Neil Brown is the Chairman of Norstar Group of Companies. Mr. Brown founded Norstar in 1990, after a significant tenure as a senior executive and shareholder of Lake Ontario Steel Company, one of the world’s largest steel producers.
Mr. Brown has been involved in the acquisition and development of millions of square feet of office industrial and retail assets, thousands of residential units, as well as thousands of affordable housing residences. Neil has successfully steered Norstar through several recessions and has overseen rapid company growth, with year-over-year profitability. A highly accomplished business professional successfully overseeing the implementation of all business plans, with an emphasis on strategic planning and risk analysis, which led to Concordian Realty Management, a full-service property management company being established to manage the 45 corporately owned properties.
As the President of Norstar Development USA, L.P., Mr. Higgins is responsible for overseeing all of the Norstar Group of Companies projects and operations across the United States. Mr. Higgins brings a depth of finance, real estate, land development and construction experience to this role, with a unique combination of both public and private development expertise.
Mr. Higgins served as the New York State Housing Commissioner for 2 years from 1988-1990. During his term as Commissioner, Mr. Higgins was responsible for all of New York State’s affordable housing programs.
Prior to that, Mr. Higgins was general counsel to the Battery Park City Authority of New York and served as assistant counsel to the New York State Governor in matters of housing, economic development and finance.
Prior to joining the Norstar Group of Companies, Mr. Higgins was a partner in the law firm of Roemer and Featherstonehaugh in Albany, New York where he acted as counsel in connection with the development and financing of institutional, commercial and residential projects, specializing in state and federal housing programs, not-for-profit initiatives and community development.
Mr. Higgins is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a J.D. from the Columbia School of Law, where he served on the Columbia Law Review, one of the most highly recognized Law Reviews within the U.S. legal academic community. Mr. Higgins has also served on the boards of several not-for-profit housing organizations and has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Fordham University, New York.
Mr. D’Cruz is the Chief Financial Officer for the Norstar Group of Companies.
Mr. D’Cruz joined the Norstar Group of Companies in 1991 in the capacity of Vice President Finance. Prior to this, he was a manager with the firm of Laventhal & Horwath, Chartered Accountants, for a period of 5 years.
Mr. D’Cruz obtained his professional chartered accountant designation in London, England.
Mr. D’Cruz holds a bachelor degree from the University of London and is a Chartered Accountant; he is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ontario, as well as the Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales.
Mr. Nickoloff joined Norstar Building Corporation in 2014, bringing over 30 years of construction management and ever increasing leadership experience. Mr. Nickoloff is responsible for all construction projects in the Norstar portfolio within New York, Michigan, and Alabama.
Mr. Nickoloff has extensive experience and success in estimating and bidding projects, establishing project budgets, while also managing the construction process to deliver completed projects on-time and within budgets. His hands-on experience allows him to be an innovative and effective problem solver.
Mr. Nickoloff is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He is also a member of the NAHB Association.
As the Florida Director of Affordable Housing Development for Norstar Development USA, Mr. Evjen is responsible for managing all aspects of the process of developing affordable housing in partnership with public housing authorities (PHAs) and other partners throughout the State of Florida.
Mr. Evjen brings over 12 years of experience in the area of real estate development and finance, and has developed a diverse blend of project types, including market rate and affordable multifamily, mixed use, commercial, education, and food service spaces. He has experience in the development of housing for the elderly, families, and homeless populations.
Mr. Evjen has successfully redeveloped urban infill sites, developed and rehabilitated multiple units in historic districts, and successfully achieved LEED Gold and Silver certification on three separate projects in Florida. In addition, he has been involved in the planning, development, and financing of more than 1,000 market rate and affordable housing units and has secured funding from multiple funding sources including LIHTC, AHP, CDBG, SHIP, HOME, and New Markets Tax Credits.
Prior to joining Norstar, Mr. Evjen served as the Vice President of Strategic Planning for Metropolitan Ministries, a Tampa-based non-profit organization, where he led the redevelopment and construction of over 150,000 square feet of transitional and affordable housing for homeless families, in addition to multiple other mixed uses. Prior to that, Mr. Evjen directed West Florida multifamily development for Colonial Properties Trust, a Birmingham, Alabama based REIT. Mr. Evjen received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and his law degree from Stetson University School of Law.
Ms. Baker is the President, CEO and COO of Accolade Property Management, Inc. and is responsible for the general operations, development of procedures and policies, budgeting and value engineering, oversight of all departments including marketing, accounting and maintenance, and is directly responsibility for the strategic direction of the company. Ms. Baker has over 28 years experience in the property management industry. Ms. Baker’s direct responsibilities have included managing all classes of assets with a keen ability to reposition assets to take advantage of nuances in the marketplace.
Ms. Baker graduated from the University of Texas, Arlington with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Real Estate/Marketing. Ms. Baker holds a Housing Credit Certified Professional designation and is a Certified Property Manager candidate. Ms. Baker is committed to leadership and education in the multifamily industry and serves on several boards including the Texas Apartment Association Education. National awards and recognition have been noted for which assets Ms. Baker had direct responsibility, including Pillar of the Industry Award for Best Loft and Best Property Website, DBCA, Obelisk Award-New Initiatives and Charles L. Edson Excellence in Affordable Housing.