Meet the Executive Team

Multifamily specialists with a culture focused on the resident experience

About the Team

Ian Griffis, Chairman and Co-CEO

Ian Griffis is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Griffis Residential, a Denver-based apartment investment fund manager and property operator with approximately 8,000 units under management. Mr. Griffis is Co-CEO of the company and is a member of the Investment Committee.

Mr. Griffis has structured real estate investments for over 35 years. Investing in his first project during his senior year at Colorado College in 1985, Mr. Griffis initially invested in and developed student housing. With the onset of the RTC crisis in 1989, Mr. Griffis expanded the management operation to assist owners in surviving the largest collapse of financial institutions since the Great Depression. An operations-focused investment culture remains and is a key factor in above benchmark returns – no investor in a Griffis project has ever lost a dollar.

In the 1990s, Mr. Griffis led the expansion into projects in Phoenix, Denver, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Following the sale of the predecessor company, Griffis/Blessing, to co-founder Buck Blessing, Mr. Griffis formed its fund business in 2004 through Griffis Group of Companies with partner David Birnbaum, and shortly thereafter Tom Barta. Griffis Residential currently manages a series of six closed-end value-add funds and an open-ended core fund for a client base of institutions and high-net-worth individuals. Griffis Residential communities are currently located in Seattle, Portland, Long Beach, San Diego, Denver, and Austin.

Mr. Griffis has a strong interest in conservation and has implemented: four conservation easements; the assemblage and creation of a public 800-acre public park; the preservation of an archeological site and section of the historic Cherokee Trail for which he was awarded the Friends of The Oregon Trail Award.

Together with David Birnbaum and Tom Barta, he is a founding board member of Griffis Gives, a not-for-profit formed to address personal distress and the contributing causes to homelessness.

Mr. Griffis is a former Trustee of Colorado College and the Fountain Valley School. He is a member of the Casa Serena Society as well as the William Jackson Palmer Society at Colorado College.

Mr. Griffis holds a BA from Colorado College.

Nothing presented herein is intended to constitute investment advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Griffis Residential.

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David Birnbaum, Co-CEO

Mr. Birnbaum has been Co-Chief Executive Officer since the founding of Griffis Residential and the Prior Funds, sharing responsibility for strategic management of Griffis Residential and its investment activities. In addition to being a member of the Griffis Residential Investment Committee, he manages the execution of major investment activities and investor reporting.

Prior to Griffis Residential, Mr. Birnbaum was CEO of Tablogix, a European-based contract logistics and warehousing company. Founded in 1994, Mr. Birnbaum oversaw its expansion into multiple international markets and managed the company’s sale and relocation to London in 1998, where he continued as CEO until 2003.

Mr. Birnbaum holds a B.A. from Colorado College and an M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School. He currently chairs the Museum Committee for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, is a trustee of the Denver Art Museum, and serves on the Russian and Eastern European Acquisition Committee for London’s Tate Modern Museum.

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Tom Barta, President and COO

Mr. Barta is responsible for Griffis Residential’s asset management initiatives and overseeing property operations and finance functions. Mr. Barta is a member of the Griffis Residential Investment Committee.

Prior to joining Griffis Residential in 2005, Mr. Barta served as Corporate Controller for Westmoreland Coal Company, a publicly-traded company, for four years, where he oversaw all financial and accounting functions. From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Barta was in the audit practice in the Denver, Colorado office of KPMG.

Mr. Barta holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Chris Souther, Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Souther is the Chief Financial Officer for Griffis Residential and is responsible for finance, reporting, accounting, and tax administration. Prior to Griffis Residential, Mr. Souther was with Denver-based D4 Urban, LLC, where he served as Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to his move to Denver, Mr. Souther was Chief Financial Officer of the US subsidiary of a publicly-traded multinational property development and management company.  Mr. Souther brings 20 years of accounting experience to Griffis Residential and an extensive background in leadership of key areas of finance for the real estate, construction, and professional services sectors. Mr. Souther serves as the Chief Compliance Officer in connection with Griffis Residential’s status as a Registered Investment Advisor.

Mr. Souther is a Certified Public Accountant and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Accounting from Wake Forest University.

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Andy Stenovec, Executive Vice President, Capital Markets

Mr. Stenovec is responsible for overseeing the firm’s capital raising, product development and client servicing efforts. Prior to joining Griffis Residential, he was a Team Leader in Global Client Relations at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. and had also co-founded the hedge fund RBI Capital. Previously, Mr. Stenovec was Executive Vice President and Co-Head of North American Client Relations and Marketing at Capital Guardian Trust Company where he also served on the Board of Directors. He started his investment career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in private wealth management and then moved into institutional client relations at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Mr. Stenovec earned his B.A. in Economics from the Colorado College and his M.B.A. from Harvard University Graduate School of Business. He currently serves as a Trustee on the Board at the Colorado College.

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Jim DiRienzo, Senior Vice President of Investments

Mr. DiRienzo is responsible for the acquisition, underwriting, due diligence, market research and disposition of investments. In addition, Mr. DiRienzo is a member of the Griffis Residential Investment Committee.

Prior to Griffis Residential, Mr. DiRienzo was with Northmarq Capital for six years where he was named “Analyst of the Year” and was further recognized with the “Analyst Excellence” and “Amerisphere Excellence” awards.

Mr. DiRienzo holds a B.S. in Finance from Colorado State University. He also represents Griffis Residential on the metro-Denver Economic Development Committee, served on Griffis Residential’s Customer Experience Management Team, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

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Jami Pichot, Senior Vice President of Operations

Ms. Pichot maintains day-to-day responsibility for leading and managing all on-site property management initiatives for Griffis Residential having previously served in on-site and portfolio management roles for the company. Prior to joining Griffis Residential in 2007, Ms. Pichot was a community manager at Simpson Property Group.

Ms. Pichot also serves on the Griffis Residential Investment Committee.

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Kevin Bassi, Vice President, Portfolio Manager

Mr. Bassi interfaces with various internal and external parties to help manage and grow the Griffis Residential funds business. Responsibilities include asset management, capital raising, portfolio analytics, and performance reporting.

Prior to joining Griffis Residential, Mr. Bassi worked at the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA). His primary responsibilities included overseeing multiple separate account relationships with a focus on various investments across the U.S. amongst all property types and risk profiles. He managed a portfolio of nearly 50 wholly-owned assets with a gross asset value of $2.5 billion.

Before joining LACERA, Mr. Bassi was a member of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Real Estate Unit as an Investment Officer in West Sacramento, CA. In this role, he helped oversee the domestic office portfolio, which included performing due diligence on potential new investment opportunities in separate accounts, joint ventures, and commingled funds in addition to managing existing assets in the portfolio. Additionally, Mr. Bassi worked on the overall general portfolio strategy development and implementation. Prior to joining CalSTRS, Mr. Bassi worked as a Financial Analyst in the capital markets group for the Buzz Oates Group of Companies in Sacramento.

Mr. Bassi received a BS in business administration with an emphasis in finance from California State University, Stanislaus, and an MBA with an emphasis in real estate from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

He is a member of PREA and currently serves on the PREA Institute Committee and is a former PREA Fellowship Award winner (2017).

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