Speaker Biographies

Thom Amdur

Thom joined National Housing & Rehabilitation (NH&RA) in 2004 and currently serves as its President. NH&RA is a national trade association and peer-network for affordable housing and tax credit developers and related professionals including: investors, lenders, public agencies and professional advisers. Thom directs the association’s day-to-day operations including legislative and regulatory advocacy, committee activities, conferences and events, publications, financial management and strategic planning.

Thom also serves as the President of the Tennessee Developers Council, a state-wide trade association for affordable housing developers and professionals active in Tennessee. In 2013 he spearheaded the launch of NH&RA’s Preservation through Energy Efficiency Project, a major educational initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Thom also serves on the Board of Directors for International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology (iCAST). He is also the recipient of the NHP Foundations 2018 Affordable Housing Advocacy Award.

Thom is a frequent speaker at affordable housing, sustainable development and tax credit industry events and has been published in a variety of industry journals including Tax Credit Advisor, Independent Banker, and the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credit Housing. Thom also serves as the Associate Publisher of Tax Credit Advisor, a monthly magazine for tax credit and affordable housing professionals and is an Executive Vice-President at Dworbell Inc., a boutique association management and communications firm in Washington, DC, which provides staffing for NH&RA.

Thom was previously employed at a national lobbying firm with a practice focused on financial services and technology issues. Prior to moving to Washington, Thom worked in media relations in the New York State Assembly and as a research assistant for New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Thom graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University with a double major in Political Science and History.

Gina Bender

Gina Bender, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager, manages a team of Asset Management professionals who provide expertise during all life-cycles of the Investment.  Gina is responsible for all Asset Management product lines, including Direct, Indirect, Historic and New Markets Tax Credits.  With her team of seven Asset Managers, Gina is responsible for managing the West Region which has in excess of $3.5B in Commitments along with South Region responsibility totaling $1.5B.  Gina and her Team are responsible for overseeing the operational performance of the Assets from Construction/Lease-Up, Stabilization, and through Disposition.  Gina is also responsible for Low Income Tax Credit Reporting and Equity Fundings.  Gina previously managed the Bank’s entire Direct LIHTC Asset Management Platform since its inception in 2007.

Gina has been with Bank of America and its predecessors for 20 years.  Prior to joining the Bank, Gina was with a large Syndication Firm for 15 years in various real estate positions, with the majority of time spent as a Senior Asset Manager responsible for a portfolio in excess of $500 million.

Gina graduated from Emmanuel College, Magna Cum Laude, earning her BS with a concentration in Business.  Gina is a Board Member for the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC) and the Chair of the Asset Management Committee for the Affordable Housing Investors Council (AHIC) and she is also a former Board Member of AHIC.

Tori Boyd

I’m a dynamic award winning Executive with a consistent track record in improving the operations, performance, and revenue to the owners.

I am an experienced leader, strong visionary, that finds joy in witnessing business success through the growth and development of outstanding people. I enjoy assisting organizations in achieving optimal success.

Disciplined self motivator who has advanced quickly based on a record of achievement and is adapt at working across all levels.

Highly competitive with a burning desire to impact a organization on a global scale.

Ed Connelly

Since 2004, Edward Connelly has been the President of New Ecology, an innovative environmental organization that serves as a catalyst for community-based sustainable development projects.  Mr. Connelly has extensive experience working at the nexus of community development and environmental protection.  He has led New Ecology’s work in providing technical and financial expertise on green building projects totaling over 175,000 units of affordable housing and numerous commercial properties including banks, academic buildings, offices, retail and cultural facilities. His current projects include developing innovative ways to monitor the performance of buildings and optimize their performance, make buildings more resilient to climate change and healthier for occupants, and develop better home ownership options in underserved communities.  He founded two innovative companies:  WegoWise a leader in the collection and analysis of energy data, and CleanScape, Inc. an early triple bottom line recycling and community development company.

