Corporate Leadership

  • leaderships

    Stephen E. Riffee

    Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    Mr. Stephen E. Riffee joined WashREIT as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer-elect on February 17, 2015. Mr. Riffee then was elected Chief Financial Officer on March 4, 2015.  Prior to joining WashREIT, Mr. Riffee served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), an NYSE office REIT, from 2006 to February 2015. In this role he oversaw all financial functions, including accounting, financial planning and analysis, tax, treasury, capital markets and investor relations. Additionally, Mr. Riffee oversaw the legal department and information technology at COPT. Between 2002 and 2006, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for CarrAmerica Realty Corporation, a national NYSE public office REIT.

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    Susan Lilly Gerock

    Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer

    Ms. Gerock joined WashREIT in April 2016 and serves as Senior Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.  In her capacity, she is responsible for the leadership, integrative management and direction for company information systems including corporate-wide planning, budgeting for information technologies and coordination and integration of all company information technology matters.  She has over 22 years of management and information technology experience in commercial real estate, manufacturing and retail.  Prior to joining WashREIT, she held various roles at Corporate Office Properties Trust, her most recent serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. She previously served as a Senior Information Technology Director for CarrAmerica and as an Information Technology Director for Archstone-Smith.  Ms. Gerock holds an undergraduate degree from The College of William & Mary and holds a Master of Science, Management of Information Technology degree from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce.  Ms. Gerock is active in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake.

  • leaderships

    Edward J. Murn, IV

    Managing Director, Development and Multifamily Division

    Mr. Edward J. Murn, IV, joined WashREIT in April 2013 as Managing Director, Residential Division. Prior to joining WashREIT, he was Director of Development at The Tower Companies from September 2008 to March 2013, where he was responsible for metro D.C. area projects including The Blairs, White Flint Mall, and Tower Oaks. His previous experience was as Vice President of Multifamily Development and Team Leader at Kettler, Inc. from 2004 to 2008; as Director of Acquisitions & Development, Northeast Investment Group at Archstone-Smith Trust from 2001 to 2004; and as Director of Capital Markets at Charles E. Smith Residential Realty, Inc. from 2000 to 2001. Mr. Murn began his professional career as a banker with Citizens Bank of Maryland and First Horizon Construction Lending. Mr. Murn is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and Johns Hopkins Real Estate Forum.

  • leaderships

    Dan Chappell

    Vice President, Investments

    Mr. Daniel P. Chappell joined WashREIT in June 2014 and serves as Vice President, Investments. In this role, he is responsible for underwriting for new investment opportunities and asset dispositions, transaction due diligence, and closing activities across asset classes: Office, Retail, & Multifamily. Prior to joining WashREIT in 2014, Mr. Chappell worked in the Multifamily group at Federal National Mortgage Association, where he focused on non-performing multifamily assets located in several major metropolitan markets throughout the United States and assisted with potential note sales and lender loss sharing settlements. Before that, Mr. Chappell had a successful seven-year career at Navigant Consulting, Inc. in the Financial Services Disputes group where he headed teams of analysts and industry experts in the re-underwriting and valuation of the underlying assets of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Mr. Chappell holds a B.S. in Business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University with triple-majors in Finance, Marketing, and International Studies and a Masters of Business Administration from Georgetown's McDonough School of Business where he graduated with honors.

  • leaderships

    Steven Freishtat

    Vice President, Finance

    Mr. Steven Freishtat joined WashREIT in November 2015 and serves as Vice President Finance. In this capacity, he manages the Financial Planning and Analysis, Capital Markets and Treasury functions. Prior to joining WashREIT, Steve served as Vice President for CapitalSource, Inc. from 2004 to 2015, overseeing a portfolio of middle market loans in the Cash Flow group. Prior to CapitalSource, Steve worked as a Senior Financial Analyst in the Financial Planning and Analysis group at Marriott International.

    Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Indiana University and a Masters of Business Administration from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University. He earned his CPA in 1997 (inactive) and is a CFA Charterholder.

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    W. Drew Hammond

    Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer

    Mr. Drew Hammond joined WashREIT in October 2012 as Controller. In July 2015, he was named Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller and was named Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer in January 2018.  In his current capacity, he has overall responsibility for accounting operations, including accounts payable, payroll, corporate accounting and real estate accounting. He also oversees financial reporting, technical accounting, income taxes, REIT compliance and treasury.  Prior to joining WashREIT, he held various roles at CapitalSource, Inc., a commercial financial lending company, from 2003 – 2012.  He served as Controller beginning in 2007, where he had primary oversight of accounting operations, accounts payable, expense reporting, financial reporting, equity accounting, payroll and accounting for debt, equity investments and derivatives.  Prior to serving as Controller, he served as Assistant Controller and Manager of Financial Reporting. Prior to joining CapitalSource in 2003, Mr. Hammond was a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young LLP from May 2002 to December 2003, and held various positions in the assurance practice at Arthur Andersen LLP from 1995 to 2002.  Mr. Hammond earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Accounting from Washington and Lee University and is a certified public accountant.

