Rick CourtneyFounding Partner & CEO Acquisitions & Operations
Rick Courtney is responsible for the overall direction of the firm. He leads ERP’s national portfolio build and asset management platforms and is a member of ERP’s Executive and Investment Committees.
Rick is a 35-year veteran of the commercial real estate industry with over 15 years of enterprise-level turnaround, growth and expansion experience. Prior to co-founding Essential, he served as President/COO for Brass where he oversaw its AUM and a development pipeline of $1.4B.
During his career, Mr. Courtney has transacted/managed over 17,000 multifamily units and 3.2m sq/ft of commercial space nationwide. He has extensive expertise in organizational design and leadership and deep knowledge of all industry verticals, including acquisitions, operations, asset and property management.
Mr. Courtney earned his management degree cum laude from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business. He holds numerous professional licenses and certifications and the elite CCIM and CPM industry designations.
Jalal John AzarFounding Partner & Board Member Capital Formation
Mr. Azar is a Founding Partner and Board Member of Essential. His strategic role with Essential centers on capital formation. He is also a member of Essential’s Investment Committee and strategically advises on acquisition and operational matters.
John has served as general partner on approximately 4,000 multifamily units and has worked on a cumulative portfolio of $1.8b of real estate development and structured financetransactionsspanning from Boston to Miami and London.
John is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Peak 15 Capital. A capital advisory firm specializing in equity placements for commercial real estate operators and sponsors, and a Managing Member of MACC Venture Partners, a Southeast focus owner/operator of multifamily assets.
Mr. Azar holds a BA from the University of North Carolina and an MBA for Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.
John Matheson, Esq.Founding Partner & Board Member Legal & Strategic Advisory
Mr. Matheson is a Founding Partner and member of the Board of Essential. John was instrumental in formulating ERP’s unique GP Stake capitalization plan and serves as strategic operations advisor. He also advises on legal matters at the enterprise level.
John has over 30-years of leadership experience in private and public companies – including serving as CEO of an NYSE listed company. He was awarded the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and inducted into E&Y’s Hall of Fame for his executive leadership in 2009.
John has over 20 years of C-level experience with extensive legal, accounting, and executive management experience with in-dept expertise in real estate, mergers and acquisitions and international based ventures.
Mr. Matheson is a graduate of Harvard Business School and holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University and is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Oklahoma School of Business.
Mark Gardner, Esq.Founding Partner & Board Member Development
Mark Gardner is a Founding Partner and member of the Board of Essential Realty Partners with a heavy focus on the new development activities of the company. He is also a member of ERP’s Investment Committee and advises on fund strategy and ESG initiatives.
Mark is also Chairman of Gardner Capital, an affordable housing development and syndication firm, through which he has developed and syndicated over 10,000 housing units throughout the country. Mr. Gardner and his related companies have raised over $2b in capital for 150+ projects, primarily through institutional investors.
In addition to his work in multi-family development, the Mark’s companies have developed a significant number of utility scale solar projects and is the largest developer of utility scale projects in the state of Missouri.
Mr. Gardner graduated magna cum laude from Truman State University and from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
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