Peter Desjardins

Mr. Desjardins serves as the Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations for Volunteers of America National Services (VOANS).  Real Estate Operations encompasses Asset and Property Management, Resident Services, Training and Education, Compliance, and Sustainability.  This is a senior leadership position that works with executive staff and the board of directors to analyze portfolio performance, develop operating strategy, and provide strategic input into the overall housing strategy.

Mr. Desjardins came to VOANS from the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, Maryland (HOC), a national leader in the development of affordable housing, where he served for over nine years in the Asset Management department.  During his time with HOC, he was responsible for a portfolio of market rate and subsidized housing gaining significant experience in marketing as well as federal, state and local housing programs including Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME, Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments, the Section 236 Interest Reduction Program, Housing Choice Vouchers, and State and County grants.  Prior to HOC, Mr. Desjardins worked for CRI, Inc. and EEA Realty as Asset Manager and Financial Analyst respectively, overseeing market rate as well as HUD subsidized housing.

In addition to his extensive housing experience, Mr. Desjardins has also worked as a Market Analyst and News Editor for the CoStar Group, the nation’s leading commercial real estate research company.

Rhiannon Dunn

Rhiannon Dunn joined The CT Group in July 2000 and is responsible for coordination between the CT working groups, property ownership, asset managers and compliance monitoring agencies.

Ms. Dunn has been actively involved in hospitality, resort and multifamily real estate development and management since 1987.  Prior to joining CTA (1995-2000), Ms. Dunn served as Executive Assistant and Asset Administrator at Creative Choice Homes, Inc. a national developer of affordable housing.  In this position Ms. Dunn was actively involved in the preparation of applications for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Tax-Exempt Multifamily Bonds and other competitive funding program applications.  Ms. Dunn was also responsible for compiling underwriting materials, preparing due diligence packages and meeting other lender requirements for new properties.  As properties were placed in service, she worked closely with property management (including CT Associates since November 1996) to monitor compliance issues, assist in grant writing, social service programming and on-going property improvements.

From 1987-1995 Ms. Dunn served as the Director of Administration for AMG/Guest House a developer of resort and hospitality properties and a consultant/contractor to the Resolution Trust Corporation, FDIC and the U.S. Marshall’s Service as well private and institutional investors. In this capacity she was responsible for the creation of overall policies and procedures for the company, administration of the benefits plan for over 1,000 employees and general oversight of the entire asset portfolio including, thirty (32) family restaurants, 2 timeshare resorts (representing 2,900 owners), two hotels and three apartment complexes.  She initiated the workout plan on two distressed timeshare condominiums working closely with the State of Florida Bureau of Timeshare.

Ms. Dunn attended the Journalism program at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She is a Certified Credit Compliance Professional (C3P), a National Compliance Professional-Executive (NCP-E), and a Tax Credit Compliance Specialist (TaCCs).  Ms. Dunn has completed Low Income Housing Tax Credit Certification Programs in Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia.  Ms. Dunn has also earned her Assisted Housing Manager (AHM), Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS), Certified Occupancy Specialist-Public Housing (COS-P), Site Based Budget Specialist (SBBS) and Certified Financial Specialist (CFS) certifications.

Jesse Elton

Jesse Elton is Director of Finance at The Community Builders (TCB), a leading nonprofit real estate developer. In this role, she leads TCB’s Development Finance team in structuring affordable, mixed-income, and mixed-use developments that build and sustain strong communities within TCB’s fourteen state footprint.  Jesse began her career in development at nonprofit housing developer BRIDGE Housing Corporation in San Francisco, and later worked at Local Initiatives Support Corporation as a national housing lender and technical assistance provider.

Drew Foster

Drew Foster is the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, responsible for managing our investor relationships and assisting in the development of equity placement strategies. Drew has nearly two decades of experience in real estate investing, he has participated in the acquisition, capital raise and syndication of more than $1 billion in tax credit investments nationwide.

Prior to joining Alliant, he was Director of Acquisitions at Red Stone Equity Partners; responsible for managing developer and investor relationships throughout the Northeast, Gulf Region and lower Midwest. During his nine years at Red Stone, he played an integral role in the company’s regional growth and worked closely with the underwriting, asset management and investor relations teams. Prior to his time at Red Stone, Drew held positions at Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Telesis Corporation, a Washington D.C. based affordable housing developer, and Centerline Capital Group.

