Florida International University has strong ties with the real estate community and many leaders interact with students as panelists for special programs, quest lecturers in the classroom, speakers at forums and other events including the CREW_U program each January. It is common for leaders to be involved in our classes and students have the opportunity to meet with leaders in many settings. In this section, short bios of industry participants serving in this capacity are provided.
Shawn Chemtov Founder & CEO CMG Capital
Founder & CEO of CMG Capital, a licensed mortgage broker and real estate agent, Shawn brings over a decade of experience and success to his mortgage company. Shawn earned a degree in Business Management from the University of Miami and followed his passion after college to begin a mortgage career in 1997. Shawn joined K & B Capital in Boca Raton, Florida and became Vice President, successfully closing over $250 million in retail loans during his 4 year tenure.
In 2001, Shawn went on to develop his career in real estate financing with Yale Mortgage, a nationwide wholesale lender located in Miami, Florida. Though Shawn continued to originate and close retail loans, the knowledge from the exposure of working with a wholesale lender that maintained portfolio loans and funded loans from existing warehouse lines expanded Shawn’s already vast loan experience and knowledge. Shawn was responsible for more than $500 million in funded loans as Vice President of Yale Mortgage. Shawn’s continued success in the mortgage industry culminated in the founding of CMG Capital. CMG Capital has become a direct lender, an FHA licensee and portfolio lender closing more than $750 million dollars in residential and commercial property loans since its inception in 2004.
Carolyn Kellman Partner Yoss LLP
Carolyn Kellman is a Partner in the Firm's Miami office and member of the Collections Department. Ms. Kellman focuses her practice in large-scale commercial collections with an emphasis on stipulated settlement workouts and landlord tenant workouts and lease issues. She represents numerous national collection agencies, assisting them with resolutions with South Florida debtors. She also acts as a "lawyer-liaison" for clients who want their countrywide collections administered by a sole source.
Alan Kleber Principal CresaPartners
Alan Kleber began his career in commercial real estate in 1995 and in 2011 he joined CresaPartners as Principal. Alan's expertise is focused on serving as a business advisor by delivering integrated real estate solutions to corporate tenants and professionals services firms on a global basis. Amongst his peers and Clients, Alan has earned a strong reputation as a strategic thinker, skilled negotiator and leader.
An experienced real estate advisor, Alan and his CresaPartners team specialize in advising clients with the creation and execution of real estate strategies that align and support the underlying business objectives and strategy of the Client. Alan's broad experience includes advising Clients with lease negotiations of all sizes, economic and non-economic lease restructures, build to suits, municipal/state incentives, and alternative transaction structuring in support of corporate financial statement metrics. Alan also possesses extensive international real estate experience.
Alan has been recognized by many national trade journals as a thought leader in the commercial real estate industry and is frequently sought by industry and regional business publications to comment on corporate real estate trends and the state of the commercial real estate markets. His formal education, experience, and career commitment to continuous knowledge-centric education provides clients with the expertise necessary to maximize the complete value of their real estate decisions.
Lazaro Solis, C.F.E. Deputy Property Appraiser Office of the Property Appraiser Miami-Dade County
Lazaro Solis is a 23-year veteran of Miami-Dade County Government. Prior to joining the Property Appraisal Department in 2002 he served in senior technical, administrative and management positions in the County’s Information Technology Department, the Transit Agency and the Department of Environmental Resources Management. In addition to guiding the development and use of information technology in those departments, Mr. Solis was responsible in the areas of budgeting, procurement and project management.
In 2005 Solis assumed the position of Assistant Property Appraiser where he was responsible for the department’s $30-million budget, ensuring it complied with rules and regulations of the Florida Department of Revenue and coordinating with Miami-Dade’s taxing authorities. In 2008 Miami-Dade voters opted to have the duties of Property Appraiser held by an elected official. Among the changes implemented by newly elected Property Appraiser, Pedro J. Garcia was the creation of two Deputy Property Appraisers. Since 2009 Mr. Solis has held one of those positions. His additional responsibilities include evaluating changing conditions in an effort to ensure the Department continues to meet all statutory requirements while serving the public need; negotiating and managing the Department’s contracts and working closely with the County Attorney’s Office and the State to ensure compliance with new legal requirements.
