Our Team

Laurel Street Team | Best Mixed Income Housing Developers
Dionne Nelson
President and CEO
Dionne Nelson
President and CEO

As President and CEO, Dionne establishes and manages the overall strategic direction, operations, and growth of the company. She has more than 25 years of experience in real estate development, finance, and operations.

Prior to founding Laurel Street, Dionne served as Senior Vice President at Crosland and led the company’s affordable housing development and multifamily operations. Previously, she managed investments at NewSchools Venture Fund and Earnest Partners and built her skills in strategy, organization, and operations as a consultant with McKinsey & Company. Dionne began her career in financial services as an Investment Banking Analyst at Salomon Brothers in New York.

Dionne serves on the Board of Directors for Cousins Properties (NYSE: CUZ) and the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and as a Director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond – Charlotte Branch.  Dionne is a Trustee for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and a member of the National Advisory Board for the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing and ULI’s Affordable and Workforce Housing Council. She also serves on the Knight Foundation’s Charlotte Community Advisory Committee and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate Advisory Board. She is a member of Leadership Charlotte Class 29.

Dionne earned a master of business administration degree from Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Spelman College.

Lee Cochran
Senior Vice President
Development
Lee Cochran
Senior Vice President
Development

Lee co-leads development activities for Laurel Street. His development oversight starts at project conception and runs through completion and stabilization. He has more than 20 years of experience in affordable and market-rate housing development, including elderly and family housing. His prior experiences with mixed-income developments and public/private partnerships are leveraged throughout the organization, and he is well-versed in utilizing a variety of funding structures and sources for projects.

Previously, Lee was Chief Operating Officer at Levine Properties. There, he was responsible for working with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County on public/private partnerships for the redevelopment of First Ward, a 30-acre, $700 million mixed-use project in Charlotte’s city center. Prior to joining Levine Properties, Lee worked for The Housing Partnership. During his nine years there, he helped develop projects that included single-family rehabilitation, multifamily new construction, and master-planned development of neighborhoods. Lee served as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer during his last three years. He began his real estate career with the Housing Authority and Housing Department of the City of Baltimore.

Lee is on the Finance Committee for Habitat for Humanity Charlotte and is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Charlotte Capital Markets Council.

He earned a master of public policy degree and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Duke University.

Ronn Stewart
Senior Vice President
Development
Ronn Stewart
Senior Vice President
Development

Ronn co-leads development activities for Laurel Street. His development oversight starts at project conception and runs through stabilization. Ronn has more than 25 years of experience in architecture, finance, development, and construction. His expertise in complex construction projects and mixed-use development are leveraged throughout the organization.

Previously, Ronn was Senior Vice President of Construction at The Pizzuti Companies. In that role, he was responsible for managing all aspects of the companies’ pre-development and construction activities, including establishing policies, procedures, and department goals. Prior to joining Pizzuti, Ronn managed high-rise development projects at Flaherty & Collins Properties, Renaissance Realty Group, and Crosland. He began his career in architecture as a designer and in commercial banking as a Real Estate Analyst at National City Bank.

Ronn is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and the Builder’s Exchange of Central Ohio. He is a Director for the Advancement Board for Real Estate Development at Clemson University and a board member for Community of Caring Development Foundation and Masters Preparatory Academy in Columbus, Ohio. He also serves as a committee member for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s Sustainability Advisory Committee and Regional Housing Committee.

Ronn earned a master of real estate development degree from Clemson University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Franklin University. He also studied architecture at The Ohio State University.

Sylvia Sullivan
Vice President
Finance and Operations
Sylvia Sullivan
Vice President
Finance and Operations

Sylvia leads financial management and business operations for Laurel Street. She is responsible for the oversight and management of daily business operations as well as corporate and project financial management. Her responsibilities include coordination with the CEO on financial planning, cash management, preparation of financial statements, coordination of third-party reviews, and management of payroll and benefits. She also provides oversight on project-level financial requirements. Sylvia has over 23 years of experience in real estate accounting and finance.