John Gahan

For the past two decades, John’s practice has focused on real estate acquisition, financing, management and development, principally involving the development and management of multi-family housing. Many of these projects have involved tax credits, including state and federal low-income housing tax credits, state and federal historic credits, “”Brownfields”” credits and other state credits.

Earlier in his career, John was an experienced commercial litigator of eminent domain and other matters involving real estate values as well as employment discrimination and termination issues. He has represented property owners and developers in a broad range of land use matters from permitting a site for a sanitary landfill to trials and appeals of zoning cases.

John is recognized by his peers as a gifted drafter of legal documents of all descriptions. As such, he is often asked to take the lead role in authoring legislation and quasi-judicial decisions, be they federal regulations as he did for HUD in the late 1970’s, a landmark zoning decision in the late ’90’s involving the Town of Belmont and the Mormon Church that was upheld by unanimous decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court or, in coordination with other affordable housing industry leaders, the Massachusetts housing preservation law (Chapter 40T). John continues to serve on the advisory committee that provides advice and recommendations relative to the implementation of Chapter 40T.

At Sullivan, John has immersed himself in the firm’s Opportunity Zones practice area, moderating and speaking on panels relating to opportunity zone investments. In doing so, John is once again focusing his talent on creative solutions to benefit communities often ignored by investment capital.

Most recently, John has been named as the NH&RA Affordable Housing Vision Award designee for 2018 “in recognition of (his) stewardship and expansion of affordable housing opportunities for low income families around the country.”

Carlos A. Gonzales

Carlos A. Gonzales leads the Asset Management Group at The NHP Foundation. Mr. Gonzales is responsible for the overall oversight and performance of NHPF’s multi-family portfolio of 56 properties in 15 states and the District of Columbia totaling about 10,000 units of low- and moderate-income housing.  Mr. Gonzales, along with his team, works with 18 third-party property management companies overseeing the operations of the portfolio, to maximize operating results and increase value of the assets.

Prior to joining NHPF, Mr. Gonzales served as a Financial Analyst at JP Morgan Chase. Previously, as a Grants & Government Contracts Analyst for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, where he led the evaluation and implementation of LISC, Federal agencies, and OMB budget policies for a $70 million portfolio of government contracts and grants. Most recently, from 2009-2014, Mr. Gonzales served as an Asset Manager for the National Equity Fund, Inc., where he was responsible for the complete financial and compliance performance of a complex investment portfolio in affordable housing located in distressed communities. Financed by Investor’s Equity, City Funds, and Muni Bonds, that portfolio had $350 million in investor equity.

He has a BS in Pure Mathematics and a MS in Risk Management from the City University of New York and has also earned the Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) designation.

Toby Halliday

Toby Halliday is the Director of Asset Management in HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing.  This office provides policy direction and administration for 1.2 million homes receiving HUD project-based rental assistance and also providers oversight of HUD financial partners servicing over $100 billion in FHA-insured multifamily loans.  Multifamily Asset Management works with private owners, lenders, and other partners with project-based rental assistance and FHA-insured mortgages to preserve long-term affordability, ensure quality housing and services, and expand opportunity for residents.  Mr. Halliday joined HUD in 2019 and has over 30 years of experience in housing, community development, and federal policy.

Elaine Magil

Elaine Magil has 15 years of experience in community economic development and affordable housing finance. Ms. Magil joined TCAM in May 2015 and leads TCAM’s Advisory & Transactions practice, working with state and local housing agencies, housing authorities, capital providers, and housing developers.  She leads TCAM’s third-party underwriting work in support of property acquisitions, valuations, and dispositions, including unrestricted (“naturally occurring”) affordable housing. Prior to joining TCAM, Ms. Magil was a Senior Associate at R4 Capital, a national LIHTC syndicator, where she performed financial modeling and led or assisted on property acquisition efforts in 14 states.  She also worked in commercial lending to large not-for-profit borrowers at TD Bank.  Ms. Magil began her career as a multi-lingual housing counselor in Seattle, providing homebuyer education in Mandarin, Spanish, and English, and originating loans for low-income first-time homebuyers.  Ms. Magil has an MBA from Boston University and a BS from Georgetown University.  She is a member of ULI and of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Women in Housing & Finance (WHF-PA).

