Team

With a successful track record, deep relationship network and complementary social impact platform, MEDP is a firm uniquely positioned to source, capitalize and develop complex, urban infill investment opportunities. We are a proven leadership team with extensive real estate private equity, development and operating expertise across all major asset classes and geographies.

Leadership

Craig Huffman

Co-Founder & CEO

Craig K. Huffman has nearly two decades of experience as an entrepreneur. Most recently, he was a Co-Founder and Principal of Ascendance Partners. Ascendance Partners is a Chicago-based real estate private equity firm, established in 2006, focused on commercial real estate investments in metropolitan Chicago. Ascendance was an early sponsor of institutional investment funds that acquired real estate in economically underserved communities of Chicago and it has sponsored real estate funds, in excess of $50 million AUM, for foundations, endowments, pension funds, family offices and high net worth individuals. Some notable Ascendance investors have included PNC Community Development Company, LLC, Bank of America, and the Retirement Plan for Chicago Transit Authority Employees’ Trust. Prior to Ascendance, Mr. Huffman worked in diverse senior management roles in the sectors of entrepreneurship, education, non-profit and politics. Mr. Huffman serves on numerous philanthropic boards and is an advisor and investor for several emerging entrepreneurs. Mr. Huffman holds a B.A. from Morehouse College and a master’s degree and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Bradley Beile

Chief Operating Officer

Brad Beile has a 30-year career managing the operations and finances of established real estate firms, global technology and service startups, growth companies, federal businesses and turnaround situations. He has been a trusted senior advisor to CEOs, board members and investors with an established track record of managing a wide range of teams, raising $4B of capital across 18 private equity funds and overseeing complex financial transactions, including IPOs, M&As, CDOs and privatizations. Mr. Beile was most recently the COO of Sterling Bay, a national real estate investment company, where he oversaw corporate operations and investor relations. Prior to joining Sterling Bay in 2017, he was the COO and CFO of Prescient, a global technology and intelligence company, the CFO of The John Buck Company, Managing Director and Head of Capital Markets at Transwestern Investment Company, Vice President–Investment Officer at Heller Financial and Asset Manager at VMS Realty Partners. He is an active member of several philanthropic organizations and was a long-serving board member of the Oak Park Residence Corporation, an affordable housing nonprofit organization. Mr. Beile holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Iowa and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago.

Micaela Vargas

Vice President of External Affairs 

Micaela Vargas brings over nine years of experience in politics, education and business. A native of the South Side of Chicago, Ms. Vargas recently served as Chief of Staff to Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. In this role, she managed Commissioner Gainer’s office and she served as the lead on legislation that impacted thousands of individuals and families in Illinois. Legislation drafted by Ms. Vargas was featured in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business and the New York Times. In addition to Commissioner Gainer’s office, Ms. Vargas’ professional experience includes work for the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement and work as an independent political consultant. She currently is the Executive Director for the Chicago City Council Latino Caucus Foundation and works daily with policymakers. Ms. Vargas serves on the board of directors for the non-profits Mujeres Latinas En Accion, in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, and the National Diversity Advisory Council for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. Ms. Vargas holds a B.A from DePaul University.

Luke McNiff

Vice President of Investments

Mr. McNiff is responsible for underwriting new investment opportunities, financial modeling, and creating investment memos. Most recently, Mr. McNiff worked as a real estate private equity Associate at Ascendance Partners, where he analyzed new acquisitions and existing investments while co-leading execution of portfolio strategy for two (2) funds comprised of over $50M AUM.  Previously, Mr. McNiff worked for McNiff Builders and Deutsche Bank’s Investment Banking Division where he advised corporations on financial transactions including M&A, corporate refinancing, public and private offerings of debt and equity, and leveraged buyouts. Mr. McNiff holds a B.B.A. from The University of Notre Dame.

Board of Directors

Vance Kenney

Co-Founder & Board Chairman

Vance Kenney is an established entrepreneur, business leader, and urban economic development expert in the Gary and Northwest Indiana region and is considered one of the pioneers in the ongoing redevelopment of Gary, Indiana. He is the Founder, CEO and Managing Partner of Advance Energy LLC, a multi-million dollar minority-certified fuel supply and transport company with customers including FedEx, Airport Car Rental Agencies at O’Hare and Midway, USS, Norfolk Southern, CSX, and many other regional and national firms. Mr. Kenney is also the Managing Partner of 504 Redevelopment LLC, a commercial real estate development firm committed to advancing underserved communities. Additionally, Mr. Kenney is the Founder and President of V.R. Kenney & Associates, a business development consulting firm for companies such as Republic Services, the Skillman Corp and others. Mr. Kenney is an influential business leader who has served on numerous boards and commissions and holds a B.A. from Northeastern Oklahoma University.