Mr. Solis holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami, a Professional Certificate in Project Management from Florida International University and is a Florida Department of Revenue Certified Florida Evaluator (CFE).
Rebecca R. Spinale, Esq. Lowenhaupt & Sawyers
Rebecca Spinale is a native Miamian and an attorney with 25 years of experience in the practice of law in the State of Florida. Rebecca is presently an attorney with the law firm of Lowenhaupt & Sawyers, which specializes in the area of landlord/tenant law. She has been with the firm since June of 2001. Lowenhaupt & Sawyers represents landlords throughout the State of Florida. Their clientele is primarily comprised of management companies and owners of large apartment complexes. The firm provides legal representation for landlord evictions, handles EEOC matters, fair housing issues, small claims actions and minor code enforcement problems that arise in the property management field.
Prior to joining Lowenhaupt & Sawyers, Rebecca worked for the Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals, as an Attorney-Advisor to Administrative Law Judges. Rebecca began her legal career in 1985 with the civil litigation firm of Buchbinder & Elegant, P.A., where she was involved in a wide variety of general civil litigation cases including domestic relations, probate and real property law. Rebecca earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Miami School of Business, and her Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Miami School of Law. She has been a licensed Real Estate Broker Salesman for 30 years and worked selling real estate while attending college.
Rebecca is very actively involved in the community and has served on the board of directors of various charities, including Vizcaya, Beaux Arts of the Lowe Art Museum, Young Patronesses of the Opera and Florida Grand Opera.
Lyle B. Stern President Koniver Stern Group
Lyle Stern is the President of Koniver Stern Group, a dominant retail leasing and consulting company based in Miami Beach, Florida. Koniver Stern is best known locally for its leading role in developing the upper moderate retail category in South Beach. The national, regional, and local representation of both retail tenants and developers is their main focus. Koniver Stern is responsible for representing World-renowned Restaurateurs Emeril Lagasse and Michael Chow (Mr. Chow) in locating their restaurants in Miami Beach and most recently brought Chef Daniel Boulud to downtown Miami.
Through its leasing of Forum on Peachtree Parkway, at the time one of the country’s highest profile lifestyle centers, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Koniver Stern has carved out yet another niche in the development consulting and leasing of this breed of specialty retail projects. Koniver Stern has also leased projects like The Forum Sunnyvale Town Center project, an approximately One Million One Hundred Thousand (1,100,000) square foot (retail alone) mixed use project. They have also been involved in the leasing of Forum at La Costa in Carlsbad, California (200,000 sq. ft.), Old Hyde Park Village in Tampa, Florida (219,000 sq. ft.) and Towne Square in Wheaton, Illinois (200,000 sq. ft.).
Mr. Stern is almost a 20 year veteran of the real estate leasing profession. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, Miami-Dade County Court Judge Beth Bloom and their children, Jacob, Oliver and Emily.
Leo Zabezhinsky Manager of Business Development, Real Estate and Research Miami Downtown Development Authority
Leo Zabezhinsky is Manager of Business Development, Real Estate and Research at the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Mr. Zabezhinsky oversees all day‐to‐day economic growth strategies and initiatives to help attract new investment, create jobs, and promote business development opportunities in downtown Miami. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, NAIOP, and serves on the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Real Estate Committee. He is involved in the community as a founding board member of the Green Room Society at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and also active with AIPAC’s Miami Club Young Leadership Division. He received his B.B.A. from the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration with a concentration in International Business and Entrepreneurship, and is a licensed real estate associate by the State of Florida.