Christina McPike

Christina McPike is the Director of Energy & Sustainability at WinnCompanies, a 50-year-old multifamily housing owner, developer, and manager. Since joining Winn’s Energy & Sustainability team in 2013, Ms. McPike has managed over $30 million worth of energy efficiency upgrades across Winn’s portfolio. Under Ms. McPike’s leadership, WinnDevelopment successfully integrates high performance design in every project, from occupied moderate rehabs to historic adaptive reuse projects to ground up new construction. Ms. McPike leads Winn’s DOE Advanced Building Construction team, seeking new and innovative ways to develop, scale, and finance deep energy retrofits. She is a Lifetime member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and has spoken at numerous conferences including ULI’s Annual Spring Meeting, NEEP’s Electrification Symposium, and NH&RA’s Annual Conference. Ms. McPike holds an M.S. degree from Northeastern University and a B.A. from Boston College.

Adam Parker

My role, along with other members of Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) REALIZE team, is to work with portfolio owners and asset managers, especially of affordable multi-family properties, to retrofit their portfolios to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This can be done through efficiency improvements, building electrification, grid-integration, and renewable energy. These improvements will also improve the financial performance of portfolios, benefit residents’ comfort and health and safety, and contribute to other portfolio goals. Scaling this work enormously to bring the vast majority of buildings to net zero GHG emissions is necessary to achieve 2030, 2040, and 2050 climate change mitigation goals. Our effort is committed to ensuring that a fair share of this work goes to contractors and workers from communities of color and women, who have been significantly excluded from the construction industry.

Milt Pratt

As Executive Vice President, Milton R. Pratt Jr. leads a team of developers involved in the revitalization of communities and the creation and preservation of affordable housing along the East coast from Philadelphia to Florida as well as several Gulf States, California, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to joining The Michaels Organization in 2005, Mr. Pratt served as the Region III Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was the Department’s principal liaison to Congressional members, mayors, city managers, state and local elected officials, and a wide cross section of HUD clients in the Mid-Atlantic region, for five states and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Pratt earned his BA in Public Administration with a concentration in Urban Planning from West Chester University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association and is a past officer of the MARC NAHRO chapter of The National Association of Housing and Rehabilitation Officials. He has also served on various other boards, including for the Philadelphia Chapters of the National Association of Home Builders, the Cheyney University Foundation and the Kappa Alpha Psi Alumni Fraternity. He was also a member of Neighborhoods Now and served on the Board of Trustees for West Chester University Foundation. He has received a Public Housing Managers Certification from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

Zenzi Reeves

Zenzi Reeves leads the asset management team. From the project’s closing through disposition, Zenzi’s focus is to ensure that each project meets its investment objective. Her goals are maximizing asset performance and the mitigation of portfolio risk through comprehensive property monitoring, performance evaluation and proactive risk mitigation strategies.

Zenzi has over 17 years of asset management experience in managing both tax advantaged and conventional equity properties. Most recently she served as Vice President at Centerline Capital Group where she was responsible for the oversight of distressed assets and for formulating workout strategies including loan modification and forbearance, asset repositioning, and disposition. Previously, she worked as a Senior Risk Manager with Fannie Mae where she was responsible for the asset management of a $1B real estate portfolio comprised of properties financed with conventional equity, mezzanine financing, low income housing tax credits, and historic tax credits.

Her background in asset management has provided Zenzi with the tools to work closely with developers, property managers, lenders, allocating agencies, financial advisors and investors to effectively oversee the portfolio of properties through all stages of an asset life-cycle.

