7 years of experience in finance and real estate. He is a graduate of Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration. He holds a master’s degree in management and a minor in real estate. He is also a CFA Charterholder, passing all 3 levels on the first attempt and scoring above 90 percentiles.
Leo is actively involved with the Finance and Capital Markets teams at Access Point Financial (APF) to assist senior management with funding and financing decision-making and ad hoc analysis. Leo plays a major role in financial planning and analysis, where he develops complex financial models for budgeting and forecasting and provides insightful analysis by discovering themes and trends in underlying data.
In Capital Markets, Leo actively manages over $500 million portfolio of private debt and its underlying assets. He has extensive experience in portfolio lending/borrowing, warehouse financing and securitization. He is also the liaison and team lead for partner banks with regards to due diligence, closing logistics, auditing, and financial compliance.
Lesia Brown has over 15 years of experience in accounting. She is considered a specialist in accounts payable with experience in commercial property accounting, handling receivables, payables, and monthly closings. Brown graduated from Albany State University with a business administration degree and a minor in accounting.
At Access Point Financial (APF), Brown obtains proper information regarding invoice payments and ensures timely payment of all thirdparty transactions. She is also responsible for tracking budget expenses.
Rhonda Loerzel brings over 15 years of experience in operations and management prior to joining Access Point Financial (APF) in 2014. During her tenure, she worked in sales and marketing at Clorox, McKesson Provider Technologies, and Nortel Networks. Loerzel‘s studies include real estate, business administration, human resources, and operations management.
As APF’s operations manager, she works closely with the leadership team to ensure collaboration across all departments including marketing and business development, underwriting, capital markets, and finance.