Previously, Sylvia was Controller at Northwood Ravin. There, she was responsible for general accounting as well as the development, construction, and management of market-rate multifamily projects. Prior to joining Northwood Ravin, she worked as Finance Manager for the residential division of Crosland.

Sylvia earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the State University of New York and passed the New York CPA exam. Sylvia is currently completing her studies for a master of business administration degree from East Carolina University.

Colleen Forness
Vice President
HR and Administration
Colleen Forness
Vice President
HR and Administration

Colleen leads human resources, marketing, IT, and administrative operations for Laurel Street. She is responsible for the oversight and management of the full employment cycle of the team. She manages staffing, benefit programs, payroll, and analysis of Laurel Street’s compensation structure. Colleen has over 25 years of experience in human resources.

Previously, Colleen was Vice President of Human Resource Operations at LendingTree.  In that role, she was responsible for benefits, payroll, compensation, employee experience, training and development, community outreach, and HRIS. Additionally, Colleen helped establish and ran the LendingTree Foundation for two years. Prior to joining LendingTree, Colleen worked as the Group Director of Human Resources at Baker & Taylor.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality at Cornell University. Colleen is currently a committee member for the St. Jude Celebrity Dinner and Gala committee.

Ben Justus
Investment Manager
Ben Justus
Investment Manager

Ben is responsible for the underwriting, acquisition, and ongoing asset management of Laurel Street’s existing affordable housing assets. He also supports leadership with investor relations, fund management, and corporate finance. Ben has over 10 years of experience in real estate development, investing, and finance.

Previously, Ben was on the Executive Staff at Self-Help, a nonprofit CDFI, where he was responsible for the development of strategic plans and analysis to support Self-Help’s investment, lending, and real estate activities. Prior to joining Self-Help, Ben was an Associate at The Pinkard Group, a Washington DC-based private equity fund where he underwrote real estate acquisition and development opportunities across all asset classes.

From 2015 to 2017, Ben served on the Finance Committee of Jubilee Housing, an affordable housing nonprofit manager and developer in Washington DC.

He earned a master of business administration degree from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School (KFBSF), where he served as the Lead Fund Manager of the KFBSF Real Estate Private Equity Funds, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Davidson College.

Noel Henderson-James
Development Director
Noel Henderson-James
Development Director

Noel manages development activities for Laurel Street’s pipeline in the Research Triangle Park region and is based in the Durham office. His development oversight starts at project conception and runs through project stabilization. Noel has more than 20 years of experience in affordable housing development and finance, including the past 10 years in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) syndication.

Previously, Noel was Director of Acquisitions at Raymond James Tax Credit Funds (RJTCF) in New York City. In this role, Noel was responsible for originating LIHTC investments in the Northeast region, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. Prior to joining RJTCF, Noel was a Vice President at Richman Housing Resources. There, he specialized in LIHTC syndication in New York City for a range of affordable housing projects, including supportive housing, mixed-income, public housing redevelopment, acquisition/rehab, and resyndication. He worked in development with Gulf Coast Housing Partnership in New Orleans and The Michaels Organization in Chicago. Noel began his career in affordable housing with the National Equity Fund in Chicago.

Noel earned a master of urban planning and policy degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in history from Carleton College.

 

Simcha Ward
Senior Development Manager
Simcha Ward
Senior Development Manager

Simcha oversees day-to-day project management for several Laurel Street developments from initial concept through project stabilization. His responsibilities range from project planning and finance structuring to design, construction, and lease-up. Simcha has more than 10 years of combined experience in real estate development and architectural design.

Previously, Simcha was Development Project Manager at Wisznia Architecture + Development in New Orleans. There, he was responsible for the design and development of mixed-use properties in the Gulf South region. Prior to joining Wisznia, Simcha was a Senior Designer at CallisonRTKL in Washington, DC, specializing in retail- and hospitality-anchored mixed-use developments.