Kaitlyn Snyder

Kaitlyn Snyder is the director of policy at the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association. Ms. Snyder leads the organizations multifamily tax-exempt bond state advocacy work to increase the production and preservation of affordable housing. Ms. Snyder coordinates NH&RA councils including the Tennessee Developers Council, California Developers Council and National Council of Housing Market Analysts, among others. She also designs content for NH&RA’s eight meetings each year, publishes the HousingOnline Weekly newsletter and represents NH&RA on various policy working groups. Prior to joining NH&RA, Kaitlyn worked at the National Housing Conference and several homeless services organizations including the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Project HOME in Philadelphia and Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore.

Ms. Snyder holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in social work and political science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Brooke Solis

Brooke Solis is the Senior Vice President of Asset Management for CREA, LLC. Brooke oversees all aspects of Asset Management for CREA’s $7B in active LIHTC equity investments in 700 properties providing 63K homes. She joined CREA in 2010 and has since been directly involved in growth of the Asset Management department across 4 CREA offices. She is responsible for the creation and implementation of Asset Management policies and procedures. Brooke has been active in the affordable housing industry for 18 years. She began her career in 2002 with Dauby O’Connor & Zaleski, LLC a public accounting firm specializing in affordable housing, working specifically with partnership audits. Brooke holds a Master of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Ball State University. Brooke is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of Indiana.

Todd Surbey

Caroline Vary

Over the past 25 years, Jonathan Rose Companies has been a leader in socially and environmentally responsible real estate practices. Jonathan Rose Companies is a mission-based, real estate firm recognized for its ability to achieve visionary goals through practical strategies and cost-effective green solutions. The firm has nationally recognized experience in the investment and development of green mixed-use housing and office projects. Jonathan Rose Companies has developed, owned and managed over $1.5 billion in real estate.

Caroline Vary joined Jonathan Rose Companies in 2007. She brings 20 years of experience in asset management, leasing, financing, design, construction and development to her role as a Managing Director. Ms. Vary is responsible for the Asset Management of the firm’s 4.5 million sf. of commercial and residential properties. She has implemented green retrofits of existing buildings nationwide, and successfully led the development of the LEED Gold Certified Metro Green Residential development, adjacent to the Stamford Transportation Center. While under the direction of Ms. Vary, the Connecticut Office of Jonathan Rose Companies received the Environmental Merit Award for Outstanding Achievements in Preserving New England’s environment. Prior to joining Jonathan Rose Companies, Ms. Vary served as Vice President at Taconic Investment Partners and was responsible for the re-positioning of the firm’s commercial portfolio.

Furthering her commitment to social and environmental matters, Ms. Vary devotes her time and talent to real estate and environmental industry events to raise awareness and inspire action. She serves as a panelist for BISNOW and ULI, served as a keynote speaker for The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and more recently acted as HIVE’s (Housing Innovation Vision and Economics) Dean of Strategy for the organization’s 2018 annual consortium; “Reignite the Dream: Affordability for Purpose and Profit” which called upon imaginative approaches, transformative action and measurable progress in building more affordable homes and neighborhoods.

Ms. Vary is a founding member and an active serving board member of the Stamford 2030 district and is a member of the Urban Land Institute and American Planning Association. Ms. Vary holds a BARCH in Architecture and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She holds a Real Estate Broker’s License in NY and CT.

Holly Wiedemann

Holly Wiedemann, a native Lexingtonian, is the founder, owner and President of AU Associates, Inc. AU was founded in 1990 on the principles of adaptive use and focuses on opportunities for urban infill as well as the revitalization of existing structures. AU also includes a Property Management component that manages all the developments that AU creates. Holly’s firm has developed an extensive portfolio in Kentucky and West Virginia. Developments range from the adaptive re-use of historic buildings to new construction urban infill. The majority of the portfolio is focused primarily upon family and senior affordable housing, but also includes mixed income, mixed use and commercial properties.

Most recent projects include the award winning Fayette County Courthouse, Parkside 1, 2 and 3 in Lexington, and Recovery Point in Charleston, West Virginia. Currently underway is Victory Point, an Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) affordable housing for veterans at the VA Hospital, and Meadowthorpe Landing, affordable housing for seniors.

She serves on multiple boards, including Lexington Civic Center/Rupp, The Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, the Triangle Foundation and Fayette Alliance.