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PACENation Expands Board Leadership Amid Record Growth for Commercial PACE Programs Nationwide

Now more than ever, PACE serves as a critical financing option for property owners who need to make their businesses and homes more efficient, healthy and secure

OAKLAND, California, May 5, 2020 – PACENation, the nonprofit organization that advocates for expanded access to PACE financing, announced today the election of 22 new leaders to its board of directors, including many industry pioneers with backgrounds in public policy, program administration, community resilience, and clean energy finance.

“It’s an honor to welcome these leaders to PACENation’s board of directors,” said PACENation’s Executive Director Colin Bishopp, “especially at a time when we need all hands on deck to help revitalize local economies. In every community where PACE is available, PACE financing has proved to be an extraordinary policy tool for driving economic growth. PACE creates local jobs and makes our homes and businesses safer, healthier, and more energy-efficient.”

PACENation also released today a two page factsheet that details some of the major milestones PACE achieved over the past year. Commercial PACE (C-PACE) surpassed $1.5 billion in cumulative investment and reached $670 million in annual investment. This marks a 150% increase for C-PACE over the previous year. Residential PACE, meanwhile, surpassed $6 billion in cumulative investment and surpassed $650 million in cumulative investment for hurricane resiliency and seismic strengthening.

“One of the core benefits of PACE financing is the economic value it creates for both property owners and communities,” said Dee Martir, Sr. Director of OHIO PACE. “PACE can play a central role in our nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19 as property owners and developers look for creative strategies to guard the financial health of their projects.  PACE spurs private investment, helps property owners to expand cash reserves, and creates local jobs. The C-PACE market is just getting started. We look forward to continued growth in the months and years to come.”

PACENation is pleased to welcome these distinguished leaders to its board:

Eric Alini is the Managing Partner of Counterpointe Energy Partners and its various subsidiaries including Counterpointe Sustainable Real Estate. Prior to founding the Counterpointe, Mr. Alini was responsible for the Merrill Lynch Global Principal Finance Group investing and risk management of over $21 Billion of alternative assets for Merrill Lynch’s capital. Mr. Alini was a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch for 13 years and held a number of other senior positions in his career with Merrill Lynch including Head of CMBS trading, Head of International CMBS, and Head of Global Corporate Loan Portfolio Management. He also managed the Merrill Lynch Bank USA’s portfolio of asset-backed securities. Mr. Alini is also a member of the board of Urban Green in NYC.

Carolyn Berndt is the Legislative Director for Sustainability in the federal advocacy department at the National League of Cities, the nation’s oldest and largest national organization representing municipal governments. As a member of the federal advocacy team, Carolyn leads NLC’s advocacy, regulatory, and policy efforts on energy and environmental issues, including water infrastructure and financing, water and air quality, climate change, energy efficiency and more.

Prior to joining NLC, Carolyn served as associate director of government and public affairs at the American Society for Interior Designers, working with coalitions throughout the country to secure interior design registration and licensure laws. Formerly, Carolyn worked for Burns and Roe, a private engineering and construction company, in their government affairs office in Washington, DC. Carolyn received her master’s degree in public administration from American University in Washington, DC and her bachelor of arts in political science from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Laura L. Bilas is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. She is the chair of the firm’s Finance and Public Finance Practices and focuses her practice on public finance, healthcare finance and structured lending matters. Laura’s experience includes serving as bond counsel, borrower’s counsel, underwriter’s counsel, disclosure counsel, and credit enhancement provider’s counsel for numerous public finance and other structured transactions, including general obligation, special service area, special assessment, tax increment, multifamily housing, health care and industrial development financings. She is a member of the firm’s Finance & Financial Institutions, Health Care Finance, and Public Finance Practices, as well as the Health Care and Energy Industry Teams. Laura received her law degree from the University of Minnesota and her undergraduate degree from Valparaiso University.

Roger L. Davis has specialized in a broad range of public finance matters for 4 decades. He has led the public finance group at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP for over 3 decades, during the past 2 decades of which Orrick has consistently ranked number one in the country in the amount of bonds for which it was bond counsel. He has been responsible for over 1000 bond issues, which has included just about every type of municipal security and is particularly known and sought out for his ability to apply that unusually extensive and diverse experience in figuring out how to finance projects and programs or overcome obstacles for which there is no clear precedent or pathway. He has been involved with PACE since very near its inception, starting with Sonoma County’s AB 811 program, and currently including two joint powers issuers in California, two of the three largest R-PACE program administrators and several other C-PACE program administrators, investors, lenders and securitization vehicles, mostly in California but also in several other states.