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    Amy Hopkins

    Vice President, Investor Relations

    Ms. Amy Hopkins joined WashREIT in July 2019 as Vice President, Investor Relations. She has overall responsibility for external communications with key stakeholders and the investment community at large. Prior to joining WashREIT, Ms. Hopkins served in a leadership role within the Investor Relations and Capital Allocation Strategy team at Booz Allen Hamilton. From 2013 to 2016 she was Senior Equity Research Analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading covering financial services companies. Prior to that, Ms. Hopkins was a Vice President in the Valuation Advisory Services practice at Duff & Phelps where she provided business and asset valuation opinions for financial reporting, tax, and investment and risk management purposes. She also served in investment-oriented roles at FBR Capital Markets and Freddie Mac. Ms. Hopkins received her BBA in Finance with a minor in Economics from James Madison University.

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    Ian Kessler

    Vice President, Human Resources

    Ian joined WashREIT in a consulting role in November 2021 and as our Vice President of Human Resources in March 2022. In this role, he has oversight of human resources, training and development, compensation and benefits, talent acquisition, and diversity initiatives. Prior to joining WashREIT, Mr. Kessler was Vice President of Human Resources at WC Smith from 2012 to 2021, where he led human resources for development, construction, and property management operations. From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Kessler was Director of Human Resources at Sawyer Realty Holdings. Prior to this, Mr. Kessler held leadership roles in human resources in the finance, real estate, and technology industries.

    Mr. Kessler holds a BS in Human Resources and a BA in Sociology from University of Maryland and a Masters of Business Administration from The George Washington University, with a concentration in Information Management Systems. Mr. Kessler is active in the human resources community and is on the board of directors for HR Alliance DC.

  • leaderships

    Andrew E. Leahy

    Vice President, Investments

    Mr. Andrew E. Leahy joined WashREIT in November 2014 and serves as Vice President, Investments. In this role he oversees the firm’s Investment activity (Acquisitions & Dispositions) across asset classes: Office, Retail, & Multifamily. Prior to joining WashREIT, Mr. Leahy was Senior Director, National Office Acquisitions at Rockefeller Group Investment Management Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. where he was responsible for sourcing, underwriting, structuring, and closing real estate investments in major US markets. From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Leahy worked in Acquisitions at Fidelity Real Estate Group, a unit of Fidelity Investments investing in multiple asset classes throughout the US on behalf of a series of closed-end, value-add funds. Mr. Leahy began his career at The Blackstone Group. He holds a BSBA in Finance from Georgetown University and a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University with a dual concentration in Real Estate and Finance & Economics.

  • leaderships

    A. Grant Montgomery

    Vice President, Research

    Mr. A. Grant Montgomery joined WashREIT in July 2014 as Director, Research.  He provides market intelligence for strategic initiatives that optimize acquisitions, development and dispositions.  Prior to joining WashREIT, he served for nine years as a Senior Vice President and Apartment Practice Director at Delta Associates, a Washington, DC real estate and economic consulting firm. In this role he managed multifamily, retail and office market studies throughout the U.S. and was the research director and primary author of the firm’s Mid-Atlantic multifamily reports. Previously Mr. Montgomery held roles with PricewaterhouseCoopers and McShea & Company.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Wake Forest University and a Master of Science in Real Estate from the Johns Hopkins University.

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    Deanna Schmidt

    Vice President, Marketing and Communications

    Ms. Deanna Schmidt joined WashREIT in September 2017 and serves as Vice President, Marketing and Communications. In this role, she is responsible for corporate and property marketing, branding, and media relations. Prior to joining WashREIT, Ms. Schmidt worked at both JBG Smith and Vornado/Charles E. Smith driving marketing projects such as company rebrands, residential lease ups, and office marketing. She led award-winning marketing for projects such as The Bartlett apartments in Pentagon City and Crystal City Design Lab. Before that, Ms. Schmidt worked at JLL in various roles both in the District and in San Francisco. Ms. Schmidt holds a BA in English from Virginia Tech.

