Movers and Shakers Week Ending 02.04.22
Design Workshop Names New CEO & President
Design Workshop, an international landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm, announced a leadership transition. Becky Zimmermann has been named CEO and chair of the Board of Directors, while Robb Berg has been named president.
Zimmermann has served as president of Design Workshop for the past four years, as well as from 2006-2012, most recently overseeing its transition to a 100 percent employee-owned company in 2020 and spearheading one of the largest periods of growth in the firm’s history. She steps in for Kurt Culbertson, who will remain chairman emeritus and focus on client work.
“Design Workshop is and will be eternally appreciative of Kurt’s leadership, dedication and passion to the success of the firm, impact of our work and advancement of the staff. We are grateful that Kurt will continue to be part of the firm for years to come,” said Zimmermann. “Working closely with Robb, I look forward to guiding Design Workshop into the next generation. If there is anything that the past few years have taught us, it is that we don’t know what the future holds. What I do know is that thanks to the talent and commitment of our team and our wonderful clients, we can find a way to seize opportunities and excel no matter what comes our way.”
Zimmermann started in the Aspen office more than 30 years ago and has held numerous leadership positions at Design Workshop. She has devoted her career to solving complex issues in the areas of community planning, resorts and tourism, market and economics, and development strategy.
“Design Workshop has had five presidents in 52 years. The leadership in those that came before me have plowed forward with intention, courage, and conviction,” said Berg. “It is this roadmap that will help guide me as we continue to push innovation and excellence in our design, support and advance our existing DEI programs to help evolve our thinking around inclusivity and equity and look for new ways the firm can lead with action.”
Since joining Design Workshop in 2005 as a landscape architect, Berg has been an integral member of the firm leading projects including San Diego Riverwalk redevelopment, Cherry Creek West and the City of Ogden Downtown Master Plan, to name a few. He is respected for his understanding of development strategies and complex architectural systems that result in built landscapes incorporating art, science and craftmanship.
D.A. Davidson Welcomes Vice Presidents to Special District Group
D.A. Davidson welcomes two vice presidents to its Special District Group, a nationally recognized team of capital market professionals focused on financing public infrastructure for land development through the issuance of municipal bonds. Tim Morzel and Andrew Wheeler join the Special District Group on the heels of the firm’s notable growth trajectory as it welcomed two senior vice presidents and a vice president in July 2021 to support the increase in demand for special district financing solutions across the Intermountain West, particularly in Colorado, Utah and Idaho.
D.A. Davidson’s Special District Group works with special districts and developers to structure turnkey and tailored bond transactions to optimize the best economic outcome for clients, driving groundbreaking financial solutions with hands-on partnerships from project inception to completion.
“As we kick off 2022, we have expanded our bench of experts in special district financing with two strong additions to our team,” said Kyle Thomas, managing director at D.A. Davidson Special District Group. “The D.A. Davidson Special District Group is firmly planting roots in Colorado, Utah and Idaho, three markets that are primed for bright economic futures based on the unique financial solutions we provide.”
The collective expertise and depth of market knowledge Morzel and Wheeler bring will further enhance the team’s ability to tailor D.A Davidson’s services to its partners throughout the entirety of the transaction process and execute their vision of building sustainable communities.
Prior to joining D.A. Davidson, Morzel served as a vice president at Economic & Planning Systems, a land-use economics consulting firm. He brings extensive experience working closely with public and private sector clients across the western United States with a focus on creating effective tools and strategies that achieve public sector goals and support successful real estate development projects.
Wheeler also joins D.A. Davidson as a vice president for the Special District Group. Wheeler previously worked with Stifel Financial Corporation’s public finance team for five years, where he assisted various municipal entities across Colorado, Utah and Oklahoma in issuing tax-exempt and taxable debt. Prior to beginning his career in public finance, he was the lead revenue analyst and state infrastructure manager at the Colorado Department of Transportation. Wheeler has served as a board member with the Colorado Municipal Bond Dealers Association since 2018.
Monfort Companies Hires Real Estate Veteran Santiago Escobedo to Serve as New President of Real Estate
Monfort Companies, a community-minded investment and development company, recently hired real estate veteran Santiago Escobedo to serve as its new president of real estate. Under his leadership, the company’s real estate division will focus its efforts on opportunistic redevelopment in downtown Denver and surrounding neighborhoods as well as triple net lease (NNN) development with globally recognized brands across the country.
“We are rapidly growing our real estate team to create both internal and external synergies and support our long-term vision of becoming a best-in-class development company that drives economic growth in local communities,” said Kenneth Monfort, executive vice president of Monfort. “Santiago’s experience and ability to collaboratively lead others will allow us to grow our community-minded investments beyond our current portfolio.”
Escobedo is currently leading the development of Boomerang Ranch, a 27-acre mixed-use property in Greeley, Colorado. The project is anchored by a 177-home build-to-rent community – the first of its kind for the city – through a joint venture partnership with Wichita-based ICT Capital and will include five acres of retail development, including a Starbucks and Quiktrip.
“Addressing housing affordability issues through market-driven solutions like this is exactly the kind of forward-looking vision and strategy that first attracted me to Monfort Companies,” said Escobedo. “As a team, we will continue to find ways to support long-term economic vitality in rural and urban communities in Colorado and beyond. I look forward to leading and growing our footprint to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Escobedo offers 16 years of real estate experience in various asset classes, having completed over $175 million across more than 100 projects for various retail clients and multifamily developments. Escobedo has served in high-ranking development positions for several companies throughout his career.
Most recently as the director of development at Confluent Development, Escobedo was responsible for expanding the company’s retail platform nationally with a focus on single tenant net leased development. He helped navigate the impacts to retail through the pandemic and led a company-wide strategic shift toward multifamily and mixed-use developments. Prior to Confluent, Escobedo worked with Starbucks Coffee Company, where he was responsible for both the company’s existing portfolio and its new store development in three states across the Western Mountain region.