Rocco Fabiano has over 30 years of experience in consumer finance and banking as well as five years running a mobile software business. Most recently, Rocco served as President and CEO of Ygrene Energy Fund from October of 2016 until July of 2019.  During this period, Rocco transformed Ygrene by building operational controls and consumer protections, while becoming the largest PACE administrator.  Previously, Rocco was President of Qualcomm Retail Solutions (2010-2014) and then led the carve-out of this subsidiary from Qualcomm, which was re-named Gimbal.  He then served as President, CEO and Chairman of Gimbal for another 18 months.  Earlier in his career, Rocco founded ACC Consumer Finance, where he was Chairman, President and CEO.  In this role, he oversaw its successful IPO and subsequent acquisition by Household International (now HSBC North America).  Subsequent to the acquisition, Rocco was named Group Executive (Group President) of Household International/HSBC where he oversaw four of its largest subsidiaries, including private-label credit cards, automotive finance, insurance operations and tax-related lending.  Rocco was also the Founder and President of Consumer Portfolio Services, head of retail banking for Imperial Corporation of America, COO of AmeriStar Mortgage, Chairman of Far Western Bank and founded another automotive finance company that he sold to CompuCredit. Rocco was named by Ernst & Young/NASDAQ as Entrepreneur of the Year in 1997 in connection with the IPO of ACC Consumer Finance, was named Colorado State Alumni of the Year in 2016 and is a past Chapter Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization.  Rocco holds an MBA from Cornell University, a Master of Science in Protein Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from Colorado State University.

Peter Grabell leads Dividend’s commercial PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing business, responsible for the C-PACE division’s strategy and operations. He joined Figtree Financing in this role in 2015 and shifted to Dividend following its merger with Figtree in early 2016. Mr. Grabell has worked in commercial real estate finance for over 30 years. Prior to Dividend, for 12 years Mr. Grabell was Executive Vice President of Bridger Commercial Funding, leading a 23-person team that originated commercial real estate loans for securitization. His group funded over 1,100 loans, providing $5 Billion of financing. Mr. Grabell also advised banks on recovery strategies for problem real estate assets as Managing Director at Clark Street Capital. Earlier, he worked within a new ventures group at GE Capital Real Estate, and in syndications for commercial real estate investment firms. Mr. Grabell obtained his MBA degree from Columbia Business School and his BA degree from Haverford College. He is a licensed real estate broker in California. Mr. Grabell is Chairman of the School Site Council at Flora Vista Elementary School in the Encinitas Union School District. He is also independent Director of Goal Structured Solutions, a specialty finance, asset management and trust administration company headquartered in San Diego.

Lain Gutierrez is a banking and structured finance veteran with over 29 years of experience in originating, analyzing, structuring and rating asset-backed financings.

Lain is the CEO of CleanFund Commercial PACE Capital, Inc.  CleanFund is the leading provider of long-term financing for energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy and seismic improvements for commercial, multifamily and other nonresidential properties in the U.S.

Prior to CleanFund, Lain founded SolFin Capital, LLC, a specialty finance company with institutional backing from a credit-focused asset manager with over $12 billion under management.  SolFin’s mission is to provide creative and competitive debt solutions for clean energy installations with a focus on community solar farms in new residential developments. Prior to SolFin, Lain was a senior rating analyst at DBRS where he was responsible for clean energy/energy efficiency financing, including Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) and Residential Solar.  At DBRS, Lain led efforts to publish a new methodology for rating PACE financings in July 2015 and ESPC in December 2016.

Lain speaks regularly at industry conferences and has published various research articles, including a commentary titled “Residential PACE Delinquency Trends” which studied delinquency trends for PACE obligations in California.

Prior to DBRS, Lain was a senior banker with Citigroup’s asset-backed securities business.  Over the course of his 11 year tenure at Citi, he originated and structured a wide variety of transactions including: film/media, aircraft, trade receivables, auto, retail credit cards and timeshare. Lain received his bachelor’s degree and MBA with a concentration in Finance from NYU Stern School of Business.

James Hamill serves as a Managing Director for CSCDA, overseeing its public finance programs.  During the last 19 years, his efforts have resulted in the deployment of over $20 billion in financing for over 500 projects throughout California that have provided significant public benefits to cities, counties and special districts. Trained as a bankruptcy lawyer and having spent two years as a Law Clerk with the United States Bankruptcy Court, Mr. Hamill is highly skilled at providing creative and effective financing solutions and proactively managing bond programs. Mr. Hamill is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside with a BA in Political Science, received a Law Degree from Whittier Law School and is a Securities and Exchange Commission registered municipal advisor.

