Wendy A. Berger,
CEO and President
Wendy A. Berger is principal of WBS Equities, LLC. WBS Equities specializes in ground-up construction, renovation, development, sale lease back transactions and acquisition of industrial buildings for food and beverage manufacturers and distributors. Wendy founded the firm in 2014.
Wendy serves as a Director of the Board at Green Thumb Industries Inc. (GTI) (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) (2015 – present). GTI is a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer. GTI’s brands include, Dogwalkers, The Feel Collection, incredibles and Beboe, among others. GTI has 13 manufacturing facilities, 40 retail stores open, licenses for 96 retail locations and operations across 12 states in the United States.
Over the last 30 years she has been involved in the real estate business as a developer, lender, property manager, broker and investor. Wendy began her career at American National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago (a subsidiary of First Chicago, now JP Morgan Chase) in Commercial Lending. Wendy spent several years as a principal with Berger Realty Group, an 80-year- old family owned Real Estate business where she focused on residential and industrial property management and development. She was responsible for managing 3,000 apartment units, 200,000 square feet of commercial space and 250,000 square feet of industrial space.
Aside from her experience in the real estate field, Wendy spent 10 years working with technology startups. Wendy was employee number 11 at Orbitz, the Travel web site founded in 2000 by American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United Airlines. Wendy was Director of the Enterprise Planning at Orbitz and focused on strategic planning. Prior to Orbitz, Wendy co-founded and was COO of Neoglyphics Media Corporation, one of the country’s first web site development firms. Neoglyphics grew quickly from a small start-up to a to a leader in the industry before it was sold to a publicly traded company in March 1998 for $65 million.
Wendy earned her MBA in Finance and Real Estate from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. She received a B.S., cum laude, in Finance and Marketing from Syracuse University.
In her spare time Wendy is an avid triathlete and runner, having completed 39 Olympic Distance triathlons and 8 half-marathons.
Wendy serves on the Board of directors of the Chicago Public Library Foundation (2016 – present) and chairs the Governance Committee. She is also on the Board of directors of the Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund of Chicago (2001 – 2007, and 2009 – present), is a Vice-Chair and served as the 2019 General Campaign Chair which raised a record setting $89 million dollars. Among her responsibilities as a Board Member of JF/JUF, Wendy helped to develop and led the first two classes of the Jewish Leaders Institute. Wendy also serves on the Board of Directors the Secure Community Network (SCN), the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America. Wendy was a participant in the 2011 class of Leadership Greater Chicago. Wendy is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, a two-year study program founded and funded by Les Wexner, Founder and CEO of Limited Brands. Wendy was a member of the United Jewish Communities National Young Leadership Cabinet (1998 – 2004), The Hillels of Illinois Governing Commission (1996 – 2014), was the Chair of the JUF High Tech Committee (2000 – 2003). Wendy is an avid hands on volunteer and currently serves as a volunteer for several Chicago based charitable organizations. Wendy served until 2004 as Vice-President and Membership Chair at The Standard Club of Chicago and as a member of the Board of Directors (1994 – 2004). Wendy is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and served as the chair of the Real Estate Membership Committee. Wendy served two years on the Board of Directors of TEDxMidwest, the locally and independently organized TED event. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. In 2014 Wendy co-founded Illinois Women in Cannabis, an organization with the mission of ensuring that women would be at the starting line of the emerging legal Cannabis industry – an industry too new to have a glass ceiling – rather than playing catch up.
Wendy is an active mentor, a role she takes very seriously, usually mentoring 4 – 5 young women at any given time. Wendy is proud to now call herself a TED speaker, her talk is available on the TED web site or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tirTJQVO1dE
Ben joined WBS Equities in 2014 with an extensive accounting background. Prior to joining, Ben spent four years as a public accountant, most recently with Ernst & Young, LLP. At Ernst & Young, Ben served multiple manufacturing and transportation clients, both public and private. He focused on analyzing companies’ financial statements, accounting strategies, estimates and processes. At WBS Equities, Ben is responsible for underwriting, project management and investor relations.
Ben earned his Master of Accountancy and B.S. in Business, Accountancy from Miami University.
Working with start-ups and partnership-based organizations, Heather has over fifteen years of experience across a broad spectrum of development ventures. Beginning first in San Francisco in the real estate and pharma industries, she now lives in Evanston.
She earned a BS in Finance from San Jose State University and her CPA in Illinois.
She volunteers at the Woman’s Club of Evanston where she has served in several capacities including Board Member, Treasurer and Business Manager.
President of Abbott Land & Investment Corp.
Dean Kelley has over 25 years of experience in commercial real estate development. He has been involved in projects ranging from grocery stores to liquid asphalt terminals.
Dean began his career in Chicago Illinois as a Commercial Banker at Harris Trust & Savings Bank. He worked in various roles at Harris from 1984 to 1990.
In 1990, Dean started working for Abbott Land & Investment Corp. At Abbott Land, Dean has been involved in the master planning and developing of more than 1,500 acres of land and the construction of more than 1,000,000 square feet of commercial buildings.
Dean received a Master’s in Management from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s in Economics from Northwestern University.
Founder of Dayton Street Partners
Howard Wedren has been working in the Chicagoland real estate community for the last 21 years. He has been involved with the development and leasing of a variety of real estate including office, industrial, parking and retail properties.
Howard began his commercial real estate career in 1994 after joining Fifield Realty Corporation as an associate. At Fifield, Howard was actively involved in the development and leasing of over 2,000,000 square feet of class A office buildings in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. After Fifield, Howard joined Chicago, Illinois based Montero Partners, Ltd., a commercial real estate investment firm, as Principal.
In November of 2006, Howard founded Dayton Street Partners LLC, a commercial real estate investment and development firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm is focused on the acquisition and development of key infill industrial and office projects throughout the City of Chicago.
Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in Regional Development from the University of Arizona.
Founder of MAS Development
Jeff Smith has over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate. He has been responsible for design, financing, development, and construction of over $200 million in commercial and industrial real estate projects. He has used various contracting methods to complete these construction/development projects. He has executed over $100 million in real estate transactions. His responsibilities also includes entitlements and land planning.