  • leaderships

    Danielle Erkmann

    Senior Director, Corporate Counsel

    Ms. Danielle Erkmann joined WashREIT in May 2019 and serves as a Senior Director and Corporate Counsel.  In this role, she is responsible for managing and overseeing the drafting, negotiation and completion of leases and lease-related documents for all commercial real estate transactions within a diverse real estate portfolio.  In addition, Ms. Erkmann provides guidance to internal business units on a broad range of commercial real estate and corporate matters.  Prior to joining WashREIT, Ms. Erkmann practiced corporate and real estate law at Bregman, Berbert, Schwartz & Gilday in Bethesda, Maryland for many years.  Ms. Erkmann is a graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

Board of Trustees

  • leaderships

    Paul T. McDermott

    Chairman and CEO, WashREIT

    Paul T. McDermott was elected to the Board of Trustees and named President and Chief Executive Officer of WashREIT in October 2013. Prior to joining WashREIT, he was Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Rockefeller Group Investment Management Corp.,  a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. from June 2010 to September 2013. Prior to joining The Rockefeller Group, he served from 2006 to 2010 as Principal and Chief Transaction Officer at PNC Realty Investors. Between 2002 and 2006, Mr. McDermott held two primary officer roles at Freddie Mac -- Chief Credit Officer of the Multifamily Division and Head of Multifamily Structured Finance and Affordable Housing. From 1997 to 2002, he served as Head of the Washington, D.C. Region for Lend Lease Real Estate Investments.

  • leaderships

    Jennifer S. Banner

    Executive Director of University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business Forum for Emerging Enterprises and Private Business

    Ms. Banner has 36 years of professional, managerial, and board experience, including 22 years in public accounting, 14 years as a sitting CEO, concurrent with 20 years serving on public company boards. She is the Executive Director of the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business Forum for Emerging Enterprises and Private Business. Previously, she served as CEO of Schaad Companies, a privately held real estate company, and SchaadSource, LLC, a related privately held shared services company. Ms. Banner spent 22 years in public accounting, practicing in the tax area with Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young LLP) in Florida and PYA, P.C. in Tennessee. She has been a director of Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE: TFC) since 2003, a member of the board of directors of Truist Bank since 2013, and a member of the board of directors of Uniti Group, Inc. (NYSE: UNIT) since 2015. Ms. Banner is interested in digital transformation of business and has been a public speaker and consultant globally on the board's role in digital transformation. In 2019, she was named an honorary Fellow of the MIT Center for Information Systems Research.

  • leaderships

    Benjamin S. Butcher

    Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of STAG Industrial, Inc.

    Benjamin S. Butcher serves as the Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of STAG Industrial, Inc., a position he has held since July 2010. Prior to the formation of
    STAG Industrial, Inc., Mr. Butcher oversaw the growth of STAG Capital Partners, LLC and its affiliates, serving as a member of their Board of Managers and Management Committees, from 2003 to 2011. From 1999 to 2003, Mr. Butcher was engaged as a private equity investor in real estate and technology. From 1997 to 1998, Mr. Butcher served as a Director at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he sourced and executed transactions for the Principal Transactions Group (real estate debt and equity). From 1993 to 1997, he served as a Director at Nomura Asset Capital, where he focused on marketing and business development for its commercial mortgage-backed securities group.

  • leaderships

    William G. Byrnes

    Retired Managing Director, Alex Brown & Sons

    William G. Byrnes has been a private investor since 2001. He was on the Board of Directors of CapitalSource Inc., a commercial lender operating principally through its subsidiary Capital Source Bank from 2003 until its sale in April 2014, serving in various capacities including Presiding Independent Director and, most recently, Chairman of the Board. He founded, and was Managing
    Member of, Wolverine Partners, LLC, that operated MUTUALdecision, a mutual fund research business, from September 2006 to October 2012. Mr. Byrnes was co-founder of Pulpfree d/b/a BuzzMetrics, a consumer-generated media research and marketing firm, and served as its Chairman from June 1999 until its sale in September 2005. He was on the Board of Directors of LoopNet, Inc., an information services provider to the commercial real estate industry, from September 2006 until its sale in April 2012. Mr. Byrnes spent 17 years with Alex Brown & Sons, most recently as a Managing Director and head of the investment banking financial institutions group. He has been a full-time and adjunct professor and member of the Board of Regents at Georgetown University.

  • leaderships

    Edward S. Civera

    Retired Chairman, Catalyst Health Solutions, Inc.

    Edward S. Civera served as the Chairman of the Board of Catalyst Health Solutions, Inc., a publicly traded pharmacy benefit management company (formerly known as HealthExtras, Inc.), from 2005 until his retirement in December 2011. In 2012, he served as a senior advisor to management and the Board of Directors of Catalyst Health Solutions in connection with the sale of the company. Mr. Civera also served as Chairman of the MedStar Health System, a multi-institutional healthcare organization until his retirement from the board in November 2013. He currently serves as a trustee on the Board of Notre Dame of Maryland University. From 1997 to 2001, Mr. Civera was the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Chief Executive Officer of United Payors & United Providers, Inc. (UP&UP), a publicly-traded healthcare company that was sold in 2000. Prior to that, Mr. Civera spent 25 years with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), most recently as Managing Partner, focused on financial advisory and auditing services. Mr. Civera is a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Civera has also served as a director of The Mills Corporation and MCG Capital Corporation.