Abby Johnson is Executive Director of the Virginia PACE Authority (VPA) and President of Abacus Property Solutions (Abacus) and. As President of Abacus, Abby assists commercial property owners develop and obtain financing for energy efficiency projects as well as negotiate and procure energy supply contracts. Over the past seven years, she has specialized in PACE financing, designing and developing programs in Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Specifically, in Virginia, Abby has been instrumental in advancing PACE legislation, including fixing the flawed PACE statute in 2015, and in lobbying successfully this year for the inclusion of resiliency and stormwater management to the list of financeable measures. In 2019, she also created VPA, a nonprofit organization, to administer PACE programs exclusively in Virginia. Since the summer, VPA has been awarded three jurisdictions, including Loudoun and Fairfax, the #1 and #3 counties in the U.S. with the highest median household income. Prior to specializing in C-PACE, Abby worked for over 15 years as an originator and financial underwriter of commercial real estate as well as an architect in Italy and as a building science consultant. Abby has a Bachelor of Architectural History from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Business from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

Mike Lemyre leads Ygrene’s external affairs, including policy development, legislative activities and government relations efforts, bringing to his role more than 20 years of market development, sales, operations and compliance experience for both start-up companies and large organizations. For the past 8 years, Mike has focused primarily on the development and management of legislative and regulatory affairs within the PACE industry. Mike began his career at McKinsey & Company and held senior positions at both Chartis (formerly AIG) and Arch Insurance Group, where he directed and implemented large scale projects, programs and operational improvements. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance from Pace University.

Stephanie Mah is vice president of asset-backed securities (ABS) research for DBRS Morningstar. She is responsible for increasing DBRS Morningstar’s thought leadership presence across the ABS community by producing insightful investor-focused research on observed and developing market trends in the sector. She has written extensively on ESG, specifically, on the property assessed clean energy market and regularly serves as a speaker at industry conferences.

Mah has more than 20 years of experience in fixed-income research. Before joining DBRS Morningstar in 2015, she was senior director of credit market research for Fitch Ratings, where she conducted macro-oriented analysis and published research on ABS, collateralized debt obligations, commercial mortgage-backed securities, residential mortgage-backed securities, and corporate bonds. Mah also conducted research for the Bond Market Association, now known as the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Previously, Mah worked on the buy-side for The Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Mah holds a master’s degree in business administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Peter S. Morgan is a Partner at Winston & Strawn LLP. Pete focuses his practice in the areas of leasing, lending, structured finance, private equity and fund formation. He represents insurers, underwriters, placement agents, investors, banks, issuers, and borrowers in public and private securitizations and securitization-style warehouse financings. Pete also serves on the board of directors of the Structured Finance Coalition (SFC), and previously served as an independent board member of the organization. He participates in various industry organizations, including the Structured Finance Industry Group, American Securitization Forum, and Equipment Leasing and Finance Association.

Chris Nard is the Chief Executive Officer of Fortifi Financial Services. A consumer finance veteran, Chris brings 35 years of experience to the PACE industry, having previously led firms in the mortgage banking, insurance and real estate services areas. Chris graduated from the University of Richmond, Robins School of Business.

Dilip Petigara brings over 23 years of experience in both the hospitality and finance industries to his role as CEO for Access Point Financial. Since joining the company in 2012 from a real estate and capital advisory service firm focused on hospitality, he spent seven years in a dual role as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Risk Officer at APF before assuming the CEO position in 2019. Prior to his advisory role, Petigara served as Senior Vice President of Specialty Finance Group, where his responsibilities included management of loan operations, internal credit approval, closing/funding and asset management with specific focus on support to participations, syndications and reporting to warehouse lenders. Previously, he held the position of Assistant Vice President and Senior Underwriter at GMAC Commercial Mortgage. Petigara holds a JD, LLM in Tax Law from the University of Miami School of Law, as well as an MBA in Finance from Temple University.

Jim Reinhart is the Chief Executive Officer of Ygrene Energy Fund. Previously, Jim has held senior roles at National Credit Care, Hewlett Packard, Capital One, Genworth Financial and QTS Realty Trust, where he was Chief Operating Officer and took the company public. Jim has served on several for profit and non-profit Boards and currently serves as the Chairman of NOW Corp and on the Board of the George C. Marshall International Center.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, Jim completed his Masters in Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland. He then went on to serve as a naval officer on a nuclear-powered submarine. Upon completing his service, Jim attended Harvard Business School. Married to his high school sweetheart, Mollie, Jim has three grown children.

Andrea Roess is a Managing Director at DTA, a California public finance consulting firm with a national practice. She has a background in finance and public policy analyses and, since joining DTA in 1992, has participated in all aspects of the formation and implementation of special finance districts to fund infrastructure and services. She has been active in the PACE industry since 2009 and managed the formation and annual administration of more than 300 land-secured financing districts, including several PACE Programs. Andrea is also currently the Assessment Administrator for numerous PACE Programs in California and Missouri. She holds an M.B.A. degree with a concentration in finance from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in psychology/public policy analysis from Pomona College. Andrea is also active in industry groups, serves on the Board of Directors for AWWEE, has participated on several panels and workshops related to public financing (including panels at numerous PACENation Summits), and holds a Series 50 license as a registered Municipal Advisor with the SEC/MSRB.