Simcha serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board and is the national co-chair of the Alumni Council for the Tulane University School of Architecture. He is a licensed architect in the District of Columbia and is engaged in an array of local professional, civic, and philanthropic groups.

Simcha earned a master of architecture degree and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Tulane University School of Architecture in New Orleans.

Kay Dodd
Development Manager
Kay Dodd
Development Manager

Kay oversees day-to-day project management for several Laurel Street developments from initial concept through project stabilization. Her responsibilities range from project planning and financial structuring to design, construction, and lease-up. Kay has more than 15 years of experience in real estate and operations, including the past eight years in real estate investment-fund acquisitions and asset management.

Previously, Kay was Senior Vice President of Operations at GOAL Property Services. There, she was responsible for overseeing national operations in 12 major US markets. Prior to joining GOAL, she was an Acquisitions Manager at Gorelick Brothers Capital, a privately held real estate investment trust specializing in underwriting for acquisition and rehabilitation of properties.

Kay earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University, and she has a certificate in project management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

 

 

Jake Gill
Development Manager
Jake Gill
Development Manager

Jake oversees day-to-day project management for several Laurel Street developments from initial concept through project stabilization. His responsibilities range from project planning and finance structuring to design, construction, and lease-up. Jake has over 5 years of experience in the affordable housing industry working with both new construction and preservation projects.

Previously, Jake was Development Manager at Wallick Communities, where he oversaw the development of multifamily projects in Ohio and Michigan including financing applications, closing due diligence, construction monitoring, and project closeout certifications. Prior to being promoted to Manager, Jake worked as Development Associate at Wallick, where he played a key role in site selection and assessment, market research, and leading the tax credit application process. He- began his career in various intern and policy research roles in the public sector in East Tennessee.

Jake earned a master of city and regional planning degree from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Kerrace Pressley
Development Associate
Kerrace Pressley
Development Associate

Kerrace provides support for Laurel Street’s development team on a range of projects from pre-development through construction. His responsibilities include conducting financial analyses, collecting due diligence during the closing process, and tracking and documenting projects during construction.

Previously, Kerrace interned as a Development Manager for District Development, where he coordinated the development of four 10,000-square-foot retail locations across the Greenville, South Carolina, metro area. Prior to joining District Development, he held a position as a New Homes Sales Specialist, where he was responsible for more than $2 million in home sales in Anderson, South Carolina.

Kerrace earned a master of real estate development degree from Clemson University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management from Clemson University.

Jon Thompson
Development Associate
Jon Thompson
Development Associate

Jon provides support for Laurel Street’s development team on a range of projects from pre-development through construction. His responsibilities include conducting financial analyses, collecting due diligence during the closing process, and tracking and documenting projects during construction.

Previously, Jon was Development Associate at the Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit developer. There, he gained experience in affordable housing by working on funding applications for tax credit projects and construction loan closings for projects in New England. Prior to working in development, Jon worked as a Legal Assistant for the New York Business Development Corporation, where he gained finance and legal experience in the commercial lending sector.

Jon earned a master of urban planning degree from the State University of New York at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Clemson University.

Sue Moody
Senior Development Coordinator
Sue Moody
Senior Development Coordinator

Sue supports and coordinates the development team. She is responsible for organizing with partners, attorneys, financial providers, contractors, architects, local municipality staff, finance agencies, and property managers to ensure that developments progress smoothly from conception to stabilization. Additionally, Sue maintains the legal entity structure and reporting for Laurel Street and manages development marketing collateral. She has over 25 years of experience working with mixed-income housing at all stages, including pursuit, closing, construction, lease-up, and stabilization.

Previously, Sue was Development Coordinator with Crosland. There she provided support for senior members of the residential development and contracting teams. Prior to joining Crosland, she was a paralegal.

Sue earned an associate of applied science in office administration with a legal concentration degree from Central Piedmont Community College. She is also a commissioned notary public in the State of North Carolina.