  • leaderships

    Ellen M. Goitia

    Retired Partner, KPMG

    Ellen M. Goitia is a Certified Public Accountant and served as the partner-in-charge for KPMG LLP’s (KPMG) Chesapeake Business Unit Audit practice and a member of the firm’s audit leadership team from October 2011 until her retirement in May 2016. As the partner-in-charge of the Chesapeake Business Unit Audit Practice, Ms. Goitia had ultimate operational oversight for five offices in Maryland, DC and Virginia, with responsibilities including business unit financial performance, resource management, human resources, quality client service, and risk management. From July 1993 until her retirement, Ms. Goitia was admitted to the KPMG partnership in 1993 and had more than 30 years of experience as a professional with the firm, including experience as lead audit partner for a variety of publicly traded and private companies. She has served clients on a wide range of accounting and operational issues, public security issuances and strategic corporate transactions. Ms. Goitia was a speaker, panelist and moderator for KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute as well as for other governance programs external to KPMG. In addition, Ms. Goitia served as an independent member of the Nominating Committee of KPMG’s Board of Directors from 2009 until 2011, and has served on several nonprofit organizations’ boards.


  • leaderships

    Thomas H. Nolan, Jr.

    Former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Spirit Realty Capital Inc.

    Thomas H. Nolan, Jr., served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Spirit Realty Capital, Inc. from 2011 until 2017. Mr. Nolan previously worked for General Growth Properties, Inc. or GGP, serving as Chief Operating Officer from March 2009 to December 2010 and as President from October 2008 to December 2010. He also served as a member of the board of directors of GGP from 2005 to 2010. GGP filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in April 2009 and emerged from bankruptcy in November 2010. Mr. Nolan was a member of the senior management team that led GGP’s reorganization and emergence from bankruptcy, which included the restructuring of $15.0 billion in project-level debt, payment in full of all of GGP’s pre-petition creditors and the securing of $6.8 billion in equity commitments. From July 2004 to February 2008, Mr. Nolan served as a Principal and Chief Financial Officer of Loreto Bay Company, the developer of the Loreto Bay master planned community in Baja, California. From October 1984 to July 2004, Mr. Nolan held various financial positions with AEW Capital Management, L.P., a national real estate investment advisor, and from 1998 to 2004, he served as Head of Equity Investing and as President and Senior Portfolio Manager of The AEW Partners Funds. Mr. Nolan currently serves on the Board of Directors of RW Holdings NNN REIT. 

  • leaderships

    Anthony L. Winns

    Retired President, Latin America-Africa Region, Lockheed Martin Corporation

    Vice Adm. Anthony L. Winns (USN, Ret.) is the Retired President, Latin America-Africa Region, Lockheed Martin International, at Lockheed Martin Corporation, a position he has held since January 2013. Between October 2011 and January 2013, Mr. Winns was Vice President, International Maritime Programs, at Lockheed. Between July 2011 and October 2011, Mr. Winns was a defense industry consultant. Mr. Winns retired in June 2011 after 32 years of service in the United States Navy. He served as Naval Inspector General from 2007 to his retirement. From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Winns served as Director/Vice Director for Operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Between 2003 and 2005, he was Deputy Director, Air Warfare Division for the Chief of Naval Operations. Prior to 2003, Mr. Winns served in other staff and leadership positions in Washington, D.C., including at the Bureau of Naval Personnel. He also served as commanding officer of several major commands, including the Pacific Patrol/Reconnaissance task force, the USS Essex, an amphibious assault carrier, and a naval aircraft squadron.


Mr. Thomas Q. Bakke

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Thomas Q. Bakke was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of WRIT in April 2014. Prior to joining WRIT, he was Senior Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield where he was the Market Leader for Northern Virginia. From February 2007 to January 2012, Mr. Bakke held the position of Market Managing Director for Boston at Equity Office Properties, a national commercial real estate owner and a subsidiary of The Blackstone Group. Over his 20 plus years at Equity Office Properties, Mr. Bakke held a variety of other senior positions with the company and its predecessors including Senior Vice President, National Leasing and Senior Vice President, Field Operations.

Prior to joining Equity Office Properties in 1991, Mr. Bakke held positions with The Staubach Company and Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services (predecessor of CBRE). Mr. Bakke served in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 14 years and was a former F-14 aviator, attaining more than 1000 flight hours with direct involvement in such world crisis situations as the Iranian hostage rescue effort and the Iran-Iraq war. Mr. Bakke is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and has a MBA in Finance, attending MIT's Sloan School of Management and Golden Gate University.