Board of Advisors
Essel Bailey, Managing Director of Alpha Capital
Essel is currently Managing Director of Alpha Capital Inc, a private investment advisory firm, and serves as a Vice chair of the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. He is a director and owner of companies engaged in wine production, commercial real estate, healthcare services to the elderly and institutional pharmacy services. After several years in Michigan state government, Mr. Bailey spent 15 years with the Detroit law firm Dykema Gossett, where he was a partner specializing in corporate and real estate finance. Subsequent to his retirement from Dykema, he organized and ran two public companies related to healthcare finance, served as a director or chaired the Board of several other publicly listed companies and has spent more than 30 years engaged in the public capital markets and working with organizations providing services to the elderly. He has invested in, organized and managed businesses in real estate and real estate finance, healthcare and manufacturing in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. He holds degrees from Wesleyan University and the University of Michigan Law School.
Dennis Bernard, Founder & President of Bernard Financial Group
Dennis Bernard is the founder and President of Bernard Financial Group and Bernard Financial Servicing Group. Founded in 1991, BFG has grown into the largest commercial mortgage banking firm in Michigan, financing on average over $1 billion yearly. Dennis has been involved with over 1,200 commercial real estate financial transactions totaling over $18.6 billion. He specializes in both debt and equity placement with commercial lenders and institutional joint venture participants.
Dennis holds a Bachelors’ in Finance from Miami University, and an MBA specializing in Finance and Strategic Planning from Case Western Reserve University. He has been a lecturer on real estate finance at the University of Michigan’s Graduate School of Business and has been an editorial contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Commercial, Inc., and Crain’s Detroit Business. Most importantly, Mr. Bernard goes home for dinner every night and spends the weekends with his family.
Robert Holland, CEO & Chairman of Vistage
Bob has held the position of CEO at four different technology organizations, and has served the academic community as a Professor and Department Chairman for eight years. He is currently Chairman of two Boards (Computer Information Systems Board, and Limbic Connection, Inc.) and serves on the Board of Directors of various organizations, including Busch’s, Inc., Acumax Index, Inc., Vistage Michigan and Convergent Systems Corporation. He has a Bachelor of Engineering, a Master of Science in Operations Research, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering.
Bill Wilson, Founder & President of Keystone Properties, Inc.
Bill has been involved in investment properties in Ann Arbor and northern Michigan since 1968 and in the San Francisco area and northern California since the late 1970’s. He spent 10 years at the Bendix Corporation, seven at Aerospace where he was responsible for spinning off aerospace technology into the commercial market place and three years at the corporate offices assisting MIS and system users in implementing new business systems. As CFO and Director of Operations of Hartland Schools, he was responsible for all financial and physical plant operations and negotiating union contracts. He joined Comshare, Inc. as Director of Real Estate and Facilities responsible for locating, leasing and the design and building of all the sales offices (approximately 35) in the US and Canada. In late 1990’s, he assumed responsibility for real estate operations in England. Bill continued with Comshare on a part time basis while developing other similar but smaller clients and continuing to grow his own real estate investments. In the early 1980’s he co-founded Keystone Properties, Inc. to manage his and his partner’s investments. Keystone peaked at over 50 buildings before a designed reduction of ownership was begun by splitting up the partnerships and selling buildings. In the early 1990’s Bill was on the Board of Directors for Citizens for Ann Arbor’s Future which led the fight to defeat the third attempt to implement rent control. Bill has an MBA from Eastern Michigan University.
Tim Damschroder, Chair of the Business Law Practice Group for Bodman PLC
Tim Damschroder is the chairperson of the Business Law Practice Group and managing partner of the Ann Arbor office of Bodman PLC, a 150-lawyer business law firm based in Detroit. He specializes in middle market M&A transactions, corporate finance, and a broad range of corporate organization and governance matters and complex corporate transactions. He serves as general outside corporate counsel to a number of businesses, many with worldwide operations, in the automotive, technology, general manufacturing, real estate, and other industries. Tim has been named Ann Arbor Lawyer of the Year by The Best Lawyers in America for M&A Law and Corporate Law and is listed as one of Michigan’s top corporate lawyers by the prestigious Chambers USA. He is highly active in the Ann Arbor business and philanthropic communities and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Washtenaw County United Way. He also serves as Chairperson of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund Board. Tim is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit School of Law.