Tracey Nash-Powell
Project Accounting Manager
Tracey Nash-Powell
Project Accounting Manager

Tracey manages project-level financial transactions through development and construction for Laurel Street. She is responsible for tracking the financial progress of all projects, which includes management of project cash flow and draws, financial analysis, and collaboration with the development team. Tracey has over 25 years of accounting experience.

Previously, Tracey was Senior Project Accountant with Lat Purser and Associates, where she was responsible for construction draws, all commercial bank reconciliations, and other accounting-related functions for commercial and residential properties. Prior to joining Lat Purser and Associates, Tracey worked as a Senior Accountant for Highmark Inc. in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Tracey received the 2013 Women of Excellence award from the New Pittsburgh Courier and the 2012 Jefferson Award from the Jefferson Awards Foundation for her service to the community.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Robert Morris University.

Erica Berry
Senior Project Accountant
Erica Berry
Senior Project Accountant

Erica manages project-level financial transactions through development and construction at Laurel Street. She is responsible for tracking the financial progress of all projects, which includes management of project cash flow and draws, financial analysis, and collaboration with the development team. Erica has over 19 years of accounting experience.

Previously, Erica was a Project Creation and Maintenance Accountant at Lendlease. In that role, she was responsible for project creation; project maintenance after set-up, including journal entries; project closures; and other accounting-related functions. Prior to joining Lendlease, Erica worked as a Project Accountant II for Fairfield Residential.

She earned a master of business administration degree from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Norfolk State University.

Angie Fleeman
Corporate Accounting Manager
Angie Fleeman
Corporate Accounting Manager

Angie manages corporate-level financial transactions for Laurel Street. She is responsible for the preparation of financial statements, financial analysis, and assistance with annual audits. She also assists the Vice President of Finance and Operations with corporate accounting and reporting. Angie has over 35 years of accounting experience.

Previously, Angie was Controller for The Durban Group, LLC. There, she was responsible for managing construction accounting and property management accounting for a shopping center portfolio. Additionally, she previously served as a Controller in the restaurant industry for multiple franchise operators.

Angie earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Georgia College.

Monique Mendes
HR and Operations Manager
Monique Mendes
HR and Operations Manager

Monique manages office and staff functions necessary for Laurel Street’s successful and efficient operation. Her responsibilities include formalizing and enforcing company policies, overseeing and managing human resource compliance, leading annual benefits assessment and renewals, helping ensure company financial controls by supporting accounting/finance with cash verifications and reconciliations, as well as day-to-day office management. Monique has over 15 years of experience in project and office management.

Previously, Monique worked for Renaissance West Community Initiative. There, her primary responsibilities were office management, marketing, and board support. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Monique worked for The Berry Companies, a property management, commercial brokerage, and development firm. Her responsibilities included accounting, office management, and supporting the brokerage and development teams.

Monique earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Spelman College and is a commissioned notary public in North Carolina. She is currently completing her studies for the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

 

Abhash Verma
Asset Management Director
Abhash Verma
Asset Management Director

Abhash oversees the operations and management of Laurel Street’s stabilized properties and communities during lease-up. He has more than 10 years of experience in asset management, working with tax-credit communities and overseeing various property types, including senior housing, subsidized housing, and conventional communities.

Previously, Abhash was an Asset Manager at Wallick Communities. He oversaw a portfolio of 25 properties with annual gross revenue of $20 million located in Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas. He was also responsible for underwriting deals for potential acquisition. Abhash also worked as an Asset Management Analyst and Senior Analyst while at Wallick, where he played a key role in creating processes across various functions including budget, replacement reserve, monthly financial review, and dashboard reporting.

Abhash earned a master of international real estate degree from Florida International University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and forensic accounting from Franklin University.

Tyrone Harmon
Construction Management
Harmon Construction
Tyrone Harmon
Construction Management
Harmon Construction

Tyrone Harmon is the CEO of Harmon Construction Services, LLC (HCS), a fully integrated construction services firm specializing in commercial and multifamily development. HCS provides a wide range of construction-related services, including full pre-construction services and estimating, general contracting, construction management, and design-build. Licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, Tyrone brings over 18 years of construction experience to the table.

