Draper and Kramer, Incorporated, a Chicago-based real estate services firm, announced the promotion of four senior executives. Edward Polich has been named executive vice president of real estate, while Blas Puzon has been promoted to chief investment officer. Additionally, Julie Stevlingson is stepping into an expanded role leading construction services and property operations, maintaining her current position as senior vice president and director of management services. Christine Ramsey has been promoted to chief administrative officer.
“All of these executives are trusted leaders who have made significant contributions to Draper and Kramer’s success in recent years and proven their ability to deliver on our corporate strategy and priorities,” said Todd Bancroft, president and CEO of Draper and Kramer. “As our company looks ahead to new opportunities presented by the ever-changing real estate landscape, I am thrilled to have their talents and expertise guiding our team and helping to shape our company’s future direction and growth.”
A 37-year real estate industry veteran, Polich re-joined Draper and Kramer in 2014 as chief development officer after previously serving as a vice president with the firm for eight years in the 1980s. In his new role as executive vice president of real estate, he will oversee all development-based initiatives for Draper and Kramer and will also chair the firm’s investment committee, which evaluates potential transactions to ensure they align with the company’s strategic objectives.
“Ed is incredibly respected across this industry and within our company for his deep understanding of the nuances of developing assets, both here in Chicago and in markets nationwide,” said Bancroft. “He has had a hand in shaping some of our most notable projects over the years, and I know his leadership will continue to be a big component of our future success.”
Prior to Draper and Kramer, Polich held senior executive positions with LCOR Incorporated and co-founded Waveland Partners LLC. Polich, who began his career as an architect with Perkins + Will, holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He is a licensed architect in Illinois and holds a national certification from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. While completing his architectural studies, Polich was a member of the IIT Stuart School of Business MBA program.
As chief investment officer, Puzon will be responsible for all portfolio management functions for Draper and Kramer, including acquisitions, dispositions, asset management and property management. He joined Draper and Kramer in January 2018 as senior vice president of acquisitions and was tasked with expanding the company’s property acquisition efforts. Puzon led Draper and Kramer’s 2018 acquisition of North 680, a 180-unit luxury rental community in Schaumburg, Illinois, and Burnham Point, a 298-unit rental property in Chicago’s Printers Row neighborhood.
“In just one year, Blas made an immediate impact on the Draper and Kramer portfolio by targeting and acquiring high-value properties that align nicely with our future investment strategy,” said Bancroft. “With his more than 15 years of prior success driving portfolio value and growth, he is the ideal choice to head our investment efforts moving forward.”
Before Draper and Kramer, Puzon was senior vice president of capital transactions for Pinnacle Family of Companies in Seattle, a role in which he led the acquisition of 35 properties comprising 10,000 units and valued at $1 billion. Puzon holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Washington and an MBA in finance and real estate from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
An employee of Draper and Kramer since 2013, Stevlingson will now lead construction services and property operations in addition to overseeing Draper and Kramer’s residential management portfolio, which includes 10,000 rental units under management in Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis and San Antonio. In her ongoing role as director of management services, she leads 1,200 professionals in upholding an exceptional level of property management standards.
“Our property management division is a cornerstone of Draper and Kramer’s success, and for the last five years, that piece of our business has thrived under Julie’s guidance,” Bancroft said. “We know she will bring that same level of leadership and dedication to her new responsibilities overseeing construction services and property operations.”
Stevlingson holds the Institute of Real Estate Management’s Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication/media studies from Minnesota State University.
Ramsey joined Draper and Kramer in 2016 as senior vice president of human resources, responsible for establishing a strong culture of performance across all business areas. Under her leadership, Draper and Kramer has been named one of the Chicago Tribune’s “Top Workplaces” in 2017 and 2018, among other awards. As CAO, Ramsey will continue to lead human resources along with communications, stockholder relations, risk management and office services.
“As a family-owned company, Draper and Kramer has always taken pride in its strong, employee-focused culture, and Christine has been a key player in defining and shaping what sets this firm’s work culture apart,” said Bancroft. “Her ability to communicate about our company and connect with our employees and partners will be invaluable in her new role as CAO.”
Ramsey has a bachelor’s degree in humanistic studies/business from St. Mary’s College and a master’s degree in human resources and industrial relations from Loyola University Chicago.