Noah Shaw is Co-Chair of the Renewable Energy Practice at Hodgson Russ LLP, a New York-based multidisciplinary law firm where Noah and his colleagues represent a broad range of renewable energy and energy efficiency market participants including developers, lenders, government entities and others. Prior to joining Hodgson Russ in September 2019, Noah was General Counsel at the New York State Energy Research and Development Association (NYSERDA) where he had a hand in the New York State’s 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, its 2016 Clean Energy Standard, large-scale renewable energy procurements, design and implementation of the offshore wind program, including leading all legal and regulatory work concerning contract design and compliance, and the state’s electric vehicles, community solar, energy storage, Property Assessed Clean Energy, building efficiency and related initiatives. Before joining NYSERDA, Noah was Senior Advisor to the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy, and he began his career at the law firm Mintz Levin, in Boston.

Sandeep Srinath, is a Director in  ING Capital LLC’s Structured Solutions Group. Where he leads deal teams to originate and structure transactions for specialty finance companies, asset-based lenders, hedge funds, leasing companies and other commercial finance companies. The group is responsible for all aspects of structuring, execution and portfolio management for asset-backed transactions. ING’s Global Securitization team is focused on international markets in the Americas, as well as Asia, Middle East and Europe. The group brings a proven track record spanning more than 20 years and over EUR 100 billion in executed transactions. Sandeep has over two decades worth of experience working for Bank of America and DZ Bank AG where he was Senior Vice President and Deputy Group Head of its structured finance business. Prior to joining ING, he was a Managing Director at Walker Preston Capital, the integrated multi-asset specialty finance company.

Shawn Stone is Chief Executive Officer at Renovate America. Prior to joining Renovate America, Stone served as CEO of Global Mortgage Capital. Since 2016, a start-up nationwide independent mortgage banking business that included five portfolio companies across mortgage origination, servicing and financing businesses. These businesses represented more than $4B of annual origination volume and$7B+ of mortgage servicing. Before heading up Global Mortgage Capital, Shawn worked for over 18 years at Mr. Cooper, one of the country’s largest independent mortgage origination and servicing companies. He held many executive leadership positions across the entire platform, including his most recent position as executive founder and President of technology enabled real estate and mortgage services firm Xome, which he grew to ten business lines, 1,200 employees and $350mm in revenue by its second year. Shawn received his MBA in Finance from University of Texas.

David Sykes is a partner at Chapman and Cutler LLP. His practice focuses on the development, deployment and servicing of technology-enabled financing products. Prior to rejoining Chapman, David led the legal and compliance functions at several start-ups that originated innovative consumer and commercial financing products via technology platforms.

Dub Taylor joins Texas PACE Authority as chief operating officer after 20 years as the director of the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). Under his leadership, SECO helped the state make the most of domestic energy, reduce state and local government energy costs and promote cost-effective clean energy technologies. This work included overseeing engineering technical assistance across Texas and growing the LoanSTAR (Loans to Save Taxes And Resources) financing program to over $200 million, with SECO originating and servicing hundreds of loans to public entities while maintaining a zero default rate.

Prior to SECO, Taylor’s public sector experience includes six years with the Texas Railroad Commission’s Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division. Taylor’s private sector experience was focused in commercial real estate, property appraisal and property tax consulting. He is a native of Dallas and graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Olivia White is the Vice President of Government Affairs at Renew Financial. As a practicing attorney and former Associate County Counsel with nearly a decade of experience advising private companies and elected officials, Olivia leads an in-house Government Affairs team that represents Renew Financial with policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels.

In this position, Olivia serves as a senior political advisor to C-Suite Executives and manages cross-functional teams to shape desired business outcomes in the areas of consumer protection and consumer financial services. This work involves overseeing a comprehensive government affairs portfolio including legislative, budgetary, regulatory, and advocacy strategies. Olivia also directly manages several outside lobbyists and communications firms in support of these efforts.

Prior to her position at Renew Financial, Olivia served as an Associate County Counsel for Alameda County. She brings with her an extensive policy background on a broad range of issues including consumer finance, tax, bankruptcy, privacy, security, civil rights, land use, and administrative law. Earlier in her career, Olivia also served for several years as a Law Clerk to the Honorable William J. Lafferty III of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California. Olivia holds a J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law and a B.A. degree in Art History from UCLA.


About PACENation

PACENation is the nonprofit membership organization that advocates for expanded access to PACE financing. PACENation provides resources and support to local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that are committed to allowing American property owners to improve the efficiency and resiliency of their homes and businesses with PACE.