The Harmon Construction Services team presently provides construction management services for Laurel Street Residential, among other clients, where they are responsible for overseeing construction for 344 units of LIHTC and 326 units of mixed-income housing. Harmon Construction staff are familiar with North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s field requirements and take the lead on facilitating the approval process for unit occupancy with NCHFA staff members. Other present clientele include Piedmont Community Charter School and Catholic Diocese of Charlotte Housing Corporation.

Tyrone attended college in North Carolina, graduating from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He also received executive management training from Dartmouth College and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to his multiple licensures throughout the region, Tyrone is a LEED accredited professional and is certified with EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting program.

Jonathan Farrar
Construction Management Harmon Construction
Jonathan Farrar
Construction Management Harmon Construction

Jonathan is a Construction Manager for Harmon Construction Services, LLC (HCS), a fully integrated construction services firm specializing in commercial and multifamily development. HCS provides a wide range of construction-related services including full pre-construction services and estimating, general contracting, construction management, and design-build. Jonathan has over 20 years of construction experience.

The Harmon Construction Services team presently provides construction management services for Laurel Street where they are responsible for overseeing construction for 344 units of LIHTC and 326 units of mixed-income housing. Harmon Construction staff are familiar with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s field requirements and take the lead on facilitating the approval process for unit occupancy with NCHFA staff members.

Jonathan coordinates with Laurel Street’s development team on project design, land planning, construction costs, and overall project delivery. Previously, Jonathan was the principal in charge of Structure Building Company. There, he worked on the RDU Airport parking garage modernization, NCCU Student Center, and NCCU Lawson Street Residential Hall construction. He previously worked as a Trade Contractor and Construction Manager Partner.

Jonathan earned a master of construction management degree from East Carolina University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse College. He is also a member of the strategic alliance committee and membership committee for the United Minority Contractors of North Carolina (UMCNC).

William Mitchell
Construction Management Harmon Construction
William Mitchell
Construction Management Harmon Construction

William is a Construction Manager for Harmon Construction Services, LLC (HCS), a fully integrated construction services firm specializing in commercial and multifamily development. HCS provides a wide range of construction-related services including full pre-construction services and estimating, general contracting, construction management, and design-build. William has over 30 years of construction experience.

The Harmon Construction Services team presently provides construction management services for Laurel Street where they are responsible for overseeing construction for 344 units of LIHTC and 326 units of mixed-income housing. Harmon Construction staff are familiar with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s field requirements and take the lead on facilitating the approval process for unit occupancy with NCHFA staff members.

William coordinates with Laurel Street’s development team on project design, land planning, construction costs, and overall project delivery. Previously, William was a Senior Project Manager for Wayne Brothers, Inc., where he provided management including cost analysis, schedule development, change orders, and interfacing with field staff and clients. Prior to that, William was Project Manager at Keller CMS, Inc.

William earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from the North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University.

Wil Russell
Construction Management Harmon Construction
Wil Russell
Construction Management Harmon Construction

Wil is a Construction Manager for Harmon Construction Services, LLC (HCS), a fully integrated construction services firm specializing in commercial and multifamily development. HCS provides a wide range of construction-related services including full pre-construction services and estimating, general contracting, construction management, and design-build.  Wil has over 16 years of experience in project management.

The Harmon Construction Services team presently provides construction management services for Laurel Street where they are responsible for overseeing construction for 344 units of LIHTC and 326 units of mixed-income housing. Harmon Construction staff are familiar with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s field requirements and take the lead on facilitating the approval process for unit occupancy with NCHFA staff members.

Wil coordinates with Laurel Street’s development team on project design, land planning, construction costs, and overall project delivery.  Previously, Wil worked as an Office Engineer, Project Engineer, and Assistant Project Manager for Rodgers Builders.

Wil earned a bachelor’s degree in building construction and a cooperative education degree from Auburn University.