Management team

Smartland Leadership

Smartland possesses considerable expertise, cultivating a senior management team which has decades of extensive experience in everything from real estate investment and financial markets to property management and regulatory trends.

Our senior leadership team reveals why we are what we are: a premier real estate investment firm with local roots in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio but operational aspirations spanning the entire nation.

Over the last several years, our senior management team has seized the opportunity of current market conditions and has aligned our corporate strategy accordingly. We stand ready to help our clients in areas as varied as regulatory compliance, portfolio optimization and real estate appraisal.

Smartland’s executives, profiled below, boast decades of analytical finesse, financial expertise, and business savvy, and have used such skills to serve clients successfully and to lead our 100+ employees toward a better tomorrow.

Steven Gesis - Executive Vice President, Sales

new steve Steven Gesis is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of all sales teams within Smartland. He also oversees Customer Account Management.

Throughout a career spanning over 15 years, Steven has successfully orchestrated strategies and helped to build the talent of his team members.

Prior to joining Smartland, Steven was an Operations Administrator at Cleveland Clinic, where he was instrumental in the implementation of new strategies and efficiencies.

Previously, Steven served as Vice President of Sales at ACI, Inc., where he helped guide the organization through rapid growth and the eventual sale of the company.

After starting his career in personal computers with ACI in 1998, Steven went on to hold a variety of management positions with various companies, including Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Restoration Group, and Cleveland Real Estate Development.

As an entrepreneur, Steven was a founding partner and President of Case Media Group, a regional media company that provided consultation to businesses in Northeast Ohio.

Steven holds an MBA from Cleveland State University's Monte Ahuja School of Business as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University.

Irina Kleyner - VP of Acquisitions

irina bw As the Real Estate BROKER, Irina Kleyner uses her intricate knowledge of the buying and selling process to oversee all of the real estate transactions at Smartland.

As a liaison between real estate agents, clients, escrow companies, and mortgage brokers, Irina closely monitors each stage of the deal from contract signing through closing to efficiently manage the home sale or purchase transaction.

Irina is resonsible for preparing internal lease administration documents and tracking certificates of insurance for tenants and vendors when necessary.

In addition to ensuring the approval of residential purchase agreements and ordering inspections, Irina prepares disclosures and precisely tracks contingency timelines. She maintains owner files to ensure that all contractual items are completed and up-to-date.

Susan Halverstadt - Chief Financial Officer

susan bw As Chief Financial Officer, Susan Halverstadt oversees Smartland's financial activities including the strategic planning and cash flow forecasting. Susan also analyzes the company's financial strengths, working closely with the CEO, to coordinate plans that will further its growth and success.

In addition to managing Smartland's finance department, she is responsible for facilitating the company's financial reports.

With more than 25 years of experience in her field, Susan demonstrates professional adaptability and efficiency in her role at Smartland, making her a critical part of the Smartland team.

Prior to Susan's position at Smartland, she worked as the head of the finance department for companies including Atlantic Water Gardens, The Travel Connection, and Cawrse & Associates where she handled the operations in the funds management division. Susan graduated from Marietta College in Ohio where she earned a Bachelors degree.

Eric Gesis - Creative Designer & Construction Project Manager

eric bw Eric Gesis has been a fundamental part of the Smartland team for five years as the Creative Designer and Construction Coordinator for renovation projects.

In this role, Eric oversees the entire production process and is responsible for the scheduling, logistics, subcontracting, and staffing needs associated with these projects.

In order to accurately estimate costs and set quality standards, Eric is involved in all phases of production from conception to completion. He is also accountable for the creative design aspects of kitchen and bathroom layouts including visionary architecture, color schemes, and concepts.

Prior to his current position at Smartland, Eric served as the President of Americomp for 15 years where he gained valuable leadership experience managing the firms daily operations. Eric earned an engineering degree from Odessa College in Ukraine.

Gary Schoenknecht - Project Manager

gary bw2 As Project Manager, Gary Schoenknecht oversees all project details. He collects estimates for contractors to maximize returns and profits, communicates with clients to marry their expectations with the estimates they have been provided, and coordinates with estimators to complete projects within the bounds of the estimate.