Christie Hefner

Advisor

Christie Hefner is a seasoned professional with more than thirty years’ experience at executive levels in both public and private companies, as well as multiple company directorships. Presently, her portfolio consists of advisory work for a company with patents to convert CO2 and methane to biodegradable plastic and artificial leather, a company that owns 30 newspapers and four TV stations, and a cannabis company. Ms. Hefner also serves as Chairman of the Board of Hatchbeauty Brands and on the Advisory Board of the Offutt Companies, a multi-billion dollar agricultural conglomerate, Previously, Ms. Hefner served as Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises for 20 years making her the longest serving female CEO of a publicly traded company. Under her leadership, the company was transformed into an international multi-media, brand driven company. Ms. Hefner was one of the founders of both The Chicago Network and the Committee of 200, and is a member of Women Corporate Directors and National Association of Corporate Directors. Ms. Hefner holds a B.A. from Brandeis University.

Dr. Shafiq Rab

Advisor

Dr. Shafiq Rab is a clinical and technical trained executive with over 18 years of experience in leading the transformation of healthcare systems into integrated care technology organizations. Prior to his current position as a Senior Advisor to the CEO of Wellforce, Dr. Rab was the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Rush University Medical Center (RUMC). In Dr. Rab’s tenure at RUMC, his vision and leadership in technology led to significant financial savings for Rush and generated significant community impact for the West Side of Chicago. Prior to his work at RUMC, Dr. Rab brought Hackensack University Medical Center to the leading edge of mobile health care technology by developing an app that allows patient access to direct appointment scheduling, test results, prescription information and communication with physicians from any device. His team also developed facial recognition technology to accurately match and identify the appropriate patient to his or her data, as well as new technology allowing patients to connect providers to their medical record regardless of the system that was used by a healthcare institution. Some of the notable awards received by Dr. Rab include Becker’s Top 100 Hospital CIO’s to Know, Champion of Consumer Access by the National Association for Trusted Exchange, Cybersecurity Leadership Innovation Award from the Center for Digital Government and Intel Security, and the Distinguished Citizen Award from Boy Scouts of America. Notable past and present civic and non-profit involvement include the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Jersey Health Connect, American Health Information Management Association, and the CHIME Foundation. Dr. Rab’s education includes a Bachelor of Surgery and a Bachelor of Medicine from Dow Medical College, a master’s degree in Public Health from Rutgers University, and an M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Ken Porrello

Advisor

Ken Porrello brings over 40 years of experience in technology strategy, technology implementation and cyber security.  Ken currently serves on the board of SteelCloud, LLC, a leading provider of cyber security solutions to the Federal sector. Mr. Porrello chairs the Board of Advisors of the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University and serves as Executive Director of the CEO Perspectives program, a pre-eminent leadership development experience for senior executives of Fortune 500 and equivalent companies.  Previously, Mr. Porrello served for 30 years as a member of Deloitte Consulting, where he served in a number of executive roles in the US and India. Mr. Porrello holds a B.S. and an MBA from Northwestern University.

Marc Joseph

Advisor

Marc Joseph is a senior partner at the law firm of Levenfeld Pearlstein, a nationally recognized mid- sized law firm located in Chicago for its innovation, sophisticated business-oriented practice, and commitment to unparalleled client experience. With more than 35 years of legal and business experience and a certified public accountant, Marc has served his clients as an experienced business advisor and in their complex legal needs. Marc has served on the firm’s Executive Committee and as an effective member of numerous company and charity boards and committees. He earned his bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude) at the Business School at the University of Illinois and his law degree (Magna Cum Laude, Law Review and Order of the Coif) at the University of Illinois. Marc is an active investor in various businesses, involved in numerous charities and an avid golfer.

Ron Bush

Advisor

Ron Bush is President of Ron Bush Consulting, Inc. and Bush Communications, Inc. He is an accomplished public speaker, senior executive and consultant with 16 years of success within the information security industry across a range of sectors including healthcare, financial services, education, manufacturing, retail and local government. Mr. Bush’s broad areas of expertise include technology, IT security, social engineering protection, security and data breach risk assessments, information security policy and procedures, identity protection, and data storage. To share his insights on data protection, he has authored books and hosts a weekly radio show (also available via podcast and YouTube). He has been an adjunct professor at Calumet College in Whiting and Valparaiso University, and writes for various publications. He regularly speaks on information security at national and international events. Mr. Bush holds a B.A. from Colorado Christian University and a master’s degree from Denver Seminary.