Gary schedules all trades and deliveries, providing quality control and maintaining a watchful eye on each step of the building process to ensure that work is performed to national building standards. He also handles all permitting and inspections with the local municipalities.

Valerie Couch - Client Relations Manager

val bw As the Client Relations Manager, Valerie Couch focuses on the strategic planning and development of target marketing to Smartland investors. Valerie integrates finance, communication, and marketing proficiencies to create and maintain investor relationships in addition to identifying alternative sales opportunities for the firm.

Prior to her current position, Valerie worked as the corporate real estate portfolio analyst at KeyBank where she reviewed corporate leases and negotiated retail leases for clients.

Valerie created and headed the department newsletter and was the leader of 'Best-in-Class Council' - a group that implemented employee and company best-in-class practices.

Her real estate experience also includes a position as leasing manager at Boxer Property and Montlack Realty, during which time, Valerie was responsible for competitive analysis, the collection of rent receipts, and the preparation of the firm's operating statements.

Tom Ott - Director of Investor Relations

tom ott bw As the Director of Investor Relations, Tom Ott is the point of contact for all investors, assisting them every step of the way from marketing to them, to bringing them into the fold, to managing their portfolios, accounts, and files.

Tom is a licensed real estate agent, and as such he helps facilitate the sale and closing of turnkey properties, shows homes and cities to all incoming investors, and sell turnkey investments to new and existing investors. Tom holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Baldwin-Wallace University.

Alex Stevens - Facilities Maintenance Supervisor

alex bw Alex Stevens is responsible for supervising a staff of maintenance associates who perform services and repairs for our investors and tenants at Smartland. In his role as Maintenance Supervisor, Alex is accountable for preparing the work schedules, assigning, and overseeing the satisfactory completion of any maintenance work orders. He then maintains the management system for tracking work orders and maintenance history.

Prior to his current position, Alex was a supervisor and diesel mechanic at Ryder for 16 years where he performed preventative maintenance and repairs on diesel engines.

His hard-working nature and hands-on mentality makes Alex an imperative part of the Smartland team.

David Nulick - Commercial & Residential Construction Estimator

david bwDavid Nulick is the Lead Construction Estimator at Smartland. He provides comprehensive estimates for clients who are seeking property renovations. He then has the unique opportunity to present these reports and communicate directly with potential clients to formulate realistic solutions to existing property issues of all scopes and sizes. His weekly visits to the construction sites ensure the projects are meeting Contract requirements. David also initiates our Development projects, including facilitating Pre-Construction Services for Development partners. David’s diverse industry background brings a valuable perspective to the Smartland team.

Darin Smith - Commercial & Residential Construction Estimator

darin bw Darin Smith is one of the newest additions to the Smartland team where he is a highly skilled Construction Estimator. As a Construction Estimator, Darin works with potential and existing clients who are requesting commercial or residential property renovations. In his role, Darin meets with the client to develop a scope of work and budget. He then creates designs that meet the desired scope of work and budget requirements. After that, Darin provides a completed drawing of the renovations to the client for approval. Once the the project has been approved he will then visit the construction sites on a weekly basis to make sure the projects will be completed on time and within the client's budget requirements. With his 30 plus years of Architectural Design experience, Darin makes a great addition to the Smartland team.

Matthew Fritz - Marketing Assistant

matt bw As the Marketing Assistant Matthew Fritz has the responsibility of formatting content and graphics to be used in mailers and brochures for our current and prospective investors. Matt uses competitive analysis to integrate effective marketing concepts, while also collaborating with all members of the Smartland team to convey the company's mission through various media outlets. In addition, he also oversees marketing efforts within the local community once areas of growth potential are identified.

Prior to his role as Marketing Assistant, Matt worked for three years as the Pool Director at Beechmont Country Club, during which time, he managed day-to-day activities, oversaw Red Cross swimming lessons, and hired pool staff. He also handled payroll, collected timesheets, and controlled the product orders.

Matt earned a Bachelor's degree from Notre Dame College in Ohio. 

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